Monday, August 4, 2008

The Overdrive Chronicles - Part 4 cont.

So as Jerry and I sat and looked out at the rain, we thought we better look at the maps. We'd joked about heading south and riding past St. Helen on the way home, but really that was more of a joke. Yet here we were in the very north of Washington state, at lunchtime no less, debating turning south and 'having a look to see if it's still there'.

I crunched some numbers, twice, and it would have been another 6 to 7 hour ride. Probably more than we were up for. But the Grand Coulee Dam was pretty close and we thought "hell, why not".

The fact that lightning was striking both to the east and west of us had nothing whatsoever to do with the decision to turn south of course.

So off we went, down Hwy 21. What amazing scenery! You follow the river through a beautiful valley, the road winds and traffic is as light as can be. We only saw the occasional car. And no troopers.

Once it opened up I found a place to pull over to take a couple of pictures.

"Hey Jerry, where'd we come from?"

You can see the storm we left behind.

"... and where are we going?"

Hardly a cloud in the sky.

Eventually I started to worry about gas a bit and we finally found a gas station on the reservation. Pretty sure we both filled up with 87 octane, but when it's that or nothing there isn't really much of a decision. The bikes didn't seem to mind and the duck didn't think it was a big deal either.

Eventually we climbed back up into the hills via some secondary (tertiary?) roads. They were rough, the centerline was often missing and we had a great time. Almost no traffic and what the little that was there we passed with ease. At some points the drop offs next to the road seemed to go on for hundreds of meters, you sure don't want to miss a turn!

It sure got hot though and we stopped once we got back into the Columbia river valley so Jerry could open the vents in his jacket.

As you can see the road got pretty boring going into Coulee and we took our time.

We first stopped on the east side of the dam. As we were there one of the maintenance guys suggested a lookout on the other side that would be great for taking some photos.

We hung out for a bit first.

The horizon was littered with high voltage lines and towers

We cruised over to the other side.

The duck really wanted to go for a swim in the river, but I didn't think we'd have the time.

The bridge in the foreground is the 2 lane bridge the cars use to cross the Columbia.

I think they built it mostly for scale ;)

They also built a cool structure at the lookout. You can just make out Jerry standing to the right.

Jerry even managed to get a shot of me.

We finally figured out the placement of the structure. It had nothing to do with the dam. It was the viewpoint for the sewage plant across the way (just next to the river).

Though judging by the number of beer bottles just off the edge of the rocks, the locals seem to have all kinds of uses. Jerry idly wondered how many of the local girls had lost their virginity up here...

Artsy shot

And that's where they make the power

We talked to a guy who had driven over from the east coast in a 1960 gas guzzler. I don't want to know what it cost him to get there.

Finally we hopped back on the bikes and within a few minutes we were in the desert. There were dust devils all around and it was pretty cool to see, though hard to capture.

Jerry and the duck liked the desert though.

The wheat fields were L A R G E!

They seemed endless, as did the straight sections of road!

Still, we were having fun

Though the fun can't last forever.

All too soon it seemed like something was swallowing up the earth and the sky. It's like we were riding into cream of mushroom soup. The wind picked up and it got so bad that I took to lying on the tank to keep from being pushed around by the every increasing gusts. And just as we turned north towards Okanogan, the sky opened up and the lightning was way to close for comfort... again. We were only about 20 miles away, but it seemed to take hours. Again I lay on the tank, perforated leathers don't do too well in a down pour. I rolled on the gas and we rode above the 'just slightly over' we normally do. I didn't roll off for oncoming troupers either. They didn't seem to care much one way or another.

After some back and forth between Omak and Okanogan, we finally checked into the Best Western. A smart move as we were both tired and a bit wet.

They let us park the bikes right in front of the main entrance, always appreciated!

We could see the edges of the storm from the hotel and were hoping that it would blow past quickly.

And by the time we got back downstairs after cleaning up and deciding we were going to walk over the the Aussie-themed restaurant just 2 buildings down ...


And they had Red Hook ESB!


The waitress took a 'group photo'.

Hmmmm desert!

The hotel had a good sized flat screen and we thought that the helmets looked good on either side...

I guess FHM's 100 sexiest women was on TV when I took these shots, who knew?


Jerry was snoring by 8:30 or so. I thought I'd go downstairs and try to capture the beautiful desert sunset.

Now we're getting somewhere

I guess I was pretty tired myself and crashed around 10 pm.


Where to next?
A new record for kneedragging
And "what cop?'

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