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VOODOO DOUGHNUTS–Vancouver, BC to Portland, Oregon

October 27, 2011

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WARNING!  If you have been reading these trip reports.  This one is way out of order. Sorry, but the other post (Seattle to Vancouver is picture heavy and not yet ready)

I’m a little foggy on this part of the trip.  I stopped to visit a good friend in Seattle after crossing the border from Vancouver.  This is a picture of Ted after three martinis. 

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It was late in the day, and I really did not get started for Portland until about six in the evening.  It was raining (of course) and the skies were dark.

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I had my closest call of the entire trip leaving Seattle.  I was rolling along with the commuter traffic and heading into a tunnel, when traffic came to a complete and sudden stop.  I was in the right lane and grabbed a big huge handful of front brake and added as much rear brake as I thought possible.  The distance between the car in front of me and my ability to stop was quickly disappearing.  I was running through worse/best case scenarios as the distance to the car’s bumper closed. 

SCENARIO 1: STOP IN TIME AND GET HIT FROM BEHIND.  NOT GOOD

SCENARIO 2: THERE MIGHT BE ENOUGH ROOM TO CRASH IN BETWEEN THE CAR AND TUNNEL WALL ON THE RIGHT SIDE – NOT GOOD EITHER

SCENARIO 3: SOME COMBINATION OF ONE AND TWO, ALL ENDING UP WITH ME IN THE MORGUE.

These were the actual thoughts that were rocketing around my brain in the milliseconds remaining.  I had to make a choice and make that choice quickly.  What happened?  Somehow by measuring the distance between the car in front of me and the stopping distance of the car behind me, I realized that I would indeed, have enough (just barely) room to get the bike stopped with some certainty that I would not be crushed by the car behind me.   The pucker factor on that one was huge.

I made a gigantic mental post-it note to keep my following distances under better control and vowed to not let that happen to me again.  Thankfully, this was the only close call of the entire trip.  Hopefully, I’m learning as I ride, and the close calls are less and less. 

I spent the night at a run down Howard Johnsons (again) and slept like a log.  I think I arrived around nine o-clock after what I recall was a long  and very cold ride.  After being tortured for about two years, my Garmin NUVI GPS finally died.  I had at least 30,000 miles on it before it quit.  It looked like the power plug worked itself loose from the motherboard.  I was able to use my IPhone as a backup, but the inability to be able to see the directions made for some uncomfortable navigating.  The next morning, I stopped at Best Buy and bought an identical unit and headed into downtown Portland. One aside about the NUVI 1490 versus a ZUMO.  I can buy at least eight NUVI’s for the price of one ZUMO.  Yes, I know the ZUMO is waterproof, so is a Ziploc bag, yes, I know the ZUMO is better.  It’s not $800.00 better!  So until I get lousy with cash, I’ll stick with my NUVI.

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One thing I learned from visiting Seattle, is that homelessness in the Pacific North West is epidemic and apparently tolerated as merely a minor irritant.  If anything, Portland was worse. 

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As anyone will tell you, there are two things that are must see’s in Portland.  The first is Powell’s Book’s.  If you like book stores, this is the place to be.  I managed to finally find an in-stock copy of Ted Simon’s Jupiter’s Travels.  It’s the bible for any aspiring long distance/extended trip rider. 

Portland has tons of cool signs!

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It’s a strip joint kind of town.

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Chinatown entrance.

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The second “must see” in Portland,  Voodoo Doughnuts. 

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The lines to get into this place were about three city blocks long!  Amazing.  What a gold mine.  I sized up the line, and decided that I could live without a sampling.  All I really wanted anyway, was a T-Shirt. 

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Another great old Theater sign.  There is tons of stuff like this all over downtown Portland.

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Hippy, smelly, granola, crunchy farmers market.  Made me want a late 80’s V-Max and a brand new back tire.  I’d introduce these people to the wonders of tire smoke, high octane and stand-up wheelies.

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In line with “Keep Portland Weird” exhibit number one (below).   You can see however, a nice Ducati Monster in the background. 

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It was still early in the day when I left Portland for the Pacific Ocean.  I rode west on Highway 6 and then turned south on 101 at Tillamook toward the coast.  The new GPS decided to scare the crap out of me by indicating there were no gas stations inside my fuel reserve.  Thankfully logic kicked in (amazing after so many miles, I still go to the idiot box instead of using my dusty and addled brain) and I told myself it was impossible NOT to have fuel in a 45 mile radius.  Sure enough, I rolled into Pacific City a short time later and filled up.  I also stopped into the Sportsman’s Pub N Grub for lunch. 

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A highlight of the day was stopping at the Pelican Brewery.  It’s right on the beach amid a spectacular setting.

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I stripped off my boots and socks and rolled up my cuffs.  I had just ridden from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.  It was an amazing feeling.  It felt like yesterday that I was dipping my toes in Barnegat Bay, NJ.  Now here I was taking in a beautiful evening on the Oregon coast with my feet in another ocean.

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Reliable, dependable, comfortable, go anywhere.  I really like the Aprilia Caponord.  The best all time gear purchase I have ever made is the medium MotoFizz tail bag.  You can see it in the picture below. It holds everything.  Has tons of carefully though out features and can take serious abuse.  One thing that will quickly reveal equipment weakness or poor design is repeated heavy use (daily) over many, weeks. I’ve had gloves disintegrate, tank bag zippers explode, waterproofing as a marketing concept, you name it.  The truly good stuff can handle this abuse with ease.  I really recommend the Motofizz Medium.  They make a large, but unless you plan to smuggle square grouper by the kilos, or need to pack for a large village, forget it.  It’s WAY too big. 

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So, with the ocean at my back, I rode towards my Uncles house in Salem.  The weather was fantastic in the late afternoon and I realized I shifted into full time traveler mode.  You don’t think about work, home, etc.  You just travel and live. For me, that’s a perfect existence.   In Jupiter’s Travels, Ted Simon says “I turned professional”  meaning his life was only travel – nothing else.  I think I understand that.

NEXT: The Spruce Goose, Glockenspiel, and Sauerkraut!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kenneth permalink
    October 28, 2011 11:29 am

    The “Monster” you sighted wasn’t. It is a StreetFighter. Different model

    • October 28, 2011 3:31 pm

      Hi Ken,
      Yeah, I know, I was being lazy. I’ve ridden the Streetfighter a bunch and like it way more than the Monster. Thanks for having such sharp eyes.

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