Friday, July 25, 2008
I'm all set at Ross and Patti's. He got a wireless router and made sure I had internet access. Patti fed me and made me feel welcome. They may not get rid of me.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
The people watching at the Run to the Sun was probably more interesting if for no other reason than the amount of inked skin that was on display. I was there on Friday morning as the motordrome was assembled - the "big top" as it were. The riders had no roadies to do the heavy lifting. They all pitched in as the huge barrel slowly took shape and the canvas raised. Hours were spent inspecting the interior of the drome, and the sound of hammer on nail echoed in the lake. I imagine that a protruding nail head is the last thing they want to ride over. This is the same bunch that normally puts on the show in Sturgis. The local promoters paid for everything, so the shows were free to the public. I think the local farmers got a kick out of it. You can read more about the "Thrillarena" here: http://www.thrillarena.com/index.html The feeling that I am at a small carnival prevails.
The main stage at the Grant County Courthouse is cool and quiet. There is a 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the street down the block. The Ephrata farmer's market surrounds the second stage on Basin Street. There a young man and his guitar try to garner more attention than the Rainier cherries. A funk jazz trio (trumpet, keyboard and drums) plays to a dozen fans (some dressed in leather eating cherries) on the big stage. It's early, just before noon. Unlike at the Sun Run, the beer garden is empty. It is pleasant, relaxed. Looking at the program, I realize I've seen many of the acts at Jazzbones in Tacoma. Again, here the shows are free. The money being made on $6 beers and Lion's Club onion burgers.
I spent the day riding the six miles between the towns making sure I returned to Ephrata in time for Vicci Martinez and to Soap Lake for the poker run.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
John Day to Oakridge, 265 miles.
This will take us through Ochoco National Forest, Sisters and on beautiful Hiway 19 along the Middle Fork of the Willamette to Oakridge.
Coos Bay to Tillamook, 246 miles.
Highway 101 on the Oregon coast. One of those places you have to see before you die. Steve has thown in some twisty roads inland from the coast to make it even more interesting.
Tillamook to Ollala, WA, 258 miles (for them, I'll peel off and return to Thorp).
It looks like Steve threw in some of the logging roads we tried to follow last year! Maybe he just enjoyed having that logging truck chase him through the curves last year. I'll turn east on Highway 12 to Yakima. It's going to be great!
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
It was good to see them all. You'd have thought I'd been gone for years instead of months.
Leavenworth is one of those towns that created a theme to draw tourists. Mom remembers riding the train to Leavenworth to watch the ski jumping events while she was in high school. The town was not much more than a gathering of ski cabins and maybe a couple of restaurants. Now it is a Bavarian resort town. Very cute.
We had a nice lunch, then spent a couple hours wandering through the shops. Nobody bought anything other than lunch and ice cream. It was a pleasant, if hot, day with family.
This picture of Pam, Mom, me and Mary was taken by Tom. I swear he only had one beer with lunch.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Here is the plan for the first 3 days:
The first day, the main group will ride from Ollala, WA to The Dalles, OR. A distance of 216 miles. I will ride from Thorp, WA to The Dalles, OR and join them there.
The second day is a ride of 342 miles from The Dalles to La Grande via Tygh Valley, the John Day Fossil Beds, the Ukia - Dale Forest State Scenic Corridor and the Wallowa - Whitman National Forrest.
Day 3 will cover 298 miles through the Wallowa Mountains and Hells Canyon from La Grande to John Day.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
My 1999 Honda Shadow A.C.E. Tourer has just over 25,000 miles. It has never given me a bit of trouble. I change the oil and filter and spark plugs and air filter on a regular schedule, but as I cruise down the hiways my mind's ear hears every strange noise, just waiting for trouble.
I shouldn't have worried. The mechanic at Yamaha Jack's gave it a thorough going over. Changed all of the fluids - oil, coolant, brake fluid - adjusted carbs, changed plugs and filters. He found nothing wrong and said whoever was doing the maintenance was doing a good job (unbelievably my head got bigger).
I charged out of the shop, headed for the old Vantage Hiway only to have the engine die. He turned the gas off when he parked it (just like I was taught to do but don't). Okay, try it again - runs great. Stopped in Vantage for gas and Gatorade. The temperature is tickling triple digits, there is fresh asphalt on the east bound lanes of I-90. Yikes!! I almost wish I didn't have a windshield so I could get some air to lower my body temperature a little. I stop twice near irrigation sprinklers to get a little spray, hoping that they are only spraying water. The state should put in some picnic areas like I've seen in other states, I could use some shade. I finally reach Ephrata and find that shade I've been seeking. I stuff my jacket in the saddlebag, my shoulders can burn, I don't care. Soap Lake is only 6 miles away anyway.
I am home now, the air conditioner is running at full speed, the temperature in the coach is down to 87. Bliss.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Made an appointment to get the bike serviced on Wednesday at Yamaha Jacks in Ellensburg. Odd that a place named Yamaha Jacks is an authorized Honda service shop. I just want the piece of mind that the bike is in tip top shape before I ride around Oregon later this month with Rob, Steve, Pat and Gerald.
I started reading a Jason Bourne book that wasn't written by Robert Ludlum. Movies always ruin things. We all know that Matt Damon's wife died in India and that they didn't have any kids. Now I know that she died on a skiing trip and that they had two kids. I'm so confused.
I need more movies - or a dish. Actually I haven't missed the run of the mill shows, but there are a few - Monk, House, Bones, Numb3rs, Psych and baseball games and the races. Le Tour has started and if I had a dish I'd be watching it at 4 in the morning, drugs or no drugs.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Two large pancakes, three eggs to order, a large slice of ham, OJ and coffee for five bucks. I'm stuffed. The two ladies that run the center set their sights on me and told me more than I needed to know about the center and how they revived it after the director had run up huge debts and then disappeared. They seemed worried that I hadn't been eating enough because they told me that they had meals every day of the week at a reasonable price and dances on the last Wednesday of the month.
I made my escape and found my way to Main Street in time to find a spot in the shade for the parade. I hadn't noticed that I was in front of the bar and as the parade started the bar emptied out in to the perfect little area that I had staked out. Moving to the other side of the street, away from the cigarette smoke and boozy breath, I settled in to watch the color guard (a seven year old girl did a nice rendition of the national anthem) and the politicians and the old cars and the horses. No bands, no bagpipes (Gram would have been soooo disappointed), one float, a bunch of ladies in red hats on a flat bed truck having a good time and a bunch of bikers.
I ride a motorcycle - I'm not a biker, don't pretend to be. Most of these guys were posers, pretending to be one percenters. They turned a pleasant parade in to a mess of loud pipes, screeching tires and burning rubber. The only thing more offending to my ears were all of the sirens.
The kids won't need any candy until Halloween. Every car that went by threw large handfuls of sugary treats to the curbs on both sides of the street. The kids didn't even have to get up to chase the candy.
The parade was followed by the bed racers charging down the street. I don't think anyone was hurt, but there was opportunity for injury. As the races ended the crowds ambled to the park for the "Battle of the Bands". I wasn't ready for punk rock before lunch.
The salmon bake was scheduled to start at 1 but I knew I had eaten enough to last the day, so I wandered through the vendors stalls in the park, resisted the temptation of pirate swords and cowboy hats, found my bike and returned to the RV park.
I noticed a gathering of guys dressed in NASCAR gear and knew I had stumbled in to a group of fellow car nuts. We decided to take over the adult play house (true fact) and watch the race from Daytona. It was a typical restrictor plate race - uneventful until the last 20 laps, then ending in a big crash. It was nice to sit with a bunch of race fans and enjoy a race.
Now we are all listening to the Mariners, waiting for the fireworks that should start around 10. It's been a good day.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Thursday, July 3, 2008
I love small towns. The stress level is minimal, road rage is over in a couple seconds, people smile and talk to each other, parking is free. Every other corner is not inhabited by Starbucks or McDonalds. The local grocer may not have the exact type spice that you just have to have for your sauce, but I bet the meat and potatoes are fresh - and the apples for your pie are still on the tree. I've never liked that frou-frou cooking anyway. I guess I'm too much of a Swede.
I've had fun the last four months, travelling around the western US of A, but I think at heart I need to own a house. I search the real estate ads of every area I visit. I've learned that I'm comfortable by myself, but Thom's visit (and departure) made it clear that I need to be close enough to my kids to hold them from time to time. I also learned that I need sunshine. The 19 clear days we had in western Washington last year were not sufficient. I want 300 days per year minimum.
That's how I feel this morning, I'll let you know if I change my mind.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Okay, that's the science portion of today's programming. The water is sparkling clear and inviting. One step towards the water from shore sinks you in muck above your ankles. Don't wear sandals that you want to keep in this stuff. This may not be true at the south end of the lake in town - I'll check it out later. The minerals leave an oily feeling on the skin that is hard to wash off with non-lake water. I haven't tasted it yet.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Here I sit at the Soap Lake RV Park. Tough life.
The first is a view to the south towards the city of Soap Lake, the second is my humble abode. Dangerous thunder/wind/hail storm predicted for tonight. I had best put up the awning.
I still have not been able to locate a shop that can perform the required service to my bike before the start of my scheduled 2,000 mile ride around Oregon with my friends from the shipyard. I'll call a couple more shops tomorrow.