Seattle to Moab by Motorcycle

May 25, 2016/Jonathan Rundle/1 Comment

Seattle to Moab by motorcycle. Three days, 1,150 miles. The beginning of an epic grand tour of Utah consisting of 3,500 miles over 11 days. First things first, we’ve got to get out of Seattle!

Embarking with friends to the world’s “worst motorcycle campout” Motos in Moab 2016 begins today at 7:30am. Day one ends at Mundo Hot Springs in Idaho—475 miles later. It’s going to be a long day – even longer than anticipated so we’ve got to get on the road.

A photo posted by MotoShed Seattle (@motoshed) on

A photo posted by MotoShed Seattle (@motoshed) on

Day One: Seattle to Cambridge, ID. 476mi

We hit our only spot of rain in the entire Utah journey just outside of Seattle from North Bend all the way to the top of the pass. I lose the group here, but since I didn’t pack rain gear I decided to continue through until they catch up (and I’m through the rain).

Almost to Ellensburg, I hear a familiar roar—it’s Will! We ride together for a few miles then he disappears from my mirror. He’s out of gas. We all regroup at the side of I-5, I run off to get Will a spare canister of fuel and we’ll be on our way in no time. Unfortunately, Will ripped his bike apart trying to find the problem and forgot to reconnect some important things—so his bike dies again in Yakima Canyon. Rustin races back to Will (netting a performance award in the process) as does Aaron without incident but with jumper cables. Will is going to have to find a new battery.

WIll breaks down

Photo by Kevin Uhl

Our group splits, as it’s already after noon and we’re only to Yakima and we’ve got 350 more miles to go. Besides, Will and Rustin are probably more capable mechanically than Kevin, Aaron, Michael and I put together.

Reluctantly leaving them behind, we crossed the incredible Deadman Pass, which climbs to 3,631ft in 3 miles. Hairpins, steep grades and tractor trailers make this an exciting road for the motorcyclist. It’s all I-84 until Baker City where we branch off onto Route 86.

Rt. 86 into Hell’s Canyon provided some much needed lean. 20 miles of riverside twisties and perfect blacktop? Yes, please. We weren’t into the canyon until about 5pm (and it was a weekday), so there was very little traffic. Our gas stop is in Richland.

Now it’s our turn for troubles.

Richland, OR

Richland’s only gas station closes at 5pm, and it’s now 5:30. Our issues had pushed us back, but I never anticipated not being able to buy gas before dinner. I knew Kevin and Michael’s Bonnevilles wouldn’t make it to Cambridge, ID from here. Their range was just too short. Looking for answers, I stop a couple of lovely ladies out walking their pug and chihuahua. They suggest a couple of spots near town to camp for the night until the gas station opens again at 8am. We’ve come this far and I wasn’t going to settle for that. If we had to go door to door siphoning lawnmowers, that’s what we’d do.

Luckily, it never came to that. We met the nicest group of people in the local (only?) bar. Specifically a man named Ron who offered us the use of his 6-gallons of gas he had stashed at home. He made it clear that it was ethanol-free—this man knew his shit. We couldn’t believe our luck. The waitress fired up the deep fryer for us and got us some cold beers while we waited. The hospitality displayed—just as she was switching off the “open” sign, no less—is beyond words. If you’re ever in Richland, stop by the Shorthorn Bar & Grill and give them our best.

Richland gas stopall smiles in Richland

After that display of humanity, we were all smiles.

Well, time is wasting so onto more amazing roads as the sun dipped further behind the horizon. Riding these roads quickly and at night was no small feat. Occasionally we’d see a set of glowing eyes to the side of the road which always gave us a scare, but my my what a road.

60 miles later we arrive at our destination for the evening: Mundo Hot Springs. We rented the pool house there, which provides unfettered access to the hot spring. We soaked away our long day under a cloudless sky in 103 degree waters.

Mundo Hot Springs at night

Day Two: Cambridge, ID to Salt Lake City. 443mi

Day three of our Seattle to Moab by motorcycle trip. The morning began with another soak in the hot springs before heading into Cambridge, ID for lunch.

Mundo Hot SpringsMundo Hot SpringsMundo Hot SpringsTiger Scrambler loaded down

Loaded up at Mundo Hot Springs

Photo by Kevin Uhl

Breakfast in Cambridge, ID

Old telephone booth in Cambridge, ID

The old road’s a-callin’

The road ahead is a a long one, but it will be uneventful and is entirely interstate, so we’re not feeling particularly rushed. Time to chew some miles!

Upon arrival in Salt Lake City, we meet up again with Will for pizza and beers at the Jackelope Lounge. Aaron and I took a little side visit to the Temple Square. I snapped some photos, but Aaron was worried about the Mormons converting him (or me) so we got out of there after hearing a few bars from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Jackalope Lounge, Salt Lake City

Photo by Kevin Uhl

Day Three: Salt Lake City to Moab. 237mi

Day three of our Seattle to Moab by motorcycle trip. First thing in the morning, my wife Whitney (whose awesome pillion photos will grace my Utah posts going forward) arrives at the airport from Seattle. She’ll be along for all of the trip excluding the way home and Bonneville.

Regrouping with our pals Rustin and Will (and the other Seattle group’s riders) in Salt Lake City, we decide to get some breakfast at the Park Cafe before heading out. Rain passes by as we eat, and we avoid our possible second run-in with the wet. Also, Kevin and Rustin reveal their wardrobe choice for the day.

Whitney in Salt Lake

Photo by Kevin Uhl

The gang in Salt Lake

Photo by Kevin Uhl

Trash cats at the Park Cafe, Salt Lake City, UTQueen card in motorcycle seat

Vintage Moto Troubles

Today was not entirely uneventful as we took a wrong turn that briefly derailed us and Jenny’s issues with her bike from yesterday continued into today. Deciding it was better to fix her oil leak problem right then and there, we stopped at the Soldier Summit Tesco for gas and an amazing 20-minute roadside repair of Jenny’s main seal. Now Jenny didn’t have to skate all he way to Moab. And the angry old man at the Tesco can continue yelling at clouds instead of whippersnappers on motorcycles.

Roadside motorcycle fixJenny cleans the coverOil stained handsRoadside motorcycle repairsWaiting for repairs

Further down the road on this Seattle to Moab by motorcycle trip, we take in our final stop before Motos in Moab and the group is feeling good having filled up on petrol and Arby’s. Much earned beers are purchased for the evening’s arrival in camp.

Hanging out at a Utah gas stationBeer for Moab


Seattle to Moab by motorcycle: the end

Our Seattle to Moab by motorcycle trip ends at “the worst motorcycle camput ever.” Next stop: Motos in Moab!

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