Friday, August 17, 2007

I'm Home!

It feels great to be back in Seattle, and although there were some amazing spots on my 1,000 mile ride home, the last 100 miles from Enumclaw to Seattle were the best! The Cascade Mountains are just striking, especially compared to all of the other mountains we saw along the way. The green of the forest, the steepness of the mountains, and the blue of Lake Washington--just screamed: HOME!

Yesterday morning, Dad and I checked out the Steens Mountains, about an hour outside of Frenchglen. The mountains are pretty cool, and the result of two glaciers banging into each other thousands of years ago. It is the biggest half-pipe I have ever seen.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Once we got back to Frenchglen, we started the trek to Pendleton, which was about 260 miles. Just south of the small town of John Day was easily the nicest road I've ever ridden on. Fifteen miles of very recently repaved road through a national forest, with shoulders wide enough for bikes to safely ride. There wasn't a bump in the entire 15 miles--perfect for riding my motorcycle around 40mph turns.

North of John Day I decided to take the lead, because the windy roads were just too fun to go Explorer-speed. I was only in the lead for about 10 miles, but in that ten miles I whacked my first bird. One of the first things you learn while riding a motorcycle is S.E.E. Scan, Evaluate, Execute. Well, here I was, riding happily along a road, with a river on my right. I come around a turn and see about five duck-looking creatures walking across on my side of the two-lane highway.

Scan: OK, five bird-looking creatures. I'm pretty sure they can fly, and I'm not sure why they are walking across the road.

Evaluate: Well, I'll probably just cross over into the oncoming lane and avoid them, or slow down and let them disperse and drive through whatever opening they leave me.

Execute: Well shit, a semi just rounded the corner, so I'm not going into the other lane. Slowing down... why aren't the birds moving? Fly away! OK, a few of them flew to safety, but there is one right in front of me, ah crap! Brake! But not too fast to flip me...

The bird finally lifts off when I'm about ten feet from it, going 30mph. It whacks my tiny shield on the front of my bike and I dodge the rest of the bird as it flies over me. The semi is directly to my left, and I hope I didn't bump the bird into the oncoming semi--because it would be game-over for that bird. I don't know if I actually killed it or not, but Dad said he saw some blood on the windshield when we stopped for lunch shortly thereafter. The liquid didn't look red to me, it could have just been bird-slobber... ...right...

Dad and I stayed at a Best Western in Pendleton last night, and it was a very nice hotel. We ate at the Shari's across the street, and I had a gut-busting Double-Stack Bacon Cheeseburger, and added two Widmer Hefeweizen's to wash it down. The hotel had high-speed internet, and I checked email, checked a few blogs and got my WoW fix in. We both got to bed pretty early again, and woke up at 6am this morning.

Today's riding was the most difficult, because it was chilly, and there was a pretty stiff side-wind the entire trek. I had to pull over about 50 miles into the trip and put back on the liner in my jacket, as well as a long-sleeve t-shirt. Once we got to about Issaquah, I ditched my Dad and headed home :)

So much to do now that I'm in Seattle. I have a lot of work to do on the teaching-front, and I'm also looking into assistant tennis coaching at my old high school, and also coaching a youth basketball team at my old community center. I've always wanted to, and now is the perfect time :) I've got a month before classes start, and I will be spending two or three of those weeks observing classes from high school to elementary school.

Went out to go see Bourne Ultimatum today and I had a few gripes with the otherwise as-advertised-action-packed movie. First is the bouncy camera. They purposefully made the camera have a head-bob effect, which just got annoying after a while. Second, I sure hope the female lead (from that dancing movie) didn't get paid by the line, because she sure didn't talk much. I think her signature move was the: stare at Matt Damon, then nod and walk away. Lastly, there sure were some no-brainer spots in the movie: "this is the worst possible spot, why would he want us here?" "He's got a reason." At this point I turned to Tyler and smacked my forehead.

Just finished cleaning the spa out with Dad, and it has been raining on and off since I got home. It is good to be back! I love the rain!

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