No, not really. I'm in Seattle at a coffee bar. I lied when I said that I'd be in Seattle tonight as well. I stayed an extra day in Spokane. I needed to change my oil, and type that voluminous (and highly incomplete) issue 8. When I finished it was almost dark. A few of the things that I wanted to touch on were that Glacier National park has not only lost its' glaciers, but is also currently burning (I didn't do it). While we're on the subject, both the rolling plains of North Dakota, and the scablands of Washington state had massive swathes of burned grassland. It looked as though someone was careless with a cigarette. It has been drier than stale wedding cake out in Dakota and Montana. There were burned grass patches that stretched for miles, and the one in Washington was still smoking. The highest point in Washington is Mt. Rainier. Nate and Tiffany will be hiking it in the upcoming week. North dakota has emphatically embraced the utilization of E 85 fuel. Too bad I haven't. The highest fuel octane rating that they had was 87. Most of North Dakota sucks snail eyeballs.
The route that I would take to Seattle from Spokane was planned by the Haddock/Kuehl commitee of extra fun tourism. It added about 80 additional miles to the trip, but it worth every moment. The initial point of interest was Lind, Washington. A simple, unassuming town with a grain and feed factory and a couple homestyle hot dish diners. But every June 9, 10, and 11th, this dusty little burg experiences a party of phenomenal proportion: The Combine Harvester Demolition Derby! Jutting out from the dwarf sagebrush and the bitterroot flowers like boulders left from the last ice age are the hulking remains of what could only be the losers of this spectacular event of 2 months prior. The rotators on what is left of these machines are crumpled like tin foil, and there are holes punched in the quarter inch steel of these tough farm machines. With axles broken and rusting steel trying to penetrate the hard packed ground, this graveyard, this monument to the crossover of work and fun is a nerve in the search for America. Like Jimi Hendrix burning his guitar, these sinewy men and women are sacrificing the tools that bring their harvest to the rest of the country. Nowhere else have I seen such a dynamic display exercising the frustrations of isolation and self sufficiency. Beneath the hum of naked power lines and under the watchful eye of grazing cattle, I paid homage to this testament of the human condition. The next stop was Potholes State Park. Beyond the earthen dam holding back the Potholes reservoir, the land is pockmarked with 40 some seep lakes, left by the exhausted glaciers that made their rest in this harsh landscape. The park itself held little interest by foot or ground based vehicle. A few square miles of wild brush filled plain was all I could see. To achieve the full effect in viewing the texture of this land, one would want to fly a cessna or helicopter over the park. Hiking this area would leave much to be desired, like a horse and chaps.
On the way North to Rt. 2, I was tearing through Orchards and farmland. Peppermint was in the air, and teaberry trees were interspersed with those famous Washington apples. I dropped by a fruit stand and met Maxi. A girl who's high on God, and asked me what the most important thing that I've learned in my life to this point has been. She was actually let down when my response did not involve anything directly biblical. I told her that the most important thing I've learned in my life was that being nice to people gets you what you want. She said she thought that being nice to everyone begs emotional falshood. That she is unwilling to be nice to those that offend her, and that she wouldn't pull off being nice to everyone. I informed her that she doesn't have to be nice to the offensive, just don't put yourself into situations where you have to deal with them. She and I had similar opinions on organized religion, and very different opinions on theism. The moral is: I was nice to her and she gave me free fruit. Alot of it.
Up to Rt. 2 and I'm attacked by a vicious tumbleweed. I demolished that tumbleweed with my tires of doom! It didn't stand a chance!
Dee had made mention that I might enjoy going by way of the Columbia River Valley. I now consider Dee a woman of refined and exemplary taste! The Columbia River Valley is simply stupendous. You round a corner and the scablands open into a thousand foot sheer rockwall miles wide. This is an AMAZING canyon. Almost as good as that big one in Arizona. There are orchards as far as the eye can see, and whole cities based in this gargantuan gash. The orchards stretch straight to the cliff face. It exemplifies the concept "fertile river valley".
On Rt 2, just before the Cascades is a small town called Leavenworth.Everything from accounting offices to fast food restaurants are decked out in Bavarian script and architecture. As you enter the mountain range, it feels like being on the Autobahn. The cascades look like they have been worn down by millenia of freezing and thawing glaciers. It is obvious that there have been rivers gushing down the sides of these mountains. My bike climbed to over 3600 feet that day, At that height, I can no longer accelerate in 5th gear uphill. There's not enough oxygen. Looking over the crest of this mountain, you KNOW it's going to be a long decline. It starts at a 6% grade and then gets steep. A quarter of the way down the steepest section (felt like 8%) is a 120 degree turn with loose rocks. WHAT GENIUS WOULD PUT LOOSE ROCKS THERE!?!?! They were piled in the right hand lane an inch deep. I'd rather go over the Mackinac Bridge again! At those declines, you can't sit back in your seat, and are actually holding yourself up on the handlebars. The next sign denoting my altitude that I saw was an hour (and 30 degrees F) later. It said 192 feet. I'm glad that I stayed in Spokane and extra night, I would not have wanted to take that pass at night. The trees out there are HUGE. And covered in inch thick moss. It is absolutely beautiful.
NO MORE MOUNTAINS!! I have taken Rt. 2 to the end. It's like saying goodbye to a travelling companion. On Rt. 5 now, straight into Seattle. So on the way into seattle, I was on a crowded highway in the right lane about 20 feet behind the pickup in front of me. All of a sudden, the road changed from smooth asphalt to half inch grooves in the pavement. I didn't see it coming and I wasn't prepared. I was going 70 and the bike almost ditched. I pulled it up in the nick of time and tried to get into the next lane, but the height of the road cut was 4 inches. I couldn't get over it and I kept rubbing the side of my tire on it. The traffic started picking up and going around me. With some quick thinking I pulled hard to the right and hopped the shoulder on the other side, behind the cones and over the cut ledge. I got to the next exit and was shaking so much I couldn't hold my keys. My adrenalin kicked in and wracked my nervous system as hard and fast as a bullet. I eventually calmed down enough that I could ride again, and the sweat on the grips of my bike dried out.
Into the city, and straight to Tina's pad. We went to Studio 7 to see BettyX. Studio 7 is deep in the industrial district of Seattle, so they can be "as loud as they want as late as they want. She spent all night talking to her piercer John Durante. He owns Laughing Buddha piercing and scarification studio. Check it out at www.laughingbuddha.com . He recieves a fair bit of fame, and has developed a great deal of notoriety as an amazing piercer and cultural anthropologist. A cool cat with earlobes hanging down to his chin and tattoos climbing up his neck and down his sideburns.
I still want to get to the Pacific on the motorcycle. I have selected a name for her. "The Lady", although "Syzygy" was my second choice. Thank you all for your participation. Now, to get a job. Tomorrow morning starts the pavement pounding. When I get out to sea, I will be unable to publish for however long I'm out there. I will endeavor to take notes, but I doubt I will be able to. We shall see.
Look at me, I'm doin' it!
Questions?, Comments?, Hate Mail? Send it to Pete or John
08/07/06 Issue 8 - Nooooorth Dakota where the wind comes sweeping down the plains
08/02/06 Issue 7 - Grooves, Grates and Gravel
07/30/06 Issue 6 - Moon Over Parma
07/28/06 Issue 5 - I LEAVE TOMORROW!!!!!!!
07/24/06 Issue 4 - Why Jersey, and what's the holdup?
07/23/06 Issue 3 - Is this fraud? and Welcome to Delaware
07/22/06 Issue 2 - MVA, Headaches and Miracles
07/21/06 Issue 1 - Mission Statement