Beth Dixon: Day Twelve

Wednesday, Sept. 28

I hadn't set the alarm so woke up when I felt like it. I channel-surfed for a bit, looking for a weather report. Cloudy all day, with rain starting Thursday and staying around through the weekend. Blah. I showered, had breakfast and packed my saddlebags. Spent some time looking at maps but couldn't decide which roads I wanted to ride. Made a phone call to Rob Dixon and left him a message to expect me at his place in time for dinner Thursday evening. Called Kay in the San Juans and talked to her for a bit. I wasn't going to make it over to the islands on this trip, unfortunately.

Looked at the maps some more but no roads called to me. I looked through the Seattle travel information and the yellow pages but didn't see any place I had to go visit. Finally decided I should ride to Wolf Haven. It was on the way to Portland so I had been planning to stop on Thursday. If it was supposed to rain on Thurs., I might as well go today.

I loaded my luggage on The Slut and checked out. Armed with directions to Wolf Haven, I headed south on I-5 and took the Tenino exit. The area around there is nice. I like rolling hills covered in brush and trees growing right down to the roadside. I found Wolf Haven easily. The parking lot was dirt and gravel made interesting by the strategic placement of large holes and rocks the size of oranges. I navigated through okay and found a parking place. I went into the gift shop to sign up for the tour and look around. Narrowly resisted buying a coffee mug with the photo of a wolf named "Joe Montana" on it.

I was the only person on the tour that hour, so I received individual attention. I had my camera with me but didn't think to take photos. I wish I had. Each of the wolves has its own story. Very interesting. One, named Moose, weighs in at 140 pounds which is large for a wolf. He was a big boy. A wolf's bite is rated at about 1,400 psi, compared to about 800 for a normal-sized German Sheppard. Their favorite toys seem to be deer foreleg bones. The expression "wolf your food" is accurate -- they swallow chunks whole. At the end of the tour, the guide howled at them, and the wolves answered. Polyphonic howling. I learned some things I didn't know about wolves and felt the tour was worth the $5 fee. Interesting place to visit if you like critters.

I left Wolf Haven, once again successfully negotiating the parking lot without restructuring bodywork. I missed the left turn towards I-5 so continued straight for a while to see what the area was like. I stopped at a Dairy Queen for a raspberry Blizzard and called Rebecca. She was home, so I headed in her direction. Once back into Seattle I followed the directions to Rebecca's house, which took me right by the Alfa Romeo dealership. Gotta like it. I found her house no problem -- she had heard me coming and was standing on the porch. I parked on the sidewalk. We sat around chatting for a while, then rode to Chris Denzler's place.

 I followed Rebecca into the driveway...two gravel tracks across the lawn. After parking I realized I wasn't sure how to get back out of there again. Being short of leg and weak of upper body, I usually make sure I have a way out before I park. Not this time. I knew there had to be a trick to it or Rebecca wouldn't have parked there.

Chris came out of the house to welcome us. I complimented him on his large, green lawn was treated to the Caddyshack-esque story of gasoline- down-gopher-holes-and-a-match attempt at gopher erradication. I had visions of neighbors diving under dining tables yelling "duck and cover."

Food was high on our priority lists. I watched Rebecca get out of the driveway so I'd know how to do it. Basically, Chris "spotted" while Rebecca backed her 750SS off the driveway and onto the grass so she could pull forward out of the driveway. I did the same, and we waited for Chris on the 851. Off to Cafe Veloce we went. Both Chris and Rebecca weave in and out of traffic like pros. They'd have no trouble commuting in Silicon Valley. I was a little worried about Chris, though, as he was dressed in dark clothing and the taillight and turn signals on the 851 don't do much to add visibility. I more than made up for his lack of visibility with my white- striped Conspicuity vest, so I rode sweep. Besides, they both knew where they were going and I didn't!

We arrived at Cafe Veloce and parked near the other bike there. Inside, the first bike I saw was a Ducati 500 with a for sale sign on it. One of the parallel twins. No thanks. Little Duc singles, Parillas and an M V Agusta were next. I thought of Geoff Alexander as soon as I saw the M V. Geoff would have been thoroughly disgusted. Not one of the bikes on display had been run for a long time.

After a very tasty dinner, it was time to head back to Chris's place. Each of us was carrying a little white box of leftovers. How to get them home? Mine fit into my tank bag without much trouble. Rebecca fit hers into the tray for the tool roll, under the seat. Not much room for leftovers under the seat of an 851 unless you happen to like marinara sauce in your electrics. :-) Rebecca carried Chris's leftovers too.

Back at the house, we sat around talking for a while. Decided the easiest way to get the studs for Charlie Smith's bike to Jon Maybell was to have me carry them down to Portland the next day. Talked to Jon for directions and a requested ETA, then went out to the garage. I was introduced to Hawkenstein, worshiped at the Team WetLeather shrine, and stood by feeling useless while Chris adjusted the chain on The Slut. I need to add A Big Damn Wrench to my traveling toolkit. Full of Italian food and getting sleepy, we crashed for the night.

Friday -- I finally get rained on. Sort of.

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