Gary Gardner (grgardner) wrote,
Gary Gardner

Road Trip Tech Rehearsal

I’ve been laying a bit low after the legislative session ended, letting my mind go blank, re-reading Atlas Shrugged, my favorite book of all time (on my I-pad), and noticing how close to the truth Ayn Rand really was.  I realize I’ve not updated this since session ended, although, like many writers, I’ve got lots of notes and ideas for posts, I’ve just not gotten off my ass and sat down to write.  If I’m ever going to actually be a writer, I’ve got to do more writing, so I’m setting a goal of at least a post a week when I’m not out on the road riding – in which case there will be more!


I’m gearing up for what has started to become an annual tradition – the May Road Trip.  Two years ago I did a big loop down to Las Vegas and home via Colorado and Utah.  Last year I rode down the coast on US 101 and back up north on US 89 – my family “main street”.  This year I have been toying with the idea of riding down through New Mexico and Texas and visiting some friends in Austin.  I’m not sure how realistic this is, but it’s what I’m aiming for.  I’m going to leave one day next week – not sure when.  And I’ve got to be back by June 5th at the latest.  I’m going to aim southwest and just see what happens.  How’s that for a vague “blow with the wind” trip?  This one is going to be interesting for sure.


My friend Ritchie and I did a “Tech Rehearsal” dry run this past weekend.  For you non show-biz types, a “Tech Rehearsal” is a practice run with all the gear testing to see if it works or not.  We decided to ride over to Ocean Shores – since in 15 years Ritchie has NEVER been to the coast.  We left mid morning on Sunday, Mother’s day, and promptly got caught in a backup of ferry traffic for the sunny gorgeous holiday.  After we sailed over to Port Orchard, we stopped at a favorite biker bar for lunch and ran into my editor from Quick Throttle magazine who proceeded to tell me about the latest controversy I’d managed to generate with my column.   It turns out that he got a complaint that my use of a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King and the use of the word “negro” in the quote was “offensive”.  Why exactly it was offensive I don’t know – either it’s too redneck of a place so mentioning “coloreds” is bad, or it’s too PC a place for me to use a quote from MLK to illustrate a biker point.  We don’t know.  I don’t care.  But hey, at least people are reading it.


After a long lunch we hit the road and enjoyed the winding back woods all the way to the coast and Ocean Shores.  For the third time I rode the bike out to the edge of the earth as far as I could. 


 After that we checked into our hotel and decided to get a kite and go fly it.  Now even though I look somewhat like Charlie Brown, I had no trouble getting this kite in the air.  The wind ALWAYS blows in Ocean Shores, so all I had to do was hold it up and let go.  It was actually kinda fun, something I’ve not done in a long long time.


Packing and unpacking the bike, hitting the road, the ritual of the road trip, and the daily habits all started coming back on this “tech rehearsal” – like riding into a small town, finding a motel, unwinding a bit, and then finding dinner in a local joint someone recommended.  However I had forgotten that small towns, on Sunday nights in particular, tend to shut down.  EVERY place we tried, including an Indian casino up the highway was closed by 9pm.  Even McDonalds!.  Small town folks forget to turn off their neon “open” signs too – so  the faux lighthouse that sold tacos and espresso (there’s a combination one shouldn’t eat when on a motorcycle especially) was, despite the sign, closed.  We had to settle on a local redneck bar, where the desert choices were green or orange Jello shots with whipped cream.  These were NOT church supper Jello shots too, at least Mormon church ones.  There were NO carrot shavings for sure in this Jello.


This upcoming road trip will be different in one way though. With my new I-pad I can get really good weather updates and satellite pictures of roads and conditions which is really nice.  It was what helped us decide the next morning to NOT go back directly to Seattle, but rather ride 300 miles around the Olympic Mountains.  The small rain storm we had on the coast had moved back towards Seattle so we figured that if we rode north and around the mountains we’d miss the storm.  If we put on the rain pants we’d be sweaty and hot too, but would guarantee no rain.  We were right. 


We filled up the tanks in Ocean Shores, bought a Gatoraid in a sippy bottle for me, and a Red Bull for Ritchie.  (I questioned the wisdom of this – Ritchie who has ADD combined with the metabolism of a hummingbird already, and riding a sport bike, all while ingesting a Red Bull seemed ill advised to me, but he handled it OK)  We headed north up through the wonderful town of Humptulips

and went some 40 miles without seeing a single car. Ritchie (who is black) worried we might start hearing the theme from the movie Deliverance, but all we saw were lots of log truck which tended to blow him and his lightweight sports bike all over the road.


Riding north on US 101 along the coast it felt like we were on the edge of the earth – and in many respects we were.  Its desolate, lonely, little population, no cell service, and no traffic on a Monday morning.  Its also quite hauntingly beautiful. 

By lunchtime we’d made Forks, Washington – and entered the “Twilight Zone”.  Quite literally.  It’s the setting for those awful books and movies that the tweenage girls and their Moms are all a ga-ga about, with vampires and werewolves and such.  It’s set in the remote logging town of Forks, and has made it something of a tourist Mecca for folks into the Twilight books/movies.  It reminded me very much of other small Washington towns that become the center of movie mania for a year or so – like North Bend when the TV show “Twin Peaks” was big, or Roslyn, when “Northern Exposure” was big.  Every shop sells t-shirts and nick nacks.  Roslyn still tries to sell things and the show has been off for 15 years!  It’s really very sad, and this time will end for Forks as well.  But right now there are sandwich boards advertising walking tours, multiple t-shirt outlets, many on the same block, and even the diner where we ate had a sign saying “Welcome to Forks – Population 2335, Vampires 8, Werewolves 5”. 

After lunch we turned inland and started back down towards Port Angeles and back to Seattle.  We caught a 550pm ferry and made hit home by 630pm and promptly rushed to the hot tub for a soak.  I realized that my back, legs and ass aren’t used to being on the bike for long stretches and I’m still hurting two days later.  When I head out next week, I’ll have to take it easy until I build up some tolerance and strength.  The bike had a few issues, so she’s in getting tuned up as well, but that’s what Tech Rehearsals are for.


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