I'd spent almost a week in Seattle and to be honest, I'd explored very little of the City. My days had seemingly been hijacked by constant conversations with customs officers and freight houses in my attempts to get the Tiger's released early from captivity. It was frustrating being so close to the bike yet unable to do anything with it, ...... like riding it. I was also flat broke, I was breaking the $37 per day budget and trying to avoid any activity that would cost money. Unfortunately Alan had experienced ATM problems in Seoul and I'd used my 'Emergency Fund' paying to freight both bikes out of the country. That had left me with very little in the way of cash, ....... and I don't use a credit card. On a daily basis in Seattle it seemed that demands were being made on the amount that I could draw from the local cash-points, .... as fast as I could draw the money out, .... a hand was outstretched to take it from me; Customs Charges, Handling Charges, Inspection Charges, Administration Fees, Crate Disposal Charges, ..... the list was endless.
On my first venture into the centre of Seattle I'd bumped into Burke and he'd introduced me to another biking colleague, Colleen. Plans had been made for the weekend when all of the paperwork with customs should have been completed, .... but on the Friday morning the Tiger had been released from captivity. My desire to continue the journey and to ride south with my 'Special Package' had become overwhelming, I wanted to arrive in Boonville for my Brother and Sister-in-Laws wedding anniversary on the Monday. Sadly those weekend plans that had been made by Burke and Colleen never came to fruition, ....... but again I send a heart felt 'Thank You' to both of them for their support and generosity and a promise that one day I will return.
With the Tiger running perfectly and the sun at long last shining, I headed South from Fife on 'i5' towards Tacoma Triumph. I found the dealership with ease and received the warmest of welcomes from Robert and his colleagues. With nothing to be fixed on the bike, they pointed me in the direction of their friendly local Insurance Agent. Although insurance is not compulsory here in the state of Washington, I certainly didn't want to risk riding without it. I parted with around $100 and in return received third party insurance for a full year, ...... that's almost ten times less than I pay at home as a courier, ..... so thanks to all at Tacoma Triumph and to Yuommi at Nationwide Insurance for helping me along my way.
Knowing that in the country that brought us 'Ambulance Chasing' I was now fully insured, I felt an awful lot safer as once more I set off South on 'i5' towards Oregon. The interstate was busy, the heat was intense and at the first opportunity I turned West onto State Highway 6 and headed for the coast. The temperature dropped and the roads were fantastic, twisting and turning, rising and falling, ..... roads the likes of which I hadn't ridden since leaving Turkey way back in May. The speed limit here may be 55mph, ...... but on these roads that's not a 'Limitation', .... on most of these roads it is actually a 'Target', ... but only for the brave or foolish. Despite constant complaints from a once more aggravated hernia, I was enjoying this ride more than any other this far on Poor Circulation, ..... it actually felt like 'freedom'. I stopped frequently, took photographs of amazing views, brewed coffee by the roadside and chatted with those that wanted to pass the time of day. Here in America it seems that people respect your personal space a little more than in countries previously visited. After the overwhelming friendliness of Russia, .... this comes as something of a shock to the system. It's not that it's better, and certainly not that it's worse, it's just different and takes a little time to get used to.
Down the coast my senses were constantly bombarded with beautiful scenery and I eventually decided to camp just north of the border with Oregon. I'd been warned that 'Free Camping' was frowned upon here, ...... care would be needed. I stocked up with food at a local market, cooked and ate by the side of the road and then wobbled into the dunes as the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. I didn't risk the attention that a campfire might bring but I pitched my tent, opened a cold bottle of beer and marveled at the amazing array of night time stars. For the first time since Lake Baikal, I took the 'Special Package' from the security of the bike and it sat beside me in the doorway to my tent, looking upwards and enjoying the heavenly show. I think I'm going to enjoy my time in America.