Sunday, August 4, 2019

HWY 2 - Day 12 - Cashmere, WA - End of HWY 2
Final day traveling the Great Northern.  Filled Ol' Sport with the last tank of high test.  Filled me with a big breakfast and several cups of steaming hot coffee.  Heading into Tumwater Canyon HWY 2 sweeps through the evergreen conifer forests winding along the raging Wenatchee River.  Rolled on the throttle, leaned and pressed into the turns...WOW...What a Ride!  Shadows on the road filled with cold air.  Couldn't help but think of the past two weeks on the road with O'l Sport.  Didn't want it to end.  Maybe we could just keep going down the road together forever.
At the crest of the Cascades the road climbs up and over 4,061 foot Steven Pass. The highest and northern most Cascade pass.  A popular ski area, Stevens Pass dishes out grand views of the surrounding peaks.  Stopped to take it all in.  Didn't want the moment to end.
From Stevens Pass it is a downhill run to the end of HWY 2 in Everett.  A few miles down the narrow curving asphalt a small pull-off provides access to one of the regions prettiest and most powerful cascades of bone-chilling snowmelt.  Deception Falls is the perfect example of a classic roaring waterfall.
Far too quickly I was out of the tranquility of the Cascades and on the final leg of my 2800 mile journey.  Pulling into Emerald City Harley-Davidson to drop off Ol' Sport I was met by my two beautiful granddaughters and family.  The perfect ending.  My daughter made a special dinner of fresh caught local salmon tonight.  As we sat around the table talking and laughing about some of my road stories, it became clear what I had experienced the past two weeks on the road.  I had experienced America. The land, the places, the people that make up our great country.  America the Beautiful.

O'l Sport and me.  Just a couple of cool dudes traveling light and simple down that ribbon of highway which connects us all together.  Gonna really miss O'l Sport.  Handed over his key with a misty eye.  Had a hard time walking away.  Stopped and took one final look back.  Put a big smile on my face.  O'l Sport and me.  What a time together. 

A favorite Hunter Thompson quote keeps running over and over in my head tonight..."Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!"

WOW...What a Ride!

Kickstand down western end of HWY 2 - 136 miles.  Missing having' O'l Sport's key tonight hangin' on my belt loop.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Saturday, August 3, 2019

HWY 2 - Day 11 - Wilbur, WA - Cashmere, WA
Peaceful sleep last night in Wilbur.  Hope they get the relaxation bed fixed before my next visit.  The Columbia Basin has been the centerpiece of massive project dams and reclamation projects.  Beginning in 1934 Grand Coulee Dam is one of the civil engineering wonders of the world.  At the southern end of the dam project HWY 2 crosses Grand Coulee.  A big body of beautiful blue water.  The area is a popular spot for boaters and anglers.
One of the last of eastern Wahington's unirrigated landscapes is the Moses Coulee.  The Coulee is an 800-foot deep gorge bounded by vertical walls of brown and black volcanic basalt.
From the rolling plains above, HWY 2 cuts down into the coulee, then back up the other side, passing through some of the Columbia River Basin's sole remaining sagebrush and giving a strong sense of how profoundly irrigation has change the region.
Standing at the center of fertile wheat fields 10 miles east of the Columbia River backed off the throttle entering Waterville.  The town was built in 1886 with a population of 1162 strong individuals today.  Stopped for gas, but the pumps weren't working.
On the road for eleven days now.  Rhythm of the road is deep in my soul.  Been missing some good fresh fruit.  Feil Orchard...The Good Fruit People.  Two brothers growing some of the best peaches, apples, and pears in the greater Wenatchee area since 1906.
Pulled to a stop. Put the kickstand down, had one of the sweetest, run down your arm juicy as you bite into it,  peaches I have ever eaten.  Size of an apple, absolutely melted in my mouth.  Could go on but I won't.  Wenatchee is the commercial center of the Wenatchee Valley, and one of the world's most productive apple growing regions in the world.  Not to mention peaches!
With the rugged Cascade Range on the horizon HWY 2 left the lower plains and headed directly into forest covered hills and glacier carved peaks.  Stopped in Cashmere tonight.  World famous for Applets and Cotlets.  Visited the factory.  Ate my way through the sample room.  Highly suggested when you are in the area.

Hard to think about putting the kickstand down on Ol' Sport tomorrow at the end of HWY 2.  Actually...don't want to even think about it yet...

Kickstand down Cashmere, WA. 162 Miles.

be strong, be safe, Talon

Friday, August 2, 2019

HWY 2 - Day 10 - Priest River, ID - Wilbur, WA
How many cords, chargers, batteries, memory cards...list goes on and on...does it take to be a photographer in this current age of technology.  Biggest challenge on the road is to make sure each morning everything is rounded up, coiled up, packaged up, and loaded up before you saddle up.  Let's see, sure don't want to miss any ups.  Sweep the room.  Triple check all the outlets for devices.
Light rain this morning gave me a reason to delay taking off early.  Chance to do some laundry in the room.  Conair works as a good dryer while sipping coffee.
Stopped in at AJ's Cafe in Priest for some breakfast.  All the 6 AM regulars have their own coffee cup with name in this three calendar cafe.  Reminded me of my grandfather's barber shop in Arizona where every regular customer had their own shaving mug.  Nice to know these kinds of communities are still part of our country today.
The past two weeks have seen and stopped in a lot of small towns along HWY 2.  Some are deserted, some just holding on, some striving to be renewed.  Good to see a breath of new life along the way.  Hope would be for the renewal not to be one which loses the original character which build the foundations of these communities.  Time will tell.
Leaving Idaho HWY 2 becomes 150 miles of rolling farmland east of the Cascades. Dark spots suddenly appear from the side of the road.  Ol' Sport and me sweep quick to the left and then to the right.  It's a flock of wild turkeys deciding to cross the highway.  A blip of the throttle and Ol' Sport has those turkeys rushing back into the wheat fields where they belong.  Good thing.  Wrong time of year for a Thanksgiving dinner.
Small-scale framing limped along here for over a century.  The region underwent a wholesale change after WW II.  Irrigation water from reclamation projects turned sagebrush plains into the proverbial amber waves of grain spreading to the horizon against an (almost) always blue sky filled with never ending clouds.
Handlebars straight.  Not a curve in sight.  Directly across the heart of this sparsely populated, nearly treeless region to Wilbur, WA. where an old service station has been brought back to life as a drive-by expresso stand.  Must be getting close to Seattle.
Hoping for some relaxation after 10 days on the road...disappointed in Wilbur tonight.

Kickstand down Wilbur, WA - 165 windy miles (that's headwind windy miles)

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Thursday, August 1, 2019

HWY 2 - Day 9 - Kalispell, MT - Priest River, ID
This morning in Kalispell I was searching for a good  breakfast.  Hungry...ready eat.  Eating across Montana has has been an interesting experience.  Whenever the word "interesting" is used the actual meaning may be up in the air.  Sometimes Goggle or Trip Advisor works...sometime not.  Took a chance.  Plugged in The Knead Cafe in Google Maps.  Rode up and stopped in front of a nondescript building.  Open? Not Open?  Tried the door.  Sure happy I did.  Alissa met me with a smile, filled a cup with local brewed coffee, and served up the best carrot scone I have ever eaten.  She also shared local information on some places down the road not to miss.
Ordered up a mouth watering breakfast that did not disappoint. Now maybe I am carrying on a bit about a breakfast.  Here are the facts:  been on the road for 10 days, almost forgotten what great food tastes like.  To tell the truth couldn't eat it all.  Eyes bigger than my stomach.  Wrapped up that tasty scone and enjoyed it down the road a ways.
HWY 2 west of Kalispell was a perfect two laner.  Hardly another car, smooth road, enough twistys to satisfy any biker, scenery out of this world.  Doesn't get any better.  Took a break at McGregor Lake to take it all in and finish that incredible carrot scone.
How big is Montana?  It stretches for over 650 miles east to west.  HWY 2 takes you all the way across.  The state covers an area larger than New England and New York put together, but has a total population small the that of Hartford, Connecticut.
Between Libby and Troy the Kootenai River weaves it's course along the road.  It hits it's lowest point at Troy which is nearly the state's lowest elevation - 1,892 feet above sea level.
A popular stopping point is called the Kootenai Swinging Bridge.  The rickety old swinging bridge sways from cables suspended 50 feet above the green water of the river.  Walked out to make a photograph from the middle the bridge.  It never stopped swinging...and swaying.
Crossing into Idaho roughly five miles east of the Washington border, Priest River is a busy lumber town with two huge Louisiana Pacific mills dominating the local economy.  Watering the logs to keep them cool.  Has to be done.  Prevents instant combustion from the heat generated from stacking the logs together.
So many bugs on my leathers.  Ol' Sport is covered from headlight to taillight with them.  Have to stop every few miles to clean my dark glasses.  Even the bears in the area know that "Bikers Taste Like Bugs".  Makes you feel much safer knowing a bear might rather eat a bug than a biker...maybe.

Kickstand down Priest River, ID 210 Miles.

be strong, be safe, Carlan