The Great Pacific Motorcycle Tour of 2012, Days 3 & 4

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Obviously, it’s been more than a few days since there was an update and two days plus X days plus two more days don’t equal that many days.

Here are the highlights, though:

Day 3 was from Soap Lake, WA over to Everett then Whidbey Island via US2. Stevens Pass is a great ride this time of year.

I was planning on staying at either Fort Casey or Fort Ebey State Parks for a night, but they were both full. Ultimately, I made my way up to Deception Pass State Park and found that they were mostly the opposite of full.

I set up camp, enjoyed the sunset, had a warm dinner, then bedded down for the night… and just as I was dozing off, the phone rang. Work. Again. Fortunately, I’ve a wireless card for the laptop and it was a relatively minor issue.

It was an early morning to break camp and get all the gear packed back onto the Wee Star, then, a new, interesting rattle in the top end of the motor started.

Wonderful.

That goes nicely with the cold knock in the bottom end of the motor.

Joy.

Decided I’ll need to take her gently back over to Eastern Washington and will spend a few more days with the folks and the rest of the family; then will start limping toward home next Monday or Tuesday.

Fortunately, this also gives me an excuse to stay off of the interstates and at least explore some of the secondary highways on the way home.

As long as I don’t hand-grenade the motor along the way.

The Great Pacific Motorcycle Tour of 2012, Day 1 & 2

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Here’s the route I took on days 1 and 2 of the GPMT of 2012.

On the Wee-Star, in the city, I know I can get about 150 miles before I hit reserve. I also know that I get a solid 25 miles on reserve. After that, she gets stopped on the side of a road and I walk to a gas station. Which would be no fun at all.

I hit reserve twice on day 1.

The first time was when I was almost to Rawlins, WY. With only 120 miles on the tripmeter, just a moment of panic set in as my brain tried to figure out why the motor started sputtering. Switched her to reserve and she came back to life. Fortunately, I was just five miles or so from Rawlins and a tankful of Go Juice.

For the next five minutes, I had to think about why in the world I burned through that much more fuel than normal: more weight, more windshield, more drag on the back of the bike, a long climb, with a respectable headwind.

Note to self: plan fuel stops more carefully.

The second time was when I’d completely miscalculated the distance from one end of the park to the other and hit reserve near Lewis Lake in the park. Fortunately, there’s a gas station at the southwest edge of the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake. Crisis averted.

Another note to self: seriously — plan fuel stops more carefully.

Standard sights in Yellowstone — including a herd of elk. Traffic was backed up for six miles just so the tourists could get a look at the herd. I realized I was in a passing zone and, not wanting to sit in stop and go traffic for who knows how long, I — and every other biker — started passing the line of cars. Holy mother of god, there were a bunch of angry cagers honking and screaming at us for simply getting away from them.

Overheard one of ’em say, “Never a cop when you need one…”

Funny you should say, that — just 100 yards ahead on the opposite shoulder was a cop. Parked. All the bikers waved at him as we rode by.

He smiled and waved back.

Addition: So the other highlights from day one were riding through the smoke and ash plume from the Alpine Lake Fire in Wyoming (info here) next to North Buffalo Fire (here). The ash was so bad under the Alpine Lake plume while riding up US-287 that at times it looked like it was snowing. I swear, every time I’ve been through Lander in the past 15 years, those mountains have been on fire.

More info later on the Washington fires turning the Ephrata/Soap Lake/Grand Coulee area into a smog and smoke-ridden hell.

Women and Guns, Part XY

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Just spotted this in my news feed from here.

Go read the highlighted portion. If you don’t wanna, it can be paraphrased as: women don’t buy .45s because that’s a man’s caliber.
Okay, fine. I remarked on these sexist morons previously and I also posted some remarks on compact 9mm carry options for smaller-framed adults. I’ll have to do a write-up on full-sized handguns in .45ACP, too.
After vacation, of course.