When we first arrived back in the Seattle area we again stayed at Karl's fantastic house. There are some really odd contrasts that you come across on a trip like this, one day rough camping with no shower for days, basic cheap food. The next day you're given use of this incredible detatched house, and some generous soul is taking you out for a gourmet feast! It's something pretty special.
We then moved in with an enthusiastic motorcyclist couple, whom have since become dear friends. Don and Joni invited us to stay, without the slightest inkling that we might overstay our welcome to the tune of six weeks! I'd really struggle to explain the hospitality and love that Don and Joni showed us, over the extended period we spent as their guests. They were simply amazing.
Don very generously allowed me free reign over his extensive collection of vehicles, which turned out to be very useful indeed. We put over two thousand miles on his sturdy old truck, which had already tipped the three hundred thousand mile mark. I took great pelasure in riding his fantastic BMW R100 GSPD, and the four of us took a beautifully picturesque ride together, up to Stevens Pass.
We held a small motorcyclists gathering at the house, and entertained even more willing guests at the Don & Join residence.
While in Seattle we took the mandatory visit to Pikes Place Market, which both Char and I found to be entirely acceptable. Fine Clam Chowder, the original Starbucks cafe, and a wall with lots of chewing gum on it.
Another extremely useful run in Don's truck. This time to collect the motorcycles from the nice folks at the Port of Seattle. Once we actually figured out the processes involved, it was really pretty straight forward. For the shipment from Russia (Vladivostock) to Seattle, Simon and I were forced to take an entire 20' container, which seemed like a shocking waste in all kinds of ways. $3,675 for the whole container incase you were wondering. In fact it would probably have been cheaper for us to get on the Trans-Siberian-Railway with the bikes to Western Russia, then ride to France/UK, and ship bikes from there, and fly ourselves. I am absolutely serious.
After the punishment that Honda had taken riding across Mongolia and Siberia, there was a bit of work needed before Char and I set off South. Don is not only a professional Honda Mechanic, but is also an absolute pleasure to work with. He managed to rustle up a gas-less MIG welder, and we got stuck into job one.
I've written a bit about the bike and work that has been needed over the course of the trip just here, but in straight forward terms, at this point, the bike needed: frame repairs after it cracked, rear shock was suffering from blown seals, rear suspension linkages were badly corroded and worn, fuse blown, one headlight out, rear spokes corroded and snapped, I can't remember the rest.
As if Don and Joni had not already done enough for us, they put great effort into hosting a mock Thanksgiving celebration. We had the privilege of meeting some of the family, and the whole event was just superb. We genuinely felt like part of the family. Thank you so much to you both, we had a great time with you and look forward to seeing you again.
Picking up Charlotte's bike was a pretty momentus occasion, despite the torrential rain. Again Don's sturdy Nissan truck steps up to the task, and effortlessly delivers 'Stanley' back to Snohomish from the port.