Sunday, July 7, 2013

I'm Goin' Tokeland

     The Stampede started this year from Miyagi's place in Tokeland, Washington.  The town of Tokeland, with a population of 194, is on the thin Long Beach Peninsula that separates Wallapa Bay from the Pacific Ocean.  This is Washington State and Washington state has rain.
     Tokeland is about 800 miles from my house in Wine Country, California.  I left on Wednesday, June 12 figuring a leisurely three days to Tokeland, a day of rest and then start the Stampede on Sunday morning, June 16.
     The trip went as planned, I left before noon and rode up Interstate 5 to Redding.  Redding was hot as expected, it's always hot in Redding in summer.  From Redding Highway 5 heads up hill to Mt. Shasta.  Things got cooler but the scenery is beautiful and the riding was good.  I camped at the Valley of The Rouge State Park.
     The next morning, I headed north expecting to have breakfast in the town of Grant's Pass.  It has been a while since I have been to Grant's Pass and the town has grown.  There is the new town, where there every store is a chain store.  Then there is the old town, there is actually a sign that says "Old Town" this way.  I could not find a place that looked inviting for breakfast so I hit Hwy 5 again.  The weather was getting worse, it looked like rain and it was getting cold.
     That's when I saw a small sign that said, "Heaven On Earth."  I pulled off and found a faded wood building called Heaven on Earth.  When I walked in the door, I believed I had found it, there was a bakery and hot cookies everywhere, the food was very good, the prices cheap and I was tag teamed by two waitresses, one  a cute freckle face girl, the other a kindly grandmother type.   My chair was comfortable, my coffee cup never empty and there was soft guitar music playing in the background.  I began to wonder if maybe this place was a kind of snare set by the dark one.

     So I took off into a huge norhtwestern style rainstorm.  Somewhere between Eugene and Corvallis in Oregon, I saw an odd shaped cloud that looked a little funnel like, I later learn that there was some speculation in the area as to if it was a tornado or not.  Whatever it was, it did tear the roofs of several buildings in the area.  I resisted the temptation to return to Heaven on Earth and stayed the soggy course.
     By late afternoon after a 150 miles of rain, I stopped in a town called Wilsonville.  I used my phone to check the weather report and when I learned that the next day was forecast to be dry, I holed up for the night.  The next morning with only 175 miles left to Tokeland, I rode through Longview and along the Columbia River and made it to Miyagi's by mid day.

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