July 16, 2014
Wednesday promised to be another hot day but not to be deterred; I launched the Spyder and went up the mountain looking for zombies and adventure. I found a little more adventure than I wanted and no zombies. I was beginning to think that it might be too hot for zombies in these parts. One never expects it to be very hot in Oregon and Washington which is the whole point of visiting these states in the summer time. You would expect it to be cool and drizzly but never hot enough to be a bother. They were having a bit of a heat wave. Being unexpected made it that much hotter.
I went up the Mount Hood scenic byway and enjoyed the ride up. There was nothing very remarkable but it was a very nice drive on a lightly used two lane road through the trees. When I made the turn to return to my motel things began to pick up a bit. As I often do, I let the GPS figure out the least traveled way home and this time it did a really good job.
I was soon driving one-and-a-half lane country roads which I very much like. Then I got on the East Lolo Pass Road which is 25 miles of one lane road. It had once been an Indian path and had not been upgraded very much since. It was fun though. I knew that if I broke down out there I was just going to die because they was nothing and no one on that road except for me. It would have been a good place for a zombie to hang out.
Then the road turned to gravel. Gravel and a belt driven motorcycle do not mix that well. First there is the traction issue which is not too bad since I have three wheels with no danger of the bike sliding out from under me. However, If a bit of gravel gets between the belt and the sprocket I would be looking at a $1k repair bill assuming that I could find someone to repair it. But on I went. Going back would have put me close on fuel to return the way I came.
E Lolo Pass Road
I went along slipping and sliding at a very slow speed and after about 6 miles of that I returned to paved road. I had made it. What could go wrong? As is often the case after asking that question, the sun and the moon and the stars line up to show you exactly what can go wrong.
The road continued to widen and my speed continued to increase as I ran along a little river enjoying the scenery on this deserted little section of highway. I made a right hand turn and 75 feet ahead a stop sigh suddenly appeared. I locked down on the brake causing the engine to cough because I did not have time to pull in the clutch, screeched to stop a few feet onto the road with which I was intersecting, and two cars crossed in opposite directions a few feet in front of the bikes nose. If I had run a few more feet past that stop sign, one or both of those cars would have hit me. Yikes! I have driven my Spyder for 70,000 miles and I have never had a closer near death experience. This zombie hunting is going to kill me.
I returned to my tow vehicle, loaded up and headed further north to Tacoma. I had some difficulty finding a place to stay for the night. I not sure what is attracting so many people to Tacoma at this time of the year but it is certainly not the weather which remains uncomfortably warm.
I met up with my niece Beth and her guy, Keith, and we had a nice dinner at Shenanigans on the Puget Sound. It was very nice there with the proximity to the water making just enough difference in the temperature to make it comfortable. After a nice visit with them I called it a night considering whether to continue my search for zombies or to return to my boring life in Manteca.
Puget Sound row boat