I'll be giving a presentation entitled "Riding Baja" on Thursday, November 3rd at 6:30 p.m. at Ride West BMW in Seattle. If you're hoping to ride Baja one day, come get a primer on how to best prepare for a successful and fun ride. I'll cover bike prep, what to bring and what to expect from either a supported or non-supported ride in the Mecca of off-roading that is Baja, Mexico. I'll give a slide show of photos selected from my various trips there on dual sport bikes over the years. To register for the event, check out this link.Also, the 2012 edition of the Baja California Loop GPS Tour is now available for purchase. It's bigger and better than ever, with some great improvements. Check it out here.
The 2nd Edition of the 2011 Olympics Loop GPS Tour is not yet available. Crews are working hard still on the washouts, but I'll be checking their progress in the next couple of days. If at all possible, we'll release the 2nd Edition right after Labor Day. Stay tuned!
Meanwhile, the 1st Edition of the Olympic Mountains Loop GPS Tour is available right now.
If you're going to join us for the Fun Ride this year (and I hope you are), please Contact me via phone or email to let me know so we can prepare accordingly. Also, if you need to purchase a copy of the 2011 tour package, please order no later than noon on Wednesday Sept. 7th to receive it in time for the weekend.
The 2011 Edition of the Olympic Mtns. Loop Tour has been shipping for a couple of weeks now. A very late release date for sure, but Mother Nature really dealt us a huge snowpack to contend with this year.
The 2012 Edition of the Baja California Loop Tour will be completed and ready to ship by the end of August. If you've wanted to ride Baja but were hesitant for one reason or another, pick up a copy and you'll have all the information about traveling in Baja on a moto you'll need to dispel any doubts... plus a killer route to enjoy!
Also, don't forget to join us this year for our annual "Ride the Loop" fun ride that will take place the weekend following Labor Day. Check out the "Upcoming Rides" link and join us!
The 2011 Edition is almost ready to ship. Note that because there are many washouts that have long closed off old routes that are being repaired by contractors right now, there will be a 2nd Edition of the 2011 tour released at the end of August. This will restore one route that had to be truncated a couple of years ago, as well as open up a new route that I've been waiting for 8 years to publish. In addition, it will have a section of "lost road" comparable to what we had with the old Route W and the hard part of Route D that we lost last in the last couple of years, though it will be an "out and back" experience.
The reason for two editions is to get an updated version out now that reflects the rest of the revisions and additions that we've already made to the tour, including the restoration of the original Route A, with it's awesome views and campsites for riders who've been waiting for the update (and the routes to be clear of snow) and have made plans or have no choice but to ride in August. For those who can wait, I recommend holding out for the 2nd Edition, which we hope to have ready by September 1st.
If you have a 2010 Edition of the tour, note that it will still work fine, but will lack the new sections in terms of the restored and new routes we've added to this year's editions.
Thanks for all your support!
I've just returned from the annual "Revision Ride" of the Olympics Loop GPS tour, and am happy to report that it is entirely free of snow and passable. I'll be working this week and next to finish the revisions, and will be shipping the new edition in early August.... finally! The snow pack this year was record, blocking access to the higher roads later into the summer than any year I can remember. The good news is that spring-like conditions are persisting and should for the next few weeks, with lots of wildflowers blooming and small creeks and waterfalls still flowing when they normally wouldn't be, or at least not so dramatically.
The news is good on two fronts: First, if you own a 2010 copy of the tour and didn't get a chance to use it last year, it will still work this year, but... Second- some longtime road closures due to impassable washouts are being repaired as I type this, and two really great sections of road are therefore being restored to the tour once again- yes!
Also, as you know if you've read the Updates section, we sadly lost Route W to the road decommissioning efforts of the Forest Service last year. But I'm happy to report that I've found an impressive replacement for it for those of you who like a little "challenge" added to their rides. I think you will be more than pleased with what I found, and can't wait to hear your feedback.
So while last year's edition will work for you, if there's an argument to be made for upgrading to the 2011 Edition, these new additions should be sufficient. But if you'd like just one more reason to upgrade, it's that the Fun Ride is free to purchasers of the 2011 Edition, while we'll have to collect a $25 fee for those who join us September 10th - 12th on our annual "Ride Around the Loop" with an outdated version. Please understand that it's continued support from you guys purchasing the current edition that makes the annual updates to the Olympics Loop GPS Tour possible and allows us to host the free Fun Ride
As always, please check out the Updates section before departing on your ride.
GripTwister Tours wishes to congratulate AltRider for a job well done with their "Ride the Hoh" event. 50+ riders converged at a private location in the Olympics for a weekend of riding and comraderie. GripTwister Tours put together the routes for the ride, and while this year's deep snowpack really made it a struggle to find fun and interesting loops to ride, we managed to come up with a few routes that everyone enjoyed.
We've also got some new videos up in our Media Gallery. Check back once in a while as we get more and more videos posted. There are some great ones from Baja coming soon.
Media Gallery to get the details and to order your copy.
As for the Olympics Loop GPS Tour, the snow pack this year is still pretty low and deep, so it looks like it will be close to a July release date for the 2011 edition. If you just can't wait, we can get you a copy of the 2010 edition right away, but beware there may be some changes or road closures you'll not be aware of until it can be posted to the Updates section of the website. As always, please check that out before departing on your ride.
We're freshly returned from 8 days of epic riding in Baja California for our latest update to the Baja California Loop GPS Tour. While the 2011 edition continues to be available for immediate shipment, we expect to have the 2012 Edition available for delivery by mid June. The good news is that Route E, which had been truncated due to severe rain damage to the roads, has been extended to reach into some of Baja's most remote territory once again. While it does not yet trace it's original route back out to the highway as far north as it once did, these recent changes added some awesome riding through an absolutely spectacular part of Baja. Did I mention it is also very remote?
Other improvements include identification of more private sellers of fuel along the longer routes of the tour. While fuel is never guaranteed at these locations, getting it when you can, especially when your range is in question, is always recommended. Better too much than not quite enough.
We've also added another side route to the tour, this one to the geysers and mines in the mountains northeast of Catavi˝a, where the views from on high of the Enchanted Islands in the Sea of CortÚz in the distance are absolutely amazing. Go here to get the details and to order your copy.
As for the Olympics Loop GPS Tour, the snow pack this year is still pretty low and deep, so it looks like it will be close to a July release date for the 2011 edition. If you just can't wait, we can get you a copy of the 2010 edition right away, but beware there may be some changes or road closures you'll not be aware of until it can be posted to the Updates section of the website. As always, please check that out before departing on your ride.
The Baja California Loop GPS Tour is now available for delivery. Our second and most ambitious self-guided GPS tour to date is an 1,100 mile adventure through the northern state of Baja California, Mexico. Go here to get the details or to order your copy.
Bad news again, folks. This morning I really threw out my back pretty bad, and won't be able to ride for a while. This means I won't be able to do the day ride on Saturday either... a real bummer for me coming on the heels of canceling the 3 day event due to weather.
Don't let that stop those of you who've already cleared the day (or 3 days) from going for it without me. Send a pic or two and let me know how it went!
So at this point, we'll just look forward to next year as far as the Fun Ride is concerned. Sorry it didn't work out... see you in 2011!
Unfortunately, we're going to cancel the planned 3-day Fun-Ride due to weather. While Saturday is looking good, the forecast for the Western side of the Olympics on Sunday and Monday (where we'll be then) calls for 60 and 40 percent chance of rain respectively. Past experience has shown that a light rain along highway 101 on that side of the mountains translates to heavy rain and fog as we move up the valleys and up to altitude on the Western slopes of the Olympics. I'm usually overly optimistic when it comes to the forecast weather and what I believe I'll actually experience, and on the "wet side" of the Olympics, I'm almost always disappointed by what I actually get. I've discovered they don't call them rainforests on that side for no reason. It is supposed to be a Fun Ride, and I'm not convinced it would live up to that billing this weekend.
However, since Saturday is looking to be dry, I will still do a day ride starting in Hoodsport at the same scheduled time of 8:00 AM. We'll knock off Routes A and B for sure, and if there's still enough time and interest when we get to Sequim, perhaps take a side trip up to Deer Park or Hurricane Ridge before calling it a day. If you are up for it, I'd love for you to join us.
The plan was to move the ride to next weekend if the weather this weekend was a bust, but the number of confirmed attendees for this weekend would leave me to believe that we'd be lucky to get a turnout, so at this time, it looks like we'll be looking towards next year to do this again. However, I'll wait to hear what you all have to say before deciding for sure.
Thanks for your support, and sorry to be the bearer of bad news!
Well, the Fun-Ride is set for this weekend, and the weather at this point is looking like it will be a "Go" with a low chance of showers. This being Washington, we'll not be certain of the actual weather until we're riding in it, but if by Thursday evening/Friday morning the weather along our route is forecast to be greater than 50% chance of precipitation on two or more of the 3 days, we'll postpone the ride until the following weekend.
If you are planning to attend, and have not done so already, please email or call me to let me know so we can be sure to have enough provisions for the weekend.
On another note, Route W is now and forever gone. The Forest Service has decommissioned the road that made up the difficult portion of that route in the last month, and it is no longer passable. Another real bummer coming on the heels of the closure of the "hillclimb section" of year's past. I'll try to find a replacement of the same character for future editions, for those who really like to get off the beaten path.
I've finished the 2010 Edition and am printing copies as I write. They will begin shipping tomorrow, first to those who've already placed their orders, then I'll start printing and assembling copies to have stock on hand for further orders. Thanks for being patient... the late snows were a real surprise after the warm and dry winter we had.
Don't forget that your Oly Loop order gets you admission to the Fun Ride happening September 11th to 13th. Mark your calendar and be sure to join us again (or for the first time!) for a great ride and a good time. And don't forget to check this out.
Last night I finished riding the final segment of the Olympics Loop revision ride. Unfortunately, the perfect start to the day was ruined when I met a truck traveling up a steep logging road while I was going down... on a sharp corner, of course. We collided, and while I was okay, the 690 suffered some damage to the right side. After a ride home in a buddy's truck and a quick call to the adjuster, I headed back out on the Honda 250 to finish up. Just a reminder to everyone riding logging roads... it's hard to do and you can get real complacent when you ride all day and don't even see another vehicle on the roads, but please try to ride as though there is an oncoming big truck hogging the road around every blind corner you approach.
I'll be making the changes to the tour in the next few days (there were several) and they should be ready to print, assemble and ship next week.
Snow was still a problem (blocking) the highest part of Route D (which has changed again) on the north side of the Olympics, but I ran up to the snow from both sides and am quite certain that once it's melted there will be no other issues preventing passage there.
Route W (Hard Xtra segment) is currently blocked by a slide of fallen trees, but I imagine a narrow swath will be cleared sometime this summer. I'll post what I know as soon as I know it in the "Updates" section.
Route X (Hard Xtra segment) is currently passable (yes!), and is enjoying wide usage my motos as there is a new ORV trail on DNR land near it's emergence onto pavement. You may even wanna check some of those trails out, too.
The forest service has repaired a lot of old blockages last fall and this spring and this has reopened roads that have been closed for a couple of years. But there are also some roads that have been or will be temporarily closed for logging operations or are going to be permanently closed and decommissioned this year. We've added a new section to Route H this year as a result of the decommissioning that I think will more than make up for what will be lost in terms of great riding terrain and killer vistas. This summer/fall some more repairs are scheduled on many closed roads in the south end of the Olympics that have been blocking for years as well, though those won't be reflected in the tour until next year's edition. If we have a mild winter and spring next year, 2011 could be a banner year for riding some great tracks that we haven't been able to ride in years. Overall, the roads are in the best shape they've been in in a long time, from a maintenance standpoint.
Oh, and here's something fun to try... Challenge
I've been back for a week now from spending 3 weeks in Baja. Two weeks were spent soaking up some sun and surf at the GripTwister compound on the Sea of Cortez with the family, and the final week was spent testing the Baja California Loop GPS Tour that will be ready to ship soon. Baja has been bombarded with rainfall this year, and the signs of it are everywhere in the form of a green desert full of flowers and fragrances, flowing streams, normally dry lakes full of water, and back roads devastated by torrents of water. It was a trip I'll never forget. I'll get some pictures up soon and put the link here.
The 690 got it's first full-fledged "adventure ride", and performed flawlessly. A damaged front tire from running too little pressure on the Gonzaga Bay road was my only headache of the trip. I got a little too complacent about the pressure I was running and paid the price. Remember to pump both tires up to full pressure while on that stretch, unless you ride really damn slow, which I don't recommend. I also do not recommend sitting on the stock 690 seat... it is there only for looks.
The Olympics Loop GPS Tour is in the process of being revised as well. If you asked me in February when it would be done, I would've said no later than mid April as the weather was unseasonably warm and dry. But that all changed, and now here we are in late May and the snow still blocks plenty of the higher sections. I'm hoping that it will be done and shipping by mid June at this point. If you order now, you will receive a copy from the first printing as soon as it's completed. The price is being held at $49.95 again this year.
Also, make plans to join us this year for the Olympics Loop Fun Ride in September. Mark your calendars for the 11th through the 13th and come join us for a really great time once again. If you joined us last year, you know we had some really "interesting" challenges thrown at us that made for a memorable trip. This year we've got plans to make the ride even better. Don't miss it!
We still have spots available for our Spring Baja Ride March 29th to April 3rd. Northern Baja has been getting an unusually large amount of rain lately, and this spring promises to be one of the greenest ever in the desert, and should have blooms of flowers the likes of which have not been seen in years. This spring's riders are going to be in for a real treat.
The tour is now 6 full days of riding, and we'll be hitting some of the more popular haunts like Mike's Sky Rancho and Gonzaga Bay/Coco's Corner, but also riding some extremely remote and scarcely traveled tracks as well. We'll ride tracks along both coasts on 4 of the 6 days, and in the mountainous interior region the rest of the time.
Click on over to the "Upcoming Rides" section and follow the links to get all the info including detailed itinerary with lots of photos. Then give us a call and get signed up for one of the greatest adventure rides you'll ever take.
Thanks to all of you who joined us this year for the fun ride and who've supported GripTwister Tours by purchasing the Olympic Mountains Loop tour. I had a great time and hope you all did too. Thanks also for the kind words expressed by many about the event and the tour itself. I have to say that the event keeps getting better and better each year as turnout increases. We had 25 or so riders turn out on Saturday, and almost that many camped out for the night at Klahowya campground on the Sol Duc river, and a great group of guys it was.
My apologies for failing to mention the work being done on the last route (H). I hadn't seen it for myself (it wasn't there the end of May) and wasn't sure it was still going on, and was told the detour put in place was pretty straightforward anyhow. So I didn't give it much thought. Unfortunately, as it was nearing dark when some got there, I think the map and signage for the detour was missed by a few (sorry Tim and Bart!). Because the road was washed out from the direction we approached and because they did not anticipate any traffic from the road we came in on (impassable by 4 wheeled vehicles), they didn't put up the detour signs in a more useful location. There was a detour that was short and easy, but it was easy to miss and you had to backtrack a mile or so to get to it (the top of the hill).
One thing we're going to add next year, is an extra route on Sunday just for riders who would like to get in some more riding on what is the shortest mileage day of the fun ride. We've got some other ideas as well, but we'll save them for the official announcement next year.
Thanks again everybody... it was great fun, and I look forward to next year's fun ride. Mark you calendars now-- in 2010 it's going to be on September 11th, 12th and 13th.
The Olympic Loop revision rides have been completed and the new '09 editions should go out sometime later this week. As for changes, there've been two more catastrophic washouts that have necessitated a rerouting, including one on the "lost road" of Route D and another on the east fork of the Humptulips. Both are doozies, and unfortunately these big repairs now take two years from discovery to repairs being contracted out, i.e. a washout documented in 2009 will not be repaired until summer of 2011. However, I'm quite sure that the big one on the "lost road" will never be repaired and will have the effect of permanently closing that road. Big bummer.
There are also a few new slides and washouts that are impassable by 4 wheeled vehicles but are nonetheless still doable on motorbike with a little caution. The smaller slides are usually cleared away pretty quickly once access is no longer a problem, but some of the bigger ones may remain for a year or more depending on where they're located and the circumstances that caused the slide. There is one boulder and stump slide that is blocking previous year's Route D that a bunch of guys spent some time making a way trail over, only to slide again later in the summer and become impassable. A handful of guys with a chainsaw and a few hours could open it back up to motorcycles, though I've rerouted around it for the tour this year.
If you've got last year's edition, Routes A, B, C, E, F and H are pretty much unchanged and currently open/passable. Once the new editions ship, there'll be info on the website as to how to deal with the other routes using last year's edition.
The continuation of the revision ride on last Thursday and Friday covered the western, southern, and part of the northern side of the loop. There are a couple of new but passable washouts to contend with, but unfortunately there are a couple of new, impassable washouts as well that needed to be rerouted for the 09 edition. It is with sadness that I report that the "long lost road" on route D that had the "hill climb" is now blocked by a washout that I'm sure will never be repaired. That whole section of the route is deteriorating so badly that it wouldn't have lasted more than another year even without the catastrophic slide.
Snow is still blocking the routes on the northern side of the Olympics, and it looks like it's going to be about two weeks before it's melted back enough to be passable. Then those high areas can be checked for blockages and the '09 Edition can be finalized. So it looks like a second half of June release at this point.
You can order your copy now for delivery from the first printing run by going to the Olympics Tour page.>
The annual revision process of the Olympics Loop Tour is underway, and so far things look pretty good. I've finished the east side of the Olympics, and the snow is just barely no longer blocking. I'll be going out again tomorrow to continue the work, possibly into the weekend. If all is passable, the 2009 Edition should be available by the week of June 8th. You can order your copy now for delivery from the first printing run by going to the Olympics Tour page.
Also, we've scheduled the dates for our next Baja Mexico ride for spring of next year... April 12th - 17th, 2010. This one has been expanded to 6 full days of riding, and the amount of pavement to be ridden has been reduced to almost nothing. The route is nothing short of fantastic both in terms of the riding and the scenery, and will see us in some incredibly remote areas few have traveled... some routes not even on the maps. If you're interested, I suggest you put down a deposit as soon as possible, as we had to turn away quite a few hoping to join this year's ride-- and next year's is going to be even better You can get the info (which is still being updated with pics and ride details) on this ride here..
Lastly, don't forget to leave September 12th to the 14th open so you can join us on our annual Olympics Loop GPS Fun Ride.
Well, our spring Baja tour was a great time. The weather was sunny every day, though a bit cooler than normal, which was actually nice while riding. The desert was still pretty green in places from the winter/spring rains, and we had our fair share of water crossings. Some were a lot deeper than others... like the ones in arroyo Calamajue. Take the wrong line there and you're gonna get real wet! When Coco heard we were taking that route, he said "Oh, you're going to go swimming, eh?" At least one of us did... I've posted the pictures and videos from the trip up in the Media Gallery.
The gringo tourists were noticeably absent in Baja. In fact, we had most of our nightly destinations completely to ourselves. The American economy and the nightly reminders of the drug cartel violence on the border have combined to create a serious tourism vacuum, one that we were all too happy to help fill.
If you have an interest in one of next year's rides, drop me a line to express your interest and I'll contact you when we announce the dates for the 2010 Baja rides.
This spring's Baja tour filled up quickly. If you have an interest in next year's ride, drop me a line to express your interest and I'll contact you when we announce the dates for the 2010 spring Baja ride. We're working on the self-guided Baja Loop GPS Tour still, and hope to have it available this spring. I spent a few weeks in October scouting out all sorts of possibilities, several of which are incredible rides and will definitely make it into the package.
As for the Olympics Loop Tour, I'm hoping for a mellow winter and rapid spring melt-off so I can get this year's edition out in May. I'll keep you posted as spring draws near. If you do order a copy before the new edition is released, let me know if you want to take delivery of the new edition once it's released, or a 2009 copy immediately.
The annual Fun Ride around the Olympics will be in September again this year. Stay tuned for the exact dates!
The 2008 Olympic Mountains Loop Fun Run was held on the 13th, 14th and 15th of this month, and it was a great success. About 12 riders showed up in Hoodsport on Saturday morning, and a couple more joined up later that day. Barbecued burgers and cold beer were served at camp on the first night as a thank you to to the riders that have supported our continued revision and production of the Oly Loop Self Guided GPS Tour package for dual sport motorcycles.
Sunday morning, we were down to 9 riders on course, but the weather was fantastic again, as it would be for the remainder of the ride. We could not have hoped for better weather! A good part of the group tackled the notorious Route W first thing that morning, waking everyone up better than a hot cup of coffee ever could have.
A great time was had around the campfire on the second night, as everyone arrived early enough to get their tent setup for the night and still have plenty of daylight to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the Upper Clearwater Creek campground. This slightly shorter day of riding was most welcome after Saturday's somewhat long ride to make camp.
Sunday saw a group of 7 make it all the way to the finish line at highway 101 just north of Shelton. It was another very full day of riding in fantastic weather, and included a nice water crossing over the Wynoochee river, where only feet got wet for the most part.
You can check out the pics I took here!
More pics of the trip taken by others can be seen at this post on advrider.com.
The 2008 Edition of the Olympics Loop Tour has been shipping for a month now. This year's edition is our best yet, with some great improvements. We've found even more campgrounds (some real gems) and lodging options to tell you about, but what we're really excited about is our new booklet's physical look, feel and features. It is now 100% waterproof, impervious to even a week long soak in a lake. The pages are now printed on plastic "synthetic paper" using the best pigment based (waterproof) inks available. In addition to being waterproof, the new pages of the book are now soft and pliable and easy to flip through, while being extremely tear resistant. You would REALLY have to try hard to ruin one of these new books.
Additionally, the tour now ships with a full size CD-ROM to assure compatibility with all computers out there, even those with slot loading CD drives. Check it out here!
The 2008 Edition of the Olympics Loop Tour is being printed and will finally ship this week. Unfortunately for Magellan users, we have discontinued support for Magellan brand receivers. Lack of popularity/demand for this support, along with the labor and hassles of porting the tour to Magellan's MapSend were major factors in this decision. Garmin's commitment to keeping it's MapSource software updated and on the cutting edge makes it easy for us to design and create the best possible tour for GPS receivers, while their larger line-up of receivers -not only suitable for motorcycle use but also supreme with regards to features and functionality- made the decision a no brainer. We regret that we won't be able to serve our Magellan customers with direct support for their units at this time, but the highest quality product with the most features is what we are striving to create with our tour, and Garmin's software and hardware enable us to do that.
I went out Monday and Tuesday to try to wrap up the revision ride. There is still snow blocking in some places as low as 2500 feet. The storm in December caused massive blowdown on the S.E. section of the Olympics. It's still a real mess in places. You would not believe the amount of trees that fell in some places... I'm talking 75% of the trees in some areas were wiped out. From highway 101 as you drive south near Lake Quinault, you can look up on the hillside above and it looks like a logging operation that is in progress wherein all the trees have been felled but not dragged out... but it isn't. The US geological society (rock people??) is calling it a 500 year storm (in terms of the amount of blowdown, I guess). It's simply amazing what mother nature is capable of. Not sure if this didn't make the local news, or I just missed it, but it is news.
Anyways, it looks like it's going to be a few more weeks before it's passable, assuming folks with their chainsaws head for the hills the moment it melts back. Some severe washouts are also going to affect the route this year.
The weather was great, and so was the riding. I came across a beautiful big black bear and followed him down the road for nearly a quarter of a mile, him lumbering/running along in front of me. It was such a long encounter that I joked to myself that I could have easily sped up along side of him and gave him a good slap on the ass, though I'm not thinking that would've been too wise. After following him along for 5 seconds or so, I suddenly had the realization that I could be getting my camera out and snapping a picture, so that's what I tried to do, one handed. I managed to reach around to my camera pack on my back, spin it around to my belly, unzip it and remove the camera, then, after two attempts successfully press the tiny ON button and raise the camera into position while the lens extended from the body of the camera... at which point the bear finally found a desirable place to exit the roadway into the forest--dammit! I could've used those first 5 seconds to get off a great shot or two, if only I would've guessed he would remain in the road that long. This particular stretch of the tour route is where I know that if I'm going to see a bear, this is going to be where. In the last 9 times I've traveled this section, I've seen at least one bear 5 of those times, and two of those times I saw more than one.
In addition to those found on the initial Revision Ride, I found a couple more campgrounds and some more primitive campsites as well. I camped out on the shore of lake Quinault on Monday night. It's a really cool FS campground where there are only 5 walk in spots right on the shore amidst the bushes. Of course, a motorcycle can ride right into camp. Driftwood for a fire is abundant. I fell asleep listening to the waves lap at the shore a mere 15 feet away from my tent.
The bike ran like a champ, and after riding the 250 the last couple of times out, it was nice to have all the power of the 640 in the grip of my hand. I had to do boatloads of backtracking and exploring due to the conditions, and ended up putting about 500 miles on the odometer, and thanks to the brick they call a seat on the bike, a sore butt by the end of it.
The orders are piling up, and I want to get this thing out asap, but forces keep conspiring against it. If you haven't place an order yet, you should do so now, as you'll lock in last year's price and be sure to get your copy from the first batch shipped.
Holy cow! Can you believe the cold first half of June we had? It snowed in the mountains last week, and with the generally cold weather besides, I decided to give it an extra week for things to melt off a bit more. I'm going back out Monday and Tuesday to try to get around the rest of the way, so hang in there, it should be just a bit longer.
Well, we've begun the "Revision Ride '08", and can report that in as far as we've made it around, the roads seem to be pretty well intact and open... except for the deep snow packs that still remain at the higher altitudes. We were turned away three times by deep snow within the first four routes of the tour. We will attempt to recheck those sections and complete the rest of the routes in two weeks time (Father's day weekend), after which we will commence making the changes to the newest edition of the tour. We think a late June shipment of the first copies to be printed is realistic. Place your pre-orders now and avoid any price increase that may come once the new editions are finalized and shipping.
Already, with just half the routes revised, we've added several fantastic (and free!) campground waypoints to the new edition, along with more point-of-interest waypoints and more lodging options (including special discounts for GripTwister customers!). Several new roads, the closing of another short segment of road, and some logging operations have also led us to make some minor changes to some of the routes to help keep you on track.
To pre-order your copy or get more information about the tour, click here.
Also, we've scheduled next spring's Baja ride, so if you've got a hankerin' to do Baja but don't wanna hassle with the logistics, check this out. While early spring weather in the Pacific Northwest is a crapshoot at best (and wet and cold at worst), you're guaranteed to enjoy some fun in the sun on our 5 day ride that will show off both coasts and the inland mountain regions of northern Baja in one trip. Don't miss out! Check out the details and itinerary here.
There are still spaces left for our May Baja ride, so if you've got a hankerin' to do Baja but don't wanna hassle with the logistics, give us a call soon. While early May weather in the Pacific Northwest is a crapshoot at best, you're guaranteed to enjoy some fun in the sun on our 5 day ride that will show off both coasts and the inland mountain regions of northern Baja in one trip. Don't miss out! Check out the details and itinerary here.
Hey everyone out there in dual sport land, I'd like to take a moment to note that the GPS format that GripTwister Tours created and uses in it's line of self-guided GPS tours is garnering a name for itself as a superior method for creating and navigating GPS tours. It has worked very successfully since it's inception and first use on our very first edition of the Olympic Mountains Loop GPS Tour over 4 years ago.
Now we're preparing to introduce our next self guided GPS tour offering, and we're going big. For our second offering, we're leaving the Olympic peninsula and heading straight to... where else, but the Mecca of off-roading, the Baja peninsula!
The first of what is planned to be several different Baja editions will be a (roughly) 1,000 mile tour of northern Baja, with other Baja offerings coming on line in successive years.
Our Baja offerings will be in the same format and with the same features that you've come to admire and expect in our Olympic peninsula version... camping and lodging waypoints, information and ratings; points of interest revealing hidden/overlooked/interesting locations; fuel locations; scenic, interesting or just plain adventurously fun to ride side routes; food/water/supply points. And we'll be adding even more features and value in ways that will be revealed closer to the release date, and entirely geared towards the dual sport tourist.
Most routes will be suitable for an experienced rider on a big bike, but as usual, we'll have detours and alternate routes for the rough sections or those stretches that are just plain unsuitable for the biggest bikes.
So, when will you be able get your hands on this new offering, you ask? We'll let you know soon!
We've finally got an open forum up and running here at GripTwister Tours! Find additional information about our products and tours, ask questions or post a ride report if you've enjoyed one of our tours. Go There!
The 2007 Edition of the Olympic Loop GPS Tour is completed, and orders are now shipping. Note that I will be in Baja until July 2nd, so you may order and accept shipment when I return, or if you need your copy right away, you can place your order in the mean time with Touratech USA.
Go here to learn more about this GPS Tour or to order it.
The 2007 Edition of the Olympic Loop GPS Tour is completed, and orders will begin shipping on Wednesday the 20th. Preorders are being shipped first, so orders place today or beyond will ship after that. This year's package is the best yet, with more info on lodging options, more route options, color photos and higher resolution tracks for GPS receivers that support them. The routes have changed with the closure and blockage of roads, so stay up to date and have less hassles on your ride with this latest edition.
Go here to learn more about this GPS Tour or to order it.
We're working hard on the '07 Olympic Loop GPS Tour right now, and can confirm now that the route has been modified due to road closure by the Forest Service. For this reason, I recommend purchasing the latest edition to those who've contemplated using an older version, or just wondered if their older edition will still work. Each year's edition is updated to reflect any course changes due to road closures or washouts, and is continually improved in general as more information is added. And as always, if you're not pleased with the Olympic Mountains Loop GPS Tour, we'll refund your full purchase price. Estimated availability date is June 15th, as the heavy snow pack still blocks part of the tour route. Preorders are being taken and will be filled first.
Go here to learn more about this GPS Tour or to order it.
We're now accepting Visa and MasterCard for payment of the deposit as well as the entire fee for our Baja tours. Speaking of which, we're putting together our next Baja rides right now... so check them out and get yourself signed up early to be assured a spot, because as with all of our Baja tours, they're limited to six participants.
Go here to learn more about our upcoming Baja Rides.
I've been getting lots of emails about the release of the 2007 edition of the Olympic Mtns Loop Tour recently, what with the sun finally making regular appearances in the Pacific NW. This last winter's snowfall was pretty heavy and ran well into spring, so the snow pack is still obstructing the higher roads along the route. So, unfortunately, it's looking right now like the 2007 Edition won't be available until June.
As for the new edition, we're making some improvements to it to make it an even better package. One such improvement is the addition of MapSource files sporting higher resolution tracks (while still maintaining the standard resolution files as well). Users of Garmin's high end receivers like the 276C and 376C will be able to take advantage of these hi-res versions that display the route in much greater detail and precision. It's just one more way we help you stay on route.
We're also making improvements to the guidebook, with even more information and color photos. Our spiral-coil bound booklet is one of the sturdiest, most weather resistant guidebooks we've ever seen. Each one is hand made of individually heat-laminated pages by Your's Truly. And we're throwing in a couple of cool GripTwister Tours decals with each package as well.
That's all good news, of course, so now I've got tell you about the inevitable... a price increase. We held the price flat for three years, but increasing production costs mean we're bumping up the price to $49.95. I don't think there's a current customer out there who wouldn't say that's still a great deal for what you get. And as always, we offer a full money back guarantee if you are not satisfied.
We will have the link up in the next few days for you to place your pre-order. The first printing run will be just enough to fill all of the pre-orders, which will then be immediately shipped out. Then we'll start our second run from which we'll fill orders for the rest of the riding season.
Go here to learn more or place an order.
Freshly back from Baja, thoughts of warm days and star filled nights are still drifting through my head. Although the worst of the broken pavement that leads into Puertecitos from San Felipe has been freshly paved, the road south of Puertecitos leading to Gonzaga Bay and beyond is worse than ever! It's easy to forget that the so called road is actually an official highway. Rumor is that it's all going to be paved someday soon, but rumors like that are abundant in Baja, and more frequently than not never come to fruition. Well that's just fine with me, as according to the saying coined by Mama Espinosa... "Bad roads bring good people-- good roads, bad people." Although it's barely fit for travel by automobile, or more likely because of that, it's the perfect road for off-road vehicles. Encounters with autos are likely to be slow traveling, if at all. First timers will marvel that there is any development at all along this stretch of road, let alone travel trailers and houses. "They brought that stuff down THIS road?" is the first thought that comes to mind.
It's along this stretch that GripTwister's oceanfront property is being developed into a place with something to offer to off-roaders. We eventually hope to offer overnight accommodations to riders heading north or south along the Sea of Cortez, as well as cold beverages, food and snacks, internet access, and also limited parts and repair services for those just passing by. I spent the last few weeks here working on the place, and it always amazes me how much of the traffic on the "highway" is ORVs.
If riding in Baja sounds like something you'd like to do, there's still a few spaces left for the April Baja ride, so give us a call today to get yourself signed on.
A big thanks to Nicholas Williamson from Australia, whose article detailing his ride with GripTwister Tours around the Olympic mountains back in June was picked up and printed by Trailbike Adventures Magazine. I'll see if I can get permission to print some excerpts from it here. "TBAM", as the Australian magazine is referred to, did a nice multi-page spread with oodles of color photos taken by Nick.
I'm going to add a new section soon to the website that will feature the GPS coordinates of some tricky little bits of trail to ride, some of them with a surprise at their end. The "bits" will all be challenging or interesting in some way, but additionally, you might score yourself a prize for reaching the trail's end. Most of them are known to very few people. In fact, most are the type that if I didn't tell you there was a trail there, you would just ride on by it. These will initially be on the Olympic Peninsula, but may spread.--More Info--
If you've ever dreamed about riding Baja but just haven't gotten around to fulfilling that dream, then you've come the the right place! We're heading down in April for five days of riding in the northern state to some of Baja's great places. Leave the hassles to us and enjoy some of the finest dual sport riding in the world. We're departing the Seattle/Tacoma for the border staging area on April 14th with bike's in tow. We have room in the support rig for 3 riders and their bikes on a first-come, first-served basis for a small additional cost. We're keeping the group size very limited on this tour to maximize our efficiency and flexibility, so sign up early. This ride is classified as GS friendly, but aggressive tires are highly recommended. --More Info--
Thanks for your support Adventure Riders!! The riding has been great in the Pacific Northwest this summer, and quite a few of you have made the tour around the Olympics already, with some even making it what appears to be an annual affair. There's still plenty of good riding days ahead to complete the tour, so don't feel like the best is behind us. In fact, September and October are historically great months to do "The Loop", as most folks consider the Labor Day weekend the "end of summer" and don't head for the hills again until next year. That means even less traffic on the roads, and less competition for accommodations, be it a motel or a four-star camping spot. We still have copies on our shelves ready to ship, but at this time of year we let the inventory dwindle in preparation for the slow sales during winter months. Once they're sold-out, further sales of the tour package are assembled on a per order basis until next year's edition is released, so a quick turnaround is not assured.
It's official... the 2006 Edition of the Olympics Loop GPS Tour is now shipping! Improvements have been made, but we've kept the price at $39.95... a deal at twice that price! Note that just a complete set of maps to cover all the roads in this tour would cost you over fifty bucks!! And they wouldn't even BEGIN to offer the convenience and the wealth of information that's provided by our tour package. I'm so sure that you'll feel that it's a great deal on a great tour, that if you're not completely satisfied with the tour package for any reason, just return it with the tracklog from your trip and I'll refund your money. How's that for a guarantee? What do you have to lose? 2006 Edition of the Olympic Mountains Loop GPS Tour
It's almost here... the 2006 Edition of the Olympics Loop GPS Tour will be shipping next week! Yes, the snow has finally melted enough to allow passage at the higher elevations on the tour. The rhododendrons are in full bloom and the forest is full of wildlife. In fact, on this year's reconnaissance trip, we came across FIVE bears at various places along the route!!
Owner's of previous editions who never got around to the tour will be happy to know that the route has not changed this year, though it has been updated and improved to reflect the current status of camping opportunities. We've also added even more side routes to beautiful and interesting places along the main route. The BIG news for those of you who desire to get dirty is that Route X is once again passable... Yeah! It had to be truncated a bit, however, due to a permanently closed section, but it didn't get any easier. Please avoid riding this optional route alone. Get your 2006 Edition of the Olympic Mountains Loop GPS Tour for all the details! Orders are being taken now for the first printing-- don't delay!
Spring is in the air as far as I'm concerned. I've been putting off applying new rubber for the season for a while, but it absolutely must happen soon. hard to get up to speed as quick with slicks. Look for a sample of the Rally race to follow shortly after.
Lot's of people are wondering when the much anticipated 2006 Edition of the Olympic Mountains Loop GPS Tour will be released. Demand has been high even during this, the off season. We no longer have copies on the shelf of the 2005 Edition, but anyone wanting or needing it can still get one here, though we'll need a couple of days to print and burn your tour package before sending it. Please specify this in the "Comments" section of your online order. Otherwise, we will put you on a waiting list for the first printing of the 2006 Edition, which we can only release once the snow pack of the entire route is diminished sufficiently to pass. End of May is the likely month, but with this winter's snow pack, it could be later if spring doesn't arrive on time and with some gusto. All preorders will be included in the first printing.
People have been asking why no dates have been announced yet for Baja tours. Well, due to a back injury this summer and some major renovating about to take place at the GripTwister compounds, I'm only scheduling private tours this winter and next spring. We'll also be making improvements to GripTwister's Baja beachside property in the coming year, such as adding a bunkhouse, desalination system and beefing-up the solar electric system. Remote Baja is just that -remote- and that means self-reliance for even the basics. I'll post the coordinates soon, and though I'll only be there infrequently during the next year, I invite fellow riders to stop by and say hi and enjoy a cool one on me if they're going to be in the area.
I'm very sorry to say that I will be unable to host the Fun-Ride that was scheduled for August 27th---29th due to a back injury. There is a great group of folks that are still going to do the ride, and as long as you or your riding partners have the Olympic Loop GPS Tour package loaded into your GPS, they would be happy to have you join them for some great riding. For more information on joining them, please check out the thread at the advrider website. The link for the relevant discussion over there is here.
In the next few days, I'll be working on a page devoted to current information and updates regarding the Olympic Loop GPS Tour. Road closures and detours, current conditions, and any updates/fixes/patches for the GPS routes will be posted there to help you get the most out of your trip. The OlyTour Update page is here.
GripTwister Tours now has it's own beachside property on the beautiful Sea of Cortez near Gonzaga Bay. In the future, we hope to offer additional options to your private Baja tour groups, such as windsurfing, fishing, hiking, 4x4 trips and more, including comfortable accommodations at the water's edge.
Well, the 2005 Fun Ride was a big success this year, in spite of Sunday's weather. Ten riders from the greater Puget Sound area took part in the event on a variety of different dual-sport bikes. Saturday's weather was quite nice for the most part, yielding some great views of Hood canal and points beyond from several good vantage points. Even Seattle's skyscrapers could be seen on the distant skyline! Sunday delivered the wettest and coldest weather of the ride, but everyone endured the foul weather and low visibility to enjoy the most technical day of riding the tour offers. The skies cleared just before we reached camp for the night on the beautiful Clearwater river, which lies between the Hoh and Queets rainforests. It rained during the night, but everyone was well prepared with good tents in which to stay dry. Sunday we awoke to skies starting to clear again, and the weather got progressively nicer as the day went on, once again revealing some great views, this time of the lush valleys of the southern Olympics and points beyond. By the time we came full circle to Shelton, we had logged over 550 miles of riding, and about 85 percent of those miles were on dirt roads in varying degrees of condition. Everyone who finished this tour was a noticeably better rider than they were when they started. Thanks to all the great riders who attended this years event! We may have an "encore" ride in the late summer or early fall for those who couldn't or wouldn't make this one, and for those who just can't get enough of a great thing. Check back often for the announcement, and for a ride report with pictures from this Fun Ride as well.
Just two more weeks 'til this year's GPS Fun Ride. I'll be reviewing and updating the route this week. I have to ride for 3 full days to check every mile of the route for washouts and other obstructions (poor me!), then a day or so to make the changes to the 2005 Edition, if necessary. The 2005 Edition will be ready for shipping via priority mail on Saturday. Customers in western Washington could have it in their hands Monday, or by Tuesday to customers in the broader west coast. Pre-orders will now be taken. To purchase on-line through PayPal, go here.
Magellan brand GPS owners rejoice!! The long awaited Olympic Mountains Loop GPS Tour is now compatible with MapSend software for downloading into your favorite Magellan GPS receiver. In fact, as part of GripTwister's continuing commitment to deliver great dual sport adventure products, all our GPS rallies and tours will be compatible with Magellan units as well as Garmin from now on.
You heard it here first!... A true GPS Rally race for dual sport motorcyclists in the Pacific Northwest. Routes will be posted at midnight, and must be completed within the next 48 hours. Tracklog must be submitted no later than 60 hours after the route is posted. Winners determined by analysis of GPS tracklogs. Cash prizes. Stay tuned for more info, including rules, rallies, entrance fees, etc....
The dates have been set for the 2nd annual Olympic Mountains Loop GPS Tour Fun-Ride and Campout. It's a 3 day ride May 14 - 16. Go here for all the info.
I've recently returned from Baja, where the rains of January have turned much of the northern parts into vast seas of beautiful green. The weather was perfect. What are you waiting for?
I've put up a few panoramic pictures from Baja on a new page in the media gallery. To check 'em out, click here . Still a few spaces left on the January Baja tour. Beat the wintertime riding blues with an unforgettably fun trip through northern Baja. Special pricing for groups of riders! Go here for more information.
Still a few spaces left on the January Baja tour. Beat the wintertime riding blues with an unforgettably fun trip through northern Baja. Special pricing for groups of riders! Go here for more information.
Coming Soon!!! Highly detailed maps of Baja for Garmin GPS receivers!!! Now you can download detailed maps of Baja into your GPS that show detailed coastlines, main roads, minor roads, local roads, 4x4 roads and two tracks, trails, cities, towns, camps, ranchos, sites, arroyos, rivers, lakes, dry lakes, missions, Pemex stations, mines, quarries, microwave stations, airstrips, and more! For more info, click here.
Well, the Fun Ride was this last weekend and Monday. Turnout was pretty low, with only 2 riders showing up, one from Canada, the other from Seattle. This year's was the inaugural ride, so next year should be a better turnout. Though we never got rained on, there was a substantial cloud cover that was like driving through soup at high elevations on Saturday and Sunday. The great views this route has to offer were not to be seen on this trip until Monday, when the weather turned fabulous. We'll be doing this again next summer, tentatively in late June or mid July.
News Flash!!!! The Forest Service has just lifted the ban on campfires today due to the recent rain! This means we'll get to have a campfire to socialize around and cook on at campsites during the Fun Ride, as we had planned. About 3 inches of rain fell on western Washington just this week.
I'm back from an eleven day Baja tour, and as usual, it was a great time! Sadly, the beaches of Playa Malarrimo have been washed almost clean of all flotsam and jetsam that has always made it a historically fertile ground for finding unusual objects from the world over. Only time will tell if it will return to it's old self. However, the coyotes there are just as bold as ever! It's not unusual to see them out and about during the day there, looking for an easy meal and a drink. You can't leave ANYTHING unsecured during the night, or it will be dragged away by the devils. Laziness found me searching the nearby dunes for one of my boots one morning.
The Fun Ride and Campout is this weekend. If you're not already committed, why not join us? This ride is suitable for any class of dual-sport motorcycle, even the big boys. I'll be selling the Olympic Mtns Loop Tour without the accompanying booklet or CD-ROM on Saturday morning for just $18! If you want the whole package with the booklet and CD-ROM, let me know by Thursday evening, and I'll bring you a copy. You'll still save the $4 shipping cost. For more information, click on the link above. I'll be showing a mini slide show of my recent Baja trip on Saturday night, and I'll answer any questions you might have about riding in Baja, or about Baja in general.
Two weeks late, but finally on sale! The Olympic Mountains Loop self-guided GPS tour is now available. Sorry for any inconvenience the delay has caused, but I think the improvements I made during that time make it a better tour and keeps it true to it's claim to take the innermost circular, non-backtracking route around the Olympic National Park. During final production, I noticed a squiggly line on one of the maps that would link two roads in the route up and shrink the circle. It had to be investigated. Because of that investigation, I recently added to the route a road so untraveled that the Forest Service itself didn't know what condition the road was in yet this year. "Be careful back in there..." is what the Forest Service said when I told 'em I was gonna have to go in for a look. I then donned raingear and rode 300 miles that day to go do some more "research", where I found out why! Let me just say that it is the perfect little addition to this dual-sport tour! A buy button has been added to the main page for that tour. True to my word, it's selling for $24.99 Click here to go there.
Well, a final run around the Olympics last weekend showed the roads to be in BAD shape. The northern slopes saw the worst of it, with some roads experiencing multiple impassable washouts. But that was my problem, not yours! I'm making the necessary changes to the GPS routes to get around these washouts so you don't have to waste your time looking for a "good" route. The tour will be available for purchase online starting June 29th, and will sell for $24.99. Click here to see what's included in the package. On August 28-30, there's going to be a three day/two night fun-ride and campout following the Olympic Loop Tour route. A special deal on the GPS tour will be offered in conjunction with this ride. Go here for more info about the Olympic Mtns Loop tour... BAJA RIDERS!: There are still spots open on the October tour... get your buddies together and join us for the ride of your lives! More info on Baja rides.
The snow pack in the Olympics has risen to high enough levels to allow circumnavigation of the Olympic Loop Tour, and the roads closed by the Forest Service are open once again for the summer. At this time I can't verify the condition of the roads, i.e. whether there are any impassable washouts or slides. A complete reconnaissance mission of the Loop will be completed the week of the 21st, after which you may purchase the tour on this website. In mid July there's going to be a three day/two night "fun ride" and campout following the Olympic Loop Tour route. A special deal on the GPS tour will be offered in conjunction with this ride... stay tuned for more information.
Well, a reconnaissance mission shows that the snow pack is still keeping riders in the Olympics below 2,700 feet elevation, meaning the Olympic Loop Tour is still not on the menu. Stay tuned. With the coming warm weather, it shouldn't be too much longer.
I've responded to a fair share of emails about the availability of the Olympic Mountains Loop tour. A future dual sport rider arrived to our family in February, and has delayed it's introduction for reasons I'm sure you can imagine. But enough excuses, you say! Okay then... allow me to run the route to check for new road closures due to winter and spring washouts that might change the course temporarily (I'll post them here), and put the finishing touches on the accompanying reference guide, and this thing is ready! MSRP is $24.99, but stay tuned for a special limited time offer in conjunction with a kick-off group ride of the entire loop this spring or early summer. If you want more information about this tour, click here.
We've added an "all inclusive" option to the October Baja tour. For those desiring a tour that includes all meals and accommodations, we've got you covered now! Now you can just relax and enjoy the riding as we take care of all the details. Click here for more info.
We've put together a really great deal on a Baja tour. You've always dreamed of riding Baja, now's your chance to turn those dreams into reality! The dates have now been set for winter 2004. Sign up early to assure yourself a spot. We're only taking 6 riders on the first tour... --More--
Okay, it's been a lot of work, but the Olympic Mountains Loop tour is just about completed. I'm putting the finishing touches on the package, which is going to include a CD-ROM with the Garmin .mps files as well as printable files containing detailed instructions and descriptions of the tour on it, and a small but sturdy quick reference/index guide with laminated pages for taking with you on your ride. If you want more information about this tour, click here.
While out logging a portion of the "Olympic Mountain Loop", I came around
a bend and there was a coyote in the
road. I stopped as quickly as I could,
about 15 feet from the coyote...and he didn't run. Without
shutting off my engine, I started fumbling for my camera,
knowing I'd be lucky to get a shot of his tail as he
leapt into the brush. Boy was I in for a wonderful
surprise! He very inquisitively yet cautiously
walked up to me on my bike to within 7 or 8 feet of me and
stared at me and paced back and forth. After several
minutes of this dance, he eventually wandered up the
road and off into the brush, so I put my camera away and
fired up the bike. Before I could put it in gear, the coyote
jumped back into the road and walked up to me again! Needless
to say, I grabbed my camera again, and proceeded to get more footage
of our interaction. He let me walk up quite close to
him while he was eating the ripe berries off the bushes just beside
the road. It was an incredible experience, to be able to
be so close to a wild animal for so long without him running
off. Even revving the engine on my thumper didn't spook
him. I'm telling you, heaven is right here on this very
earth. Look for the video to be in the