...around 1/2 the state. Another installment in the never ending saga of Bimjo, Studly Adventure Dude! Aided and abetted by friends and fella studly adventure dudes James1300 & Ripp'n. In the beginning... oh wait, wrong story. So this trip had a slightly more reasonable departure time than the last installment, it wasn't DUCKING FARK this time. Several reasons for that- 1) I didn't feel the need to take sunrise pics this time, 2) I couldn't check in to the hotel in Mt. Vernon until after 3:00pm, and 3) James said he wasn't gettin up that early unless it involved sex & well... James is cute, but he just ain't my type if ya get my drift. Let me say right off that the trip planner did a stupendous job of muffing this one sports fans. How many ways did I flub thee? Let me count the ways... 1) Didn't pack the computer. Totally spaced that one. 2) Didn't make sure all the memory cards for the camera were empty. Nothing on there I wanted to lose, so there's no pics past Concrete. Had the computer been along I could have cleaned off the cards. But then again, chances are the card reader wouldn't have made it into the bag, so moot point anyway. 3) Plan route, save route, upload route to GPS... Uh-oh, Houston, we have a problem. Seems somebody changed the route and never uploaded the changes, leaving me with no way home from Leavenworth, more on that later. This adventure was a shakedown on several levels. New tires, new fork springs, new shock. Strom bike just really didn't know how to act. As James has already alluded in another post, Strom bike decided that all the new hardware warranted a slightly elevated pace. What? You think I'm taking the rap for speeding? No way, Jose! It was Strom bike alllllllllll the way. Ornery cuss gets even later, but I digress. Before the State Patrol car that I never even saw (hey, no lights goin' it's just another car, what do I care?) we came across a raccoon lying dead at the side of the road. This thing was huge. I'm talkin' St, Bernard huge. Ok, maybe only German Shepherd huge. Very large beagle huge. It was a damn big raccoon, ok? I was hopin' it was really dead & not just layin' in wait for James. That purty maroon BMW is faster than Strom Bike, but I'm not sure it could take on a 'coon that size without repercussions. Fortunately it really was dead, so we didn't have to find out. Strangely I seem to have used up all my "whew, dang" moments for the month on this one trip. You know, those moments where you've just slowed down and a cop goes by & you go "whew, dang, that was close!" Friday was like that a goodly portion of the day. This was all Strom bike's fault. Just because I didn't give him a bath before we left he decided that a speeding ticket was just revenge. Fortunately God placed slower vehicles and oncoming traffic in our way when needed to eliminate that possibility. Bad Strom bike! So, having braved the trip from Pasco to Soap Lake we roll into the Shell station and Lo & behold! Ripp'n is there waiting for us. In true studly adventure fashion he's got his leathers half on & his boots all off & he's lounging against the side of the gas station building looking very relaxed. Upon learning that James & I had never been to Grand Coulee Ripp'n took it upon himself to play advanced tour guide. There were several stops along the way for sight seein'/history lessons. Ripp'n schoolin' James on the Great Missoula flood and subsequent geological formations. Cool colors in the rock formations across the road. Part of the problem with lack of pictures was I sorta went nuts making panoramas. I like panoramas. Ain't gonna apologize for it. I like wide pictures. So sue me. This lake was behind me while I was takin' the first pic. Purty stuff that, eh? We saddled up and headed farther north. Lots of cool lava formation along the way, all twisted and twirled & stuff. I'da got pics, but we were goin' like 70 & there ain't no way I'm holding a DSLR one handed and trying to take pics on the fly for anybody, not even you guys, love you though I do. Especially left handed, since Strom bike doesn't sport one o' them fancy smancy cruise control devices. Yet. Next stop, a loverly viewpoint of a beautiful park. Can you guess I've forgotten the name of it? Beautiful Park below the Loverly Viewpoint is kinda catchy, don'tcha think? This is where I started to get in trouble with memory space. That's 9 shots stitched together. I shoot in RAW mode & each file is over 12 Meg & that adds up quick. Enough quibblin' about memory & such. We have places to be & people to see & I need to pee, so down' the road we go. Next stop was Dry Falls. Dry Falls? Why do they call it Dry Falls? No water going over it, that's why. There once was. A lot of water. A WHOLE lot of water. Many times more than Niagara Falls. But not now. Now you get this instead. From here we continued along the road until we come to "the really big hunk-o-concrete blocking the river." AKA Grand Coulee Dam. It's big. No really, it's really big. Huge even. You come around the corner and start to drop down the hill and Holy Canolli there it is! Good thing I have a full face helmet or my jaw would been on the road in shock. I mean there's big & then there's Grand Coulee big. How big is it? This big. That's like 3 miles from end to end. At least. Ok, maybe not 3 miles. More like 3/4 of a mile. It's long, deal with it. Oh yeah, there's no charge for the lens flares in the pics. They're free when you shoo tinto the morning sun and don't shade the lens. Hey, I only got two hands and they were both busy doin' picture taking stuff. I mean, trying to be a human tripod is taxing as it is, let alone trying to do it one handed. Tripod, that's another thing that didnt' make the trip. I need a new trip planner. Gonna fire the jackass been doin' it. After hangin' at the dam for a bit the three Amigos (Jim cubed) part company. James & Ripp'n headed back south toward lunch & civilization while I continued north to... Omak. Town's not much bigger than the name, but they had gas, which Strom bike was whinin' about, so we pulled in and got some just to keep him quiet. To this point Strom bike has been exceedingly docile. I'm gettin' suspicious, 'cuz it ain't like Strom bike to be so well behaved on an adventure. Suspicions justified as we'll discover later. After Omak was Twisp & then Winthrop, Stopped for lunch in Winthrop. If you never been to Twisp or Winthrop, think Wild West version of Leavenworth. Personally I like it better. All that fake Bavarian oom-pah-pah rah-rah schtick in Leavenworth just doesn't do much for me. After lunch Strom bike started running true to form. How? Every single rock, ripple, dip, split in the pavement or otherwise bad thing in the road had to be run over. Couldn't go around them, had to run over them. Glad I put new shoes on before we left or the twirp would'a gotten a flat for sure. Ornery I tell ya, just ornery. Somewhere between Winthrop and Diablo lake I saw this on the side of the road & since there was a place to pull over we did. Since we were there and traffic was light & there was bushes I did my part to help out with the near drought conditions by watering some plant life beside the road. We all felt better for it. While performing my civic duty I noticed this river thing down below the road. It was really purty. Looked nice & cool. A soak of the tootsies might have been nice, but it was 75 feet almost straight down & I knew Strom bike would'a just sat there & not helped me get back up to the road, so I took a couple of pics instead. I know that those of you from the east half of the state (Oregon too for that matter) won't believe this, but that's actually a river. With water in it. You can't see the water, because it isn't dirty. Foreign concept, but trust me, I looked on the map & it said it was a river, so I gotta go with it. Weird, but there ya go. No pics of Diablo Lake because I was trying to get around a RV and missed the pull off at the end of the lake. I could have gone back, but that's against the Studly Adventurer credo (unless you take a wrong turn, more on that later) so you'll have to wait until next time. The North Cascades Highway (Hwy 20) is a wownderful ride. Yeah, I'm making words up, shut up. I suspect that it's more wonderful at something close to the speed limit so you have a bit of time to rubberneck, but I wouldn't know. Strom bike was running really good in the cooler air, so despite doing the run-over-everything-in-the-road thing he was doin' I let him have his head & we ran with it. _______________________ This's too long to post here, read the rest here.