Monday, July 30, 2007

Day 7 - Ellensburg, WA to Portland, OR - 335 miles

“So take a good look at my face
You'll see my smile looks out of place
If you look closer, it's easy to trace
The tracks of my tears…
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

It’s over! Ah, but it was so sweet. This has been a great trip and we cannot say enough good things about riding and seeing this area and the meeting it’s people.

We started off with a small navigational blunder by Bill, which lead us 30 miles east of Ellensburg on the WRONG interstate. Oops! We turned south and at Mattawa stumbled into serious orchard land along the river. The wind along the river is incredible and we struggled to keep our bikes on the road at times. There were miles of fruit orchards protected by walls of 100 ft high Lombardy poplar trees that formed remarkable windbreaks.

We found ourselves again in the Columbia River valley but on the Hanford Site where the Dept of Energy produced plutonium for bombs. We wisely turned away from the guarded entrance and continued south through the Rattlesnake Hills, which were rolling, arid and interspersed with irrigated verdant green areas of agriculture. This area is all about water and power with evidence of both readily visible.

We wandered through Toppenish and marveled at the murals on most all of the downtown buildings before heading south and west to Glenwood at the foot of Mt. Adams, an impressive but underappreciated Cascade peak.

Based on a tip from Doug we stopped for a delicious fired chicken lunch at The Logs. Our server, Diane, regaled us with stories about the restaurant’s history and people from the area. We tried to get to Mt St Helens but were deterred by the prospect of a long ride over gravel roads and elected to head south to the Columbia River Gorge.

We got a great up close view of the windsurfers on the gorge and met an interesting couple from Oregon who filled us in on local history. Under threatening skies we returned to Portland and called Doug. He arrived with his fully stocked trailer and took our trusty V-Stroms away.

We plan to ride this wonderful area again in the future and intend to do business with Doug again. For today it’s time to repack and head home for Nashville.

This was our fifth motorcycle adventure. We finish safe and sound after riding 2375 miles in 7 days and are anxious to plan our next journey.