Los Angeles to Seattle – Day 4

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Day 4 – Lincoln City, Oregon to Seattle, Washington, ~300 miles

Did you miss Day 3? I managed to have an issue that stopped me dead in my tracks. Will it get fixed? Will I be stuck in Oregon for another day? If you try to fail and you succeed, which did you do? Find out the answers to those questions and more in this episode of All My Children this ride report! Except the fail/succeed question – good luck with that one.

I’m up at 6am ready to look at the bike but it’s still wet and dark outside. I go back to bed. By 8am the sun’s out, so I head on over to the bike and hope luck is on my side. Hopefully the short was water related and has dried out over night?

No such luck. Last night, Wayne put my problem up on a couple of internet message boards, and he got a couple of people who sent me their numbers and wanted me to call them. I start to disassemble the bike at the gas station again, looking for common problems per the advice I receive on the phone. It still blows fuses instantly. Before resigning myself to getting it towed to BMW, I wheel it down to Wayne’s friend’s shop. We unplug nearly every circuit in an attempt to find where the short is.

3 hours later…success! All the rain from the night before had worked itself into a tight spot where a wire had previously been pinched. It was just enough to short said wire against the handlebar. I finally stop panicking. The worst part was that this was my fault: the pinched wire was caused from my installation of the wired GPS mount. It seems I threaded the wire too close to a bracket, creating friction that rubbed through the insulation. At this point, my bike had about 115,000 miles – I sold it with about 150k on it. This was the only problem my K75 ever gave me, and it was my own doing. Oops.

Putting the bike back together. In hindsight, it really wasn’t a big deal. But I always think worst-case in these situations and I was worried I’d have to tow the bike into Portland, fly up to Seattle and have to orchestrate getting my bike back while up there. Baby Jack and I breathe a sigh of relief. Wayne’s over on the left.

I go back to Wayne’s to wash up and formally say bye. My hero walks off into the distance, Western-style. The sheer amount of generosity exhibited by this guy was incredible. 2 hours into tearing down the bike, he said that if we couldn’t find the short in time, he’d offer to lend me his backup motorcycle to take to Seattle. He gave me his address and phone number, but I managed to lose the post-it he wrote it on before I could send him a thank you gift. Hope you somehow see this, Wayne. I owe you one.

Just the bike and I now. All the time I spent sorting out the short meant I had to forego parts of Northwest Washington that I wanted to explore, because I had to be in Seattle that night.

The sign is a lie! Originally, the D river (440 feet long) did not even have a name. In 1940, the local Chamber of Commerce sponsored a nationwide contest for the name, and a lady in Oregon came up with “D” – at the time, it was in the Guinness World Records book as the shortest river. But then in 1989, the Roe River in Montana took over the title. So residents of Lincoln City waited until the tide was as the perfect height and resubmitted a measurement stating that the river was just 120 feet long. Apparently Guinness stopped worrying about ‘Shortest River’ after 2005.

Why it’s called Lincoln City – our 16th president.

Halfway between the equator and the north pole. Very cool.

Large fishing pole.

By 2pm, I was getting hungry and I realized I forgot to eat breakfast due to the bike trouble. Coincidentally, I was riding right past Tillamook Cheese. Problem solved.

The company makes more than cheese – they also do ice cream, for example. I had to take a picture of the hat the ice cream servers were wearing.

What else would I get – a grilled cheese sandwich.

Enjoying the scenery in Oregon.

The Astoria-Megler bridge, which spans the Columbia River and takes you from Oregon to Washington. This photo is from the Washington side. It’s about four miles long, and it attains some decent elevation in the process. The bridge was paid for by tolls – the nice thing is that once the bridge was paid for, the tolls were removed! The cynical side of me would not expect that.

New state sign = automatic photo.

There was a surprising amount of this in Washington.

Tiny rainbow.

Now that is a big boat.

As long as it’s not an electrical problem, it can’t be too bad.

Apparently people are trusting in rural Washington. I feel like this would be asking to have your bikes stolen in any part of Los Angeles.

Some solid foliage, even if it’s just one tree.

Lovely sunset.

The last leg of my trip was cold and foggy.

It was so cold that I didn’t bother to stop for another photo until I got to the ferry. I was a huge dork about this – I’ve always wanted to take a motorcycle on a ferry, and this was my first chance!

Motorcycles are loaded up first. Baby Jack waves hi.

I had no idea what the ferry schedule was, and so I got there at 7:30. Unfortunately, the ferry pretty much leaves every hour on the half hour, so I had to wait 60 minutes for the next one.

My supplemental gas tank required an inspection.

On board the ferry, which was the MV Klahowya. It has been in service since December 12, 1958. Not bad. Eventually we docked in West Seattle, and this made me think of the old school video game, the Oregon Trail (minus all the dying of cholera). You’d have your journey and then when you were an hour from your destination you could either take the toll road (Tacoma Narrow Bridge) like a wuss, or have to navigate the Columbia River via ferry before you could get to the promised land.

Everyone knows you got more points with the ferry!

Finally. 4 days and almost exactly 1500 miles later, I’m where I need to be. Then it was back to reality for a few days of work at a conference before I would head up to Vancouver to try a Iron Butt Border to Border run.

Back to Day 3 – Crescent City, California to Lincoln City, Oregon, ~250 miles
On to Days 5-8 – a few days in Seattle.

Want more ride reports? Check out my Travel page!

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