Pony Express 2000: Day 16 – Home, part 2

Travel log posted to WetLeather mailing list is unedited and contains motorcycle shorthand as well as insider-to-WetLeather references.

Once on the Washington side of the Columbia, 97 starts to rise, and we’re soon out of the “hot” and back into pleasant cruising temps.

I’m passed by a sporty red pickup truck – and fall in behind him. I can see that he has a radar detector of some sort stuck to his windshield – with the little suction cups like the V1 comes with. When he slows down, I slow down. It’s not too long before we meet a WSP, and I think how much more intensely our roads seem to be patrolled than Utah, Co, Ne, Wy, Nv…

Into Yakima, take the US12 exit and then one of the first exits cause I should get gas, and I’m still not certain I’m on the right road. Well, I know this road will take me to White Pass, but I want to do Chinook. I’ve never taken 410 on a bike and I’ve only taken it in a car once – 10 years ago, I think.

The Cenex *also* has no Washington maps! But another customer confirms that 410 splits off of 12 – so I proceed west. This is a nice ride, as far as scenery is concerned. Road surface? so-so. And there’s more construction – and single lane traffic ahead. Still, I’m glad I took this route.

Get past the Crystal turn off, however, and I’m rethinking this decision. Traffic levels reminds me of coming home from skiing on a Sunday evening. Yuck. And we’re doing indicated 50-55 by *my* speedo.

I eventually start passing folks – technically legally (ie, no double yellows) but I’m sure I’d have to argue the speeds as I regularly hit 90+ as I pass as many cars as I can on each attempt.

I pass cars for 36 miles. *36* miles of traffic.

A white mustang convertible, whom I pass, joins me immediately afterwards. Maybe it just takes a catalyst. Until I begin passing, I see no one passing — they’re just droning on like sheep. It’s not that I want to ride triple digits – but riding the speed limit would be nice.

I start wondering when I’ll see the statey on this road. I *always* see a state patrol car on this stretch of 410 – finally meet him just before Enumclaw.

Hit 167 north – and now I’m going 80 mph (indicated) and I’m being passed. There are cars in front of me and behind me in the car pool lane – all going this speed. I *know* this speedo is incredibly inaccurate.

I’m home about 7:30 – 470 miles today with at least 2.5 hours of stops.

The total for the trip is just over 5900. Had I ridden Friday, I’d have topped 6k.

I have a radio interview request from a Portland radio waiting in e-mail. I need to pick up Peaches on Monday. I need a massage to deal with the sciatica that flared up on Saturday (thanks, CB3, for the acupressure). I need to decide what I want to do about work. I have to return this bloody phone to USWest – and when I next need analog service, I guess I’ll break down and buy AT&T.

I have to figure out how to get the rest of the pictures out of Phil’s camera!

More importantly, I need to process the past two weeks – especially the stories of how breast cancer has affected the lives of the total strangers who shared their experiences with me. I understand why EC wanted to do this again. I expect I’ll be doing it again next time, also.

I’m not the same person who set out two weeks ago – I’d like to think this has taught me that I am more self-reliant and competent than I felt I was before embarking on this adventure. Thinking it and feeling it are two different things, though.

And this is *certainly* not my last long trip – although PE2000 certainly provided a great catalyst for the first one. I want to revisit Bryce and actually hike down into the canyon. I want to revisit the Tetons and CAMP dammit! And I want to do both in the shoulder season, not mid-July.

Thanks again to all who have provided financial and moral support for this effort. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Kathy

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