GripTwister Tours and Guide Service
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Adventure Tours, Self-Guided GPS Tours
and GPS Rallies For Dual Sport Motorcycles

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.....Latest News.....
 

January 1st, 2014

Happy New Year! Here's hoping you get all the great riding in this year that you want, and then some.  To help you out, in April we're once again taking a group of dual sport riders to Baja for a 6 day ride they'll never forget.  You could still be one of those riders, as we still have spots available.  This year's ride is going to be a little "special", in that the terrain we'll be riding has been "roughed up" a bit by tropical storm Juliette.  If you're a strong intermediate or above rider on a capable dual-sport motorcycle, we welcome you to be a part of the fun that's happening on April 7th to the 12th.  -More-

December 11th, 2013

8 weeks back, one of GripTwister Tours' amiable guides Dan and I loaded our bikes with camping gear and threw 'em in the bed of the truck and headed to the border.  It was time to update our self-guided GPS tour and at the same time survey the damage caused by tropical storm Juliette to the roads in the areas around Catavina.  We bring our tours through that area and needed to know the extent of it.  Well, it turned out to be one hell of a ride.

Baja rides do seem to go down frequently as being in the "one hell of a ride" column.  Whether it's because of the unforgettable moments, or the moments you simply can't forget-- Baja rides are always memorable.

Anyhow,we had a fantastic ride.  We alternated camping out and staying in motels.  The weather was great, though it rained off and on one night.  Luckily, we were under cover that night.  Tropical storm Juliette had dumped an immense amount of rain on Baja in the area around and south of Catavina just a few weeks before our arrival.  That made for some rather interesting riding, with all of the dirt washed from roads that had any amount of slope whatsoever.  This made for very rocky roads in places, and in quite a few places the road had huge trenches carved into them, some over 5 feet deep.  We were able to make it through/past every obstacle with the exception of one remote section of road where we were turned around by impassable conditions.  Fortunately we were able to detour without too much back-tracking.

On day 3, we didn't get a very early start out ofGonzaga Bay, so we decided to forego our usual route through arroyo Calamajue and just head on out to the coast.  Good decision-- the camping out there was fantastic!  Mild weather, a full moon, and a killer camping spot right on the beach... we even had a nice fire for an hour or so before bed thanks to some drift wood we found nearby.  It was a spectacular night sleeping under the stars of Baja while the surf lapped at the beach just meters away.  

The route we rode the next day was REAL rough.  We were turned back by a genuine lack of any roadbed at all at some point, the road having become nothing more than a long, winding rockpile, it's path meandering through the desert.  Too much for mere humans on bikes loaded with lots of gear.  No fear, the "easy" road was beat to hell by the tropical storm as well, making it more than just interesting in many places.

At one spot along the ride, Dan told me that a huge bull that I had passed (without noticing him) had taken off at full speed after me, with me completely unaware.  Apparently when he realized he couldn’t catch me he turned his attention to Dan, who at that point was riding through a long, deep, silty section and was freaking out that he might lose it in the silt and consequently be stomped on or gored by the beast.  When he next caught up to me and told me the story he was still shaking.  Ignorance, I can tell you from experience, is bliss!

Anyhow, this year's Baja 1000 route ran over quite a bit of the paths we covered.  Even at the casual pace we had set, the riding required constant attention to avoid certain damage.  Doing it at race speeds I'll bet was intense!.  It seemed that around any bend in the road or trail, the roadbed could be missing.

Around Laguna Hanson, it had rained real heavy the night before we came through on our way back to the border, with huge puddles in the road and, accordingly, zero dust all the way back to the pavement.  That was nice!

August 3rd, 2013

The 2013 edition of the Olympics Loop GPS Tour. has been shipping for 6 weeks now, and feedback has been great.  I've been out riding sections of the tour myself, and have been seeing a lot of moto tracks on the logging roads ahead of me.  Gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling knowing it's my customers out there making those tracks. 

Two things I'd like to mention in this post:  The first is that I've been putting the finishing touches on the routes for the AltRider "Ride the Hoh" event that is taking place on August 16th, 17th and 18th.  If you haven't signed up yet or are thinking about sitting out this one, I would urge you to reconsider.  Sure, I'm a part of the event as the route planner, and I don't attend many organized rides otherwise.  But I can tell you that the guys at AltRider put on one heck of a fun event that I would be going to even if I weren't a part of it.  Head on over to AltRider to register for this event.

The second item is to announce the dates for our Spring 2014 Baja Ride.  This ride will be 6 full days of riding, from April 7th to the 12th.  We already had a few of the 7 spaces spoken for even before announcing the dates, so if you're interested in joining us next spring, you'd better not delay.  Contact us very soon if you'd like to join us for another killer ride in Baja.  It's going to fill up quick!

June 14th, 2013

Our 2013 edition of the Olympics Loop GPS Tour. is almost ready to ship.  I fought downed trees and snow blockages last weekend to complete most of the 560 mile loop, but there's still one route with snow blocking.  The good news for previous purchasers is that the route remains pretty much unchanged from last year, although there is a new washout to add to the tour this year that will be dealt with by putting the "workaround" for it on the "Updates" page of this website.  Last year's blocking washout on the north side of the Hoh river is still there, and I'm hoping the DNR makes the repair to it this summer.  It's a nice section of the ride where I frequently spot bear, and in general is a hoot to ride as well.  Anyhow, I'm making one last outing this weekend to make certain that either the snow has melted from the blocked route, or else approach it from the other direction to determine that the snow is the only impediment so we can go to print.  We aim to ship all back-orders the week of June 17th.

Also, mark your calendars now for our annual Olympics Loop Fun Ride, which will take place as always the weekend after Labor Day.  This year's dates are September 8th, 9th and 10th.  Keep an eye on our "Upcoming Rides" page for info.

June 13th, 2013

Our annual spring Baja ride was a blast this year.  We'll be adding photos from the ride in the coming weeks, but if you know you're interested in joining us next spring, please let me know via phone or email right away so I can put you on the list of folks to notify when the dates are set.  I anticipate next spring's ride to fill up VERY FAST!  So getting a heads-up will give you the best chance to get a spot.  If you would rather do Baja at your own leisure and pace, we can supply you with all the info you'll need and a killer route as well in the form of the Baja California Loop GPS Tour..

Also, mark your calendars now for our annual Olympics Loop Fun Ride, which will take place as always the weekend after Labor Day.  This year's dates are September 7th, 8th and 9th.  Keep an eye on our "Upcoming Rides" page for info.

March 10th, 2012

Our annual spring Baja ride is fully booked at this time.  If you would like to join us for our next ride, please drop me a line and I'll let you know when the dates are set for it, giving you a the best chance to get a spot.  If you would rather do Baja at your own leisure and pace, we can supply you with all the info you'll need and a killer route as well in the form of the Baja California Loop GPS Tour..

Also, mark your calendars now for our annual Olympics Loop Fun Ride, which will take place as always the weekend after Labor Day.  This year's dates are September 8th, 9th and 10th.  Keep an eye on our "Upcoming Rides" page for info.

October 1st, 2011

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.  

September 1st, 2011

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.

August 17th, 2011

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!

August 1st, 2011

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!

July 26th, 2011

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.

June 22nd, 2011

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.

May 19th, 2011

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 Catavińa, where the views from on high of the Enchanted Islands in the Sea of Cortéz 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.

February 17th, 2011

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.

September 10th, 2010

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!

September 8th, 2010

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!

September 7th, 2010

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.

R.I.P. Route W!

June 16th, 2010

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.

June 9th, 2010

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

May 25th, 2010

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!

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