Monkey Run 8

Well, I finally did it. I did a long solo trip on my Vespa P200. It didn't start out that way, but due to some mechanical problems with my ride companion's scooter, Keith had to turn around about 10 miles outside of Portland. I continued on the journey along Hwy. 30 to Astoria where I encountered my first challenge.

The Astoria bridge to Washington State is really long and as I found out, really treacherous. The speed limit is 50 m.p.h. on the bridge, which my scooter is fully capable of obtaining. However, once I started to gain speed, my scooter started getting whipped all over the road by the winds coming off the water. I found myself having difficulty controlling the scooter, so I slowed down to about 35 m.p.h. and maintained that speed until I reached Washington. At that point, I didn't care about the line of cars behind me, I just wanted to be safe. I made it into Washington and continued on my journey.

I had left Portland around Noon with the intention of making it to Forks, WA where I was planning to camp with Keith and his girlfriend, Cheyenne. Since I was now solo, I was having some trepidation about camping by myself in the middle of nowhere. I recalled that there was a hostel somewhere near Forks, so I decided to keep an eye out for signage and if worst came to worst, I would camp at a state campground for the night.

As I entered the Hoh Rainforest area, just 15 miles south of Forks, I found the hostel and pulled into the driveway. There was a sign on the door with the price for the night. Only $8.50!!! I wouldn't have been able to get a tent campsite for that price! I paid Jim and he showed me around the house and where I would be sleeping. I settled in and met some really cool travelers, including a couple from Portland. We discovered we lived really close to each other! Small world, indeed. There was also a family from China and a couple from the Czech Republic. I slept very well that night.

I left the following morning around 10 a.m. after doing my requisite 15 minutes of chores at the hostel. I stopped in Beaver, WA at the Hungry Bear Cafe where I ordered the Logger Breakfast. The name alone should have tipped me off. I thought eggs, bacon and 2 hotcakes would be a decent breakfast. Until I saw hotcakes the size of my head!!! I ate maybe a third of the hotcakes before I had to call a truce. I left and continued my adventure to Port Townsend.

Along the trip, I realized I was getting low on oil, so I made it a point to find a motorcycle shop in Port Angeles. I found one and they had 2 stroke oil. I also bought a pair of gloves since one of the dogs at my house and chewed the fingers off my other pair.

I made it into Port Townsend around 1 or 2 p.m. and wandered around town, checking out the little stores and waiting to hear from Steve of the Flying Monkeys. He called me around 3 p.m. to give me an ETA for when they would be arriving by ferry. I met the group as they rode off the ferry around 4 p.m. Everyone rode out to the Old Fort Townsend S.P. where we set up camp.

I was warmly welcomed by all those in attendance, including the Flying Monkeys, Slug Rockets, and VCO Seattle folks. We had a BBQ, played bingo, and just hung out by the campfire drinking and chatting til the wee hours of the night.

Sunday morning, we all woke up and broke down our camp so we could go to breakfast in Port Townsend at Salal's, a really good place to eat. I ate with a few of the guys from Seattle. We had a nice breakfast and then I said my goodbyes and thanks before leaving. I took Hwy. 101 south of Shelton, cut across Hwy. 108 to Hwy. 8 to Elma, WA then on to Hwy. 12 where I eventually found Old Hwy. 99 to lead me to Centralia/Chehalis, WA where I then took the backroads to Longview, WA.

I stopped in Rainier, OR for gas and after I left the gas station, I heard a metal-like sound that was not coming from my engine. I looked down and realized that my kickstand spring had broke off completely! I pulled off to the side of the road and found my trusty zip-ties in my bag. I was getting ready to prop my scooter up when lo and behold, a motorcyclist stopped to offer his help. I accepted and it was only after a few minutes that we realized we knew each other! It was Tom from Scooter Station, a local scooter shop in Portland. He helped prop my bike up so I could put the zip-ties on to hold the kickstand up. I made it home by 5:30 p.m., safe and sound.

Total miles: 630
Number of days travelling: 3
Gas Prices: Frickin' expensive in WA!
Experience: Priceless!