We didn’t make our planned 5:30 a.m. departure. We slept late and got on the road at 8:30 a.m.
This was both a good news, bad news day. JAK decided that we did not need to go to the coast and follow US 101 all the way to Port Townsend, Washington. The bad news was that we had to “flat track” it up I-5 until we got to Burlington, Washington. The good news was that this knocked two, maybe three days off this leg of the trip.
As we crossed the bridge over Lake Shasta, I thought about how two days before I was finishing up a week on a house boat there, our annual family vacation. A vacation we have only missed once in the last 23 years.
The weather and scenery was perfect all the way from Lake Shasta until we approached Portland. Except for our last 100 miles today’s ride was very pleasant. The scenery vanished only to be replaced by traffic.
Portland was a disaster as we arrived in the midst of commuter traffic. We were on I-5 and should have cleared the city in 15-20 minutes. Instead we were in the worst traffic you can imagine. It was as bad as anything I’ve seen in the Bay Area, mostly stop with not much go. 45 minutes into it, a sign magically appeared announcing a commuter lane and “Motorcycles Okay” 1 ½ miles ahead. After an eternity, we covered the first mile, and another eternity before we reached the commuter lane. It turned out to be a dirty trick. Finally, we reached the commuter lane and away we went, right up to 60 mph. Our joy was short lived, the bloody commuter lane ended after one mile.
In California, the only state that allows this, motorcycles can “Split Lanes”, or drive between cars. The lanes looked unbelievably wide and inviting, but fear of getting a ticket kept us in line.
After getting gas, we reached Woodland, Washington. We stayed at a small inn managed by a couple; both appeared to be at least 90. They recommended the Oak Tree Restaurant across the street. Jim Bob, JAK is Jim Bob when he screws up, checked reviews and reported that “66% liked it.” Well, he might have liked his salad but I was sorely disappointed. I ordered liver with bacon and onions. It was dry, thin, overcooked, with a smidgen of Canadian bacon, not real bacon, and a dab of onions. Added to this were lumpy mashed potatoes with tasteless gravy. To top it off, I had “Iced Tea” so clear and tasteless that I thought it was water.
Back at the motel, JAK and I both exhausted, were asleep in minutes.