Dave's Counter-Clockwise Tour 2003

Day Nineteen

by Dave Schultheis

Friday, August 15, 2003 - Spokane, Washington

I slept well, and was awake around 6:15 a.m., got up about 6:30 a.m., dressed, packed and loaded the bike. There was a Continental Breakfast in the lobby: donuts and bagels, juices and coffee, hot water, apples and oranges. I believe I had some juice.

Dave Clements called on the cellular phone and I passed along my progress. He said that things at work were the "same old stuff, but worse."

I checked out of the motel and was outta there at 8:55 a.m. Pacific Time. The initial temperature was 72 degrees, but after riding west for a while on Interstate 90, it was 80 degrees.

There isn't a lot of anything along this stretch, which incidentally is also U.S. Highway 395 from Spokane to Ritzville. I stopped at a convenience store in Sprague, a couple miles down WA Highway 23 from the freeway, for a resupply of Mountain Dew. While there, I talked to a guy with a red pickup truck who complained that he could not go to Sturgis this year. Oh, well.

A while later down the highway, the temperature reached 90 degrees. I stopped for fuel at a Union 76 Station in Moses Lake WA at 10:50 a.m., where it was 92 degrees. There was a lot of traffic as this is a recreational area, including a couple of state parks and several reservoirs and dams. While at the gas station I talked to a guy and his wife on two bikes, with one child on each bike.

As I continued westbound, I noted that the sun was up there, and it was hot, but clouds blocked the sun. Sometimes it's better that way.

There were many places along the highway where there were lot of bales of hay piled high and covered with tarps. Most of the hay that I had seen east of here had been in big rolls.

I'm not sure who posted it, but there was a sign along the highway saying "crop names in fence, next 14 miles." That was nice. It's always good for city folk to be reminded that things actually "grow," they don't just magically appear on grocery store shelves. I recall seeing signs for peppermint, alfalfa and potatoes.

As a matter of fact, eastern and central Washington remind me of long stretches of Interstate 5 through the middle of California, with fields on both side for miles.

Also, they irrigate their crops here, unlike in the midwest, where they pray for rain. Or so someone told me somewhere along the way.

At 11:20 a.m. I stopped at a rest area, made some notes, and noticed green grass (a good thing) and seagulls (not a good thing). Rats with wings.

I was able to ride another 70 miles/70 minutes before stopping at another rest area near mile 90, 94 degrees, and it was a nice, wooded area.

Not far ahead, however, was Snoqualmie Pass, and while the thermometer said it was 80 degrees, it seemed cold with respect to how warm it had been.

I saw a sign for the Washington State Patrol's fire training academy, and took the ramp hoping to find a sign. In fact, after a little looking, there was a very nice sign at the side of the road, and it made a nice photograph.

Then, as I got back on the highway, I overtook and then passed a military convoy, and waved at numerous fatigue-clad personnel, as a way of welcoming them back from serving, and hoping they would be with their families again soon.

At exit 25 in Preston (near North Bend and Snoqualmie WA), I turned west on WA Highway 18, heading toward Tacoma. Somewhere in here I saw a bumper sticker on a car that said "Atheism is a non-prophet organization."

At 2:20 p.m. I stopped for fuel at a Union 76 Station in Kent, where it was still 80 degrees, but again, felt cool. I continued west on WA 18, then turned south onto Interstate 5, where I used words like awful, horrible and terrible, to describe traffic conditions. Of course, it _was_ Friday afternoon, and I was just askin' for trouble.

Somehow, with the help of a lot of cursing, I got down to exit 104 and turned onto U.S. Highway 101, then took this road and that road, and then a few others, and ended up at a certain get-together at 5:20 p.m., where it was 70 degrees, and I was cordially invited to park right over there on the concrete, so I did. A very nice touch.

I finally got a chance to see the new construction, which looked great, and eventually a music system was set up that could play tapes and CDs through loudspeakers. I also enjoyed looking at the open-air old car museum, which was impressive.

The weather was beautiful, many had already arrived, and many were wearing name-tags. I always have my name rocker on my vest, and I know that name-tags aren't common with this crowd, but it surely helps people remember who's who. And of course, it was fun pickin' out who was wearin' someone else's name tag.

On the scene were the usual suspects; dp & Big Red, R.E. & Connie, Dennis & Kelly, Snarl & Jeanne, Amanda H., Penny & Skiv, LESDL, Glenn T. (who answers to many monickers), Bob Veatch, Paul Shirron, Dave Nichols, Diane (harleywoman 883), Kurt B., Red, Snarl's brother Bitchin', Dale Reitz & Dorinda, Redbeard Bob, Banker Bob and Beccy, and Barbara Lanter. Some of the gals had ridden in and left their guys in the dust behind them. Some of the folks had ridden an incredibly long way, and some of the folks had flown in and were picked up at the airport.

Dutch and Katie were pointed out to me, but they were a little overwhelmed by the crowd, and took a while to get friendly, as might be expected.

There was lots of socializing and beer and music and beer, and the setting up of tents. I set mine up in a fairly flat spot, while others did the same, over a wide area. My Sprint PCS phone didn't work here. Darn, another weekend to enjoy without interruption.

Dinner was set out: lasagne, salad, cold drinks, and wow, strawberry shortcake!

Other arrivals were Phil B., Jordon, Rob & Elsie from Clear Lake CA, Bjorn and his brother Sasha, who were returning from Alaska (!), Chuck L. and Agua Noggin, and Ralph from Oregon, whom Snarl calls Rog.

I retired to the tent around 10:00 p.m. It was at this point that I realized I had chosen a spot that was fully illuminated by the street light on the side of the house. The only way I could deal with this was with a hearty "oh, well." It's a good thing I'm old, and don't let these things bother me. Next time I will choose my spot more wisely.

Miles for the day = 364. Miles for the trip = 6364.

Tomorrow: much conversation, many new arrivals, and oops, what happened to dinner?

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Created on February 13, 2004. Updated on March 1, 2004.
David W. Schultheis, San Josť, Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County, California, USA