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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Go east young man and mount st helen

June 25th
I couldn't sleep at all and tossed and turned all night. meh. hate when that happens. probably had a total of 3 hours of sleep. that sucked.

got up at 6am, and got ready for riding. after showering and loading up the bike, it was already 7:30. I had trouble loading the bike for some reason. it didn't help that it was raining. rain sucks. rain makes the roads slippery, makes it so you can't see out the visor properly, and fogs up the visor. blech. did i forget to mention you get wet?

i headed east on the trans-can and headed south. I decided to head south and go across the border to the states, where it would be faster than going across canada again. My GPS and Google maps both confirmed it.

So south i went to the border.
the line up was long, but it didn't take that long to get through for my turn. I expected to be wisked through like always. boy was i wrong.
They asked if i was carrying any illegal substances, fruits, weapons... and i told them i had bear pepper spray. i should have kept my mouth shut. alaska didn't care. yukon border guys didn't care. wtf.

so the border agent wrote on a little sticky, stuck it inside my passport and gave that to someone else. I was told to park in spot #3 and go inside.

I did. Seems they don't think that the bear pepper spray is allowed across the border.
it took a while, so in the meantime i stepped outside for a smoke. WRONG. they came after me and told me i had to stay inside. holy crap these people are touchy.

the agent that had my 'case' kept looking through different binders, looking through different books and running this way and that. after about 25 mins they told me to get the spray. I handed it over and waited some more. about 25 mins after that, they said it was ok, since the potency of the spray is under the amount for people pepper spray. holy crap folks. get your shit straight. you allow pistols, rifles and assault weapons, but you DON'T KNOW is bear pepper spray is legal across the borders. holy shit. am i the first camper to go through the united states border?? don't get me wrong, they were very professional and rather nice the whole time... just a little ignorant about their own processes. blah. an hour wasted.

I hit the interstate and went at a fair clip. Traffic was pretty heavy and it seems it always is heavy. it didn't help that the rain was constant. I got to Seattle just as the rains died down, but didn't stop. I really wanted to visit seattle, but i want to visit it properly for at least a few days. I wanna go to the science fiction museum dammit! well, not on this trip.

I needed a break from riding and i was near Olympia, the state capitol. I popped in to the visitor info place and god some free maps of Washington and Oregon. cool .

I took some pics of the state capitol building
and the fountain in front

and this war memorial.
took a better picture of the state building. neat architecure.
I left Olympia and got off i went to mount st helen. no. i didn't mount her, i went to mountain st helen. ya know... the volcano that went boom in 1980.

in my search for the mountain, i was confronted with a 50 foot tall bigfoot.

he got in my way, so i crushed him. problem solved.
heh. pretty cool though, they had a display of the pictures of the original, and the step by step of how the artist made it. speaking to the guy in the gift shop, seems the first one was burned down with a match. it had fur.

cool gift shop of all things mt st helen and bigfoot.

got to the longest bridge on route 504 (mt st helen route) it's a cool bridge, and what you don't see here is that it's actually going uphill. neat to ride across.
the usual bike pic.
from one of the overlooks. this valley was totally destroyed in the eruption and ensuing ash fallout. i didn't take a picture, but you can actually see large trees on the side of the road and you can in many places over 20 feet of ash, which is now the new landscape that growth is growing on.more of the valley.

a different lookout. i liked this lake.
And there she is! mount st helen!! oh wait. you can't see it. neither did i. you can see the base, some of the features of the aftermath but that's it. on the right is a lava island, and many ridges that the explosion made.

some of the aftermath
piss me off i didn't get to see the big crater.
not amused.

i was cold and a little wet (the rains were getting stronger) and i needed some energy. i opened a little bag of trail mix, and the noise it made, got a little fat chipmunk running. seems it's been fed before. not good. i didn't feed it.
i would take a handful of trail mix and rattle the bag. it would come over (a few feet away) and run around and under my bike, then i would scare it away. it should fear humans. they need to learn to get their own food dammit.

boing boing boing
a few passes later, it just sat there staring at me while i was munching on trail mix. i scared it away again.
heh. damn thing was fast running away. almost didn't get the shot off.
I kept heading south from Mt St Helen, and headed across the border to oregon. that's what the GPS said was where i was to go.

As soon as i was in oregon, was on I84. I continued on that for a long while, keeping a steady pace of 80 mph. i love speed limits of 65mph. i did keep a watch for cops but didn't see any.
i came across this tall waterfall. it's tall. really tall. you can see a bridge in the picture below.

i like close up pictures.
even closer.
that's it for pictures for the rest of the day. I continued on dow I84 at a fast pace. I need to make up for lost time. I84 follows the river and you pass by a few dams, and the river is pretty much in a wide canyon. it's a great view and so very different than washington, as there were no trees. it felt like a desert. all colors of yellows, with small little bushes and brush on the hills. that's it. no green grass, no trees. neato. kinda looked like the tundra, but not flat.

I kept riding, and almost got a room in a motel along I84 in some little town. i wasn't that tired yet, so i decided to keep riding. so i did. the sun set behind me, casting great colors and shadows on the hillsides, but the landscape started changing. now it was starting to become really dark.

I was still zooming along at about 80-85mph (in a 65 zone) and came over a crest and saw a grey SUV on the side of the road. shit. Trooper.

as i slowed down and hit the brakes, he flashed his lights and went dark again. I guess that was my warning. woot.

when the land is that flat, it's no wonder speeding a little isn't a big deal.

I kept it under 70 and needed a break so I pulled into a rest stop, and went to the bathroom. by the time i got out, it was pitch black. man, the sun sets fast around here.

Good thing my lights all work. Eastward i went, towards pendleton. on the GPS it looks like a large enough town, so off in search of accomodations i went.

a cheap room, ground floor, i can park my bike RIGHT outside the door and window, and they have free wifi. woot. it helps there's a 24 hour denny's near too. I did go out in search of better food but in this town there was a convinence store, 2 gas stations and denny's open.

oh well, superbird sandwhich and cheese fries were in order.

time for bed. many miles to ride tomorrow if i'm to cross Idaho, nevada and get to Utah. heh. it sounds like i'm going far south, but look at a map... the southern tip of Canada is directly east of salt lake city. heh. my map is starting to look a little crazy.

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