We began our ride Sunday, June 24th, by meeting in Monroe and riding over Highway 2 for a breakfast at the Squirrel Tree Restaurant near Leavenworth.
I had stayed at Marv and MaryLou’s house Saturday night, and when queried about what time we should meet Sunday morning, I suggested 6 am. It seemed unusually early, but it started a trend that lasted the whole week. Our first day would turn out to be the hottest day we would have on the trip. As we crossed the infamous ‘donut hole’ in South Central Washington, the temperatures would be in the low 90s. By getting an early start, we were hoping to get through that part of the trip before the hot afternoon sun turned the Palouse into an oven.
Soon after Marv, Kurt, and I decided we were going to make the ride, I realized it would probably be best if I did the road choices and routing for the GPS files we’d use to make our way. Kurt gave me a few places and things he wanted me to incorporate in the route. One was a stop at Palouse Falls. It’s a ‘Punch Bowl’ waterfall on the Palouse River where, after winding through the rolling hills of wheat in the fertile Palouse, it drops 198 feet into a canyon. The river is wide and flat at the top of the falls, which gives it a very appealing aspect. We spent about an hour there, taking a break while we photographed it.
I did a fair bit of walking around in the heat to get good angles to make photographs. I finally had to give up and sit in the shade for a few minutes and drink water. I was in my motorcycle suit, which is only comfortable when moving along on the road. Once I stop, it becomes a close-fitting sauna.
After the visit to Palouse falls we wound our way through the canyons on Highway U.S. 12 to Clarkston/Lewiston. We followed the Clearwater River east from Lewiston for 30 miles before arriving at the Best Western hotel in Orofino for our first night’s stay. After eating Mexican food at a nearby restaurant, we sat on the hotel’s riverside patio until twilight and the onset of mosquitos.