Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 18- also known as I Lost a Day in the Badlands and Day 19- Across Idaho

Spaghetti and the Badlands...

WHAT do they have in common?
So, back to that little bit of foreshadowing of the previous post..

I had been craving a good old fashioned plate of spaghetti and sauce.
I’m not a fancy girl, just marinara, grated cheese and some bread for dipping and I'm a happy camper.
Got checked into my motel in Bend, OR and set out in search of pasta.

There were mostly fast food joints, a couple of Chinese and Mexican eateries, but no Italian. I decided that maybe sort of fast food spaghetti would not be the end of the world, so I stopped into Pizza Hut. A frustrating couple of minutes of go around with a young man who could not think beyond the printed menu, where everything had meat on it. His solution was to offer me ziti with Alfredo sauce. Thanks, but no thanks....this girl wants marinara.

Puttered up the street a bit more, accepting the fact that my wish would probably not be granted tonight, and pulled into a cute place, called Black Bear Diner. I sat in a booth, inhaled 2 tall glasses of ice water and found of all things, spaghetti on the menu! I will have that please.

I went to bed that night, feeling very much as though I had eaten WAY too much…. I had been eating such light meals, this was a lot heavier, so that was my reasoning. Woke up a few hours later in agony! My body was really angry with me, both ends fighting for the toilet. (there is just no other way to put it) Who knew that marinara sauce could be so bad?

I suffered for a few hours, feeling really helpless and shaky, but I had settled a bit and decided to try to move to my next landing spot, 259 miles down the road. At about 9AM, Dirty Girl packed, I somehow got my leg over the bike and started on my way. I figured I could just make frequent stops, and get there slowly and surely.


I soon passed a sign that read “Entering Oregon Badlands, no fuel for 100 miles” (by the way, this is the only photo I took this

Who knew Oregon had Badlands? Miles upon miles upon miles of flat, scrubby, olive green landscape. I had a full tank, and pushed onward. I was doing ok. About 75 miles into it, there was a rest area, and stopped, thinking it would be a good idea. Ohhhhh…. Bad idea! Once I got off the bike, I realized just how weak and woozy I was. All snugged into my saddle, I was just holding steady, and did not notice the wobbly. Dragged my feet to the restroom, and once out, it was all I could do to find a shady patch of grass and collapse on it. I promptly fell asleep for an hour or so….thinking, ‘this is not good’… but I was still kind of chuckling, because to me, it had to have looked so comical. I had all my gear on still. And my thoughts kept drifting to... "I should have had the ziti with Alfredo sauce"

I pried my eyes open, the sun had moved onto my face. I shifted more into the shade and decided that I needed help. There was no way I was going to make it another 150 miles. It was not even noon… there I am, splayed out in the middle of the grass in the Oregon Badlands, wondering what the heck I was going to do. If I had a tent on my bike, I would have pitched it right there and slept until a state trooper shooed me off. Thankfully, I had a signal on my phone! I sent a message out asking for help, that I needed my room canceled in Mountain Home Idaho, and a new room booked as soon as possible. The answer came back, 30 miles away, the Days Inn would let me check me in early. I wobbled back to my bike, found the motel, thanked the owner profusely for allowing me to check in early. In less than 10 minutes, I was in bed, and fell asleep, not caring that my schedule was now off by a day.

The next 12 hours were fitful sleep… I don’t think I have ever had food poisoning before..UGH. Finally, at about midnight, it lifted, a relief that was so sudden, I nearly danced! I fell asleep heavily for another hour and woke up, deciding to make an early start, to make up the miles.
It was only 200 miles, 3 extra hours, maybe 4 tops.

Oh look...we are on Day 19, back to the land of the living!

I opened the door, and the world was so quiet at 3AM!

There was my bike, right where I had abandoned her, and a giant bug on my doorstep. Eeeeewwww. They don't grow anywhere near this big back in New England. I should have laid a quarter next to it to show the size. UCK.

I got the bike loaded and started off into the darkness of the morning…. A beautiful crescent moon hanging in the sky...impossible for me to photograph by the way.

Riding in predawn hours, I was very cautious, scanning the distance back and forth for wildlife that might dash out in front of my bike. (one of my biggest fears) Jack was showing the road to be straight and wide open, and in the day light, I would have made fast time on it. However, I kept the speeds down, thinking that I needed to not tempt fate here. I was choosing to go as the Tortoise and get there safely.

Riding into the sunrise was lovely! The horizon was turning a deep rich orange, silhouetting the mountains against it. I have heard riders talk of loving to ride at in the solitude of the night, and I can understand why.

Once the sun rose, (slightly blinding) I picked up the pace to the speed limit, and by 9AM, I had made up the time lost from the day before. Finally, I got out of Oregon, the state was seeming to be really huge to me by this time. My stops were only ’gas and go’…. no dilly dallying! The few photos I took, I left the bike running, jumped off and then back on. (look how dirty the windshield is!)

Idaho is much as I expected. Rolling ranch lands, with names like Mountain Home, Bliss, Magic Valley, makes me think that for the people that settled the state, they really must have felt like they had reached a heavenly place.

And then I saw this exit... in the middle of Idaho? It made me giggle....

As the miles clunked away, I planned on a fuel stop at the next exit. The low fuel light was on, I had 130 miles on my tank. And surprise of surprises, there was a ton of paving! The next exit was closed! I could see two gas stations, at the top of the hill... just taunting me. A sign stated, "43 miles until the next fuel." This is going to be interesting I thought... I have always wondered just how many miles will run my tank empty. I was not overly worried, some quick calculations of the basic kind told me that it would cut really close, but I am carrying two fuel cannisters that will buy me about 20 miles. So I should be ok.

In American Falls, Idaho, I fueled up my tank with 4.92 gallons. The tank holds 5 gallons, never have I put so much in! I had 176 miles on the tank, so now I know, at highway speeds when I will run out of fuel. Gonna tuck that in my pocket and save it :)

I finally saw signs for Jackson WY, and the big stony guys looming again in the distance.

I no longer asked if I was going to go through them, I'm an old pro now, I know the answer is yes. AND I know that those ominous clouds looming off to the side will probably get me wet. It's always the way of the motorcyclist! I had Jackson in my sights, it was only 15 minutes more... and the clouds opened up with the biggest fattest most painful raindrops I have ever felt! I kept looking in my mirror because I was convinced that the one that smacked me on my lower lip made it bleed.

Pulled into Jackson, followed Jack's instructions and hmmm... Jack had the wrong address. Around the block a few times, a couple of phone calls to the Pony Express Motel, and I finally arrived. A very very adorable motel, if you ever find yourself in Jackson Hole WY!

The cottonwood trees were shedding their fluff, it was almost like it was snowing, the sky was full of it!

The town itself, I thought was going to be busy, but was in no way prepared for the level of tourist excitement it held! I wished I had a few more days to hang out there. The artwork everywhere was beautiful...

I walked the square, full of galleries, sculptures and shops...

lusted after a far too expensive fringed leather bag with a peace sign on it. :)

I took this pic for my mom... she adores bears. hahahaha!

Ended the day with a bowl of hot soup, then plugged in my ipod fell asleep early. It was a beezy day!



  1. What an adventure the last few days have been. You'll look back on all this and laugh at some point in time. Thanks for the blog and the pics, they're great. Take care gal!

  2. Kate,
    Scary being that sick on the road when you're all alone. You look none the worse for wear and it's good to see that you're still smiling. BTW, do you just stop people and ask them to take you picture? Everyone you meet must be amazed at what you're doing. I'll keep reading as long as you keep posting.
    Thank for a great adventure,