Miles traveled day 22: 399 (Seattle) Miles traveled day 23: 187 (Idaho)
Note: some of these photos will have to be double clicked on to see what needs to be seen.
Least we forget: The single biggest impression I get on traveling from Florida to San Diego and Seattle is the problems and issues asassociated with women and children in the jails and prisons of our nation is invisibility. Nobody thinks it is a problem because no one is researching, writing, or talking about it. To do any of those three is the first step in looking at a problem that is staring them in the face and nobody wants to own it. To own it means to accept responsibility for it. I guess th situation parallels the the German internment camps at the end of world war II. There was a great deal of denial they even existed. However, there were a lot of really good studies that came out of the whole mess after Nuremburg. Then again, the single biggest result was the trials of Nuremburg. I wonder if there will ever be a like set of trials for those responsible for the treatment of women and children in the jails and prisons of the nation.
The last 37 hours: We left Portland, Oregon yesterday morning, drove up to Seattle, had and accident, did the presentation and left for Spokane but only got as far as the east side of the cascades. However, we did not stop at Spokane because the KOA campsites were full and instead we pushed on to Idaho where we ended up in a Motel 6. The reason we did not overnight in Portland was that all the bike shops were pimping motorcycles for Sturgis and no way could we get tires and oil changed much less get a new furring. Traditionally, Monday is the day all bike shops close so rather than get stuck in Portland without putting any miles on our bikes we left for Spokane as soon as the presentation was over.
First Impressions: It seems as if no sooner than we crossed into Washington state that we needed to refuel. The only thing I can say is that God help the poor person that comes into this state and is not computer literate. There is one computer and it services 4 gas points on the island. It would not take debit cards. We did run into one gas station in the state that would not take credit cards. Don’t know why but this triggered a memory from filling up in Palo Alto, California. There was a big sign at each pump that said “Gas is 6 cents a gallon cheaper if you pay cash.” I had to think a minute. It means that the banks collected 6 cents a gallon for every gallon of gas on a credit card. No wonder they were so anxious to get rid of all the debit cards. And here I was foolish enough to think that the government was the only person that could tax gas by the gallon. Foolish me.
Bees, Wasps, and Hornets: I guess the second big impression that hit me was the number of men and women on motor cycles. Most traveled in packs of 6 to 15 and they were everywhere. Motorcycles coming down the other side of the highway sound like a bunch of bee,s wasps or hornets. The second biggest surprise was the number of paired riders.
Reserve Convoy: This was a sight that touched a raw nerve in me like seldom happens and don’t know why. Meat wagons are a particularly sensitive issue with me. My first thought was were are all the peaceniks with a war that is not a war that has been going on for ten years and it is not a war in defense of the US. Then my mind was pulled back to a conversation I had 4 of 5 days earlier in Menlo Park at lunch. This lady was telling that the local 3rd Civil Affairs Group was going on its 3 deployment. Now these are reserves not regulars and no one is even raising a voice. I think of all the men and women who signed up to be ready to defend the country on short notice in case of war and they are thrown into meat grinders for political objectives. Then I thought of all the families that have been decimated by the strains of repetitive deployments and kids that have been destabilized in their growth by the erratic deployments of a parent during critical stages of growth and development. And no ones seems to care. Its almost if they themselves are invisible and their sacrifices are unheeded much less unheralded.
Patriots, Citizens and Parasites: These are terms that are near and dear to my heart for obvious reasons. Our National Guard and Reserve forces are the true patriots of today. I define a patriot as a citizen that is willing to risk their lives, fortunes and happiness in defense of their country. However, talk is cheap and their is not always enough time to train a force so that all the ‘wanna bees’ can wear the flag. Then there are the citizens-truly to vote and pay taxes makes you a citizen of the great land. Included in this group are all of those men and women who have been deprived of their civil rights through modern day ‘Jim Crow’ laws and yet pay taxes and do good. All the rest that don’t fit into the patriots or citizens category are parasites of the land.
Bridges that lead to nowhere: Don’t think that I have ever seen so much road and bridge construction in my life. Along all the highways and byways that we have traveled which are well over 4,000 miles in the last 20 or so days, a day did not go by that we did not see construction or road constrictions. These are not investments with long term pay-offs in jobs. Oh well, there are minds a lot smarter than me working on that one.
Most important of all:This is the most important and utilitarian tool of all. I use it to stabilize the bike when the ground is wet and to keep the kickstand from getting stuck in hot tar. However, it is also used to hammer in tent pegs and balance the bike when loading it so that loads are not put on it cockeyed when the bike is straightened out. In a pinch, you can use it as a weapon and throw it.
The accident: On any ride of this magnitude there is going to be problems and we have traveled from Florida to San Diego and made it to Seattle unscratched. It was actually on the north side of Seattle in the final 200 feet that my luck ran out. Actually, you could say that it started running out in San Francisco where my psychiatric nerve in my right foot started acting up. For the most part, it was OK if I kept my right foot on the highway peg but then it has to come down in metropolitan traffic because that controls the rear brake. We were approaching the drive way to the Zen Center where we were scheduled to give the presentation. Our TomTom approached required that we make a last minute right dog leg up a 12 degree paved road and there was some sand coming out of the dog leg and heading up the hill. Joe was in front of me and surprised the by the turn and steepness of the slope as he pulled out of the turn. I was coming into the turn and when he slowed I have no choice. Being as we were hauling heavy loads that off set the normal center of balance you normally have to maintain a fast speed to maintain the equilibrium. It was Katie bar the door when I slowed down and all of a sudden everything went into slow motion. I knew I was going down and there were two things I had to do. The first was to let the bike down as gently as possible and the second was to get my right foot out from underneath the falling bike. I tried to arrest the fall but the weight of the bike and my leg was weakened by the psychiatric nerve. As strange as it may seem, everything was in slow motion and i was in perfect control of nothing. The damage was minimal and only the fairing was broken.
Farming the Wind: Coming out of the Cascade Mountains on the east side of Seattle is a windy experience. We camped just on the other side of the mountains and setting up a tent in a wind that seemed stead at 18 or so MPH and gusting to over 20 was a choir. However, driving the next day was challenging. Especially so with a weirdly broken fairing. As we crested a hill of sorts this windmill farm appeared. Like coming out of the Imperial Valley. All of a sudden there were a mass of windmills turning slowly in one of the most hypnotic of hypnotic fashions. Riding in a cocoon called an automobile, it was easy to miss the power of the windmills turning and the gusting of the winds. Had to look away a couple of times as I was getting lost in the churning of the windmills.
Adios and off to Butte, Montana tomorrow at 0700. The motor cycle shops are closed in Spokane and Idaho on Monday and rather than let the dust gather on our boots, we will go to Butte where there are motorcycle shops open Tuesday to replace the fairing and tires as their life expectancy is borderline. There is a reserved spot at the KOA and so we will be walking into a place called home.