June 03, 2005 GMT
Did I say the 29th?

Quick update: Left on 30th. In Seattle at Green Tortoise Hostel tonight.

A dump, but standards have been lowered substantially after sleeping in tent in rain, and in hostel dorm with worst snorer ever. Day One went up to Blue Lake CA to mom's studio.

Day Two to a campground outside of Crater Lake in Oregon.

Roads closed in winter are still closed now. Descended back below the snow line to camp at rain line.

Managed to see Crater Lake the next morning, but the rim road is not open.

Night Three in Portland at Hawthorne Hostel after long I-5 drive. Not terrible: except for the snorer. Here’s the culprit—John, an SF fire medic:

Day Four spent on I-5 to Seattle. Took detour to see Mt. St. Helens. Saw only fog, but valley below impressive. No one else around!

St. Helens

St. Helens

I seem to be pushing winter northward as I go. If I wait two or three days I'd probably have sun the whole way. This hostel computer is equivalent to typewriter: no corrections possible, no uploads, no backspace. Miracle no errors yet. My bike doing fine, if pushed around by wind a bit. So what's it like, you ask? If I were to recreate without aid of motorcycle, I would say it's like sitting on an uncushioned bar stool in the #2 lane of freeway traffic during a Type V hurricane wearing sandwich board and plastic pail on your head.

Earplugs discovered on Day 2. Much improved. Now just like sitting on stool on tarmac behind747 blowing frigid air while holding two cricket wickets against wind. And the pail on head. In the rain. For 8 hours a day.

Somehow managing to continue North and not turn tail for home. Budget busted three days out of four. Camping in BC and YT and AK should bring that down a bit. Note to self: Must spend more time in Portland some day. Burning much oil; doing 80 mph on freeway will do that. Metal on metal sound from water pump when stopped makes me think washer left over on ground after tech day was probably mine. Uh oh. Saddlebags slightly singed on pipe, but OK otherwise. Developed "tweety" sound endemic to KLRs after wide open freeway riding. Instead of Harley, now sound like 1964 VW Beetle.

Lessons learned:
Corn on cob raw not that bad.
Tent not waterproof.
Earplugs essential.
"Dirty" is relative.
Shoulda brought a laptop.

Riding like this is hard: I'm cold and wet, rained on, bugs on shield, traffic dangerous. Wind pushes you, muscles constantly tense, concentration at 100% constantly. But when you are on a two lane road through 150ft high redwood forests and you lean into a turn and you see the double yellow line give way to a dash on your side, you know the road straightens out after the next tree. So you twist the throttle more, pegs already near the ground, and you press yourself down into your seat and zoom into the next straight seeing trees and mountains and sun breaking through the clouds and no cars for the next mile, and it's all worth it. Photos and more when I can.

(Photos now added! 12/17/05)

Posted by James McPherson at June 03, 2005 08:13 AM GMT

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