North to Alaska
The last money shot.
It wasnt supposed to be today it was supposed to be tomorrow.
But, I was on the road early this morning chasing route 97 south avoiding the coastal cities and into Oregon before I knew it. Traveling was easy and beautiful Washington and Oregon have so many faces forested mountains and barren desserts the Columbia River and, of course Crater Lake.
A good part of the day was spent riding through heavy smoke from the Oregon fires. I couldnt see the fires themselves they were just beyond the ridge to the west, but the wind was blowing out of the west carrying the smoke across my path.
I spoke with a ranger at Crater Lake and he told me that it was a good thing I didnt come yesterday because the smoke was so thick that standing on the rim you couldnt even see the lake.
The visitor center was covered up with tourists the same as it was last year when I visited here, but this time I took a different route into the park as was presented with a whole different view of this spectacular place.
Since I was ahead of schedule by nearly three hours, I decided to press on for the last money shot Lava Beds National Monument in California. I say the last money shot, because getting the passport stamp at Lava Beds gave me a California stamp and that was the last piece to the completion of the Iron Butt Association National Parks Tour Gold. It is my 62nd park in the 28th state and completes the requirement of having at least one stamp from Maine, Florida, Alaska, and California.
It was a quiet celebration, alone as usual, at the Black Bear Diner catfish, green beans and bacon and the quiet realization that tomorrow I turn left toward home.
And it is time. I love America and I will, once again, get the chance to see her breadth from California to Connecticut. That is an awesome opportunity and I am so fortunate to have been able to do this journey three years in a row. Yet, somehow, I long for a trip around my favorite ride at home I call it the two reservoirs ride about 50 miles a cup of coffee half way through and then home to sleep in my own bed once again.
But until then, Ill turn the Valkyrie east and shell bring me home once again as she always does injured though she might be.
So to you and Iowa Sioux and Bear, Labrador, Carlisle, PA I say goodnight from the Alturas, CA.
Index, Day, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 thru 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32&33 34