From Seattle, I knew I’d have a ridiculously long ride to the Sawtooth Mtns. in Idaho so I decided to break it up with a some good stuff along the way.
I headed south and into Mt. Rainier National Park for some views of this spectacular mountain. (~14,000′, I believe). After making it down into the southern portion of the park, I was informed that the only road out (departing from the east side of the mtn.) had been washed out in a landslide. There was no way to go east – except to go back the way I’d just come. After a 100 mile detour (would have been frustrating if the scenery weren’t like this photo), I was back on course – but a bit behind schedule.
I decided to abandon my mandate for this trip (all scenic byways) and jumped on Rt. 84, the evil “slab” as moto riders call it (as in “concrete slab”, where scenery often goes away and evil car drivers are determined to kill you) to get as close to Boise, ID as I could. To make things worse, as you enter Eastern Oregon, the land becomes dry and hot, a bit of a surprise as I’d been riding in the lush NW for a week by then.
Anyway, I sweat my way to Pendleton, OR and could find no scenic camping as I’d become accustomed to. Instead, I opted for an RV park. Seriously. There were about 3 patches of grass in the whole place, surrounded by asphalt. Instead of getting cranky, I decided to embrace it. I didn’t have to, though. It embraced me.
Betty, one of the locals and a 7-year (7 years in the RV park!!) resident, made her way over in her nightgown to welcome me. She proceeded to tell me all sorts of interesting things about herself – issues with her kids, the 1984 19′ trailer she just bought for $900, the supposed pedophile in the park – not joking. She was about 74 years old and full of spice. Some super nice folks camped next to me to round out the community experience I hadn’t anticipated. RV parks ain’t bad afterall. Not the Olympics, but not bad..