Monday, August 14, 2006
High Desert Harley
Day 13 August 14 Monday - 400 Miles
Yesterday I met a couple from Canada (ever since I go to Great Falls, MT it seems like 80% of the Harley riders were from Canada) who was touring with their Harleys and their 13 yr old daughter. The girl rode behind dad on his bike and mom had her own. They were doing about 4-5,000 miles. Most daughters that age don’t want to be on the same continent as their parents.
I checked email and investments; saw that the market would probably run up today and most stocks did not have much going on so I hit the road.
The first 100 miles to Walla Walla, Washington on Hwy 12 from Lewiston were great. At first, I ran alongside the Snake River. Then, it pulled away and continued to run down through a small canyon. The road was a biker’s dream. If I had had a sports bike, I would have let it rip at over 100 in places. The turns were constant radius instead of the often treacherous decreasing-radius type I sometimes encountered in Colorado. For those of you who don’t do turns, a decreasing-radius turn is one that tightens on you as you go into it. So, I could set the lean angle and just go.
At Walla Walla, the road became very congested until I hit hwy 730 that led to I-84. Sadly, I had to pass Kennewick, home of the Kennewick Man. The Kennewick Man is a skeleton that was discovered there and has since become the source of a great deal of controversy. Native Americas, under the N.A.G.P.R.A. (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act), have a right to remains and skeletons and other funerary cultural objects that are discovered or in museums. Thing is, some anthropologists believe that the Kennewick Man is non-Native American, even though he dates back thousands of years. According to some people, he predates Native Americans. Here is a link: http://www.kennewick-man.com/
I got on I-84 as it clung to the edge of the Columbia River, and just hauled butt. It was 90 degrees by now, and the cool morning ride along the Snake River was only a melted memory.
Finally, I got to Hwy 97 and turned south. Oh, great, now I climbed out of the river valley and up onto the High Desert. I swear I thought I passed the skeletons of some Harley riders, still astride their rusted bike, their fat little bodies now only bleached bones. It was a l-o-n-g 140 miles to Bend, Oregon. There was no wind, which was good unless I had a tailwind. The windsocks on the pitiful excuses for airports (small strips) were as limp as Richard Nixon's protestation that he was "not a crook".
On the last stretch, I could have had a great view of a volcano to the west, but NO, the smoke from a forest fire somewhere north and west had thrown up a grayish-red pall that obscured the view in all directions.
Hey, what’s with the Oregon law about pumping gas? I stopped to fill up and this yo-yo comes out and stands by the pump…in between me and the pump handle. He keeps looking at me and saying “Hi.” After the third, “Hi,” I say, “Can I help you or something?”
He says, “Yeah, I gotta pump your gas.” You know me with my hard of hearing ears right? So what do you think I heard him say?
Well, anyway, we work that out and he said, “I’ll just swipe your card and hand you the pump, you can do the rest.”
OK, it’s a bad joke but it’s true. And I asked me why it was the law and he says, “Oh, for safety. Or for jobs. I’m not sure.”
So I pump my own damn gas, and what does he do? He leans against the wall and lights up a smoke. Gimme a break for crying out loud.
I get into to Bend in time to run by the Harley shop and get a full fluid oil change. You know what HD stands for don’t you? Hundreds of dollars. So Harley Dav idson did to me what the attendant didn't!
I’m in, clean, fed, tired, and going to bed. Tomorrow I continue south on hwy 97 and do the Crater Lake tour. Time for the good camera.