Motobsession: A transcontinental ride fifty years in the making

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Oron, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. Oron

    Oron Adventurer

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    Epic Ride 317.JPG
    I guess someone choked on a chicken bone


    I then picked up another three riders from Oregon (an Aprilia, Triumph, and a Ducati) and I did my best to keep up with them as we kept the Clearwater River off our right shoulder through Orofino and on to Lewiston. They passed slower cars on the winding two lane at every chance they had, and I must admit, I was often on the edge of my comfort zone. Orcus was game, utilizing all of her 125 ponies, as well as her speed-shift gearbox. I hung on behind them as best I could. I felt oddly detached from the risk, and reveled in the thrill. I wondered what effect, if any, my health concern had on my propensity for risk taking. There was no need to keep up with these guys and yet I did. We then parted and I took the 95 to Moscow, where I stopped in a convenience store for a traditional lunch of borscht and vodka (really chicken salad and iced tea).

    By now the temperature had soared into the high 80's. Lower Washington State was in the midst of a near record-breaking heat wave, with temperatures hovering near a hundred. Relying heavily on Jim’s advice from the morning, I decided the best way to get to the Pacific Northwest was to go north and cross the state on Route 20. (This was not to be confused with the transcontinental US 20 that I traveled along in New York state.) I rode straight north up Route 95 through endless shimmering, golden wheat fields. The temperature pegged at 94 degrees. With all air vents open on the EnduroGuard suit and continuous movement, I was able to tolerate the heat, but by the time I arrived in Coeur d’Alene at five in the afternoon, all I could think about was air conditioning and a cold shower. A hot tent was not my first choice tonight. After a quick tour of the waterfront, I pulled into a Motel 6. It was an impulse purchase, sort of like buying that Hostess Twinkie in the checkout line. Although clean and functional, I later regretted the decision. My immediate neighbors, two heavily tattooed large-statured ladies, decided to bring motel room furniture outside their front door, and then cackle and chain smoke until late into the night. I contemplated joining them outside, but I didn't have a husband to complain about. By the way, dinner was the salad bar at the JBs next door. I observed the hardworking waitstaff and wondered how their current jobs meshed with their dreams and aspirations. Miles 304.

    Epic Ride 319.JPG
    following the Clearwater River


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    John Deere combine at full chat harvesting the wheat


    Epic Ride 323.JPG
    Route 95 heading north to escape the heat
    #61
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  2. pdedse

    pdedse paraelamigosincero

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    Very much enjoying the trip report so far. I rode the Beartooth pass two summers ago...now I realize just how good the weather was the September day was when I rode through.
    #62
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  3. sspiff22

    sspiff22 n00b

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    Great read so far! This has been a welcome distraction from my work on a cold Saturday. These are the kinds of trips that make me realize my folly of not yet travelling west.
    #63
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  4. Oron

    Oron Adventurer

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    Day 15

    I got a late start, partly from the interrupted sleep and partly from the distraction of the in-room TV. While loading the bike, I met fellow guest, Amy. She recently broke up with her boyfriend and was killing a week until she qualified for some unspecified public-assisted housing. She was rockin' a fetching one piece Seahawks jammy. We could never be friends, however, because she called the New England Patriots, the “Cheatriots.”

    Epic Ride 328.JPG
    Orcus groupie


    I finally got on the road about nine. I took the 41 North in already high 70s temperature and badly hazed skies. The air smelled like a spent fireplace. I proceeded through endless saddle-colored wheat fields. At Newport, I jumped on Route 20, and the air cooled a little from the surrounding dense forests. Heavily laden timber trucks roared by me in the opposing lane. I had passed by the massive blue and white Ponderay Newsprint manufacturing plant, where apparently many of these timber trucks were headed. I envisioned something from a Looney Tunes cartoon where a giant redwood log is whittled down for the manufacture of a single toothpick. Somewhere off the side of the road, I saw a sign for the Batey-Bould Motorcycle Area, but I sensed it was outside of Orcus's wheelhouse. Route 20 meandered along the Pend Oreille River until the barely noticeable town of Tiger, where it climbed into the Colville National Forest with amazing sweepers. Dave was right, the temperatures stayed reasonable, although still in the low 80s.


    Epic Ride 333.JPG
    Crystal Falls


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    rest stop off Route 20


    Lunch was at the Colville Safeway. I took the 395 to Kettle Falls and crossed the Columbia River back on Route 20 and into the Sherman Creek Park. At the bridge crossing over the Columbia, the Garmin said to take 20 east, but I will let others go through the trouble to notify Garmin of the error. This was a great road. It was well paved, easy to manage with engine braking, winding through dense forests, and with little traffic other than logging trucks. It was pure bliss.

    I passed through Republic and over the barely noticeable 5,575 foot summit of Wauconda. As it was after three p.m., and feeling a little lazy, I decided to camp at the next opportunity. A sign with a depiction of a pup tent directed me off road to the north for six miles.

    Epic Ride 342.JPG
    Bonaparte Lake Road
    #64
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  5. Oron

    Oron Adventurer

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    I came upon the sleepy Bonaparte Lake Resort. The word “resort” is a bit of a stretch for this run down encampment.

    An elderly woman sitting on a cabin porch said, "If you're planning to stay, you'd better hurry because they close at four."

    It was now ten before four. I quickly swung around to the office. As I walked through the entrance, I was pleased to notice some restaurant seating. The fifteen-year-old girl behind the counter checked me in while her eight-year-old sister eyed me suspiciously. I inquired when dinner service started.

    “We don't do dinner on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but you're welcome to the hiker’s box.”

    The hiker’s box was a dirty cardboard box on the floor, with some discarded or unwanted snacks and trail mix thrown in. With limited options, I grabbed a few peanut butter crackers and was glad I'd had a big and late lunch.

    After setting up the campsite, I cooled off in the sparkling lake. There was not a mosquito to be seen. I hung out on the dock with a bunch of Canadians on vacation from British Columbia. They told me all about the forest fires in B.C. After drying off, I wandered over to say hello to the helpful elderly lady. Her husband had joined her on their porch. They were Ken and Peg. He was a retired school superintendent, both in their mid-eighties, and married for over sixty years with four children. Peg then brought out a “splash” of WalMart wine in a paper cup and some cheddar cheese and crackers on a paper plate. I pulled up a folding aluminum chair. We spent the next hour swapping stories, philosophizing about life, and discussing Washington, D.C. politics. Every time Ken made a counterpoint, he would playfully kick the sole of my sneaker with his shoe. We were in agreement about societal values, but on opposite spectrums with regard to how to get there.

    When a large 5th wheel rolled into the resort, Ken said, “don't look at that guy, you're traveling the way I would do it.”

    He later said, “we could exchange names and addresses, but I know I'll never see you again.”

    As it was dinnertime and I didn't wish to intrude, I thanked them for their hospitality and walked back to my campsite. Without cell service or Wi-Fi, I spent the rest of the evening in my tent reading my Kindle. In the middle of the night, I heard the haunting calls of loons and owls. Miles 207.

    Epic Ride 345.JPG
    Bonaparte Lake campsite


    Epic Ride 347.JPG
    the lake


    Epic Ride 348.JPG
    the resort with Ken and Peg's rented cabin to the right


    Epic Ride 350.JPG
    my bedroom window overlooking the lake
    #65
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  6. ponytl

    ponytl even my new bike is old

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    interesting east coast elitist
    #66
  7. Oron

    Oron Adventurer

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    Point well taken. We take our bikes to places beyond our driveways and that is the adventure. As a jazz musician said, "If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn." My ride report is a narrative of my ride through diverse landscapes, as witnessed through my prism. I'm consoled that you find it interesting.
    #67
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  8. ponytl

    ponytl even my new bike is old

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    I'm always interested... not always in what people say but how they say it, I do thank you for your ride report and have kept you in my prayers for your health... How one tells a story is often revealing, painting a picture of the storyteller
    #68
  9. Oron

    Oron Adventurer

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    For better or for worse, I wear my personality on my sleeve. But enough introspection, it's time for another installment...

    Day 16

    At dawn, the remainder of the forest woke up and I headed for the shower. The human residents slept in. As I departed the campsite at seven the next morning, Ken must have heard my engine start, ran out from his cabin and intercepted me. He put his hand on my shoulder, said he wished he was going with me, awkwardly hugged me, and wished me a great trip. I was touched by his humanity.

    Epic Ride 352.JPG
    early morning departure


    After all this time on the road, I was getting adept at anticipating the temperature changes. I zipped up all the vents under my light shirt and was comfortable in spite of the 48 degrees. I knew it would warm up very soon. Within a half an hour, the temperature climbed fifteen degrees. I ordered my badly needed “hungry man” breakfast at Whistler’s in Tonasket and mapped my route down the 97 to Omak. I got back on the 20, over the Loup Loup Summit (4,020 ft) with fire scarred trees lining my route, to the wispy town of Twisp. It was there that I took a gas stop. The neighboring town of Winthrop was only another ten miles northwest of Twisp and was worth the stop. Apparently founded by a man from Boston, it was now a tourist destination with an old Western town vibe. I especially liked the wooden boardwalks and jaunty saloons. The locals at the Retro Pony gift shop lunch counter were enthralled hearing about my journey from Boston. After a quick iced tea, I witnessed some V-twin baggers terrorize bystanders with unbaffled pipes.

    Epic Ride 355.JPG
    rowdy crowd


    Epic Ride 357.JPG
    Rt 20 scenery


    It was back in the saddle. With temperatures in the low 90's, I cruised along the North Cascades. It was a relaxing, expansive run, with big elevation changes. Elevation translated to a much desired cool down. That stretch of road had some very dramatic topography and (although I'm repeating myself), some of the nicer motorcycle roads around. According to signage, this dramatic pass is closed in the winter. Prior to the summit (known as Washington Pass, at 5,477 feet), the sky was chokingly hazy from all the forest fires burning in British Columbia. Right after reaching the summit, the air cleared considerably. The ridge line obviously acted as a barrier. It was near the summit that Orcus finally dipped her sneakers in snow.

    Epic Ride 358.JPG
    well, maybe just a toe
    #69
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  10. Oron

    Oron Adventurer

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    Further west, the view from the Diablo lookout was fabulous. It was there that I swapped travel stories and compared rides with a Model A club from Oregon that was traveling as a group some 1,500 miles. Their forty horsepower vehicles were only capable of doing about fifty miles per hour. I'm not sure how they managed to climb these passes. A cautionary note: the speed limit drops to thirty in Newhalem and even after leaving town, when you think it's safe to resume fifty plus, there hid Officer Fife patiently waiting for some business; I passed him with a wave.

    Epic Ride 360.JPG
    west of the Washington Pass


    Epic Ride 365.JPG
    Diablo Lake


    Epic Ride 370.JPG
    Orcus has triple the horsepower of one of them


    It was a pleasant meander along the Skagit River to the coarsely named town of Concrete. It was near there that I selected my campsite at the Rasar State Park, ably assisted by female ranger Tony. She drove me around the park in her state-issued golf cart, and even checked in on me after her shift. After a very unsatisfying meal at nearby Birdsview Burgers, I was visited at my campsite by the only other biker in the park. His name was Vincent, and he was Belgian born, now living in British Columbia. Last year he drove his V-Strom 650 all the way to Ushuaia. I think he said it took him over six months. Needless to say, he was a wealth of wisdom and of stories from the road. While in harbor, there is always someone with a bigger boat. Miles 213.

    Epic Ride 372.JPG
    Rasar State Park
    #70
  11. pnw

    pnw Long timer

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    Great report, keep it up!
    #71
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  12. Oron

    Oron Adventurer

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    Day 17

    My plan was to visit long-term friends Kim and his wife Cindy for several days in Puyallup, get Orcus serviced, and also wait for the arrival of Betsy from Boston. We would all converge in Oregon, so we could watch the total solar eclipse together. Betsy, aka The Pillion, would then accompany me for about two weeks on my big adventure North. This tale is bound to get a little confusing with two Jim's already and even a fourth Kim soon to be introduced. Just do the best you can; I didn't name them, their parents did.

    Since the ride to Puyallup was only about three hours, I didn't start to break camp until 9:30. My pony-tailed neighbor, one site over to the north, was in a large trailer camper with his wife and two middle school age kids. He came over to see Orcus and hear about my trip. He said he always wanted to take a big motorcycle trip, but would need a trike because he would have trouble keeping a two wheeler upright. He told me exactly where in eastern Washington State he was from and that I should visit him on my way back to Boston. He then inquired, with a wink, if when I visited, would I like to smoke a bowl. The need for a trike became apparent.

    I took Route 20 to Burlington and then let the GPS guide me down I-5 and the 405 toward Puyallup. Outside Everett, I saw from the highway a massive boat dealer; I think it was called Boat Country. There must have been hundreds upon hundreds of boats of every description for sale. The temperature dropped ten degrees whenever the highway ran close to the Pacific Ocean. This was the first significant traffic that I encountered during my entire trip cross country and I didn't much care for it. It made sense to stay away from any big cities.

    I arrived at Kim and Cindy's house at one p.m. It was great to see them both after all these years. Kim was hopeful that some forecasted rain would finally clear away the smoke. Their comfortable house was built to face Mount Rainier, but with the haze, the mountain was obscured. Orcus was tucked into a spare garage bay. We spent the afternoon dropping off two grandchildren in nearby Orting and then played tennis, something that I hadn't done in years. That little episode caused a flare up of decades dormant tennis elbow that then plagued me for weeks. I managed to stay healthy for thousands of motorcycle miles, but then messed up my elbow in an hour of exercise. While sipping a beer on Kim’s deck, I appreciated the wide open spaces out West and the relatively modest housing costs. It made me wonder why I put up with living out East all these years. Mileage 130.


    Day 18

    Today was the day I planned to relax and service Orcus. I internet searched for a nearby BMW dealer and liked what I read about South Sound Motorcycles. I waited around until ten for them to open and inquired on the phone if they could take me on short notice. The service manager was very accommodating and said to come on over and we'll fit you in. After an easy half hour ride, I was there at eleven. What a beautiful dealership. The service people were knowledgeable and helpful. We decided to change the engine and final drive oils. I would delay new tires, valve adjustment and air filter another 3,000 miles. The apparel guy saw me in my now weathered EnduroGuard suit and interviewed me about the ownership experience. Apparently I had the most miles wearing it of all his customers. With hours or so to wait, I shopped their extensive gear and sundries (bought a souvenir t-shirt), had a complimentary BBQ, and then sat on one of two facing black leather couches. The coffee table separating the two couches was stacked with fantastic motorcycle-related reading material. Why can't the dealership only two miles from my house be as great as this one? I spent the next hour chatting with a woman waiting for her service to be completed as well. Her name was Sonja and she lived near the Seattle airport with her husband and two-year-old twin girls. She was one cool lady, rocking full leather Vanson outerwear and riding a badass black XDiavel S. We talked about riding, careers, family, whatever. She was about to embark on her own first solo overnight. When she realized I was from far out of town, and completely on her own volition, she wrote her name, address, cell number, and email in case I had any problems while in the Seattle area. Her husband was an Iron Butt warrior, owned two GSAs, and had the shop, tools, and knowledge to get me through any crisis. What a nice person; the motorcycle community are special people. I was very grateful for the kindness that had been shown to me throughout this trip.

    After being obscured for quite a number of days, just before sundown, Mount Rainier finally revealed itself in all its glory. Miles today 30.

    Epic Ride 374.JPG
    South Sound Motorcycles


    Epic Ride 375.JPG
    the lovely Sonja next to her XDiavel S


    Epic Ride 458.JPG
    Mt Rainier


    Inmate's Note:

    I had made better than anticipated progress crossing the US. The following several days were spent relaxing, sightseeing, hiking, and hanging out with my friends in and around the Seattle area. The only immutable dates of this trip were the arrival of my girlfriend from Boston (she waits for no man), the solar eclipse (it waits for no man) and the Alaska Marine Highway ferry (they, as you shall read, apparently do wait for certain men). Since this is a motorcycle adventure forum and not a generic vacation site, I will spare anyone following along the off-topic details, and will compress the non-motorcycle travelogue to essential prose with limited photographs.


    Day 19

    ... I was forced to endure the Seahawks first preseason game on TV surrounded by rabid Patriot hating, Seahawks fans...

    Day 20

    ... In the morning, I decided to give Orcus a much needed bath. Her leading surfaces were covered with a layer of bugs. There were bugs on top of bugs. There were even bugs where you wouldn't expect it, for instance, embedded in the front spokes or wedged tightly between trim pieces. The windshield was actually textured with bug guts. When Kim designed his house twenty years ago, he added many custom features including a warm water spigot for car washing. Very civilized. By the time I finished bathing Orcus, she looked like she was showroom fresh...we visited the LeMay Automotive Museum. It had a excellent collection of both foreign and domestic, from the earliest to current models. BMW was represented with a 1959 silver 507 roadster and a 1960 red Isetta. Although there were some motorcycles displayed such as Triumph, BSA, Moto Guzzi, Indian, and others, there were none from Munich's finest.

    Epic Ride 402.JPG
    LeMay Automotive Museum - could resist showing the Ferrambo, a 1960 Nash Rambler wagon with a Ferrari 360 engine stuffed into the bed
    #72
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  13. Oron

    Oron Adventurer

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    Day 21

    ...Olympic National Park to climb Hurricane Ridge....

    Epic Ride 428.JPG
    hike to Hurricane Ridge

    Day 22

    ...Seattle: Space Needle, Monorail, Public Market, man buns, stylish women, tattoos, and utilikilts...

    upload_2018-1-8_10-30-18.png
    my hosts: Kim & Cindy

    Day 23

    Mount Rainier!... Glacier Vista Trail... black bear encounter...Crystal Mountain...

    Epic Ride 495.JPG
    Glacier Vista Trail


    Epic Ride 507.JPG
    Mt Rainier National Park
    #73
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  14. Oron

    Oron Adventurer

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    Day 24

    It would be a major lost opportunity to travel to the West coast one week before the biggest astrological event of the last ninety-nine years and not experience it. I admit that my timing of this epic Ride was partly scheduled around seeing the total solar eclipse. Several months ago, I had looked into reserving an Oregon hotel room in the path of totality, but the options were either outrageously expensive or non-existent. Motel 6 rooms were going for $1,500 for the one night before the event. Even campground tent space was sold out. Betsy was excited to fly out to the West coast to join me for the eclipse and for a far North adventure, but she requested a proper bathroom on her first night, and I couldn't blame her. I would have been willing to improvise, but one must make sacrifices for the love of a great woman. I was finally able to score a luxury condominium through Airbnb. One week before the agreed upon stay, months after my credit card was debited, my host, Neil, canceled the reservation. Airbnb refunded the money, but we were back on the street. This calamity turned into a blessing, because Kim and Cindy invited me to join them at their friend's house in Jefferson, Oregon. Jefferson was directly in the path of the eclipse. Their friend, the third Kim, was having a big eclipse party and had graciously allowed Betsy and me to join in.

    So at 2:15 p.m., I left behind my big dry bag with all the camping gear, and followed Kim and Cindy's car from Puyallup, WA to Jefferson, OR, arriving at 6:30 p.m. There was a forecast for near apocalyptic traffic, but the ride down was uneventful. We took the 507 to Centralia, and then the 5, with a minor detour on the 205 around Portland. We crossed the 45th parallel (exactly halfway between the North Pole and the equator.)

    At a gas stop, an attendant came running out to assist. I only learned later that it was a mandatory state law for most Oregon counties (and the state of New Jersey) that gas stations had to have an attendant at the pump. Even though this law was passed in the interest of motorist safety (when will the fill-up carnage stop?), I would rather not have some kid mess up and spill gas all over my tank.

    The most exciting part of the trip was crossing the Columbia River on Route 205 and seeing Mount Hood in the distance. Although not as tall as Rainier, it was just as glacial, and very dramatic with a beautiful cone outline. The plan was to chill out for a day, then pick up Betsy the next morning at Portland Airport. It would be a lot of back and forth, with horrific traffic forecast, but hey, it's a nearly once in a lifetime event...and it's the Pillion. Miles today 218.


    Day 25

    It was another transition day, as we waited for the rest of our party to arrive and for the moon to block the sun. Kim, Cindy, and I took a small hike in the surrounding hills and then drove to Salem. The city had a nice feel to it. There was a relaxed, nature-loving vitality. It seemed like a place I could call home. We shopped a bit, ate a late lunch at the Venti Cafe, and then walked east to the State Capital and Willamette (rhymes with damn it) University. On the way back, we stopped off at the Willamette Valley Vineyard for wine tasting and a tour of the vineyard. The vast majority of the vineyard's production was Pinot Noir. We tasted five different wines. In the evening, the local news predicted the worst traffic jams tomorrow and Monday, ever, in the history of the State of Oregon. They predicted gas stations would run out of gasoline. I hoped all this media hype would scare people from the roads. I did a quick internet search and determined that lane splitting was not yet legal in Oregon.


    Day 26

    As luck would have it, Kim number 3 and his wife Dana arrived at Portland International from Anchorage only ten minutes after Betsy’s flight, and insisted that they all connect in baggage claim and drive back together. It certainly made a lot of sense. The two parties connected without a hitch and they all arrived at the house by noon time. The predicted heavy traffic never materialized. It was wonderful to see Betsy after three weeks apart. After a couple of hours of socializing, Kim #2 and I decided to make something of the afternoon and five of us drove to McMinnville to visit the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. They have a first rate facility and an excellent collection. The highlights for me were Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose and the SR-71. I will always cherish the photo of me touching the impossibly sleek titanium fuselage of the legendary Blackbird.

    SR71.jpg
    still the fastest (non-rocket propelled) aircraft ever flown


    Day 27

    Total eclipse! Additional guests streamed in throughout the previous evening and all the bedrooms of this grand house were occupied. By nine a.m., we were outside on the patio with our eclipse glasses and plastic cups of champagne. The weather was perfect, without a cloud in the sky. Our host hit the geographic lottery, as we were exactly three hundred yards from the epicenter path. The anticipation built as the moon began to nibble away at the sun's edge. The sun was so powerful that even with only a sliver of sun unblocked, there was only a modest diminishing of ambient sunlight. The full eclipse was very impressive, especially the corona, but I was surprised by the residual twilight still present during totality, as well as the modest temperature drop. The whole spectacle of complete totality lasted only a couple of minutes, but it was amazing. Although the buildup was exciting, after the sun began to reemerge, I was anxious to get on the road.

    Epic Ride 573.JPG
    total solar eclipse!


    Betsy and I quickly packed, thanked our hosts, synced our communication system, and were on the road by 11:30 a.m. I was able to strap Betsy's two dry bags to the aluminum saddlebags and her soft airplane duffel to the top box. I complimented her on the minimalist packing. She was given a volume limit, and she met it. All the additional weight still took some getting used to, but I did my best not to overstate the burden with unintended expletives when she climbed on.

    Epic Ride 579.JPG
    the two old goats ready to resume the journey northward


    If the apocalyptic traffic never materialized before the eclipse, it certainly did afterward. Interstate 5 was a near parking lot. (Even at 9:30 at night, Google traffic showed big backups on the 5.) The only way to avoid traffic was to stay in the eclipse path, as all of humanity dispersed either north or south. Our plan was to head west to the coast and then work our way back to the north. This worked in theory, but every town en route with a traffic light, or having two lanes turn to one, resulted in significant backups. My left forearm got a workout from constantly squeezing the clutch. I didn't dare lane split, as I did not want to incite road rage.

    After Salem and Rickreall, we took the 22 to 18, and then to the 101 at Pacific City. We had lunch at the Village Coffee Shoppe Restaurant. We then rode north all the way to Astoria. No matter how we wiggled up the coast, we were plagued with heavy traffic. We rode through some heavily scented undulating state forests. The ride along the Pacific coast was cool and dramatic, with temperatures in the low 60's and fabulous views of the Pacific Ocean interspersed with occasional clear cut hillsides. Cape Lookout State Park was our best view, with classic coastal cliffs and endless whitecaps. Near Arch Cape, the road swept through windblown sand dunes.

    Epic Ride 581.JPG
    Cape Lookout State Park


    At arrival in Astoria with heavy cross winds, we hoped to spend the night at the chic, retro Atomic Motel, but “no vacancy” forced us further down the street to the rough and tumble Columbia Inn. I particularly appreciated the night manager’s occipital tattoo. Dinner at the nearby Buoy Beer Company was the best of the trip so far. The signature pan-fried sole with capers, lemon, fried zucchini and broccoli over orzo was superb. Massive sea lions were spotted through specially constructed Plexiglas floors as they relaxed on pier planks suspended above the rushing Columbia River. I was pleased that Betsy enjoyed her first afternoon on the road. Tomorrow, on to Bainbridge Island. Miles 179.
    #74
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  15. swimmer

    swimmer armchair asshole

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    @Oron, great report and story telling. Thanks for sharing.
    #75
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  16. Oron

    Oron Adventurer

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    Day 28

    We departed the Columbia Inn at 7:20 a.m. and made our way across the Astoria-Megler Bridge. I suspected it might be a memorable crossing, because from our sea-level perspective at the parking lot, the bridge was obscured by dense fog. I'm always on high alert crossing tall bridges because of high winds and steel grate road surfaces. Both possibilities scare me, and when combined, make me wish I took another route. In this case, it was only fog, but so dense that it appeared as if we rode into an impenetrable ether. It was chilly in the mid-fifties. We emerged past the Columbia River back into Washington State and continued on the 101. Rather than take the cut through, we erroneously took the long way through Holman. We continued along the coast, passing by the Willapa Wildlife Refuge. The fog was very thick and lent a haunting feel to the mud flats and bogs off our left shoulder.

    The Pillion and I rode on in contented silence. The towns of Aberdeen, Elma, and Shelton quickly followed. We passed a house with a Confederate flag waving in the front yard; it surprised me to see such a display so far from the deep South. We cut Northeast on the 3 through aromatic plywood factories to Poulsbo, and then dropped down to high-brow Bainbridge Island. Some have called Bainbridge the Nantucket of the West.

    Betsy's brother Chip, and his wife Martha, met us at the Harbour Public House for lunch. The restaurant overlooked the marina at Eagle Harbor where Chip and Martha's 1942 vintage, 43 foot Tahiti-style ketch served as their year round residence. Martha soon bid farewell, as she was off to catch a ferry, ultimately bound for Italy to manage her artist workshop. In spite of one less person on board, the accommodations were still cozy, especially in comparison to our previous overnight. It was hard to believe Chip and Martha raised three daughters, two dogs, and the family cat on this boat. Although headroom below was mostly generous, two particularly low bulkheads caught the unfamiliar, and some blood was spilled. Mileage 190.

    Epic Ride 594.JPG
    Chip & Martha's year round residence


    Epic Ride 602.JPG
    Orcus waiting patiently on terra firma


    Day 29

    I slept surprisingly well on the boat. There were the usual marina sounds, such as slapping halyards, but not even the chimes of the ship's clock interrupted my sleep. Chip generously gave up his owner’s berth and took the foc’sle. Betsy and I slept in the port side double. Chip left early for work and caught his daily ferry to Seattle. After my shower, Betsy utilized the well equipped galley and made us scrambled eggs and toast. I fulfilled my promise and met up with Jim II (from Lolo Pass) at his usual morning coffee picnic table at the entrance to the marina walkway. We chatted about past and future motorcycle adventures. Betsy and I spent a leisurely morning shopping on Bainbridge's main road and napping in our berth. After lunch, we took Chip's tender and rowed to Pritchard Park, where we gazed at the Seattle skyline and Mount Rainier. We were occasionally followed by harbor seals popping up aft of the transom. We also checked out the yacht where a month earlier, the lone owner repeatedly fired a high-powered rifle indiscriminately toward the shore and refused to comply with law enforcement. Chip was on board his boat only yards away from the spectacle and witnessed the SWAT team's deadly conclusion. It seemed to be another case of suicide by cop. Upon return, I was treated to a detailed tour of our dock neighbor, Gary's thirty-eight foot custom trawler. It was a perfect boat to take to Alaska. Dinner was Betsy’s famous shrimp and tomato pasta, on board, with Addie (Chip and Martha's twenty-five-year-old daughter) and Gringa, the dog. We spent the evening regaled with Chip's tales of perils from the Alaska fishing fleet.

    Epic Ride 607.JPG
    ferry service between Seattle and Bainbridge


    Epic Ride 621.JPG
    Betsy, Chip, and Addie enjoying all the comforts of home...because it is home
    #76
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  17. Oron

    Oron Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2016
    Oddometer:
    158
    Location:
    The Hub (of the Universe)
    Day 30

    Early afternoon was spent cruising Puget Sound on a neighbor's yacht. The boat was a Peterson Coastal II schooner, sixty-one feet long, handbuilt evenings and weekends over a thirty year period by a former Detroit advertising executive. The end result was amazing. Our nearly ninety-year-old host, Roy, was now too frail and inexperienced to take the yacht out on his own, so Chip was our designated helmsman. Roy didn't know how to sail (or boat build) when he began his project, and by the time he launched in 2007, he was already too old to attempt it. His original dream to sail to the South Pacific with his wife (now deceased), on a yacht built with his own hands, never came to fruition. After helping Roy install a new battery, we left the harbor with very light winds. Chip declared that during his many years piloting off Bainbridge, he had never antagonized the ferry captains by venturing into their paths. He told us that they voice their displeasure to the recreational boaters with five blasts of the horn. Once Betsy took the helm, it only took her a half an hour to earn the five blasts from an inbound ferry. She wore the blasts as a badge of honor.

    Epic Ride 618.JPG
    a 30 year project built by a man with no prior experience


    Epic Ride 623.JPG
    Roy (third from the left) was still sharp as a tack


    Back on our own boat, after I helped Chip install a new galley vent topside, we were invited to dinner at the home of one of Chip's friends, Kimo and Sherry. (Please, no comments about the similarity of the name.) It turned out to be a fascinating evening of political banter, historical geography, and discussion about Kimo’s overriding passion: Six-meter sailboat racing. Kimo owned a famous boat that is considered by the sailing community to have launched the International One-Design class. I learned much that evening about the obsessive world of yacht racing.

    Tomorrow morning we ride to Bellingham, Washington to board the Alaska Marine Highway ferry SS Columbia, bound for Haines, Alaska. After unloading Orcus in Alaska, the plan is to ride the Alaska Highway the 2,000 or so miles south to the Lower 48, drop Betsy off somewhere with a good airline connection back to Boston, and then proceed solo with the trip. My moto excitement was building once again. Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3.
    #77
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  18. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,487
    Location:
    Kingsmill Corner Ont.
    :lurk:drink Waiting impatiently. Enjoying the trip so far.
    #78
    Oron likes this.
  19. Rigger400

    Rigger400 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2010
    Oddometer:
    56
    Location:
    Durban, South Africa
    I am loving your commentary. I traveled through British Columbia and Washington two and a half years ago and your story brings back fond memories of a most beautiful part of the world. I own a similar bike to yours in South Africa but had to make do with a BMW K1200S on my travels. Needless to say, I would dearly love to spend a couple of months back in the area on my Adventure.
    #79
  20. boristhebold

    boristhebold Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2012
    Oddometer:
    132
    Location:
    Yorkshire, England
    The best 'How I got my licence and bike' paragraph I've read. Great writing.
    #80
    Oron likes this.