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Filed Under Alaska 'O8

Decided to spend an extra day in Amberdeen to get some work done, and try to kick this on going cold once and for all. At lunch time, I walked down the street for some excellent fish and chips, and took some snaps of the town:

The next day I headed to Seattle, and was greeted with some perfect weather. There were a lot of bikes out, and I saw huge groups of riders heading west. Perhaps there was a rally or a race? I talked with a few riders at a rest stop, but they didn’t know what the deal was either. Everyone taking advantage of the sunny weather.


I have become convinced that route planning too far in the future is an exercise in futility. Yesterday, after leaving Battle Ground, I had a nice route planned. It got derailed immediately with a road closure. Going around it would have been hundreds of miles. So today I find myself in a completely different area than what was intended. But it’s all good. I think this new route is much better any way. Plus, can you really get tired of these awesome roads:

Instead of heading east to warmer temperatures, I went west to the Washington coast:

and stopped at Cape Disappointment.

Checked out one of the light houses:

Missed a good close up by two seconds:

View from the top:

Learning new things:

This is the light used. Somehow I figured it would have been a lot bigger, but the man said it can be seen 17 miles away. This is no bigger than a car headlight.

Slowly making my way north:

These gun emplacements were used to protect the mouth of the Columbia river from the bad guys. They were removed a long time ago. For a different war, and a different time. Relics from the past. I can only imagine the size of the guns that were placed here. I hung around for a long time exploring the various rooms and corridors. I tried to envision the power of the guns going off. The shock wave must have been huge. The concussion of each blast pressing against the surrounding area. It would have been a sight to see and an awesome force to feel.

The Cape of Disappointment does not disappoint. This was the end of the Lewis & Clark trail to the Pacific. The name remains an enigma to me. I felt the exact opposite. It was so good to see the ocean again. The smell, the crashing waves, just the sounds that radiate from it generate such positive feelings.

Having lived next to the Pacific for a life time, and not being near it for an extended amount of time does have an effect. Even if it is only a couple of weeks. Im not sure why the sight of the ocean is so significant. Perhaps it is the soothing factor. Living deep in a metropolis, the necessity of seeing such a large unoccupied expanse keeps one sane. I’m sure that this is probably typical of everyone. There is some oasis that helps mellow everybody. Of course, it’s different for everyone. In some cases, it may be the exact opposite, where the busy city acts as the grounding strap for a more remote and solitary life.

An island in a sea of mud:

Next stop was Aberdeen.

Needless to say, I ended up at the local bar in Aberdeen. A small group of locals started to gather, and I found myself actually feeling a little out of my element. There was a bit of a party going on for the departing bar tender Jill. I was about to finish off my brew and head for the door, when I decided to interject something in to a conversation behind me. That led in to another conversation and before you know it, I knew everyone at the bar and was even bought a round. Lesson learned: even when you feel you don’t fit in at all, make the move and see what happens. You will most likely be pleasantly surprised. Stayed here way too late. Im battling a bad cold, and should have hit the sack early, but I was having such a good time, it was hard to leave.

Some Aberdeen fun or what I learned (or at least remember) Aberdeen is the birth place of Kurt Cobain the late lead singer of Nirvana. I was told that the bridge that I crossed to get to this pub was where he used to sleep. Later someone else told me that it was actually a few bridges up the river. Well anyway, he slept under some bridge around here. No one could remember the last time they saw the sun. “Right to work” states are bad. Calling some one a “red neck” are fighting words. Everyone is horrified of LA, and consider all people living there queer. There is something not right when your car payment is bigger than your house payment. If you are going to Alaska, it is automatically assumed you are going to be a crab fisherman like in the “Deadliest Catch”. People on beemers don’t usually talk to the locals. Whaaaaat???

Good times.


Memorial Day Weekend.
5/24/2008 – 5/28/2008

I stayed with my friend Scotty and his family over the long weekend, and did some maintenance on the bike. No real ride report to speak of here, just maintenance.

I had a set of new tires shipped here. The tires that I had were fairly old, but still had some miles on them. Instead of swapping them out in LA, I decided to do it just before I get in to Canada, where no doubt they would be much more expensive.

Here is my trusty little bead breaker:


After countless beers and enough swearing to make a sailor frown, the bike had new balanced shoes. I’ve read about the necessity of balancing a TKC tire. If the bike was seeing only off road, it probably wouldn’t matter. But the reality is, the bike will be seeing a lot of tarmac, and knobbies are notoriously unbalanced. I had to add a lot of weight on the rear, and this is after I readjusted the tire position on the rim for the heavy side.

On the front, it was a bit different. Don’t think I’ve ever had to place a weight next to the valve stem.

Now to wear them in a bit. Is running a fresh TKC on wet pavement a good idea? I guess lll find out.

Than after a good scrubbing with warm soapy water, super soft terry cloth towels to dry her up, and finally, armor-all to make her shine, she was ready for the next MC show… please! The only washing this machine will see is the rain, and there is plenty of that here in Washington.


Today I headed to Battle Ground to visit a friend over the Memorial Day weekend. Didn’t really want to be on the road over the weekend, and this would give me a chance to do some bike maintenance. I crossed over the Columbia to the Washington side where there is a two lane road that follows the river. Much better than the southern side that has the Interstate.

Lots of dams along the river. They must be generating some serious power here.

Got in to a long conversation with a guy and his wife about my machine. They both seemed very interested in getting one themselves and selling their airplane. Hmm, going from airplane to bike? Id think it would be the other way around. I guess that shows you how strong the lure of the open road actually is.

Washington is so lush with vegetation, it reminds me a lot of Germany. Lots of narrow windy roads going through dense forest and brush. Quite possibly some of the best riding I’ve ever come across.


Next leg of the trip was to start going west along the Columbia river to visit an old high school friend. Interstates are the worst so I took a more creative route just South of the 84. What a perfect choice that was. Very twisty, almost no cars, and a lot of untouched country side. Only the occasional ranch to break up what seemed like endless rolling hills that extended forever.

Back to the Columbia, I was met by some serious head winds. Some of the strongest I’ve felt in a long while. Many cages passed by shaking their heads in bewilderment. What the hell is a bike doing out here in these conditions?

It sort of strange with high cross wind. The bike seems to bank in to the wind on its own. Sure, much of the time you lean and do what is necessary to adjust, but it seems when hit by a sudden gust, the bike does it completely on its own. I try to notice my own input, but there is nothing discernible at all. But I’m sure, I must be doing something. It’s odd to say the least. Why do I bring this up? I have no idea. Just some of the weird stuff that crosses your mind while riding.

I headed toward Mt. Hood to find a place a camp, and the temperatures dropped dramatically. Suddenly it went to freezing. Even the bike’s cold weather warning came on. I found a place to camp nestled between a bunch of RV’s with generators buzzing. Seemed everyone was fighting the cold one way or another. I stood there and debated with myself for quite a while. It’s freezing, and have no food short of a candy bar. It’s going to be miserable, but Im prepped to handle these cold temps. Im reminded of my graduation song from middle school “Should I stay or should I go now?” In the end it’s decided. “Screw this!” And head toward warmer temps to find a cheap motel in The Dalles. No doubt, Im getting soft. Very bad. Hopefully Alaska will toughen me up a bit.


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