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Day Thirteen - May 28, 1999

It's a Wrap

John Day OR - Seattle WA

9:00 riding time - 495 miles - 50 to 80 degrees

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John Day - The Barn

I should have been holding contests much sooner.  We had some great entries, as you shall see.

As you may have guessed, the lure of home was too strong for us to spend another day on the road, so we did the 'iron-butt' and went for it.  Those of you along for the '97 ride recall that Mark called this phenomenon 'smelling the barn', a phrase no doubt emanating from that time in our history when we all smelled like the barn.   So, to create new terminology for '99, you can't swing a dead cat around here without smelling the barn. 

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Another AOPA member?

Highway 395 out of John Day looked the like the right call, but within 20 miles we found a construction crew working on resurfacing the road.  This meant that only one lane of traffic could go by at a time, so we waited patiently for our turn.   This experience confirmed something that I've believed for a long time, that pilots want to be in charge and expect to get their way. 

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Scott chats up his only customer

We continue north to Spray, (perhaps named after an early settler who had a memorable experience with a skunk?) home of the Lazy Wolf Resort and gas station.   Mark arrives a few moments before me, chats up the owner Scott, so by the time I arrive Mark and Scott are best buds.  Scott and his son have a table set up with t-shirts, hats, and other souvenir junk from the Lazy Wolf Resort.  They are expecting big crowds this weekend, although so far we are the extent of his business.   There is a biker rally somewhere nearby and a classic car show in Bend.  Mark collects a real estate brochure and we are on our way.

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Gratuitous Scenery

After a few miles, we stop at an intersection and Mark suggests that we trade bikes.  I am somewhat surprised by this, but Mark has been muttering about needing a touring bike for our next outing, and that Harleys might not be so bad, and maybe he should own a Harley, so who am I to get in the way of the inevitable?  I am more than happy to oblige, and we exchange bikes.

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Mark experiences manhood Just another bike

Mark, eager to feel the throbbing excitement of the Harley's twin, races off down the road.

I crouch over this contraption, elbows to knees, feeling like I'm trying to hide from someone in a closet, and away we go.

Uh-oh.  Major boo-boo.  Because I ride behind a windshield all day long, I can wear a half-helmet that leaves my face exposed, allowing me to experience the rich variety of sights and smells.  But you recall that Mark has been playing the part of the human windshield, requiring him to wear a full-face helmet.  Now, I have a full-face helmet with me, only problem is that it's attached to the back of my bike, which is now half a mile down the road.

So I run this rice-burner through the gears, trying to catch up with the guy who's now on another planet.  Except that because I am now the human windshield, my helmet lifts off my head, pulling the chinstrap against my windpipe, my eyes start watering, all of the pollen in southern Oregon is now being filtered through my nose and throat, and I know it's not going to get any better.

I find a speed that minimizes the agony, all the while flipping the hi-lo switch on the headlights, but to no avail.  Mark is in a testosterone-induced euphoria, while my eyes are storing pollen for the next century.  Oh well.  I keep riding, trying to enjoy the posture of a jockey wearing a space suit. 

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Mark, after riding the Road King

Wrong *&$^%#& helmet!

Finally, we come to another intersection where Mark is waiting, a big grin on his face.  "Man, this bike is from another planet!".  I reply, "YOU TOOK OFF WITH MY *&$^%# FULL-FACE HELMET."  Mark finds this very amusing.  We return to our normal mounts.

As we continue, the mountains of Oregon become visible in the distance, a familiar sign indicating that we are getting closer to home.  The terrain continues to evolve. 

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Mount Adams in the distance More great scenery

We stop in Biggs at the Oregon-Washington state line, where we have our final encounter with Oregon's mandatory full-service gas pumping policy.  In Oregon, you are not allowed to pump your own gas.  But motorcyclists are very picky about how gasoline is put into the tank, and the attendants know this.  So they hand you the nozzle, and wait while you go through the ritual of trying to avoid removing the finish on your tank. 

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How many attendants does it take ...

During this trip, it has not been at all uncommon to see dogs in the back of pickup trucks.  Frankly, it hasn't been worth mentioning until today.  As I approach this white pickup, I notice that this dog's head seems kind of small for its body, and as I pull along side the truck, I realize it is not a dog.  Yeow!   Meow!  Wow!

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Don't mess with this truck!

As we arrive at Yakima, the time has come to decide whether we stop for the day, or press on to home.  Both of us are eager to continue, but neither of us want to take the interstate, so we choose highway 12 through a national forest where it seems that everyone has decided to camp for the Memorial Day weekend.  Camper after camper, loaded with boats, ATVs, jeeps, bicycles, you name it, a mobile suburbia headed for the woods for two and a half days.  Whee!

We have one final pass to go over before we can return to sea level in Seattle, and the only option at this point is White Pass since Chinook is still closed for the season.  As we climb up and up the mountain, it gets colder and colder, and we start seeing snow.  I am really cold, as cold as I've been on the entire trip.   Suddenly we come around a corner and there is a lake to our right, which is FROZEN.   And then to the left there is a ski slope that could still be open for business.  Wahh!

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There's a frozen lake over there!

Anyone for the slopes?

As we get closer and closer to the Seattle metro area, the lines of cars and motorhomes and campers get longer and longer, as more and more people head for the "wilderness".  I am sooo happy that we are not in that flow of traffic.

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Holiday traffic, going the other way

As we approach I-405, we part ways.  The longest day is over.

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Goodbye, my friend

At this point, it would be appropriate to thank all of you who have been along for the ride.  Knowing that you are out there, reading and enjoying our adventure motivates me to prepare these daily journals.  Thank you for all of the great email you've sent back our way.  The best part of the day for both of us was 'mail call', when we would check into the motel room, get online and see what the day's mail held.  You never let us down - there was always something to put a smile on our faces.

Will we do this again?  You betcha.  I have lots of ideas of how to evolve the concept of 'virtual vacations' that are limited only by time, money and imagination. 

If you decided to do something like this, here are a couple of tips.   First, use a digital camera to help you create the sequence of events you want to write about.  I use only about 15% of the shots I take, but the others help me remember what was interesting about the day.  I use Microsoft Image Composer to crop and squish the shots, using 50% compression on top of the JPEG compression in the camera.   And I'm using Microsoft Front Page to create and post the daily journals.   Once I got over some glitches the first couple of days, it's been very smooth sailing.  If you do decide to try it, contact me and I'll be happy to share my thoughts about how to do it.

A big thanks to Matthew Sutton and Steve Banks at SiteConnect, who graciously hosted the website and provided technical support. 

And in closing .... what?  What's that?  I'm forgetting something?

Oh, the contest!  You read all this way thinking that I was going to announce the winner of the "Best Mangling of State Names to Produce a City Name" contest!  Well, I guess I'd better or I'll have a virtual riot on my hands.


We received lots and lots of entries, so it's only fair to have several categories of winners.

In the "Best At Following The Rules" category, we have a tie between Greg Galloway and Willy Schuurman.  They really did send their entries on the backs of $20 dollar bills, although I'm not sure we can accept Canadian currency, Willie.

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Greg Galloway's entry

Willie wrote along with his entry "In a few years when Canada is known as the northern region of the United States of America, the town bordering the states of Alberta and Montana will be named "Al Montana" honouring some ancestor of the football great Joe Montana."

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Willy creates a new Canadian bill

Jane Sallis gets honorable mention in this category for saying that she would send her contest entry via snail mail, but since the entry was not received by the contest deadline, the judges are obliged to keep the entry and spend it as they see fit.   Jane's entries were 'Orca' (very environmentally appropriate), 'Texico', and 'CAAZ'. 

Charlie Derk gets the "Most Innovative" award for selecting the Four Corners states of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado, coming up with "Colorahzonaco", to which the appropriate reply is "God bless you!".

Craig and Karen Anderson get the "Most Likely To Become a Separatist State" award with "Virginland", and also took first place in the "Sounds Like Food" category with "Calzona".   Congratulations, Craig and Karen.

Keith Pickholz, taking the "Smart-Ass" award, pointed out that if you blend New York and New Jersey, you still get New Jersey.   Very good, Keith. 

Bing Gordon takes the "Most Prolific Use of Invented Names" with this submission:

Your next trip should be to "VirginLand", but wear leathers, not "MaryWare" or you'll meet the wrong people. "ArizIa" into that? Should "IAska?" Sorry, "MiSin." "TexA" all kinds.

It's "OKy" with me, but Jerks in pink might clash. If you want to paintyour "WaGon" pink, go for it. But don't "CalOn" me for help if a buncha Harley Dudes work the Jerks. "IdaGon" long before the trouble broke.

Take "NoTa" that, please. "INois" you will.

Best to the Jerks,

"MichIana" and can't wait till I "KenSee" ya again,


And finally, for the Grand Prize  ... drumroll ... (please go ahead and click on the drumroll)

From Bing Gordon, combining New Jersey and New York to create the town of ...

New Jerk

A big hand for Bing, and a big round of applause for everyone who participated!  Weren't they great!  Whew!  Bing, your grand prize is an all-expenses paid night at the Riker Mondo Condo in downtown Seattle, overlooking the historic Edgewater Hotel, where the Beatles purportedly peed out the window during their stay there.

OK, finally, in closing, and in all seriousness, I'd like to thank my buddy Mark for being such a wonderful riding companion and friend, my best buds Tom, Lyle, Carl and JerkMaster Jim for giving us an excuse to take this trip, and my lovely wife Janis for putting up with the final phases of our construction project while I was gone (see Thom, I told you I would mention Schultz-Miller construction before this was over).

Until next time, 

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PS - Lyle, your shirt is in the mail.