I just completed parts of the WABDR. I had completed Stage 1 solo once before and camped out on the trail.
This time was with two other riders on KLR650s. Candidly, the better bike for tough spots. We were schedule to only complete three sections, Stevenson to Chelan. We completed the first section, Stevenson to Packwood but it poured rain on us. 100 plus miles of gravel road and the bikes could cruise at over 30 mph on the wet gravel. Don't go without two navigation devices. Lots of Ys and Ts. You can easily go up the wrong path. Our first navigation system was failing due to heavy rain. Section 1 is not hard, but REALLY long.
Our Packwood to Ellensburg was foiled due to forest fires. The forest service road was closed since there was a lot of fire responders on that road. Again, it poured rain. We drove on to via surface roads to Ellensburg and the weather cleared up.
Ellensburg to Wenatchee on the trail was the prettiest so far. Beautiful vistas. The trail got pretty rocky in spots. The most challenging so far of the routes we completed. But very well worth it. The views were spectacular.
For the last day, we were doing Chelan back to Cashmere. (Yes, North to South). Again foiled by forest fires. The whole place had been lit up within the month. The whole side of the mountain was charred. Metal guards rails along the road that were using creosote posts as their vertical support were literally sitting on the ground where the posts had burned to ash. The main road was fine but when we followed the trail up into the woods, we ran into ash over a foot thick. In places where the road had deep ruts, it was two feet thick. The wee just didn't like it and I dumped it over a few times before surrendering. It was like driving in deep powder snow. I was lucky and they were all soft landings in the ash. But, it was only a matter it time before I went over and broke something serious on the bike or me. A bent brake pedal and bent Pannier rack was the biggest casualty.......other than my pride. The KLRs did better. One was clean with no panniers. One had two panniers but was very lightly loaded. I had three panniers with full gear, tools, food, etc.
Even without completing the WABDR, the views from the paved road are simply breathtaking. So it was a successful failure. If you enjoy motorcycle trips, you would be hard pressed to beat this one, even from the hard paved road. Seattle to Enumclaw via 410 to Yakima to Goldendale to Stevenson. AMAZING views. Over 200 miles though.
The wee did fine other than it sits too low. I will need to come up with a way to raise it up more. I kept bottoming out on the trail. The bash plate I installed.........well I would still be there with a broken bike if it wasn't there. Buy a good one. Oh yeah.....grip heaters in cold rain.....are wonderful.
I would like to complete the WABDR. If there is anyone in the Washington area that would like to join me, please reply.