September 2, 2012

San Diego to Seattle - Day 4

From Medford to Seattle, the last leg of our trip, was really a pretty boring ride, all things given. But it was the most miles we covered in one day. 446 miles to travel in one day was a big hunk of highway to bite off. And that's just what it was; all highway. I5 leading out of Medford heads due north on a wide stretch that only bottlenecks in one place, Portland. So for the most part, the ride was smooth sailing, except for Portland.

When we approached the south end of the city, traffic was stopped. We actually lifted our visors, spoke for awhile, as my sweet husband Highway nearly walked the bike for miles, inching forward in the miserable traffic. It turned out to be ana accident, so I assumed the traffic would lessen as we passed. I was wrong.

For over an hour he never complained as we hit one traffic jam after another, bridge after bridge, until we hit Washington. Lane splitting is illegal in Oregon, so the regular procedure I've come to love of riding between cars and blowing through a traffic jam in minutes was out of the question.

We sat, like all of the drivers, while Highway maneuvered a foot at a time along the asphalt. All I could do was sit as still as possible, rub his back when we were stopped, and be patient. I began to gag on the exhaust fumes, barfing off the side of the bike a few times, enduring the sun and poisonous gas.

It was when we hit the border and Highway pushed the motorcycle to it's limits that my admiration for him stretched the limits of my heart. We flew like a bat out of Hell towards our final destination; a hotel bed, a dinner, his father, a 4-day respite. I felt the both of us lean forward for nearly 50 miles as he squeezed back the throttle, chewing up the miles, filled with anticipation.

Just over 170 miles to go from the Oregon/Washington border and we both knew it. We wanted the same thing; to just get there. It was 3:45pm when we arrived in Portland. It was 5pm when we crossed that final bridge, and the desperation filled us both.

I was hungry, tired, and longed to just be still and move no more. But I knew the answer to all of these needs for both of us lie in Seattle. I counted down the miles, refusing to ask to stop again. I sunk myself in and was completely determined to see this thing through. Only a few miles to go.

Highway stopped for at a gas station about 60 miles into Washington.

"Why did you stop? I didn't ask to stop! I'm being so good! Why did you stop?" I pleaded.

"I figured we could both use a break. You need to use the restroom don't you? You haven't asked for hours. I'll get some gas and call my Dad."

He smiled at me. My heart began to overflow.

"You're being so good," he praised, as he patted my arm. "I'm so proud of you."

Beaming, I stumbled to the station like the Tin Man, my legs aching and my knees so stiff, they were nearly unbendable. I'm sure I needed an oil can.

When we rolled into Seattle at 8pm, my relief was only overwhelmed by my pride. I had made it! We had done it! If not for Highway, I wouldn't have even tried. His belief in me and his encouragement and patience brought me to another milestone in my life.

The total 4-day ride was 1,531 miles. I hadn't simply arrived in Seattle. As a long distance passenger, I had arrived.

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