Now for the first time since starting out, I was concerned I had jeopardized my time window. However, I was fairly sure I could still make it with between two or three hours to spare. Shortly after that last stop, my right side fairing panel lost power causing me to lose my time zone clocks, ambient temp gage and voltmeter. I wasn't overly concerned and just changed my bike clock to local and leaving my GPS on eastern. The bike was lovin' the miles and seemed to enjoy the different flavors of cheap oil I was feeding her at a rate of a quart per 1000 to 1500 miles. She burns a little anyway, but this was a bit more than usual. Just weeks before I left home, I found I had a slight rear main seal leak. There was no time to dig that deeply into the bike and from experience, I knew I could just keep it topped off and keep an eye on rear wheel for this ride.
Personally I was not doing too badly, relatively speaking. The cruise control was awesome for speed management and keeping the chronic back pain manageable. I was drinking 2-4 liters between fuel stops. I had been nibbling on crispy bacon, cheese sticks, boiled eggs and the squeeze packs of flavored nut butters. I packed my meds and vitamins in tiny zip lock bags in my tank bag so I would be sure I didn't miss a dose.
Brian Diver and I had been keeping in touch and he believed I could make the 18:15 Edmonds Ferry, but it was going very close. Then, I missed a turn or two and the traffic was stop and go for miles. Being unable to use the cruise control, my back began to protest. Then I made the mistake of getting in the car line at the ferry and a lady in a truck told me that I didn't need to. As I pulled up to what I thought was the ticket box, I saw Brian with a big camera and a cooler waving at me. He was saying there was notime to even get off my bike and for me to get down to the ferry. He was snapping pictures and handing me a bag of home-made goodies as I started down the ramp. I supposed then I was to get a ticket down there only to learn "no" I was supposed to buy one inside the big building where the walk-on's go in. The ferry worker said, "Hurry" and I rode back up the ramp. By this time, Brian surmised what was happening and bought me a ticket. He told me what he had done and for me to just go get on the boat. I rode back down the ramp and the boat was pulling away from the dock before I could dismount. I was so disappointed I didn't have more time with Brian and promised myself I would try to find a way to recover that. The ride was short and when I got off the ferry I took a moment to call my family and return some messages before continuing.
The sun was setting and by the time I passed through Beaver, WA it was full dark. As I rounded a slight turn, I caught a glimpse of a red cruiser on the right that looked as though they were about to turn onto 101. I throttled back, swerved left slightly in case they were already in motion and as I passed I gave a thumbs up looking to assess if they were OK. The rider was looking over their left shoulder and seemed fineso I continued towards La Push.
I was riding at speed, in the dark on the Olympic Peninsula, something I was warned again and again by Bill and Drake NOT to do because of the deer and elk, but I wanted to make it to the store in La Push before they closed. I wasn't speeding but I was pussy-footing around either.
I was riding with dharmacakra (DAR-muh SHA-krah) turning in my head in rhythm with the wheels on my beloved K1100RS. I sensed the hub of discipline seated deep in my chest as I ticked off the last few miles and reflected on some of the 24 spokes I had touched on my journey. I knew without a doubt that even if I didn't make it in time, it still had been a great adventure. To me, a motorcycle is just a beautiful conveyance that allows me to share in the lives of others, carries me to my friends and back home to my loved ones.
The Chakra signifies that there is a life in 'Movement' and 'Death' in stagnation. The process of the wheel stands for cycle or the self repeating process with the changing of time in our life. The horse on the Right hand symbolizing accuracy and speed. The Bull on the Left hand stands for hard work .
Twenty Four Spokes:
11. Self sacrifice
20. Spiritual knowledge
21. Moral Values
22. Spiritual Wisdom
23. The fear of God
24. Faith or Believe or Hope
I pulled into the Lonesome Creek Store parking lot and started removing my gear just as two cruisers pulled up next to me. It was David Morgan and his wife Jan who had ridden from Bremerton, WA. As it turns out, it was her red cruiser I passed and they followed me into La Push. In the dark, I had not seen David or his bike. My husband Steve called to congratulate me which was a pleasant surprise giving that it was one am in Virginia. We all went in and bought snacks then filled out the paperwork. It was then we realized that the receipt was one hour off. This was noted on the witness form.
I had made it and with hours to spare.
As the store was just about to close, David bought me a coffee and we stepped outside on the porch to talk for a little while. I enjoyed their company tremendously, but they had to head home and I needed a shower in the WORST possible way so a few blurry pics and heartfelt hugs and we were both on our ways. I went to the bathroom on the back of the store and removed the Foley, bagged it in trash bag and disposed of it in the large dumpster before leaving.
On the road leaving La Push I started seeing things. The reflectors indicating a turn was head started blinking in a weird pattern so I flipped on the CREE?s. ?Holy ****! ELK!? There were eight or nine of them crossing the road. The odd blinking was the result of them walking between the reflectors and my headlights.
At the Dew Drop Inn in Forks I learn I had booked the night of 7/31/13 and they didn't have a room. In fact, no one had a room in Forks so I headed back towards Port Angles. The road along Crescent Lake was stunning on the way in, but now it was a scary, miserable slog back to Port Angles. The currency exchange rate of adrenalin to fatigue in the Bank of Not in Riding Shape was 1:4. I spent most of the ride back standing straight up in part to see further down the road and all the time moving 5 - 10 under the speed limit. I pulled up to the Quality Inn, went inside to check in and came back out only to find my 478 had been stolen!
I went into shear panic fed on extreme exhaustion. Of course there was no one around and after telling the night clerk what had just happened I rode to my room. It was as I was removing everything off the bike it really hit me and I began to sob like a child punished for something they didn't do. My ride was over. All my routes and waypoints for a west to east ride were lost, over a year in the making just gone, and for what? It was utterly useless without a power cord as battery was long since dead. It was priceless to me and would just in up in trash can here in God-forsaken Port Angles!
Despair robbed me of all rage and I collapsed to my knees hugging the saddle of my bike for support. Vacillating between out right sobbing and dieseling, I moved like a marionette operated by a drunken puppeteer as I finished de-gearing the bike. I felt bereft of all hope and alone so far from home. I crawled into the cold, lonely bed like a beaten dog hiding from more harm, made quick, disjointed post on Facebook about the stole GPS, then slipped into oblivion on a tear soaked pillow.