Beantown Baggers

Day 10 – Walla Walla to Portland Or

I’m one week away from starting a new job, so my mind is
already getting situated into the new role.
This morning I would have to make a few calls in preparation for next
week’s start and trip to Europe.

After the calls I’d head into the thriving metropolis that
is Walla Walla.  My breakfast was similar
to the one I had in Boise but more than twice as expensive.  Apparently Walla Walla isn’t cheap, a point
confirmed when I looked at some real estate listings posted in the window of a
Coldwell Banker office.

250 miles to Portland and I’m looking forward to a more
scenic ride than usual as the road follows the Oregon River for much of the
trek.

As a side note RT 730W and the Old RT 30W are two of the
most incredible utility roads I’ve taken during this trip.  I define a utility road as the one that my GPS tells me to take without too much of a detour.  Normally it has me on I90, I84 etc.  as a general rule, Interstate roads are
anything but enjoyable.

After finishing my ride on RT 730, I went I82-I84.  After a few miles my tank was a little empty and bladder a little full (note, it’s 100+ degrees again and I’m drinking
gallons of water) so the closest Sunoco would be my destination.

After filling… and emptying I had a pack of almonds, drank
some water and ended up in a conversation with two riders who had just come off
the same stretch of road.  They were
wearing jackets with top and bottom rockers.
Normally I don’t approach club members but one was riding a Honda Goldwing
so my normal hesitancy to engage in dialogue was suspended.  1%ers normally ride American Made bikes so
I’d ask what their patch meant.  It said Widows Sons and I learned that it is the
MC for the Masons (Masonic Temple Masons).

The riders introduced themselves as Steve and Jay, Masons
for 24 and 9 years respectively and representing their club as President and
VP.  They were riding back to Vancouver
Washington from Cody Montana (a town near the end of the Bear Tooth Pass that
leads to Yellowstone).  They had been
riding with ~20 brothers and were on the last leg of their return.  Yesterday they logged 750 miles – good on a
Gold Wind but very impressive for Steve who was on a 2006 Dyna Wide Glide (not
normally considered much of a touring bike).

I remember hearing radio commercials for the Masons and
their tag line is “Ask a Mason”.  So I
did.  “What
do the Masons do?”

I learned some pretty interesting facts.  Their MC was a “Mason only MC”.  The club had been in order for 5 years but
Masons have been around for ~320 years (I likely have that wrong).  The MC has 25,000 worldwide members – this
seems like a pretty significant number but I have no reason to doubt it. I also
learned Masons are not religiously affiliated but members need to believe in
something.  As Steve put it “there’s no
reason that a bunch of Christians, Jews, Muslims etc can’t get together and
make the world a better place”.  He went
on to explain that the order is focused on improvement of both self and
society.  This seems like something I can
get my head around.
They asked if I wanted to ride with them as they were headed
to Portland as well.  With 150 miles
ahead, I’d welcome a few riding buddies – I’d have to wait until Steve finished
his sandwich and the two of them polished off a half dozen smokes, but the
conversation during the wait was worth it.

After 130 miles we stopped at a rest stop – more
conversation and cigarettes.  Steve
suggested that I stop at a Waterfall on RT 30 So I left them around 20 miles
from Portland.

There was one Waterfall called Horsetail Falls.  It was tranquil and really a nice break for a
few minutes.  At the base of the fall
people were spending the afternoon with their families and even swimming in the
fresh water below.

Up the road a few miles I saw the next fall which was
huge.  It even had a restaurant and gift
shop at the bottom.  I had lunch under
the falls and cleared my head a bit.
Curvy RT 30 was relaxing and tree-lined allowing me to escape from the
brutal heat for a few minutes.  I’d
finish the 25 minute ride to Portland and check in.

I’m now 3,080 miles from home, have ridden 3,500 miles, seen 14 states and 2 countries and am only 85 miles from the Pacific Ocean.  If all goes well, tomorrow I will have completed my solo cross country journey.  This feels pretty good but what makes Tuesday even more exciting is that Lisa, my fiance is flying to Portland to complete the rest of the journey with me.

Now, off to dinner.

For dinner I walked about four blocks from my hotel to a place called Harry’s. It was a pretty normal bar with a very lively scene.   I made a bee line straight to the bar and grabbed a hightop table along a window.

My waitress, a 30 year old trained actress had an incredibly positive and energetic disposition.  We briefly discussed my trip and then she shared that she and her childhood friend made a pact that before they get married and have dogs and kids, they would live together for a year.  As a result, one month from now she will pack up her life and head to NY using Air B&B to book monthly accommodations in Manhattan.  She will be auditioning for shows on Broadway and expects to pick up a waitress gig until her break materializes.

The reason this story was of even greater interest to me is due to the fact she is going to start a journal will be documenting the days leading up to and including her journey.  I look forward to reading this and have no doubt that she’ll find tremendous success in NY – she just simply has a positive disposition and great things come to people like that.

Tomorrow: 170 miles to the Pacific, meet a few friends for drinks and finally have a chance to be whole again.

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