This is not good. My right eye is now swollen completely shut, the result of a suicidal bee. My left eye is getting blurry and itchy. I'd lifted my visor to scratch my nose. In the brief instant before I could get the shield down, wham! Dead center between the eyes. I'm halfway between Spokane and Kennewick, Washington on Highway 395. In other words, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Now what? This wouldn't be the last problem, either. What should have been about nine hours on the bike turned into more like eleven and a half.
It all started with the decision to dead-head home instead of taking the really fun way. Ironically, the plan had been to take the quickest way home. I was missing Katie and it was Friday. So instead of heading farther South towards Lewiston, Idaho and running all those gloriously twisty roads in the Northeast corner of Oregon, I pointed Elvira towards the Southwest. As it turns out, the longer way would probably have been quicker in the long run. Not to mention, a whole lot less painful!
As you read earlier, work called me to Sandpoint, Idaho. The trip up during the middle of the week was almost perfect.
This was taken at Kennewick. There's a place where Elvira and I could both get fueled up. No, they weren't liberal enough to allow the bike into the place. We had to make do with the Tesoro station next door. I ate outside so she wouldn't feel so left out. The total number of fuel stops for the 508 miles was three. For the most part, the average fuel economy was around 41 mpg. There would be a stretch on the way home where it would be much lower. More on that later.
Elvira's got a pretty stiff throttle spring. This little device proved to be a real blessing. By the way, the throttle grip's not twisted. That's the design. It fooled me at first, too. You should have heard the engine noise when I tried to straighten the grip! Adjusting the throttle rocker position is really better done with the bike shut down.
We made Idaho in the late afternoon. This is along Interstate 90 at the border, obviously. Unless, of course, somebody's just having fun moving the signs around. I wasn't real comfortable leaving the bike beside the freeway for too long in rush hour traffic. Still, though, photo documentation never hurts. As it was, it seems I was spotted by Earl Thomas as he passed by in the opposite direction.
By suppertime Elvira was securely tucked in at this cabin along Lake Pend Oreille. I'm not sure how it's really supposed to be said, but I've mostly heard it sound like pon-der-ray. However you pronounce it, the lake's huge!
This is just a portion of the shoreline up from the cabin. I've spent hours on the lake checking it out by boat. The lake is something like 180 square miles of surface area. It's 65 miles long and 15 miles wide at its biggest width. Some parts are over 1150 feet deep which makes it somewhere around the fifth deepest in the United States.
I was up at 5 AM on Thursday. Dawn came a little later. This was a stretch for the 200 mm lense, but I took this photo of a lone motorcyclist on the bridge into Sandpoint. Judging by the time of day and the cold in the air, the rider must have been a commuter. While I sat and downed another cup of coffee, several more bikes passed by. This was the peaceful part. The ride home was still to come!
Miles and smiles,