There it was, the turn East, the invisible archway announcing my arrival upon the homestretch.

And I knew for certain because of the fancy, new to me, although used, GPS system now mounted on my dash. What’s this?

Ha, something I should have done a LONG time ago.
Chad kindly gave me his old GPS. Well, I traded a P.E.A.C.E SCOOTER tshirt for it actually.

No more wasting time and paper plotting and printing out google maps. No more worrying if I might run out of gas. I can run a search and BLAM, all the stations within 50+ miles show up. Fancy. Real fancy and TOTALLY needed. It was going to be the ONE thing I regretted never buying. Ok, and maybe a bigger top case.

I can now keep track of countless statistics- how long my stop breaks are, my average speed, my exact speed. Need a place to camp? BLAM there is the campgrounds location AND phone number!

I also know now that it’s 3,100 miles to Washington D.C. Another 140 to Richmond, where it would be nice to have a party. And then, a final 700 home to Maine. I guess I’ll just ride on home? I can’t think of where to even ship the bike in Maine.

Chuckling hysterically. 3,857 miles, that’s IT!

picture-2.png

I can’t believe how elated my mood was from this little piece of technology.
But it couldn’t keep the hail away.

Close to Leavenworth, WA the wind gusts pounded me, even lifting up the front wheel.
Quite a beautiful Wild West scene. Trees bending in the wind, 10,000 foot snow capped mountain peaks encasing the road, and a high river swirling-swollen and frothy rapids.

IMG_1500I was whupped when I stopped for coffee. I must have looked like a zombie when Becky and Kita approached me, commenting about the T.S. Eliot quote on Audre’s flank. I scribbled it on there back in Austin, TX.

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time

They revived me. Totally energetic, wise, friendly ladies-there kayaking the river for a couple of days. The brewing storm finally dropped on us. Thunder, hail, rain and lightning pummeled the village.

Next thing I know, we were searching for good German food in a town that should have some. Leavenworth adopted a Bavarian village theme back in 1960. Yes, this has given them plenty of time to find some German recipes. We kept reaching out to the locals, asking for said culinary spot, but none was recommended. We finally coaxed “The Pub,” from someone. It was “up the hill.”

Hmm. Well that’s funny, because we are in a mountain town.
Finally, we found Ducks and Drakes, aka “the pub.”

Good comfort food and drinks accented the conversation. It never ceases to amaze me just how real you can be with strangers. Lord, try it some day if you don’t know what I’m talking about. It’s like the first time every time-a new confirmation on how warm and genuine a stranger can be. Our three hours together was but a blink.

The conversation covered politics, apocalyptic forecasts, gender, sexuality, travels, kayaking, foreign languages, religion, Bill Gates vs. Steven Jobs, charity, growing up with 14 siblings, transient lifestyles, raising 9 year olds, on and on. No holds barred.
One thing that came up a couple of times was the importance of traveling our own country. Many people want to travel abroad for a grand adventure. But it’s astounding how many cultures and climates our own country has. Last year, one of the first comments made here was,

This is a huge, beautiful world, and most people only see a tiny fraction of it. Explore your own country — meet your own countrymen — then go explore the rest of the world.

I had to check in at the KOA by ten and was sad to hug them goodbye abruptly.

Just thirty minutes later a hard, deep slumber took over me. In 10 hours I would wake up to a text from Shaun. Him and Chad were actually now in Leavenworth. This will be the third time I’ve had to say goodbye to the guy.

Bavarian adventures to be continued!
IMG_2314