Start – Wallace, ID 7:20am
End – Kirkland, WA 5:40pm
Very tired tonight. Again. Hpe I’m not fighting off a cold and am just nose stuffy and kinda burnt from so much riding. Stitches has been coughing out her lungs all day. Could hear it behind me on the bike. And Sidekick is still recovering. Kinda fun to watch him sneeze at 70mph. We’re all on various meds. Only the old people are healthy. We hates them. Seriouslys.
Very pretty ride today. Started out kind of boring from Wallace, ID to our first big stop in Coulee City, WA, second stop of the day. Again, just like from Montana to Idaho, the change from Idaho to Washington yielded almost no abrupt change in appearance. At times it was still very woodland, densely treed (Ed. Note: I’m shocked that is a word. I think Word thinks I’m using it as a verb. There’s no way “treed” is an adjective.) mountains with the freeway cutting a curving concrete swath through the valleys.
Not long after reaching Washington we entered the plains. Rolling grass oceans as far as the eye could see. More interesting than Nevada, for certain, but not awesome. (Ed. Note: Wonder if the Nevada or Washington tourism boards are going to ask me to write anything for their advertisements? “Washington: More Interesting Than Nevada, But Not Awesome in Some Parts Like the Plains.”) Almost hit a baby deer. Damn Bambi was standing in the middle of the road, gave me a head fake, and actually ran just ahead of us for a moment before darting back under the railing and out of sight. (Ed. Note: Stitches attracts deer, apparently.)
Got some interesting looks in Coulee City when we stopped for gas and snacks. I put chaps on before leaving, it was a colder day, and when I walked into the QuikeeMart/Diner attached to the gas station conversation hiccupped. What, never seen a leathered up Dirtbag before? Maybe they were checkin’ me out in my chaps. Told Sidekick that’s the real reason I wear ‘em- they make me feel sexy. (Who doesn’t feel sexy in chaps? Honestly. Why do you think John Wayne made so many cowboy movies? Did I just insinuate something about the manliest man ever? I may have.)
From there our next stop was Leavenworth, WA. Since Stitches and I were leading we (I) got to choose the pace and the stops, which was kind of neat. Leading is lot of work too, keeping everyone in sight, watching the road ahead, staying at a steady pace (Ed. Note: without leaving Lillypad too far behind), talking on my cell phone, texting, posting on Facebook, napping…oh wait, some of that is what the cagers around us are doing while piloting a two-ton weapon. My bad.
The highway, the 2, took us over some pretty mountain passes and sweepers en route to Leavenworth. (Ed. Note: This route was chosen based on a suggestion from Stitches dad. We looked and it added six miles of distance and one hour for riding time. You know that’s gonna be a good road.) At one stop I was taunted. Road construction forced us to wait for a one-lane road behind a camper with a Stratoliner on a trailer! (Ed. Note: My bike! In a little cage! Papa Rocket actually got off his bike and took an iPhone picture of it. He’s mean. So’s Sidekick, who pointed and laughed at me. *pout*) It was so sad. All I could think was, “Look what God is doing to me, man!” Damn God. Jerk. (Ed. Note: Glances around for signs of lightning. Nothing. Safe. He must be helping some sports team win right now.)
Leavenworth is a cute little town. Much like Solvang, CA but Austrian instead of Dutch. We cruised the shops and ate lunch. (Ed. Note: That’s right, tough-guy bikers, cruising the little shops, checking out tchotchkes and the like.) Nice. On the road.
Next was the final stretch of long road for the day, following the 2 across and over a mountain range that brought us all the way up to 8,000 feet. For the most part it followed a rapid river, leading me to create a new Biker Road Rule: The Rapids Road – Any road that does follow the path of a river shall be awesome. I’ve ridden plenty of river-mirroring pieces of pavement, including a few on this trip, and they are all fun. Thus, it is Law.
Got pretty cold up and over the pass and for the first time since day one there was a real threat of rain, dark clouds hovering at summit-level. The temp caused Sidekick to ask for a stop on the side of the road so he could layer up. Someone wasn’t paying attention at the last gas stop when we warned everyone about what was coming. *grumble* (Ed. Note: This is why he is Sidekick today and not Too Good. I was grumpy about the whole stopping thing.)
Up and down that range was high speed twisties Stitches and I tackled with confidence and smoothness, at times stretching out little group so far I could barely see Papa Rocket’s space ships laser in my mirror. We were bombing through it, coming into wide sweepers hot, scrubbing off speed at the last moment, and racing out to the next one. Felt great, in sync with the bike and the road. And it didn’t rain, which would have seriously cooled my jets. Dry and fast all the way.
No rain at all until our last gas stop of the day in Monroe, WA, just 30 minutes from Stitches’ dad’s house, our final destination for the day. Sprinkled the whole way here, nothing too bad. Hope it goes away in the morning. It’s better than wind, though. Out in the flat and even through some of the mountains Old Man Wind bullied us around in our lanes, trying to throw of our tight staggered formation. By now we’re used to his games though, and he’s easy to deal with.
Here in Kirkland, WA Stitches family minus her brother are in for a BBQ. Very nice of them. Tomorrow we hit Canada! I can smell the maple syrup and hockey pucks already. We will have reached the northern border and it feels like we were just staring over the fence at Mexico. What a trip!
379 miles today
2435 miles total