Day One - September 3, 1997

Seattle, Washington - Spokane, Washington

276 miles -- 6:00 hours

This is a piece of realtime journalism documenting a motorcycle trip that I'm taking with my friend Mark Jennings. We are headed to a reunion with four other high school buddies. This year, we are meeting in Glenn Michigan, north of Benton Harbor.

We decided to take motorcycles earlier this year, and have been gradually preparing since June. In the last few weeks, the pace has built up dramatically as the departure date approached. We are planning to travel eight days out, spend 5 days with the Jerks, and then another 8 days back to Seattle. My intent is to attempt to capture some of the flavor of this 5000 mile trip cross country.

Posed and Poised

Posed and Poised

We started from Mark's house this morning at 9:30am. Janis and Susan bid us farewell, as we pulled away in comfortable 70 degree weather. Here we are posed and poised for the trip:

We have been slavishly checking weather forecasts every day for the last week, and it seemed like we might be able to slip out of town without getting rained on. Hah. Within 30 miles, we were in rain. At first I was certain that we were in a hailstorm with raindrop-sized hail, but then I realized I was wearing no face shield. It was just rain, pelting me at 55 mph. So we pull off the road and change into more substantial weather gear, except I forget to put on my rubber boots, expressly brought along for the purpose of keeping my feet dry. Within another 30 miles, my feet are soaked my leather boots. Then the gloves get soaked. When I finally pull my hands out of my gloves, I notice that they are black from the dye. Sigh.

We're headed east on highway 2 from Seattle to Spokane. Our goal is to avoid interstates and stick to the back roads, the blue highways. We are delighted to find all sorts of rustic little towns with quaint names like Waterville, which somehow seems very appropriate, given the fact that it is still raining. So far, I have gotten pretty much everything I have with me wet, and we haven't even had lunch yet!

We slog on and I learn a lot about riding in the rain. If you're going in a straight line, and you're not cold, and you're not (too) wet, it can be a tolerable experience. Not my first choice, but the road is headed in the right direction and we're actually making good time.

We arrive in Spokane after 6pm, with 276 miles on the odometer for the first leg, just as scheduled. We rode about 6 hours today. When we hit Montana and Glacier Park tomorrow, we should make great time, especially if the weather cooperates.

Here's our track for today's trip, courtesy of my GPS unit (mounted on the handlebars):

Seattle - Spokane (43354 bytes)

Should be an adventure.

Signature.jpg (1492 bytes)