Nora Ephron’s mom was right*
The weather forecast looked good. I would ride the GTS to Seattle, ride the La Vita, and ride home. Four hundred miles, give or take. In one day. No problemo!
The alarm clock went off at 6:00 am. It was nice to see the sky wasn’t pitch dark on this Thursday morning. While the whole of the Pacific Northwest would be sunny and unseasonably warm, it would be chilly initially.
I wasn’t expecting 33°F chilly, however. The GTS was covered in a thin layer of ice.
Back inside to get the rain pants, then I’m off.
By the time I’d finished breakfast, the sun was out, and it had warmed up a bit. There was almost no traffic on the dreaded US 30, but there were places deep in shadow, with ominously shiny-looking pavement. The center of the road was dry thanks to the heat of engines and transmissions, so as long as no vehicle had puked out its entire supply of lubricants, I’d be fine.
A glimpse of the Lewis & Clark Bridge meant the tough part of the journey north would soon be behind me. On previous occasions, I’ve tried routes going through downtown Longview, but I’ve since realized the most efficient way to the Westside Highway is to take the first right on the Longview side of the bridge.
I’m feeling really good about my progress as Vader gets closer. The hope is to make it to the Point Defiance ferry dock before the lunch break, which would get me to Scoot About in the early afternoon.
In Toledo, I turn left and go up the hill. But I soon spot a railroad crossing. Something’s wrong here. But I keep going. Winlock?
Okay, not too big a deal. Roads lead somewhere, and the scenery is rather nice. I’ll keep going until an intersection appears. Out in the sticks, there are signs at the junctions pointing to what’s left and what’s right.
“Toledo Vader” sez the sign pointing left. I’d gone in a circle. Filed for future reference when I’m not going anywhere in particular, I’m thinking the travel gods have smiled on me.
Once back in Toledo, I realize what I did wrong. This time I take the exit for Jackson Highway, which is a short distance up the hill.
There’s still no traffic, the sky is blue, and Mt. St. Helens looms large to the east, though there may be an optical illusion at play. It’s 11:00 o’clock when I decide to stop in Chehalis. I’m not going to make that ferry before lunch, so I’ll have lunch.
Back on the road, through Centralia and northbound on WA 507. The GTS purrs contentedly at 60 mph. Last time riding on this road, I was constantly looking over my shoulder; this time, the odd passing car reminds me to check the mirrors more often.
The M/V Rhododendron is waiting patiently at Point Defiance. While in the past there have been many other scooters accompanying us, the GTS and I are the lone 2-wheelers on this voyage, our place on the ferry’s deck front and center between the yellow hatches.
While it’s usually possible to just make the ferry to Fauntleroy if you make a mad dash from Talequah, a section of Vashon Highway was closed. The detour deviated considerably from the main route. Hmm. Looks like there will be a wait at the other end.
I was right.
I parked the GTS in the 2-wheeler waiting area and went looking for a ferry schedule. The next sailing is… 3:25?! I have an hour to kill. But then I noticed something truly disturbing.
See the big cut in the tread groove? I have no idea how that happened, and more importantly, had no idea whether it happened in Portland or on the way up. Remarkably, the tire was still holding air, but there was no telling how long that would still be the case.
What to do? Find out in my next installment.
* Nora Ephron’s mom famously said to young Nora, “it’s all copy, dear.” Arguably, the concept at the root of blogging…