Today was a “fun”, no riding day. We were staying with John and Andrea, so we packed up and drove 15 minutes to their home. John lives on a funky little street, that really isn’t a street, more like a one lane road. The street is the access point for about 15-20 homes. What I failed to ask John was, is the road level. Once I arrived, which was no easy feat, I realized quickly that the access road was virtually straight uphill, probably an 8%+ grade. Not tough in a car, but on a bike fully loaded, two up, creates a MAJOR issue. As soon as I made the turn, I realized I was in trouble. I couldn’t stop the bike, for fear it would tip over, so I rode it to the top of the hill, where it sort of leveled off, but not really. With the kick stand down, the bike was leaning so much I thought it was going to either break the kick stand or fall over. I yelled to Judi to “jump off”, which she gladly did. We then had to empty the bike of all its contents, and Judi had to help me push the bike upright. I then continued my ride up the connecting street in search of a level area to turn the bike around, which turned out to be about 40 yards up the road. With the bike now going downhill, I was able to slowly creep back down the street. Since I knew which driveway I was aiming for, I maneuvered the bike onto John’s driveway, which also had a pitch to it! Once I got it stable, we were able to get the bike into the garage, which was FLAT!! So much for a nice easy day of riding.
The plan was to drive, in their car, into Seattle to go to the Chihuly museum. The museum is devoted to Dale Chihuly, an artist that specializes in blown glass (see attached pictures). It is indescribable what this man has put together during the past 40 years. If you are in Seattle, this is a must see exhibit.
John gave us a first hand tour of the city and then we went back to their home for a fabulous dinner. We ate outside on their deck and watched the boats pass by, on their way to port or out to sea.
Today Judi is flying back to Chicago. With this last little issue on the hill yesterday, I think she’s ready to say goodbye to the motorcycle trip. John took her to the airport and I took off for the mountains, and all points east. I routed myself through the Wenatchee Mountain range directly east of Seattle. John told me about a little town on my route called Leavenworth, who’s architecture is reflective of a small German town. He was spot on, all the way down to the brats, which I sampled for lunch.
What I have noticed in today’s riding, is how varied Washington’s landscape is. In the morning, I was riding through some of the most spectacular mountain roads you can imagine. Once I exited the mountains, just after lunch, I was greeted to a landscape that was arid and void of trees or any other large plant life. It had its own special beauty, but strikingly different from a few minutes ago. It reminded me of a moonscape type of appearance, but with some grasslands thrown in just to add some color. What I have also come to realize is that just because their is a name of a town on the map doesn’t mean that their is a real town there. I can’t tell you how many towns I ridden through that are towns in name only, with no services. So my new rule is, get gas pretty much whenever I have the opportunity.
I ended my day in Lewiston, Idaho, which I can only assume is named for the explorers Lewis and Clark, since the adjacent town was named Clarkston (duh!!).
I wanted to ride a famous motorcycle road, Rt. 12, through the Lola Pass, which just so happened to be a few miles from Lewiston. While riding to Rt. 12, I was struck by a large bug that managed to hit my left cheek and get between my sunglasses and my eye. Thank goodness I was on a straight road, because I immediately went into self preservation mode and started to rip at my glasses in order to get him out, which I eventually managed to do. (I really should ride with the face shield down). When I arrived at the start of Rt. 12 the sign read, “Curves Next 99 Miles”. This is a bikers dream, and it was. The road followed the river for the next 80+ miles and provided breathtaking views of both river and mountains. Some of the homes, or should I say mansions, that overlooked the river were beyond belief. It took special concentration on my part not to spend too much time looking up at some of these homes. Even though I was at least 1/2 mile away from the houses I could get a real feel for their massive size and scope.
Lunch was at the Lochsa River Resort, which is just off the main road. It has a few brand new, really cute log cabins for the overnight guests.
Just to give you some idea of the scope of Montana, there are 1,000,000 people living in the state, which is 147,000 sq. miles. It ranks 4th in size and 44th in population. When riding through the backroads you notice mail boxes, which means a home is within 5-6 miles!!
I motored onto Helena, which is the state capital, and got a room. Tomorrow I may be riding through Indian Reservations, depending on the route. Will keep you posted.
View from John’s deck and Chihuly Art
Riding in the mountains, raging river just below my bike!!
Leavenworth, WA AKA Germantown
I’m in Montana, can you tell? Saw the sign first then 200 yards later!!!