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Pony Express 2000

July 16, 2000

Day Sixteen : Home – Part 1

Not one to fiddle with a pattern, I awake at 5:15 again. Not quite so bright and cheery as the prior two mornings, although I don’t really have a hangover. I listen to Steve and Winnie pack up and finally drag myself out of the tent about 6 am. Martin has coffee ready and folks are already getting ready to leave. Me, I’m taking a shower and thinking about leaving.

Packing up doesn’t take as long as I thought – I’m getting good at this – but I still have problems with the tail light. Now I have *no* tail light – the ground has pulled free. Sigh. I will have to solder these babies when I get home. In fact, I need to re-engineer the entire auxiliary light. Electrical tape to the rescue.

Pack up, make the round for hugs, and am off a little before 9. I decide not to take FR19 again – because it will take two hours (assuming construction remains on 58) and not get me much closer to Seattle. Besides, I don’t want to take I-5 – I want to head more east. I decide to take Cascade Lakes road and visit Bachelor.

It takes me only a minute to figure out why it took me a while to find a groove yesterday. I’ve been riding the bike *loaded* for two weeks! Riding it “light” changed the handling characteristics. In fact, for half of its life, I’ve been riding it loaded. Doh!

I stop several times for pix — this isn’t a great motorcycle road (it’s too straight) but boy is it ever beautiful. Sometime on this road I realize that the V1 display isn’t working. Sigh. Well, this will be a ‘take it easy’ day.

Stop in Redmond for gas and breakfast. Another hour goes by as a consequence. It’s not hot – I’m surprised. I’m still wearing my long-sleeved t-shirt. Then I remember last year, being surprised at how cool the morning was.

I motor along – and realize I’m sleepy. How convenient – “rest stop six miles” announces a road side sign. I pull over and use the stich jacket as a pillow – not much shade, but I find a small tree. i’m awakened when the sun moves and my face is hot. It’s been at least 30 minutes – and I feel much better.

I’ve been riding indicated 70ish because of posted 55 limits and no radar detector. But I speed up to indicated 80 cause I’m back on long flat straights. Really, someone should do something about unreasonable speed limits in rural areas on flat straight roads.

Pass a white car that’s in a hurry, cause he speeds up to match me (although with some distance between us). Way down the road, I see a car coming — and my angel visits. I slow down. The car behind me doesn’t — when I realize the car *is* a statey, I slow WAY down. The car behind me doesn’t. It looks like the statey is slowing, although he doesn’t turn on his lights. I watch behind me, and eventually there is no Little White car in my mirrors. Did the statey turn around? Did he cite the white car? I’ll never know.

Just before the border, I meet another OSP. I’ve now seen more state patrol cars since visiting Oregon than in Wy and Ne combined.

Approaching Grand Central, the road starts to descend to the Columbia. As it enters the large lumpy hills, it gets HOT. And Grand Central lives up to its name – egads, there are a lot of tourists. With noisy (and rambunctious) kids. I stand in a short Line (that takes forever) for a subway sandwich. I have no WA map – and neither does this service station. I’m trusting my memory that I know how to get on 410 out of Yakima. I *think* I take 12 and then 410 diverts off of it.

Now’s the time to remove the long-sleeved t-shirt and dunk the helmet under the bathroom faucet. Pour H2O down the stich pants. And sit on a swaying one-lane bridge for more construction impediments.

Kathy

Sourcehttp://motogrrl.com/pe/trip_2000/

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