It was going to be a warm day so I had my gear converted to warm weather mode from the outset. After breakfast I crossed back into the United States without delay, then headed south on highway 97. This time I changed my GPS’ mode to ‘fastest route’ and it took me on SR17, a road I’d never travelled before.
A bit south of Tonasket I could see intense thunderstorms ahead and to my right. I had hoped to dodge it, as I was witnessing large lightning flashes every 15-30 seconds. Unfortunately I ended up riding right through the maelstrom. The rain came down so hard and thick it looked like snow. The rain drops were so fat and hit me so hard that they actually hurt when they struck the arms of my jacket (Aerostich Darien sans liner). After riding through it for five minutes, I emerged on the other side muggy but under sunshine. I dried out soon after.
I had a lot of wind, but despite a few light sprinkles, I made it to Soap Lake without getting dumped on again. I gassed up and after paying, the owner came out and looked at my bike and chatted with me for several minutes. I suited back up and headed down the road.
When I passed through Ephrata I experienced a similar deluge with lightning that hit me near Tonasket. Fortunately it was short lived as well. Then it got hot.
I made it onto Interstate 90 for a fast run into a sweltering Yakima, then I got back onto highway 97 southbound. The heat was oppressive but I motored on until I got to Goldendale where I stopped for gas, food, and a bio break.
I crossed the Columbia River back into Oregon via highway 197, travelled south to Tygh Valley, then followed a forest service road past Wamic and Rock Creek Reservoir where I joined highway 35 at White River. The air was pleasantly cooler at this point, and it was just a matter of time before I was on highway 26 over Government Camp and down into Sandy and home. By the time I reached my house I had travelled 450 miles, a new personal one-day riding record.