Baq from Iraq
May 20 - 28, 2005
For the uninformed, each year Garrett, Bill and I make a motorcycle trip together. We rode to / met in Las Vegas once, we rode to Big Bend once, and this year we rode to / met in Seattle, Washington. This year's trip was special for a variety of reasons, as follows:
Since our last trip Garrett joined the Army as a 91w Healthcare Specialist
Garrett has been through Basic Training at Fort Benning
He has been through AIT at Fort Sam Houston
And he was just returning from his first Combat Tour in Operation Iraqi Freedom
All of these factors made this trip particularly special. I hadn't seen Garrett since graduating from AIT and frankly I had been worried sick pretty much since the minute he left for Basic Training over a year ago. Garrett took a month of leave when he got back from Iraq, spent a couple of weeks with friends in Texas and then came to Florida to spend time with me, Tonya and our friends. Here is the first shot of PFC Poole arriving at the Tampa International Airport.
Everyone who knows me hears about Garrett for two reasons. 1) I talk a LOT 2) I tell the latest stories about Garrett, where he is and what is going on - probably more than most want to hear about or even care about. Being that as it may be, friends almost always want to meet my crazy brother to hear about his wild adventures and outrageous experiences. Jim and Christina met us for dinner the night Garrett came to Tampa - I don't know if it made more sense to them or less afterwards, but I bet they won't forget it any time soon :-)
Now is a good time to talk about the trip we had planned and why. Trying to be a good older brother (or at the least make up for what a rotten older brother I was for the first 10 years of Garrett's life) I sold him one of my motorcycles for damn near nothing. I figured it was a good time to let Jenna go and he could use a bike with ABS brakes, a windscreen and legitimate carrying capacity for commuting, etc. Later I would realize that Garrett would take the surplus funds from my generous sale and go by himself a CBR600rr. Not that I blame him, Jenna is a great bike but it is the motorcycle equivalent of Birkenstock shoes. Great, solid, dependable and completely useless where sex appeal is concerned. Here she is in the garage flanked by Betty (Black Bike) and Tonya's bulletproof F650cs.
Now, we have a bike in Tampa, Florida and Garrett's home is in Fort Lewis, Washington (just outside of Seattle). We had to figure out a way to get his bike to him in the most hell-raisingly way possible. We scratched our heads, scrawled out a BUNCH of different ideas via email and finally came up with the idea to ride 3200 miles straight to Washington and then spend a week riding IN Washington.
The plan was to ride ~1000 miles a day for 3 days and just a few hundred miles the last day. Each of the yellow boxes above represents a planned stopping point with a hotel booked. We'd leave on a Friday early and arrive in Seattle around Mid Afternoon on Monday. Once we got to Seattle, we'd stay in Olympia (about an hour south) and use it as our launch off point for what would turn out to be some amazing rides in Washington State.
Now will be the first of many times I will say this: I did not bring the right gear for this trip. Even when you take into consideration how smooth most of this trip went it is very obvious that I packed in a hurry, I packed too little and I didn't bring what I should have. I am very fortunate that the weather was not worse than it was - as I could have been in serious trouble. Garrett, on the other hand, packed for the both of us and it was very fortuitous that he had extra gear for the both of us as well as anyone who we might have met along the ride to Washington.
On with the Ride