After work on friday, I came home, changed my clothes and loaded up the bike. I was ready to hit the road and ride over the 4,500 ft White Pass and get over to Ellensburg, WA just as soon as possible. Pat, the Chapter Coordinator from Lewis County was going to ride over with Robin and I. The others from our "prospective" chapter had already headed across the mountains a couple hours earlier. I guess that is the price I pay for working for a living. Anyway, we headed out, and hit the road when Pat arrived.
Things were rolling along pretty good as we rolled through Randle and saw three of the elks herd in different fields along the highway.
Then, as we rolled into Packwood, a big cow elk ran up onto the side of the road and I let go of the throttle, downshifted and hit the brakes. I could hear Pat on his bike behind me over the sound of Gypsy's straight pipes saying: "Whoa!" The elk didn't go any farther, but you can never tell with those critters. And as many of the people who ride with me very much know, I seem to attract Mother Natures critters as I ride. As we got to the other side of Packwood, we passed a small part of the Packwood herd lounging in one of the motel parking lot's lawns. After that it was clear sailing up to the summit of White Pass.
By the time we reached the top of White Passit was almost time for it to start getting dark. It was already cold as a withes tit, so I bought a hot cup of coffee before we headed out. Since Pat had electric glove heaters (imagine that) he bought Robin and I some of those chemical hand warmers to slip inside our gloves. We had about 80 miles to go to Ellensburg, and I knew it was going to be too dark to ride the Yakima Canyon into E-Burg, so we just headed off down the east side of the pass. Up until we rounded "Deadmans Curve" and had to stop for road construction to repair the slope just below the road because about 500 ft of it slid down the hill a week or so ago. I don't mind stopping on the road for repairs. It is just that I have had two Brothers go down on that corner over the years; one dislocated his shoulder, and the other had his bike launch over the rail and down several hundred feet into the canyon below, while he slid under the guard rail and got torn to pieces by the posts supporting it.
We beat feet down the road, and I am glad I swapped over to my clear yellow glasses before we left the summit. I'd have ridden right off the road with my dark shades on if I hadn't. Near the bottom, a big elk was laying dead across the white fog line on the road. About 100 feet further on was a little car pulled off almost into the ditch with his four-way flashers on. Just too many critters out an about going "bump in the night", and most of them big enough to kill a bike if it was unlucky enough to hit it. We kept going without really slowing down much. I figure we were cruising about 60 to 65 mph. Can't say for sure, Gypsy hasn't had a speedo since November of '09. But I am pretty good at 'guestimating' the speed within 5 mph or so.
When we topped off the tanks in Naches, I told Pat that we'd be better off to just hit the freeway and make some time than try to ride the "Canyon Road" in the dark. I mean why ride a cool scenic road in the dark when you can't see anything. Especially the critters that might be coming down to the river alongside the road for water. We rolled out of Naches, into Yakima, and headed down the freeway over a couple of ridges before the freeway dropped down into E-Burg. We rolled into the Days-Inn, and Pat went to his motel to get checked in.
After we got checked in and unloaded the bike, we called Pat, and met him at a truckstop near by for some food before we crashed for the night. I was really surprised by how many people there at the motel and diner knew who I was, or about the chapter we were trying to form. Things were definitely going good. I parked Gypsy over by the Indian trike Mo & Charlene rode over, along with a few other bikes. She wasn't going to get under cover for the weekend, and it didn't help that it rained that night, and into the early part of the next morning. But I'll leave that for next time. It's almost chow time now, so I'm going to bug out of here.
Catch ya on the road sometime...