Day 5… le fin

Day 5

Day 5 woke up somewhat early going by the past few days’ record. Got up, showered and went to Linda’s Restaurant again to get breakfast. Breakfast was a hotcakes shortstack and a side of eggs. The pancakes of course turned out to be so super-size that I could only manage to eat about a quarter of the serving.

I wanted to take the shortest path home that I could while still catching a couple of good roads on the way. I crossed back over into Washington, heading north towards Goldendale and then on a little backroad – Bickleton Highway – that would lead through Bickleton and end at Mabton, where I would get on 82W and then 90W home. The backroad was about 60 miles long and a little out of the way but it really paid off because it was completely remote and scenic. You know it’s a good ride when you’re not checking your speedo, but just going with the flow and responding automatically to the road without thinking about it. The towns that the road went through are hardly even deserving of that description, but it’s what you would expect going through rural America.

Hitting 88W was a reality check of the dreary freeway slabbing through miles of arid desert that lay ahead before I was finally home. I wanted this part to be over quickly. :| Got off at a little town called Buena to catch another supposedly scenic backroad to Moxie City. The road led through the Yakima wineries and I suppose it was pretty but the dry heat was getting to me and I was getting a little hungry by now.

Stopped at Moxie City and went to the grocery store to get supplies for lunch, then rode over to the local state park and sat in a shady grove of trees to eat a well deserved lunch and a bit of a nap.

From here on it was back to 82W where it had gotten really windy – almost as bad as it had been on the gorge. I slowed to a 60mph crawl in a 70mph speed limit zone, which sucked but I didn’t feel safe going any faster when the wind was trying to rip my head off every few minutes. :| Got off at Ellenburg and took Highway 10 to Cle Elum so that I could go a bit slower. It helped a bit with the wind because there was more tree cover.

Getting on I90 at Cle Elum turned out to be a nightmare because of a massive traffic gridlock. The view of the bumper to bumper traffic miles ahead made me worry that that’s how it was going to be all the way to Seattle. This turned out to be unfounded though as the freeway split up into more lanes and traffic finally started moving. I managed to get up to a comfortable 70-80mph pace for the rest of the ride. It was a relief and a delight to finally be riding back through typical Pacific Northwest foliage with the cool weather and the evergreens fringing the freeway. I had never quite noticed how pretty I90 was for an interstate. It was still a bit windy but exceedingly manageable. I pondered all the things I would do when I got home to figure out how I could beat the wind the next time – install my old windshield, try to get a closer fitting jacket so the wind wouldn’t billow around in it, see the suspension could be tweaked at all to make it handle better etc.

I got into Seattle at around 6:30PM – way later than I had hoped – but it was still sunny out. Rode into the parking lot, parked, unloaded. I was home. It wasn’t quite the ride I had had in my head when I had started out, but it had had its moments.

Photos coming soon.

Off soon….

It’s almost the long weekend!! A few more hours before I skip town. I am taking the day off tomorrow and WFH today so that I can leave early and ride down to Astoria. I’ll spend all of Friday wandering down the Oregon coast, enjoying one of the most scenic rides in the United States. On Saturday I need to be in Eugene, OR for a party in the evening (same biker party I went to last year), so depending on where I spend Friday night, I’ll have to find some cool roads to explore during the day.

The party should be great. I’m looking forward to meeting a bunch of people that I made friends with last year and haven’t seen in a while. Last year they had a HUGE bonfire and flaming tetherball, which was good times. ;) Sarah’s riding down from Portland too and between the two of us, you can bet there will be trouble.

Whenever I am ready to get out on Sunday morning, I’ll hit the road again and head up north to ride the roads around the Columbia River Gorge both on the Oregon and Washington side. I’m not sure if I can do both banks on the same day or if I’ll have to split it up to the next day, but I intend to spend the night at a friend’s place in Washougal chatting again about bikes and his big adventure ride from last year. Monday morning I’ll be seeking to find the fastest way home and get back to Seattle mid-afternoon so I can relax and maybe catch a SIFF film.

It strikes me that this is the first time since the summer of 2007 that I will be doing a somewhat long solo ride! While I have ridden a lot between then and now, it has always been with other people – a little strange for a loner like me.

All my bags are packedĀ  and waiting to be hitched to the bike. I’m bringing my tent and sleeping bag as I intend to camp for at least a couple of nights (solo camping! eek! yay!). I’m bringing my netbook and of course my camera and attempt blogging while on the road. Basically I’m trying as much as possible to simulate my upcoming X-country ride on a smaller scale to work out all the kinks and get a better idea of what I need to bring along and what to leave at home.

A few more hours!! Can’t wait… can’t wait!! :D

Rolling hills, pouring rains, hailstorms, flaming tetherballs… oh my!

Rolled back into town a couple of hours ago. Too late to do a writeup, but I did manage to upload photographs. The highlights are posted under the cut. Try and connect the dots. :)

This is my favorite one out of the best ride I’ve done in Oregon.

All photos here: http://picasaweb.google.com/000redbaroness000/MemorialDay2008. And some under the cut.

(more…)