I could see heavy dark clouds up on the pass, so I pulled off in Cle Ellum to check the weather and top off the tank. An incoming massive 5th Wheel driven by an elderly couple who shouldn't be driving that big of a rig pulled in ahead of me at the gas station and while I was waiting for a pump, I asked the lady who disgorged herself from the contraption if they had come from the pass and if it was raining. It was, she said. So, after filling up, I struggled into the rain suit -- hoping that as usual, it would, after all that effort, keep me dry and hold off the rain. Any biker will tell you the surest way to keep the rain away is to put on your rain suit, and guarantee of rain comes when you ride into a storm thinking it won't rain.
And I stayed dry almost to the top of the pass, and I was thinking the rain suit guarantee worked. Then it hit -- and not just a light grocery store produce isle mist that we tend to get a lot of. This was a heavy downpour. I knuckled down and gritted my teeth in the face of the storm and rode on through, cursing up a storm. Wouldn't you know the last 40 miles would be in rain on the last day of an epic journey.
Its a long rough ride down Snoqualmie Pass anyway, and even longer when one is doing it in the rain. I remember at the end of the Corner to Corner ride Tony and I did in 2008 from Key West to Cape Flattery. After we left Cape Flattery and were headed to Seattle, I passed a sign saying "US 101 South" knowing we could ride it down to San Diego. At the time, after crossing the entire USA I had the fleeting tempting thought to keep going and turn off down 101. There was no such temptation today, nor was there a road to tempt me at all.
The rain finally stopped as the pass tapered off in Issaquah, and it was dry the final 15 miles to the house. I had packed up my i-Pod when I changed into the rain suit, but my head was singing the Kathy Mattea song "18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses. Ten more miles, on his four day run..." And so I pulled into my driveway after being gone nearly three weeks. It looked like my house hadn't been lived in for quite some time, with weeds growing everywhere and fallen pine cones and even a paper in the driveway. I've got my work to do the next few days.
I killed the engine and sat there for a moment leaning back against the t-bags, reflecting on the journey and realizing that I'm home again. This was the last time I'd unpack the bike for a while. The bike after the storm is now a filthy mess and so a day detailing it is in order as well, as is a trip to the bike spa at Downtown Harley Davidson for some new oil and a once-over after this long trip. The bike performed flawlessly, and shows just what an incredible bike HD can builds -- it's 6 years old and now has almost 60,000 hard miles.
So just how long was this trip? Here's some stats:
- Miles: 4,400 on the nose. (Hows that for a coincidence? starting odometer 51511, ending 55911)
- Days on the road: 19 (May 15 to June 2)
- States traveled through: 13 (TX, LA, MS, AR, OK, MO, KS, IA, NE WY, UT, ID, WA)
- Harley-Davidson t-shirts bought: 13