Ride day: 0 The gathering in Seattle

Patrick and I departed from Tom and Eileen's home in Idaho at around 7 AM. We were served a great breakfast and said our farewells, and faced our first challenge of the day, getting out of the driveway. I should mention that our hosts have a long gravel/sand driveway that leads up a steep incline to a steeply descending gravel entry road.

This is a good time to Also mention that Bill Sapsis rented a most excellent tow vehicle for towing the trailer; a Dodge Ram 4500 diesel 4x4 pickup with all the bells and whistles, and it did NOT disappoint. It never once let us down on acceleration, pulling power or gas mileage for a vehicle of this size. Getting out of this driveway was no problem at all.

Sadly, within our first several miles on Highway 97, we had a deer encounter. A doe and her fawn (which we're pretty sure we saw in the same location the night before) crossed in front of us. While Patrick was able to slow down in time to miss the doe, the fawn somehow managed to get under the truck and was killed. Not a pleasant way to start the day. No vehicle damage or injury on our part, but disappointing nonetheless.

Having the hitch properly adjusted made a great deal of difference. The ride was much smoother, the trailer looked level and both axles seemed to now be sharing the load equally. We made such good time across Eastern Washington that we earned a stop at the Columbia Gorge overlook near George, WA (no joke!). After crossing the Columbia River and driving up out of the Gorge, we were treated with our first glimpse of Mt. Rainer's cap peaking up over the foothills. Awesome.

This brings me to answering a question that some of you asked about why I'm not posting pictures in this blog. For this trip, I elected to use my iPhone as a camera, and an iPad as my Internet interface. This blog page will NOT read the storage on either of these devices. I'm looking for a workaround for this, but in the meanwhile I'm posting photos to my Facebook page. Hopefully I'll get this solved, but it's shaping up to be just another epic Apple fail. Bless their hearts.

We made it through the Cascade Mountains and Snoqualmie Pass with no concerns. However we ran smack into outrageous traffic when we departed I-90 and took I-405 to I-5 via Renton, WA. Such a mind bender after so many days of wide open spaces. Oy.

We pulled into the hotel parking area at 1:45 PM, right on schedule, and were soon joined by LRLR riders offering to help unload bikes. Not long after, Loren arrived with the California bike trailer and soon the parking lot was filling up with bikes.

We had a great dinner and ride meeting together. LRLR is ready to roll. Tomorrow night we'll be in Vancouver, BC.