Beth Dixon: Day Thirteen

Thursday, Sept. 29


Slept in until about 9:30am. Showered and chatted with Rebecca. Finally getting my ass in gear, I followed her over to Shucks for some oil. Chris had volunteered his garage for an oil change. The Slut was overdue for new blood. Back at the Team WetLeather garage, I lubed the chain while waiting for the motor to cool off a little. Drained the oil noting there were no nasty little bits of metal present on the drain plug. Used a monster pair of channel locks, fondly known as the Oil Filter Wrench of Choice, to remove the filter. Buttoned her back up again, and searched in vain for a funnel. We made one out of an old oil bottle and called it good. We were cleaning up the garage, making sure all was as we found it, when Chris came home for lunch. Rebecca noticed the oil sensor boot was loose, so Chris sealed it with gorilla snot and snugged it over the hex nut. The Slut was ready for the remainder of the trip.

I packed the bike, making sure rain gear was easily accessible. It had been cloudy all morning and didn't look to improve any. Time to head south. Followed Rebecca's directions to the freeway and was on my way once again. I stuck to I-5, I wanted to make it to Rob's for dinner and was leaving later than I had expected. I'm always later than I plan to be. Oh well.

The further south I went, the darker the clouds became. Then it started to rain. It sprinkled for a while then rained hard for a short period. Just enough rain to make the roads wet and to spot my faceshield, but not enough rain to wash the oil off the roads or get my leathers wet. I kept riding. It wasn't raining enough yet to make it worth stopping to put on rain gear.

The second time it started to rain on me, I was two miles from a rest area. I figured I'd pull in there and put on my rain gear. By the time I came back from the bathroom, it had stopped raining again. I had a bit of time to kill if I wanted to. I got a cup of coffee and decided to catch up on my trip journal while waiting for the weather to make up its mind.

I sat at picnic table, intelligently choosing one under a canopy, near the bike. I refolded my map and started writing. I wasn't there long when a man in his early 40s came by to chat. The conversation moved from "you have a pretty motorcycle" to "how do I learn to ride?" I told him about the MSF and gave him the 800 number. We talked for a while more, then he left. I decided I might as well pull on my rain gear. If I didn't need it, no harm was done.

I headed south on I-5. I really hate interstates. I get very bored traveling the superslab. There really wasn't a good alternate route that fit my schedule, so I stuck with 5 and tried to make the best of it. Outside of Portland, I stopped to top off the gas tank. I'd have plenty of gas to make it to Rob's so wouldn't have to stop in Portland proper. Near Winlock, the odometer rolled 13,000 miles.

 Over the bridge into Portland, I followed Jon's odd-sounding but amazingly easy directions. I went past the house and u-turned in the bakery parking lot. This allowed me to park facing uphill. Was greeted by Jon almost as soon as I dismounted. Handed over the studs for Charlie's bike and a photo of Chris's 851 on a stand. Jon was going to make a stand for Charlie's Duc rather than try to borrow one from the folks in Seattle. I really wasn't too thrilled about the idea of bungeeing Chris's stand onto my bike for the trip from Seattle to Portland.

We went inside. Jon has a _great_ garage. I patted Charlie's Duc and said hello. We spent some time upstairs chatting, waiting for Jean to come home from work. A couple of their friends dropped by but I've forgotten names now. One of the guys has a Morini 350, that part I remember! :-) Jean made it home. I left shortly afterwards. It was 5:50pm when I left Jon and Jean, and I was supposed to be at Rob and Peggy's about 6:00pm. I had been warned that Portland rush hour traffic was bad, so didn't really know how long it would take me to get to Woodburn. Still playing at motorcycle courier, Jon had me carry some cash for electric gloves to Rob.

I memorized directions to the freeway, and headed out. It was still a little drizzly, but the road surface hadn't been washed clean. I could see oil slicks in some places. I took it easy expecting traffic to stop at any time. It never did. Either I was extremely lucky, or Portland rush hour traffic is a myth. It started to rain steadily about 2 miles north of the Woodburn exit. Good thing I'd left my rain gear on.

I arrived at Rob's about 6:15pm. It's hard to make a surprise entrance when one can hear the Duc coming a couple of blocks away. Rob was waving to me from the open garage door as I rode up to the house. I put The Slut in the garage, peeled off rain gear and leathers, gave Rob the cash from Jon, and said hello to Peggy.

In the house, I was promptly presented with a glass of wine. The smells from the stove made me hungry. We chatted, ate, drank and solved the problems of the world for hours. Peggy finally gave up and went to bed. Rob and I were at it for a while longer, then we turned in too.

Friday -- why Rob doesn't get to ride The Slut and why I'm still on I-5.

Get in your Inbox