MOTORCYCLE DIARIES part 2

Bike all tested, and milk shake slurped, the days of riding begin. First stop is a reunion with my old sober riding club, Alky Angels. I dropped in on the nearby camp out to see old friends, meet new ones, and take a great ride on their Poker Run. Before the run was the Blessing of the Bikes, by long time AA member Pastor Marv, a true holy man. Off on the run we blasted down the mountain road.  I simply love riding in a pack of roaring bikes, knowing everyone in that pack is sober is a real plus. The leader took us off on some back roads outside of Yakima, winding up at the Yakima HD dealership, biking bike wash and all.

Bike blessing,
brrr brave girls, Charity Bikini Bike wash

I bid my dear friend and generous host, Chris, adios and headed to the first of many hot spring destinations. This route took me from rolling high desert up into the Blue Mountains and to the rural town of La Grande, Oregon. With altitudes over 4000 ft it did get a big chilly.

The spring feeds into a small lake, where water tempts reach 140f, amazingly the lake is teaming with fish, a Darwin-esque breed of Carp that thrive in the high temperatures. Hot Spring Lake Resort is a high end, antique quality establishment. There are five pools offered to guests and day trippers, temperatures are right in my liking 105-106f. I enjoyed two days of sweltering soaking water and chilly air. As the resort rooms are way past my budget, I opted for a small hotel in town, ten minutes away. One of the many budget priced hotels I would stay in all with bubblingly friendly staff. Give me a soft bed, tv and wifi for around $100 usd and I am a happy- not to be camping- camper.

the 149 degree F lake and tubs.. on a cold mountain day.

Bones warmed up and aches gone, off I went. Next location was one I had tried and failed to get into before, Carson Hot Springs, as they only had opening that gave me an extra day, I stopped at The Dalles Or.  I found an AA meeting at a senior center and plotted the course in my new fang dangled bike nav system. Upon arriving I saw no one was there, around back I found an old beater car, a head popped up so I asked about the meeting.  Apparently, this one was hit and miss and I missed. Ah but the angels had another plan. The poor soul in the car, mid aged, toothless, clearing living in the old Ford, said he had 48 hours, “this time” indicating a life of suffering. I chatted with him for a bit, gave encouragement, talked the talk as it were. I said nothing unique or original, simple program he had likely heard over and over. I did see a glimmer of hope as we talked.  Here we had the AA program down to its origin, a guy with some sobriety talking to a guy desperately wanting it. I left him feeling blessed, sure hope he does well.

I headed over to the Washington side and followed an incredible scenic highway westward along the Mighty Columbia River.  The old Woody Guthrie song came to mind, and I sang, Roll on Roll on Roll on Columbia Roll on Roll on, all the way.

I arrived at Carson Hot Springs, checked in early so bought a pass to the sauna/tub room. They have two sections, the sauna/tubs were one can fill the claw foot antique tubs to the temp one desires, or can stand, this is a pay for extra. The main pool area is quite modern, the large hot pool is adjacent to the chilled pool. I like to bounce from hot to cold. I went into the town for dinner, found a nice Bar/Grill type place and had a scrumptious smoked Sockeye Salmon dinner, I do miss real salmon so quite a treat.

Arose to a sunny warm day, did a last soak, packed up and headed to my dear sister’s home. I was finally back on familiar roads. I spent the next few days catching up with my sister, her long time BF, my great step bro and nephew. Got to see a few old friends as well.

One friend took me to the old hangout bar his parents used to own, a place with many memories. When I moved away, I donated my stuffed Buffalo head to this bar and there it has hung for almost forty years. The waitress was amazed to hear the histories both us old timers told, my Buffalo Head, the moose head that his father shot. She replied, “always wondered how those things got here”.

A unique facet of my old hometown was the music scene. That area produced some incredible pickers and music community.  Several great old dive bars would host Jam Nights producing some fun times.  The remnant of that culture still goes on and I got to go to a Sunday afternoon jam.  We went to such a happening, lots of grey hair, canes and fantastic music, it was wonderful.

All caught up on family and friends I headed to Vancouver Canada where I will pick up Donna in a few days. The route took me on one of the wonderful albeit financially neglected Washington State Ferries right into downtown Seattle.  The view of the Seattle skyline is spectacular. One stop in the city to pick up the new license plate/registration for the bike and northbound I went. A brief stop at Canadian customs, a few questions and “have a safe ride” from the agent and down the BC highway system I rode.

  One last hot spring for a while, I went to the spectacular Harrison Hot Springs, again found a budget hotel, run by Filipinos! The public pool is so-so, the big expensive resort has some splendid soaking. I thought, hey why not, so went to the front desk to see if there was any way I could do the luxury soaking.  The staff lady said no way, sorry, then said, maybe ask –pointing next register, the manager. I chatted, pleaded, wined with him, again no way, but mid-sentence walked off, came back and motioned me around the corner, handed me a towel and a guest pass, said “ enjoy”.  It is just that sort of random kindness I am finding wherever I go, makes the world a better place.

ahh the hot pool at Harrison resort,

I wanted to be close to the airport so I got a room online at a good price not really knowing what I got. Well what a score, the Orchid House is just that, a large house in a nice suburban neighborhood. I pulled up on the bike after a drizzly cold ride and a middle aged Chinese woman greeted me. In broken English she took me to my room, only one of three, giving me all the rules as we went. The room is quite nice, there is a common kitchen and living area, all incredibly spotlessly clean. My host showed me my part of the cabinets and the part of the refer marked #1. Rather than sit in a crowded restaurant, I went 2 blocks to a Safeway, got salad makings and the joy of real crisp large salary sticks, something we don’t have back home. Funny how we miss certain foods. I was so excited I sent Donna a picture of the salary and cherries I bought. Next to the store was a pizza place, picked up 2 pieces, road back to the House and had a wonderful dinner with cherries and massive strawberries for dessert.

Donna got all checked into the flight, I went to bed. Her flight left 5:30 am my time and about then I heard the beep of my phone that I had a message, got up and saw she had made it through customs and was boarding, yahoo, i have her hot biker chic leathers all waiting!

She is so excited, the number of “firsts” she will experience; first mountains, first big wildlife, (got a report, many bears near our first night stop) first snow, and urrr first time being in anything less than 70f.  My Love arrives tonight and then the real adventure begins!

7 thoughts on “MOTORCYCLE DIARIES part 2”

  1. sounds like an awesome adventure. glad I could be part of it. It was fun telling the bar maid where the buffalo and moose came from and that my dad had shot it and we had owned that bar for a long time…also very glad you & Vicky made it to brother Don’s was good to see her and as always good to see you and hear Al Alto do is thing…..Tell Donna Hi from me….I miss you both and feel blessed you stopped to see my, mom and Randy

  2. CGarland Hagen

    Love your first biker blog. Approaching 80 years old, I sold my Selene 53 ARCADIA and my Victory motorcycle so living vicariously through your blog. Enjoy your two up riding.

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