As some of you know I planned this trip within 36 hours of departure. So not much prep time. I do appreciate the tips I got from some of the veteran tourers. Some of it helped me greatly.
Day 1 940K
Day began at 5:10 am. Packed up and ready to go from the evening before. Left home to catch the ferry to the mainland hoping not to find any deer jumping out of the bush as they do around my place at sunrise or sunset.
The ferry is on time and the sky is quiet and clear sky with sun. Warm weather in the forecast for the whole trip. Rolled the dice and did not take any rain gear with me. Probably really dumb idea but I got away with it. Hit a huge thermal inversion as I approached White Rock with visability about 10 to 15 feet. I went into White Rock to get gas and actually got lost/disoriented in the fog but only for about 20 minutes. Crossed the border without any anal cavity search or silly questioning. It was around 8 am.
The I-5 was bleak and wet for another hour and a half using my fingy to squeegy the mist off the visor. Most annoying. I was following a few cars that were moving faster than the normal flow and enough that if the popo were to nab people I wouldn't be first in line. One thing. One of the cars had a very low-on-air rear tire and he was weaving in and out of the traffic lanes putting lots of stress on the tire that was being squeezed out between the tire rim and the road. It was only a matter of time. "Booooom" My head goes down and me along with about 4 other cars are showered with stinky exploded tire shit. I veer over immediately away from the car that is wobbling at mach 2 off to the shoulder and manage to get along my way without any incident. I realize my camping out behind this dude was a bad idea... Lesson learned.
Things started to get OK by Seattle and the sun broke before Tacoma with the temps jumping from 10 Celcius in White Rock to 30+ for the remainder of the day. I could put away the electric vest. Seattle and Tacoma are nice looking cities from the highway. That's saying a lot for the I-5 which is an interminable piece of shit that it is.
Had to find new rubber and I knew that I couldn't ride the whole day without the tire change. Thumper mentioned a place in Eugene. They said couldn't do it till the following day went to a place in Beaverton recommended by Flax. On the way to it I passed by a Vietnam memorial in Beaverton. I would have liked to check it out but I was on a mission and a timeline on this first day to kill both Washington and Oregon, the police states. After some negotiation, once I arrived at the bike shop in Beaverton, I managed to get a new set of Qualifiers put on. No Powers left in stock. Beaverton like many places I passed in Oregon was like stepping into a time-warp. Post-war American architecture and values. Found a Starbucks though and all was right with the world. Even a bike I could lean against while mine was in the shop. Pure bliss. Their Classic Coffee Cake though isn't quite the same as ours. Coffee is still the same old burnt shit.
When I went back to the shop I began talking to the service counter rep. I asked him about the police in Oregon. "So what are the cops like here?" "If they catch you over 100 MPH they will throw you in jail, take your licence and probably take your bike. People around these parts are sick of seeing punks on bikes just like yours tearing up the streets." I thanked him for the warning and accomodating me on such short notice. I was off again...to a telephone to order up a radar detector and had it delivered to my dad's place in California to pick up in a few days.
The Dunlops I liked immediately. The rubber seems harder than the Powers particularly on the sides but they seem to adhere as well. Hard to tell though without thrashing them which I didn't.
Something I noticed right away on the trip was that being on my own I felt pretty vulnerable. If I got into an accident I would be relying on strangers to help me out. If I got stopped by the police I could get ass raped with no witnesses. This kept me pretty honest with my riding. As well I couldn't afford huge roadside tickets and having no radar detector just left me feeling like I didn't want to ride faster than the traffic by more than a few kilos. In fact I used faster cars as radar rabbits as much as possible. This saved me from at least 1 ticket probably a few. The highway traffic cops were crafty sitting at the end of long deserted stretches with their lights out just waiting for people to gun it...
The first day ended near the south end of Oregon about an hour or so north of the California in Grant's Pass which would set me up nicely for day two, riding the coast. Spent the evening about 2 hours watching documentaries on the Sept 11th bombing and medicating my sore wrists with coolers and beers. Even though I spent the entire day on the slab it was a good day. I met some interesting people and knew that on my way back I was going to rip up through the interior roads of Oregon and Washington state and see some breath taking sights... which I did.