Day One by Dave Schultheis
This was a round trip by motorcycle from San Jose to Long Beach WA for Slimefest V, where I met with other members of the Pacific Northwest Brotherhood of the Slug. Long Beach is right on the Pacific Ocean, a few towns north of Astoria OR.
Slimefest V took place on the same weekend as a widely-known regional car show, which is spread out among several oceanside communities.
The motorcycle is a States Blue Pearl 1996 Harley-Davidson FLHR-I Electra Glide Road King with electronic sequential port fuel injection. At the beginning of this trip I had owned it for over 3 1/2 years and and ridden it over 62,000 miles.
Along the way I stopped for photographs of city, county, and state signs, and National park and forest signs, for the Harley Owners Group's ABCs of Touring. I use little plastic cameras; single-use disposables that I call LPCs, and sometimes stop along the way to get the film processed.
When I first mention a highway, I typically use the official name ("Interstate 5," "U.S. Highway 101," "OR Highway 217"), and then use "I-5" or "Hy 101" or "OR 217" on later references.
Even though I document crossing state lines, I often use the U.S. Postal Service's two-letter state abbreviations when referring to cities in that state, if I think it would be helpful to the reader.
Wednesday, September 3, 2003
I spent part of the day packing the T-Bag and loading the motorcycle, then set the bedside alarm for 4:00 a.m., and went to bed about 9:30 p.m.
Thursday, September 4, 2003
I awoke a few minutes before the alarm was to sound, then got up and dressed, including my new lucky green shirt.
After gathering the last few items, I went down to the garage, where it was 74 degrees, started the bike, and let it warm up while I put the last couple items into the T-Bag, already attached to the bike, and then put on my leather jacket and vest, helmet and gloves, then left home at 4:30 a.m., with a nearly full tank of fuel.
You can skip to the next paragraph if you're not interested in the route out of the valley. I rode north on Meridian Avenue with virtually no traffic, stopped at the Willow Glen Station (where it was 64 degrees) to mail some letters, continued north on Meridian, south on Interstate 280, and north on Interstate 680. I stopped for a load check at Jacklin Road (Milpitas) and took the opportunity to insert my ear protectors. I continued north on I-680, the east on Interstate 580 and stopped at North Livermore Avenue for another load check. All was fine, so I continued east on I-580, then east on Interstate 205 and finally north on Interstate 5 near Lathrop.
The sun was just beginning to rise, and traffic was beginning to build, as I passed through Sacramento, but except for a short section of road work north of there, it wasn't too bad.
At 7:14 a.m., 63 degrees, I stopped at a Shell Station in Woodland CA for 91 octane fuel, $2.399 per gallon, then continued north on Interstate 5, under blue skies, with some clouds, and cool temperatures.
As it turned out, I could have made it as far as Dunnigan, Arbuckle or Williams for fuel, but I didn't know that at the time.
Later, I stopped for a Highway 36 picture in Red Bluff, where I also removed the soft lowers from the engine guards, as it was 84 degrees. Just north of there, I passed a sign saying that it was 23 miles to Redding.
At 9:20 a.m. I pulled into a rest stop and called my friend Dave C., who, along with his family, was house-sitting in Jackson. I got his wife Pandora, as he was in the shower, and wished them a good weekend.
I stopped at a Union 76 station in Redding (exit 680 or 681) shortly before 10:00 a.m. for 91 octane fuel, still $2.399 per gallon. It was 88 degrees. Beyond there is Shasta Lake, several towns, and then Mount Shasta, always beautiful to see.
At 11:20 a.m. I stopped at a Subway restaurant in Yreka for a rest and a sandwich, 84 degrees, then continued north on Interstate 5.
I crossed the Oregon state line at about 12:05 p.m., 80 degrees, speed limit now 55 miles per hour.
A half hour later I stopped at a Shell Station in Medford OR for "mini-service," at $2.199 per gallon for 92 octane gasoline. It was 90 degrees.
Another hour later, I stopped near mile 76 or 77 on Interstate 5 for a broken down motorcycle. It was a guy who had been there for a while, fixing his bike, and he had everything almost back together again, but looked a little parched, so I gave him some water, and made sure he got back on the road.
An hour later I stopped for a short rest, and fluid, in Roseburg OR, where it was 104 degrees.
Another hour later, about 3:35 p.m., 106 degrees, I stopped at a Union 76 station in Creswell OR for another dose of mini-service, and got some 92 octane gasoline for $2.139 per gallon.
As I got into Eugene OR, about 4 p.m., I stopped at Doyle's Harley-Davidson for a clutch lever adjustment. They were able to do it right away, and as I recall, did not charge me. Thanks! The lever was much easier to pull. After a quick stop to see my friend Wendy, I was back on northbound I-5.
At 5:15 p.m., I stopped at the Santiam rest stop near mile 241, about 15 miles south of Salem. I met a rider on a BMW, who had driven a truck to Los Angeles, and was riding back to Vancouver, British Columbia. Talk about a long trip!
Back on the road, I turned north on OR Highway 217 at exit 292, and then west on U.S. Highway 26 for a long ways. The temperature decreased as I was approaching the coast. All along the way I was hoping to find an inexpensive, notch above scuzzy motel, but all I saw were big, expensive places.
By 8:20 p.m., I was in Seaside OR and it was 60 degrees. I pulled into a gas station, where the attendant could not get the card-reader to accept my card. After some amount of fiddling around (on his part), I got a few gallons of 92 octane gasoline for $2.129 per gallon.
I checked a motel, but the price was sky-high, so I stopped at the Dairy Queen in Seaside for a raspberry milkshake. That makes sense, doesn't it?
The only good thing about Seaside was that I passed a bar called the "Relief Pitcher," which made me chuckle.
In a few miles I was in Astoria OR, and then rode across the bridge into Washington State at 9:15 p.m. There's nothin' like riding through the woods, on a two-lane road, in unfamiliar territory, after dark.
I got into Chinook WA, then took U.S. Highway 101 through Ilwaco and Seaview, then turned onto WA Highway 103 into Long Beach WA.
A highly-esteemed Slug (with a poor sense of direction) had posted a message saying that the destination RV park was south of town, but I had not seen it, so I was getting a little concerned.
While riding through the "downtown" area, I passed another rider on a silver-colored Gold Wing. Something told me this was someone I knew. I followed it into the IGA (grocery store) parking lot, and sure enough, it was Evelyn from Alaska, on her new (to her) Gold Wing that she'd just picked up, somewhere in mid-America, and was on her way home, by way of Long Beach.
She was staying at a place in town, but had been out to the RV park where the others were staying, and she told me how to get there. It was a little north of town.
I found it a few minutes later. At 10:00 p.m., I pulled into Ma & Pa's Pacific RV Park, where it was 60 degrees. After a slightly "sandy" experience, I found the campsite where the Slugs were staying. Snarl & Jeanne were already in their tent, but Glenn ("gRIN") was still awake, so I greeted him, picked a spot and set up my tent. Sprint PCS did not work, so it would be a weekend without communications. (What a shame.)
It had been a long day, so I went to bed, I mean "tent," and got to sleep around 11:00 p.m.
Miles for the day = 834, a new personal best, in 18 hours. Whew!
Tomorrow: A scenic tour of Oregon and Washington, including a ferry ride across the Columbia river.