Sunday, August 22, 2010

I feel this obligation to my readers to post some exciting adventure that I undertook. I didn't. I rode this weekend. Through a familiar route on Colebrook Road - the twisty chicane I have mentioned before. I loved the ride, though not unique. I didn't mind the mist of rain. It is a great road that would rival many. The fact that it is in my neighbourhood might make it less exciting to many. To see the line of the tarmac and the twists on the hills makes it all a worthwhile ride.

We got home just before the clouds teemed with buckets. Satisfied to feel the warmth of the engine, the hum with the twist of the throttle.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I check his blog daily now. Never thought random things would interest me as much as they do. Often posts make me laugh or remind me not to take things too seriously. He sees things differently than I do. "Why don't you want a motorcycle in the garden? It is a lot better than a garden gnome or butterfly," is his reasoning with me. I shake my head. We live in suburbia surrounded by suburbanites. They already don't understand the parade of motorcycles that come from the garage. They shake their head at our choice of music to swim to....or even the fact that when he is in the pool - everyone knows it. It is not just the displacement of water that they hear.....but the frequent "Cannonball" yelled in his lowest baritone, followed by the screams of his teenage daughters and the moan of his son.

Of course he has a following that will agree with him. He tells me I am not as cool as people thought I was. Hmmm....and then, on the weekend we pass a rusted out Suzuki at a mailbox. I knew he would stop. He did. It is on his blog now....and of course followers quickly sent their pics of their cycle gardens.

Perhaps when I am as old as he is, and in the garden gnome phase of life, I will succumb to the pressure and decide I need to be cool. Of course by that time the neighbours will have us pegged as eccentric, which will mean we can pretty much do anything without their reproach. Until that day, I would like to stick to pots and vases with plants and flowers....completely uncool.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Anacortes, Port Townsend, Port Angeles, La Push, Forks, Whidbey Island, Bellingham

A 7 a.m. start is pretty typical for us. Through the border before 8 a.m. and down the Chuckanut; a scenic and winding curve of road that follows the coastline. The Chuckanut is long as you are the only one on it. As soon as there are cars impeding you it can feel like rush hour traffic that is stop and go. We lucked out and only a few cars threatened the moment....but they were so polite and pulled over. In fact, I have to say, I found that the drivers in Washington State were amazing this way. Intuitively, they would pull to the side, or even off the road to let us pass. This was throughout our journey. Granted, on many of the roads there are signs that tell drivers to pull out if they impede cars....but rarely have I met Canadians who are as polite with the road rules. No wonder I love Washington so much.

Moving on we found lots of back roads, with amazing views as we head toward the Keystone Ferry. Through farmlands, fishing villages and forests, we drink in the road as the beauty passes before us. We stop in Anacortes for coffee and take in the Art Festival. This is no small town gathering. There are almost 250 booths of hand crafts. Some of these are artists commanding thousands for an 8 x 10 picture. There are sauces, soaps, herbs, and leather goods. It looks well organized, even with the threat of rain. Very eco-friendly as well, having garbage areas marked so as to compost and recycle all waste. We lingered over several photos of scenes we had witnessed and animals we had encountered. Ken was thinking there was just not enough motorcycle art I am sure...though we did come across a few unique things.

Next is Deception Pass with a bridge that links the mainland to Whidbey Island. It is a short bridge that has swirling eddies and crashing waves below. Cameras are necessary to capture the incredible views.

We are next at Keystone just in time for the ferry across to Port Townsend. Again, you gotta love Washington State....the total cost for the bike and both of us was $7.60. The loading on and off was quick and easy and we were on our way to check out Port Angeles next.

I always know when we are about to go off the main road. Ken's head bobs up and down a few times, checking and rechecking the map in those 2 second breaks of straight driving. That is also when I am on my game to watch exactly what is happening. I can navigate if I know the landmarks, and so often it will be my keen observation that will point up ahead to Houston Road, or the bend that might be missed. So far the riding has been average. Nothing too spectacular in the twists, turns, that is until we hit Hwy 112 that eventually leads to Neay Bay. We don't go that far, but we certainly enjoyed opening up the throttle and moving side to side.

Next we head through shaded roads of forest and mist on the way to LaPush. LaPush is right on the coast with the most unusual atolls jutting just off the beach. There are trees and vegetation growing on what looks like a table top. The mist and fog add to the character, as does all the other tourists at the "event parking". We never found out what the event was, but enjoyed the rugged coast and then watched as the surf rolled into the sandy beach on the south side of the bay. I would have loved to have seen this in the brilliant sunshine, but our experience with the west coast has thus far proved that mist and mystery are the norm.

Our last stop for the day is in Forks, Washington. This is a sleepy little town that has recently been taken over by vampires. For real. They have capitalized on the movie industry and sold out the town to the teen sensation of the Twilight series. There were signs, stores, posters and reminders in business names everywhere that you are now in the Twilight Zone. It was completely cheesy and so, when in Rome....let's just say I have close to 20 photos of a certain someone ogling everything Twilight. He did not take the tour..though the bus did look quite plush and promised 24 destinations. He didn't go because I am sure that someone would have thought he was a pedophile cramming into a bus with 20 tweenagers.....It was worth many a laugh as I snapped them all....only to have a friend of his recognize him just as he was hamming it up for me. I am not sure if he believed the explanation of poking fun. He looked over his shoulder as he left and the man was once again in full Twilight idolization.

We spent the night in a motel I had already predicted. It did have a floral bedspread! It was pink....and the towels were threadbare...but, it was warm and clean and although we had a double bed....we were too tired to care. We cozied up to our downloaded movie and American beer to reenergize for the next day.

Saturday morning we left Forks and headed east on the number 20 toward Port Angeles. He had roads picked again, lest we were bored with the ones we had already been on. We traveled through mostly bucolic or forested roads and headed to Port Townsend to explore. There we went up to the edge (and top) of town to Fort Worden exploring the old battalions and all the buildings throughout. This is a massive fort that was in operation between the early 1900's that was set to protect enemies from travelling up to Seattle. There was a fort on the opposite shore that ensured that any enemy would be taken care of by the crossfire. Beautiful beaches and camping were part of the Fort and we enjoyed poking around.

Just in time we made it to the ferry back to Keystone on Whidbey Island, where we headed south and explored all of that island too. There were a lot of great houses and properties throughout, and equally as many panoramic scenes than were possible to absorb in one trip. It seemed that the entire weekend was spent looking out onto a view of water. There weren't any spectacular roads on Whidbey. I think that we are spoiled now. We have been on too many amazing roads so our expectations are pretty high. We stopped in Langley to enjoy a little Calypso music and to watch glass blowing. It was a quaint little town with artisans and coffee shops enjoying the sea air and historic buildings.

We head back to the Chuckanut and then to Trader Joe's in Bellingham for our chocolate fix. They have the most amazing organic chocolate of which we bought two pounds! Enough for a few days at least. Our journey ended here as the rest was blasting up the I-5 as quickly as we could. In all we road more than 15 hours of roads that most would envy. Washington State has so much to see, and being on the west coast has sights that are breathtaking.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Stay Tuned

The maps are unfolded and Destination HIghways is open.....this means he is planning again....looking for the road with the most twists and turns, without traffic or potholes.....At this point the plan is to head to Port Angeles via Port Townsend ferry, Sequim and dozens of dots on the map. The motels will be from the 50's with double beds with floral spreads and towels that were old ten years ago. We don't go for the accommodations. He actually found a campsite that you just roll up to and it is laid out for you....tent, air mattress and all...oh the choices, the choices.

Bear in mind that after careful scrutiny the route may change. Another backroad....a cool little town.....a groundhog museum perhaps would send him back to unfold the map and peer over his glasses with a serious look. I do get consulted. I never put on my glasses, so I must confess that I often just nod at the unseen lines he traces with his finger. His enthusiasm sways me. How could I not want to meander anywhere when i see how much delight it brings him?

So stay tuned for my ramblings and ruminations from behind.

PS I must 'fess up that when my friend mentioned he was going to ride to the Salt Flats in Utah, I was bombarding him with more advice on roads than he was prepared for. After giving him the route east then south through one of my favourite paths of tarmac from Rossland to Kettle Creek...I then started over and began to give him all the ways to go south through Washington and then east. I rattled off more small towns and old highways until he said he planned on taking his GPS and would be fine without a trip planner. (sigh) He is rubbing off on me......