Sunday, May 31, 2009

day twenty-one: on the road again

Mt. Ranier (14,700 ft.) from the Ferry at sea-level.

A view of the Seattle skyline from the auto-deck of the Ferry.

Eastern Washington flatlands...much different from the WA I've gotten used-to.

One of the many Idaho mountain lakes that we passed.

Hey guys and girls. Michael and woke early this morning ready to get back on the road after four great days with Mere and DP and a couple of days with Megan. I’m not certain but Megan seemed sadder to see me leave than Michael. I have that effect on people. We were not eager to leave our special people in Bremerton but we left early to bank some time against the need later on if we begin to run short. We boarded the ferry this morning at 9 AM. Mike and I noticed that the ferry made a strange but consistent rhythm which reminded us both of “River Dance.” We began to clog and jump and pirouette and pretty soon they had signed us up for Washington state ferry entertainment! By 9:50 we had disembarked the ferry and were moving through the streets of Seattle headed for Spokane. We rode through the day covering about 350 miles and ending up in our 16th state, Idaho, and poised to blow into Montana sometime tomorrow morning. We were in what Louis L’Amour calls a “ground eating gait” today. Of course he was talking about a good horse and I’m talking about our motorcycles.

We came through some incredible contrasts today. We started the day at sea level and ended near Sandpoint, ID at @ 4500 ft. We started in what can almost be described as a rain forest with abundant water and greenery and transitioned to dryer and browner areas with little or no water and stands of sage, cedar and grass. In fact, you could say the first area needed drainage and the second, irrigation. This leads me to a comment I’ve been contemplating for the whole trip. I have found that, in the west, they are very loose about naming rivers. We passed rivers today (Snoqualmie, Cle Elum and Columbia) that were bank-full, rapid flowing, blasters. These are rivers! In other places (the worst was Texas but other states abused this as well) their rivers are potential. They could be called a seep, a spring, even a creek; but a river . . . my suggestion is that if you could throw your fishing line and cork in these “rivers” and the water flow is not sufficient to float the cork, you are not, in fact, a river and do not deserve the name. Maybe it’s just me.

The other thing I noticed today is that the roads we took were terrible. They were old concrete roads, which I generally love, but these were old and in disrepair. There were signs which said “Grooved road-motorcycle riders be especially careful,” and “rough road ahead’” and “abrupt drop off.” Their were also these three parallel grooves on both sides of the right lane, where car tires would usually ride, which were spaced about 8 feet apart. Presumably these were to let you know that you were still in the lane. I don’t know about you but I don’t require assistance to recognize that I’m on the road. When I’m off the road (and I have some experience here) there are branches whipping by my face and abrupt undulations in the ground covered by grass and other assorted debris. I am clear when I have reached “off-road” status. You may think I’m overreacting to the grooves and bad cracks and abrupt drop-offs I’ve detailed. In my defense, there were a few times, because of these hazards, that I thought I might get “jiggy” with the pavement. Maybe I’m a little whiny. Hey, those who know me best know that when I’m complaining, I’m feeling great!

Anyway, that’s my perception of the day. With you, I am interested in Michael’s perspective. See you next time.


  1. Well, for those of you who have been following us closely and have noticed that it's been days since we last posted (Dilly!!)--thank you for your patientce and continued support. We're back on the road!!

    It was bitter-sweet to leave Mere, DP and my Megan behind after such an amazing stay in Bremerton. I don't think that I realized how long we actually stayed! (Thanks again DP and M for your hospitality) I was looking through some of the pictures tonight, and realized just how beautiful the weather was during our entire 5 days there...I'm told this time of year is the entire reason people live in Western Washington. And, I must put in my plug for the food--whether we cooked it or went-out for it, the food was delicious. I'm gonna weigh 450 lbs when I'm 30 I bet! Haha.

    Without any further ado, here are the highlights:

    1) Ferrying the bikes across the Puget Sound to Seattle bright and early (after one last breakfast with the gang). It was neat to see Mt. Ranier and the Seattle skyline from miles away in the clear morning sun...this is truly a rarety.

    2) Visiting Idaho for my first time. If the rest of Idaho is as beautiful as the mountainous sunset near Sand Point was, I think I've been missing out for a long time!

    3) Dinner in Sand Point. This little town makes it into my top-picks from the trip. I mean, I would be more than happy to live here. It's really historic, but it's trendy and new at the same time, and is situated right in the middle of mountains (skiing, climbing, hiking, biking, camping, etc.) and rivers (swimming, boating, paddling, etc.) A two-minute drive from town puts you right at the doorstep of any of these activities that I love!

  2. I have to point out there is no "Day 20"...& it's not coming. DP & I checked back several times last night to see when it was posted, however Mike informed me that we wouldn't be seeing one, so our efforts were wasted.

    PS-Mike, I like the descriptions of the pictures (: