I met up with the people I'm riding to Vegas with at the truck stop in North Bend Washington, just before the final push over Snoqalmie Summit on I-90. I'm riding with two couples and a single lady -- all members of my HOG Chapter who are going to Las Vegas for the same meetings I am. We rode up I-90 which is a wretched road, full of truck ruts and grooves. It was cold over the pass with snow on the hills still. We exited off and took the old road through the Yakima River canyon into Yakima (the self-proclaimed "Palm Springs" of Washington -- yeah, I think of Palm Springs because Yakima has so many fine resorts, hotels, and golf courses... yep). We rode down the valley on the old highway which parallels the old Northern Pacific railway, and we got to chase a very long grain train for many miles. We crossed the Columbia and into Oregon (where you aren't allowed to pump your own gas) and stopped for lunch in Pendleton.
During lunch it started to rain, and we rode in rain for the next 200 miles. Rain rain rain rain rain. We headed south on US 395, and what was a pretty road would have been spectacular had it been dry and sunny. While it was nice, hardly any traffic, no towns, and nice mountains with high valleys and ranches, it was wet. Even with rain gear and leather I was wet. Wet and cold. It was so nice to turn the heated gear on and stay warm in the rain. All my clothes are now drying over the baseboard heaters in the motel. The bike is so dirty I can't stand to look at it. I took a nice long hot shower to warm up when I got to the motel in Burns Oregon, some 498 miles from the home in Seattle.
Dinner was at a nice steak house across the street, and now I'm back settling in and getting ready to hit the hay. We are in a really "nice" motel in Burns. Not that there is a lot to choose from. But hey it has free wi-fi unlike big Hiltons or Hyatts which CHARGE for wi-fi. However the nice folks did leave a kind notice on the bed. It reads:
"For your convenience and protection this room has been digitally inventoried prior to your arrival. Should there be any items missing from this room or damaged when you check out you will be charged for them. This includes smoking in a non-smoking room, burning holes in bedding carpet or furniture, using motel towels to clean motorcycles boots or guns, or cleaning birds in the sink or tub." Cleaning birds in the sink or tub?
You know part of the reason for the ride is to allow me some time to think about things as I'm riding. With no radio to distract me or people to talk to for miles and hours at a time it is a great time to think, or to sing songs in your head, or just watch the world go by. However when one is cold, wet, and being pelted by rain for 200 miles and five hours, one tends to only think about how much longer the rain will last, or how long until we stop and get off the damn bike!
I feel free and on the road, but so far have not been able to do much thinking. It's only the first day, I've got many more ahead.