I slept pretty good, despite the noise of a popular wine bar downstairs and the traffic outside my second-floor suite. Sand Creek Inn provides complimentary ear plugs for their guests plus instructions covering how to use the decorative pillows in the windows to deaden the sound. It’s nice that they were so thoughtful, but it’s no different than a restaurant giving its diners free shots of Kaopectate(tm).
My body must have still been on Mountain time because I was awake at 5:10 AM. I showered, then went next door to the first Starbucks I had seen on the entire trip for a mocha and a slice of lemon pound cake. The counter girl told me they don’t sell their breakfast sandwiches there “because we’re too remote”. Whatever that means.
There was a gift bag on my doorstep with a can of grape juice, a packaged blueberry muffin, and an orange when I got back to my suite.
My ride west to Leavenworth, Washington was one of the most frustrating and irritating I’ve ever had. At least the second part, anyway. Riding west from Sandpoint to Newport and north to Tiger is rather boring. The stretch from Tiger west to Republic is pleasant but slightly bland compared to some of the amazing roads I’ve ridden in my short motorcycling career. At the quaint town of Republic I headed south. It was getting warm so I pulled into the Ten Mile campground to change into my warm weather gear.
There was a 1979 Suzuki GS850 parked in the campground and a shirtless guy sitting Budha-fashion nearby, writing in a notebook. As I was stripped off my cold weather gear, he came over to chat. His name was Terry and he was a professional creative writer from Kamloops. This guy was a total kick in the pants and we talked and joked and laughed for nearly an hour. We took each other’s picture and swapped email addresses, but it was time I got going so we said our goodbyes and I rode south.
By the time I got to the Grand Coulee Dam, the temperature was in the lower 90’s. All my friends know I’d rather ride in the rain rather than the heat any day of the week and by this point I was getting rather irritable. I took some pics of the very large dam over the Columbia River, topped off my fuel tank, then rode up to the view point on the bluff above the valley and had a snack.
My next direction was westbound, this time over Washington SR174. The landscape was very unusual; it was rolling grassland with not a tree in sight, with large volcanic rocks sticking up out of the ground like randomly placed standing stones. The effect was rather unusual, almost alien.
I reached Bridgeport and took Hwy 97 southbound. Unfortunately I took Alt Hwy 97 into Chelan instead of the main route and had to suffer riding at 25 mph through the town of Chelan proper. There were lots of people cooling off on Lake Chelan, with me riding by in jealous sweat inside my riding gear.
I reached my motel in Leavenworth to slightly milder temperatures and one busy vacation town. As I was getting off my bike four guys pulled in on their Harley’s. One came over to talk with me, asking me various questions about my bike. His buddies came over and were listening in. I asked him which bike was his. He pointed, saying, “That’s my ‘Super Glide’ right there.”
I said, “I didn’t know Oldsmobile made motorcycles.”
His buddies started laughing as he whipped around and looked me right in the eye. I had the biggest, ear-splitting grin I could muster, hoping I wasn’t about to get my ass kicked by a middle-aged man in a pirate costume. He smiled, then said, “That’s a new one I haven’t heard before. Good one!” He shook my hand and wished me happy riding, then followed his laughing buddies into the motel.
When I asked the front desk lady about my laundry options, she told me the only place in the entire town that had laundry services available was another motel on the other side of town. I was very upset about this, because everything I had was dirty, but what could I do? I got my room and took a shower, hoping to find some way to clean a set of clothes enough to wear.
I found an iron and used the steam spray to wet a semi-clean t-shirt, then ironed it to dry it out. The effect was better than I expected. So, with reasonably clean self and clothing, I ventured out to find some dinner.
As per the recommendation of “Tall Nicki” back in Kalispell (who apparently grew up in Leavenworth) I gave Andreas Keller a try. Their ‘authentic’ German cuisine was reasonable but not as good as Gustav’s back home. The Spaten Optimator tasted pretty good, however. I felt like a dork, though, because the manager sat me at a table that could easily have seated 8 people. I just told myself I was invisible and ate my meal in peace. After picking up a small gift for my wife I headed back to my room for the evening.
One note … Even more than Sandpoint, Leavenworth had more beautiful women walking around than any place I’ve ever been, including Disneyland (and anyone that’s been there knows what I’m talking about). It was very distracting yet interesting at the same time.