More than two weeks ago I started this motorcycle ride to Reno, Nevada, then on to Crane Springs, in Crane Oregon to attend the Giant Loop Ride ride, (test ride a Harley Panamerican) then on to Boise, then Portland, Tacoma and finally ending the trip in Seattle. However, I still have to get home. Today as I write these last few words I’m now in Santa Rosa. Nearby is Napa wine country and my weather just went up about thirty degrees since this morning.
Two days ago I left the final city of my five state ride behind – Seattle – for a return trip back to California. Canada is still closed until maybe June 21, 2021, so will have to wait till the next visit in September. We are riding the Olympic peninsula in September. Thank you all family and friends for making this journey so special. Tonight two weeks later is my first motel. I either motocamped or stayed with you! If you are reading this and have a work project that is at least a days ride from my home reach out and I’ll come help. I can either motocamp on your property or you feed me well and we’ll knock out that project.
People like me feel like they are still that young kid on a bike. And we all know that when you are a kid, every day is still an adventure waiting to happen – and later, or tomorrow, is just a new beginning. A grandpa on a motorcycle is one who brings a sense of adventure, a little warmth, happiness, wisdom, and love to every soul that he comes into contact with. I am grateful to have served that role at this stage of my life.
There’s a Washingtonian proverb that says that if you see Mt Rainier as you leave Washington, you will return one day. I saw Rainier, and then as I rode away, I started looking into my motorcycles rearview mirrors, just one last time, as Seattles skyscrapers kept getting smaller and smaller, and soon disappeared from view. Perhaps the memories I’ll cherish the most in my old age when I look back on this ride and story are the memories of playing with the grandkids of my two sons. They’ve become the husband, father and men that make me now so very proud. My eyes just easily cloud over and tear up at the memories we just made. Imagine that, a big bad bearded biker like me going soft just thinking of the wonderful time I just spent visiting with my sons and their families Love you 3 year old Max and four year old Elliot and baby sisters too!
I get it now why Seattle is called the Emerald City. It’s because of all that greenery all year round, even in the winter. Washington State’s nickname is the Evergreen State even though the eastern half of the state is more desert than greenery. Idaho is called the Famous Potatoes state but, I never saw one potato field in my travels.
My return ride home was down the Washington and Oregon coastline. My goal is to arrive intact with a functional brain – not fried on account of the record heatwave.
The rain that started in Seattle when I left stayed with me till I got to around Eugene, Oregon. Then I got a hankering for something fishlike- clam chowder or pho, to warm myself back up. I found it at the Eugene Fish market.
I tried outrunning the rain when I started seeing a clearing up ahead but, it was hard work making my way around those trucks that just have to go a little faster, move onto the fast lane, then chug along, I think I can, I think I can ever so slowly. At times I felt like I was watching a slug race.
(On the way up to Seattle from Portland) Unfortunately, for about four cars along the way that tried to do the same; the roads 60 mph overly conservative speed limit allowed the highway patrolmen to easily pick them off.
Before the speed limit changed to 70 mph I was radar shot from about twenty feet away. Thankfully, circumstances were all in my favor as I swooped in to pass from the furthest right lane just as three semi trucks up ahead battled for first place road supremacy. I only saw speed policing in Washington and now California. Didn’t encounter any anywhere else in my travels.
Suddenly one of the semi trucks swerves left fully exposing to me a radar gun wielding cop. He was pointing directly at anything that came across that lane. I quickly downshifted making quick work of my gears, quickly bringing me back down to this forced 60 mph speed compliance. I appreciate the conservative speed limit in the rain but, not now. This BMW 1250 GSA is such a dream to ride. I switched the mode to rain mode and suddenly little windshield wipers magically appear, the pavement up ahead dries up and stayed that way until I exceed the 90 mph limit. And if you believe that, a Park Ranger told me when I asked where the mountain was said; the large fans we use to clear the clouds are broken. And when I commented why the gas is now over $4.09 in California when it was always around $3.00 everywhere else I got told it’s because they have to barge it in because of the redwoods highway. The trucks can’t easily make the turns. One if those is true.
Washington is the most restrictive state I rode on this journey of five western US states. Both in speed limit and people walking or driving solo while still wearing their Covid masks. In several of the western states you can ride without a helmet but, if stuck in traffic cannot legally ride to the front of the line, saving you from a rear collision or worse, and breathing in car or truck exhaust gases. California gets it right when it comes to motorcycle freedom but, you need to wear a helmet and safety equipment to stay safe.
When I get back onto the pavement again, the only care in the world should be, today is the first day of the rest of my life; and onward to the next adventure. On my motorcycle I still feel just like that kid on a bike.
The Pacific Coast Highway is located in the U.S. states of Washington, Oregon, and California and it runs along two highways: US 101 in Washington, Oregon, and parts of California and California Highway 1 in the majority of California. From end-to-end, the Pacific Coast Highway is 1,675 miles long from Olympia, WA to San Diego, CA. I’m now at nearly 2400 Miles on this journey with about 400 to go.
The Shrine Drive-Thru Tree, is 50 miles to the south in Myers Flat, on the world famous Avenue of the Giants. Unlike the others, the cleaved opening was created primarily by nature, not man. “It’s nice to see a bit of authentic Mother Nature at work,” remarked one visitor. The first time I got to ride through a tree. For a fix of trees in their natural state, is Humboldt Redwoods State Park and the Avenue of the Giants that boast the largest and densest stands of old growth giants.
There’s a certain feel good feeling when you start the day off and every one talks to you. Even in the bathroom, an 80 something year old shared with me that it’s so great to be able to clear your throat again and not have people thinking you have COVID or something.
The waitress and cook at the Apple Peddler in Crescent city gave me a great start in my day. These two should be commended for their superb customer service. Hopefully, my tip reflected.
There’s just so many stories. Like meeting Joe today and learning about river boat racing.
Or how about this Oregon couple in their honeymoon. I made a comment about his blue 2002 Z06 corvette and he then proceeded to tell me the following; see her, pointing to his bride – she’s 74 and I’m 72 and we got married three weeks ago. We’re on a three week honeymoon.
“Wisdom doesn’t automatically come with old age. Nothing does – except wrinkles. It’s true, some wines improve with age. But only if the grapes were good in the first place.”
– Abigail Van Buren
Or how about this one.
“People like you and I, though mortal of course like everyone else, do not grow old, no matter how long you live.
Never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born.”
– Albert Einstein
Thank you for coming along on this journey!