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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

8 days, 3 states, 4 bikes, 8 friends, 1,850 miles

Dave M. itinerary notes:  2013 OREGON RIDE………Leisure riding with short mileage and time for sightseeing, viewing of flora and fauna and the resting of aged joints

We went on line made a reservation for the ferry at Coupeville to Port Townsend and I was then ready to begin planning and packing…well, it’s been months since the talk of this ride began so I had to restrain myself from not packing sooner.  Can you tell I—we--needed to get out on the bike, ride with friends, get away, take a break…it doesn’t matter what you call it, or how you put it into words, a bike vacation is just what we need.

I know, for those who don’t ride, you might find it hard to understand why we would think a vacation on a bike (not just any bike but a Harley) would be something to celebrate or why you would take a vacation with not just one couple but three other couples.  We laugh, we share what we have seen during the day, we enjoy meals with friends you trust to always have your back, you know that what happens on the trip stays on the trip (well maybe a few phone calls to one couple who couldn’t join us this time so they can participate), and then there are the photographs to remember the sights.  I wouldn’t trade these motorcycle vacations with friends for anything.

Saturday it was rise and shine, well sort of…it’s not quit sunny outside but my heart is…time to ride to Starbucks to meet up with our friends and the adventure begins.  Funny thing is no one wants to be the last to arrive.  Larry and I are riding down the freeway and I see Dave and Dawn on the overpass above, ready to approach the on ramp.   As we arrived at Starbucks, all four bikes pulled in at the same time.

Coffee anyone?  The perfect song for our group was playing, Zippity Doo Dah and Rick was singing it as we left Starbucks: 

Zippity doo dah, Zippity aye,
My oh my what a wonderful day
Plenty of sunshine coming my way,
Zippity doo dah, Zippity aye.
Mister blue bird's on my shoulder,,
It’s the truth,
It’s actual,
Everything’s satisfactual!
Zippity doo dah,
Zippity aye,
Zippity doo dah,
Zippity aye!

We pulled out of Bellingham headed to the Coupeville ferry that would take us to Port Townsend wearing all our layers and plugged in.  Well, we almost missed the ferry….we pulled in, paid for our reservations, drove into our lane, waited about five minutes and then the boarding began.  There must have been about thirty bikes on the ferry when we left the dock.

Enough time for coffee or hot chocolate and a bathroom break and we were almost ready to dock.  We drove down highway 101 on the Hood Canal enjoying the views of the water and the small sleepy towns we passed through. We stopped for lunch at the Rusty Tractor in Elma, a nice little restaurant we frequent on our journeys south.   We continued on through Raymond, once known as a wild and wooly lumber mill town and now famous as the place the group Nirvana played their first gig.  The city of Raymond is also lined with flat rusted metal sculptures of animals and people.

Our final destination for the day, Long Beach, Washington,  originally called Tinkerville, and had a narrow gauge railroad at one time.  It has a fairly mild climate and hosts annual sandcastle and a kite flying contests.  You can see mountains of oyster shells, visit the kite or cranberry museum, go for a walk on the beach, or the half mile long boardwalk.

Bikes unloaded, coffee in the lobby and we were ready to explore.  We split up in two groups wandering the few blocks in town, checking out the sandcastle competition and walking to the beach.  It was quit windy on the beach but that wasn’t keeping anyone from picnics, kite flying, or using their four wheel vehicles on the sandy beach.  We found a small restaurant a couple of blocks from our hotel to enjoy a good meal before strolling back to our hotel.

Sunday morning we left around eightish down highway 101 to Florence Oregon.  It was a pleasant day riding down the coast, past one of my favorite towns, Seaside.  It was a little early so we passed on stopping at the Tillamook for ice cream and really glad we were going south instead of north, because all the weekend tourists were headed home north.  Lincoln City was stop and go through the lights and traffic and as Larry would say, “we successfully defied death and destruction.”   We stopped in Depot Bay for lunch at the Hag and saw sea lions on the rocks and a fishing boat maneuver through the narrow opening into the protected bay.  We passed through Newport which was also busting with traffic going north as we continued on south.

Well, we had a little excitement…seems some teenage driver out for spin in dad’s truck decided to pass us on a double yellow line, cutting into the middle of our group when he realized he couldn’t quite clear all four bikes without hitting oncoming traffic.  All of this was taking place on blind curves on highway 101.  Well that was enough to get our blood boiling but it was over, or so we thought.  We passed a pull out for viewing and there was the truck preparing to pull out into traffic again, headed our direction.  He pulled up hard on Dave and Dawn and again on a no passing section of the road he proceeded to pass us….again seeing oncoming traffic he pulled in between our bikes, he pulled out and quickly pulled in between our bike and Rick and Marina.  He wasn’t done yet…he pulled out again and leap frogged between Dave and Lorie and Rick and Marina.  God was looking out for Dave and Lorie today because this jerk was riding their bumper.  He pulled out on a double yellow with traffic coming in the opposite direction and passed Dave and Lorie again.  I guess when you are young you think you are invincible…think again because more than your life is at stake when you drive a weapon with no regard for your life or anyone else’s. 

We got settled in our rooms at the River House and found rubber duckies sitting on the edge of our bathtubs, this brought laughter and smiles to our faces.   We walked through old town to scope out places to eat dinner and settled on the Firehouse restaurant.  After dinner we walked down the street to the ice cream shop for dessert and I had black walnut ice cream, so hard to find, but black walnuts always reminds me of home, Missouri, black walnut fudge-- time to call mom.

Monday we left Florence, Oregon for Bend, Oregon around eightish (this time is what would become the joke on the trip, just ask Lorie what eightish means).  We rode on highway 126 next to the river under a canopy of trees shading the roadway and making us glad we had our heated gear on and plugged in.  The covered canopy gave way to a tree lined road that then opened up into a road with trees set back off the road.  The curving forest road turned to wide fairly straight road through flat farmland and orchards.   This was a road that our leader had never been on and it amazed us because it seems likes he knows all the back roads and byways of Washington and Oregon.

We managed to wind our way through the maze of city streets in Eugene heading east on highway 58 and 46 to Bend.  The farmland quickly turned to dry high dessert and warmed up quickly and we stopped for cold drinks and to remove layers of clothing.  We passed the lava fields and stopped at Cultas Lake Resort for lunch on the outside patio.  It was a pleasant break looking at the grass lined shore of the lake and the boat docks.  We saw children and adults playing in the water all the while we sat on a cool, tree covered deck.

Back on the road we headed to the Harley store in Bend for a few necessities before locating our rooms for the night.  Showers, cold drinks, coffee, and we were ready for dinner.  The food was good but a little pricey and the service was lousy at The Crossings Restaurant at The Riverhouse Hotel.   A 19% automatic tip for a waiter who clearly didn’t want to wait on us and then would not break our check down into separate bills after agreeing to this is unacceptable.  I wrote a review on Yelp and Tripadvisor to warn others to stay clear of this restaurant.  Thanks Dave and Dawn for being the first to put up a credit card and get us out of there.  I did however tell the manager what we thought of the waiter and how we were treated.  The waiter got to keep his 19% auto tip and we were offered dessert to go…no thanks….guess they just wanted us out of there, and we didn’t want to stay a minute longer than we had to.  Too bad the service personnel had such bad attitudes because the atmosphere on the patio was pleasant watching the river run behind us. 

Tuesday, day four of our adventure, we left Bend at eightish moving on down the road headed for Baker City.  We drove through tiny little towns in the middle of farmland and you could smell the cut alfalfa waiting to be baled in the fields.  Occasionally you could smell the sage brush and maybe juniper trees.  It is heating up and as we take a break and get something to drink, we are all removing the layers, and using the sunscreen.

We stopped for breakfast in Prineville which is east of Bend.  Prineville is the county seat and was founded in 1877 and located on the on the Crooked River at the mouth of the Ochoco Creek.   Breakfast was entertaining as we watched the rainbow bus filled with modern day hippies in their broken down bus with two blown tires.  The waitress said they were from Portland looking for a place to camp when they pulled into the restaurant parking lot.  Wow…camping without reservations…who would do that in this day and age of technology.  I removed another layer as it was beginning to warm up by the time we were ready to mount up again.  There is a chance of thunderstorms throughout the afternoon so we may need to pull over for rain gear later on or as Dave M. says, we will dry out as fast as it rains.

We stopped in Mitchell Oregon for a break and cold drinks.  There isn’t much to the town except a café and a general store, but it is the gateway to the Painted Hills.  The area around Mitchell was at the bottom of the Cretaceous Sea, home to the giant Tiger of the sea, the Plesiosaur, 80-90 million years ago. 

How hot is it?  It is time to stop again in Mount Vernon to remove all extra layers and grab cold drinks.  There isn’t much to this town except the Clyde Holliday State Park we passed as we pressed onto our final destination.

The last stop before Baker City was Sumpter where the only place in town that was open was a small bar.   Our eyes slowly adjusted to the dim lighting and we seated ourselves in the back room and ordered a round of tea, sodas, and iced water.  Refreshed and ready to go we drove back to the junction and turned east for the last twenty- six miles.  Sumpter was rich in gold, timber and ranching but today is mostly a tourist town.   They had a railway that went from Baker City to Prairie City, electric lights, an opera house, churches, newspapers, and sadly when the mines closed, the town died.  Fire almost destroyed the town in 1917 and they used dynamite to put out the fire, destroying twelve blocks.    An excursion train still runs through Sumpter and several years ago during the Hells Canyon Rally Larry and I rode those rails even if it was a short trip.

The Hells Canyon rally was the weekend before we arrived so riding through Baker City seemed fairly quiet.  The city may have looked quiet but the hotel was jumping.  It was almost booked when we checked in, but we did have reservations, thanks, once again, to our illustrious leader.   Showers, a change of clothes, a cold drink, and we were ready for dinner.  Why drive when there was a perfectly nice restaurant at the hotel.  Wow, the servings were huge.  A salad could feed two people and the prices were really good.  We talked, we laughed and then it was time to retire.

The railroad came to Baker City in 1884 and it was the largest city between Salt Lake City and Portland by the 1900’s.  It is the county seat and the historic district is on the national register of historic places.   The art deco Baker City Tower is nine stories and the tallest building east of the Cascade Range in Oregon.

Wednesday , eightish, day five, we rode east out of Baker City on highway 86 passing The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.   There are lots of exhibits and you can view the ruts of the Oregon trail through the five hundred acre site.    Worth the time to stop which we did on a previous visit to Baker City.  The Oregon Trail is approximately two thousand miles long from Missouri to the the Willamette Valley.  It began as trails used by the Native Americans, then fur traders and in 1843 a wagon train with over eight hundred people, one hundred and twenty wagons, and five thousand cattle made the five month journey.

We stopped in Richland at Annie’s Café for breakfast.  Eight people can be overwhelming for a small one person café, but the owner handled it with great service and a smile.  He kept the coffee coming while he took orders and cooked as fast as he could go.  Dawn helped out pouring coffee for our group and we had an enjoyable meal to start off our morning.  Rick did, however, miss his chance at homemade cinnamon rolls; but he said they were too big to put in his tour pack.

Warm and it’s getting hotter, we stopped at Scotty’s Hells Canyon Outdoor Supply for cold drinks before turning onto highway 39, the Wallowa Mountain Loop over the mountain.  Dave M:  “No need for a potty break as your butt cheeks should be puckered so tight you couldn’t do anything anyway. Last time I was on this road it was gravel back in about 1956.”  Well the road has been improved and has been designated a scenic byway as an, “All American Road,” going through the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.    We stayed by the river winding through the forest where the temperature was about twenty degrees cooler than it had been when we stopped at the store.  As we climbed higher, the temperatures began to climb also.  We turned west on highway 350 into Joseph where we stayed at the Indian Lodge Motel. 

We wandered around town, stopping for colds drinks and light snacks before dinner.  The bronze statues throughout the downtown area were amazing as were the wooden planter boxes that were filled with a variety of “flora and fauna,” each unique and different, some sponsored by local families or groups.  Larry made a necessary stop in the Joseph Fly shop for fishing supplies.  A guy can never have enough flies, so I guess he won’t complain if I buy another pair of shoes because a girl can never have enough shoes, right?  We had dinner at The Stubborn Mule where enjoyed a nice meal, reasonable prices, and plenty of time to talk about the day’s adventures. 

There just is not enough time to see everything, and Joseph would definitely be a place to revisit.  Wallowa Lake has great fishing, or a tram will take you up to the top of Mt. Howard where you can dine at the 8,150 elevation, and you can stay at the Wallowa Lake Lodge.   Check out  or  for more information.

Thursday morning we walked down to The Old Town Café for breakfast because it was seven twenty and we were all ready to go, way ahead of eightish.  Good food to start off the morning.  I had a cup--which turned out to be extra large glass cappuccino cup--filled with vanilla yogurt, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and fresh made granola.  The menu cover read:  Welcome to The Old Town Café, where the menu, prices, hours, and attitudes change without notice.   It was not until the next day that Rick mentioned the chocolate covered coffee beans at the restaurant and Lorie wondered why Dave M. had not scooped up a spoonful for her.

We traveled north through Enterprise on highway 82 then onto highway 3 up the Wallowas Mountains known as America’s Alps.  We left the range land where we saw dogs and a herder bringing the sheep into the pens.  Dave and Lorie were blessed as a deer that jumped just feet in front of them only caused them to put on the brakes and the two fawns stayed put on the side of the road.  We stopped at Joseph Canyon Viewpoint to view the winter grounds of the Nez Perce Tribe.

From here we continued north to The Rattlesnake, a series of switchbacks that took us down to the Grand Ronde River.  We were warned about gravel and rocks that we did find in some areas and we needed to weave around them, but not as bad as it could have been.  We began our climb back up WA highway 129 with more switchbacks and blind corners, stopping at Fields Spring State Park for a break.  From here we were in the rolling hills of the Palouse heading north to Lewiston Idaho, where we stopped at Asotin, WA, for cold drinks.  We crossed into Idaho and maneuvered through Lewiston and a construction site leaving the bikes, our boots, and chaps covered with mud from the gravel worksite.    We were at full throttle riding hard and fast uphill out of Lewiston on highway 95 where we as far as the eye could see were fields of mostly wheat and a few other crops. 

We approached Moscow for a little sightseeing of the downtown area.  It is an old city and has a certain vibe to it like other smaller college towns.  Four lefts and a right and we found a gas station.  The Moscow area was originally named Paradise Valley but had the nick name of “Hog Heaven.”  We were just a few miles east of the Washington border.

We stopped at Dad’s diner in Potlatch Idaho which didn’t look like much on the outside but the food was good and the bakery items fresh.

Somewhere in our wanderings this morning between Oregon, Washington, and Idaho we changed to Mountain Time zone and back to Pacific Time zone.  I know I saw the signs but I can’t quit remember where we were..or what time it was. 

We wandered highway 95 to hwy 5, back to hwy 97 and then to our destination of Harrison Idaho.   We stayed at The Lakeview Lodge overlooking Lake Coeur d’Alene.  There was a osprey nest on a pole sticking out of the water, visible from our rooms.  We could occasionally see two little heads bobbing around, looking for mom who was never far away.   We had a short walk down the street for dinner and then back to the hotel to sit on the patio to visit before retiring for the night. 

Day seven and sometimes the best made plans change.  We wound around the lake wearing our layers because the east side of the lake was shaded from the morning sun which was hidden by the hills.  We headed west on highway 90 and then north on 41.  This is where we had a change of plans with a relatively quick fix mechanical problem on Rick’s and Marina’s bike.  If you have to pull over and wait, let us recommend a truck weigh station, wide parking, easy on and off the freeway, and easy to describe to the truck and trailer sent to pick you up.  We had a short delay and visited Lone Wolf Harley Davidson in Spokane and wished Sasha Oakley a happy birthday in person.  Sasha loaned Rick and Marina her car and we stopped for lunch at Shari’s restaurant.  We drove back to Lone Wolf HD for the bike and then we were on the road again.  A big thank you to Lone Wolf HD for the quick response, immediately working on the fix, the staff for greeting us at the door with bottles of cold water when we arrived, helping us as we shopped while we waited, and filling our bike water bottles with ice and water before we departed. 

We stopped in Newport, WA, for cold drinks and to sit inside to cool off before continuing on our journey.   In Colville we stopped again because it’s hot and you begin to look for alternative ways to cool off-- like standing in front of the automatic car wash, catching the spray off the rinse cycle.  We continued over highway 20 and Sherman Pass to the Northern Inn in Republic, our home for the night.  We walked up to Esther’s Mexican restaurant for dinner after it had cooled off a little…a very little.  As we walked back to our rooms we decided to leave eightish in the morning.  Would that be five till, ten till, seven thirty?  Who knows.

We’ve been eight days on the road
New roads, new places, new memories
Down the coast and over the river
Snaking up and down the canyons
Hells Canyon to the plains of the Palouse
Our hometown’s coming into sight
We’re happy, we’re sad
The end to a journey
Eight days on the road
We’re gonna make it home today
Can hardly wait to go again

Saturday morning we left at eightish for Tonasket, located on the Okanogan River.  Tonasket was named for Chief Tonasket of the Okanogan people.  We began removing the first set of layers and finding cold drinks.  Dave M. was standing at the drive-up window for at little coffee stand when a truck pulled in.  While Dave was waiting for his order he proceeded to take the order for the truck waiting.  I think Dave M. would make a good barista when he retires from his day job.  He could certainly keep the customers entertained. 

Breakfast was at the Koala Restaurant in Omak where we had great service and lots of coffee.  All remaining layers came off as we were heading into the Methow Valley, stopping in Twisp for gas.  We decided to bypass a stop in Winthrop for ice cream because the blues festival began on Friday and parking is always at a premium.  We passed the parking and campgrounds for the festival and were amazed by all the vehicles and tents in the dry dusty fields.  My idea of camping is a hotel with a mattress, running water, and solid walls.

We climbed into the North Cascades, through Washington Pass, and stopping at Diablo lookout.  Next stop would be Marblemount on the west side of the mountain.    It was definitely cooler on the west side of the mountain but still warm and feeling warmer when you are not riding down the road catching a breeze. 

Rick and Marina left us in Sedro Woolley and the rest of the group headed home on highway 9.  We were beginning to feel the cooler air as we took the easy turns headed north.  We stopped at the Acme store for drinks and snacks.  From here we continued north and then west on Mt. Baker highway, with Dave and Dawn leaving us we reached Smtih Road.  We continued on with Dave and Lorie until they turned off for home.  A few more miles and we were pulling into our driveway.

If you want to find out more about America’s scenic byways, check out this website and you can order a free fold out map of one hundred and fifty byways:

Along your journeys you can also check out to find offbeat tourist attractions.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Friends, Harleys, and Sun...what more could you want on a Sunday afternoon

2013 has been a cold wet year in western Washington.  In April, Larry and I took the trike out for a Saturday afternoon ride.  Yes it was cold and we had all our layers on, plus the heated gear, but there was no rain. 

Then family took a priority.  I left for Las Vegas for ten days leaving Larry home with the dog and the cat. We drove to Bakersfield California, stopping for the night and then onto the bay area.  After nine days visiting with family we left for Sacramento for an overnight trip and then headed north, stopping in Grants Pass Oregon and Vancouver Washington before arriving home.

 It seemed like spring had arrived in WA while I was gone and Larry and our friends had met for breakfast and an afternoon of riding.  I was homesick and missing my friends and riding with the group.

Well, spring didn't last long because when I arrived home the rain came back.  I began to think there would not be another trip out on the bike until we took our vacation later in the summer.  Luckily the sun came out and Dawn took advantage of this and sent an email asking if anyone wanted to go for a ride. 

Sunday morning five of the seven couple we usually ride with assembled at one of our favorite Starbuck’s for coffee and stories before we headed out.  Dave and Dawn were in the lead with Dave and Lorie as sweeps.  In between were Bill, Marla, Marina, Rick, Larry, and I.  Six bikes and ten friends out enjoying a ride, a car show, lunch, and finishing the day off with a short ride before each of the bikes trailed off and headed to their own home destination.

We rode out on Marine drive, the west side of Ferndale, winding our way towards Birch Bay.  We stopped at the outlet mall where we all quickly peeled off our leathers and wandered up and down checking out the wide variety of cars and trucks on display. 

I think my favorites were the 1931 turquoise Apache truck and the 1947 yellow Ford convertible.  I love the detailed grills on the old vehicles and was surprised by a 1937 Diamond T truck painted in a matt black including the grill. 

We stopped for lunch at Bob’s Burgers and Brew, enjoying iced teas, sodas, and lots of ice water.  We opted to stay inside to eat lunch enjoying the air conditioning as the temperatures were rising outside, and expected to rise to eighty-five.

Dave and Dawn led us back down to Birch Bay and through the Park driving past the shoreline where families and dogs were splashing in the water to keep cool, people walking up and down the street to one of the many restaurants that appeared full, or to the ice cream shop.  We turned east and within half an hour we were skirting Lynden and heading south.  Now we were about in the middle of the county surrounded by farmlands and looking to the East was Mount Baker.  In Whatcom County you could be hiking on Mount Baker in the snow that morning and an hour and a half later be swimming in the pacific ocean.

It was a great idea, Dawn, to get out of the house and ride-- Thank you.  Thanks to all our friends who make riding such an enjoyable way to spend time with friends and relax.

Monday, January 7, 2013

01-01-2013 Day One - the adventure begins

New Years Eve and Larry was checking the weather--once, twice, three times--but every time it was just the same, twenty-eight degrees was the forecast for Tuesday morning, New Years Day.

He checked an app on his phone for the wind chill factor and found that there is the “old” wind chill factor and the “new” wind chill factor.  There wasn’t much difference, only two degrees and when you are riding down the freeway at sixty miles per hour, minus eleven or minus 13 isn’t going to make you feel any warmer.
We woke to find the ground covered in frost and crystal clear skies with no wind.  This would mean ice on the roads and black ice in the shadows and anywhere the fog would creep in.

Heated gear is wonderful but sometimes it is still not enough.  I get much colder than Larry so I layered: UnderArmour coldgear leggings, jean, chaps, tank top, UnderArmour turtleneck, UnderArmour quarter zip long sleeve top, heated liner, sweatshirt, buff for the face, fleece face buff, and heated gloves.  I sort of felt like the Pillsbury dough boy in black.  The feet were toasty warm in Milwaukee socks and my police tactical boots…I’m ready to ride.  Now to get on the bike and plug in.  My older son laughed when I explained all this to him later as he asked, “I thought you didn’t ride if it was below fifty degrees?”   I guess when you know you are going to ride with friends you make adjustments to what your “limits” really are in life.

Larry of course had his heated liner and gloves and a couple of extra layers but nowhere near as many as I did.

We stopped to gas up the bike and head to Sehome Starbucks.  Of course we were early—but still late for our group.  They were already finishing coffee and having a relaxed leisurely conversation when we sauntered in from the cold.  No clear destination in mind…it is not the ride that counts but who you ride with.
The Acme Café is under new ownership and that was our destination for lunch.  We wondered, on the way to lunch, if the café would be open on New Year’s Day.  It was and even though they were busy because of being short handed, the chef took our orders and the food was really good.  It is not often you will also find the chef clearing plates, but she did it with a smile and appreciated the compliments about the food.

We headed home to a warm fire, a cup of coffee, a quiet evening, and an attitude of, “I’m glad we did it” for braving the cold.  We hope no rain on New Year’s Day is a good sign that we will have plenty of dry weekend ahead of us to ride with friends and make more memories.

No pictures to post of proof of this ride because fingers are not really agile in big fat heated gloves trying to push those little tiny buttons.  I guess you will just have to take our word that it was a really good day and we hope more of our friends can join us next time. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Oyster Run 2012

Larry and I left the house about 7:15 AM to begin our journey to the Oyster Run in Anacortes.  The sun rising over Mt. Baker was a beautiful bright yellow and red due to the haze from the fires in Eastern Washington.  We met Dave, Brenda, Bob, and Patty at Sehome Starbucks and were ready to ride by 8:00 AM. 

We rode south on the back roads around Lake Samish, down old highway 99 also known as the Old Pacific Highway, through Alger, and wound our way on country roads to highway 20.  Slowly we were joined on the journey west by hundreds of other bikers.  It only took about an hour to arrive in Anacortes and the parking lots leading into town were full of bikers stopping for coffee, donuts, and fast food restaurants.  The main shopping district in town is blocked off to all traffic except bikes and a full crew of volunteers directed bikes to park on both sides of the street and down the middle of the street leaving a narrow lane in both directions for bikes to come and go.

We parked about four blocks from the start of the Oyster Run and looking west it was fairly empty.  We stowed our helmets and gear and were ready to explore the booths, check out the bikes, people watch, and snap a few photos.  The Christian Motorcycle Association was passing out cards with tiny beaded angels to use as bookmarks and Brenda and I each received one.

We ran into Rodney after the first block and he was with a Christian biker group shining shoes so we waited while Dave got his boots all pretty.   We checked out t-shirts, patches, gloves, played a roulette/spinner game from Silver Reef Casino and Larry and I both won ten dollar coupons good for any of the games at the Casino.  I found a really cute pair of black suede UGG style boots, but these had rhinestone cowgirl belts and buckles around each ankle.  I asked for a business card and found out they are from Lynden so I think I will call next week and go see about a pair of boots to call my own.

During the course of the day we saw Pam & Pat Ferry, Mike Lucas, Kathy & Brian Christie with one of their grandsons, Katie Marrs from Skagit, Joan & Rick White, Peter Day, Glen & Martha Hutchings Barbie Jackson, Angie Haynes, and on the way out of town we saw Darren & Audrey and Kathy & John Worthington just arriving in town.  Who am I missing…I am sure I missed a name…sorry…so much to see and remember, we missed you Dave and Dawn.

The Seattle Cossacks Motorcycle Stunt and Drill Team was scheduled to perform at 11:00 AM.  We finished the last few blocks and walked back up to the side street that was blocked off for the performance.  The Cossacks ride vintage Harley’s from the 30’s and 40’s and have been performing for over seventy years.  Russian cavalry members are called Cossacks and known all over the world for their masterful horsemanship, and bikes were often called "Iron Horses" in those days, and that is how the name "Seattle Cossacks" was coined.  They ride, they climb, they do stunts, drills, and acrobatic maneuvers and the crowd loves it by cheering and clapping.  They have even been featured on America’s Got Talent.   Today there were three prospective riders participating with the group.

We headed back up the street to find lunch.  Bob and Patty went in one direction, Dave and Larry headed for fish and chips, and Brenda and I took off for the Greek Gyro sandwiches.  They were so good but they were so messy.  I had chicken with salsa and it was worth the wait.  Sandwiches and cold drinks in hand we began to wandered back down the street to meet the guys when we ran into Monica & Dennis Erickson (Monica had Dennis corralled in the beer garden so she wouldn’t lose him--poor Dennis). 

I took a lot of photos of two and three wheel bikes, Harley’s, Hondas, custom, and a rat trike.  We even saw a Harley trike conversion with two wheels in the front like a Can Am but that is all there was in common with a Can AM.  This looked like drawings I saw of the Harley-Davidson patents for a trike that never made it to production, except Northwest Harley-Davidson posted a photo from the dealer show this year of such a proto type.    Every color bike you could image was in Anacortes.

We came, we saw, and now it was time to leave.  The crowds had grown and the now the sidewalks were crowded with people spilling into the streets and the whole street was filled with parked bikes and yet waves of new bikers were still arriving. 

It was painless to get out of town this year with only slightly longer than normal stop times at the lights leading us away from thousand of bikers not ready to give it up.  We turned off highway 20 heading towards Chuckanut Drive.

Right before we reached Edison we came to a “T” junction.  Heading north on Bayview Edison Rd. you stop to turn left, or a turn to the right that you must yield to traffic coming from Samish Island has the right of way, the traffic coming west on Bayview Edison Rd. must yield if they are turning left.  In the real world this is how it works, unless you are riding Japanese sport bikes and think you are indestructible and can do anything you want.  A group of about twelve or fifteen bikes decided not to slow for the 90 degree left turn or come to a complete stop because a car was coming east on Samish Island Rd.   The first seven or eight bikes in the group crossed the road into our single right turn lane, passing us to the left.  If it had not been a wide lane the consequences could have had a very different outlook.  The remaining Japanese bikers stopped and waited for an on-coming car--not to take the turn the legal way but to turn into our lane after we passed.  I guess getting to the destination any way you want is their only mindset instead of safety.

Dave and Brenda stopped in Fairhaven for gelato, Bob and Patty headed home to another engagement, and we rode through Bellingham and took the back way home.   We were home by three thirty with plenty of time for a cup of coffee and to read the Sunday paper—Larry decided that lawn mowing would wait another day.

Thank you Dave, Brenda, Bob, and Patty for a wonderful day spent riding with friends.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

It’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

9:30 AM is the starting time and where else would we start a ride from than Starbucks?  The weather forecast is forty-eight degrees with fog.  Looks like I’ll still be wearing the heated vest even if I don’t plug it in.  Only a few geese in the fields as we head out and no fog, unlike last weekend when there were hundreds of Canadian geese in the fields and the fog hung near the tree tops. 

There are eight bikes and fourteen riders as we took the scenic route down Chuckanut Drive heading south and west.  Past the Longhorn saloon in Edison and our usual stop at the Shell station at the intersection at highway 20.  We wound our way to Anacortes and took a road around the Tesoro refinery next to Padilla bay.  We had never been on this road before and later learned that several in our group had not ridden it either.

We drove into Anacortes, headed towards the ferry and turned off to circle back in a southerly route towards Deception Pass.  Now we were turned around heading north and east, dropping off the main highway to take back roads around Simik Bay heading west towards La Conner.  Conway was our second stop of the morning before heading south to Stanwood, Warm Beach, past Lake Goodwin to the Roadhouse restaurant for lunch.  The trees lining some of the roadways arched over the road forming a beautiful green canopy allowing only filtered sunlight through the leaves.

Cold iced drinks and a range of burgers, salads, and sandwiches had us all feeling satisfied and ready to ride.  After all it had been three and a half hours since we left Starbucks and the breakfast we consumed before leaving home and the coffee had worn off.  The table always gets a bit (only a bit) quieter when food arrives.
Our destination was Sound Harley Davidson to check out the new bikes, clothes, and accessories.  When we walked into the store we were greeted by one of the employees and she asked how we were.  I said, “Great it only took us three hours to get here,” and she laughed and said “great ride.”  After shopping, it was time to peel off some layers as we headed east to Arlington to gas up the bikes and then north up highway 9 towards home.  The afternoon sun felt wonderful seeping through our jackets, the trike was rocking to Jerry Lee Lewis singing Great Balls of Fire; the twists and turns in the road is what riding is all about, and the friends you are riding with.

As we approached the turnoff to Lake Whatcom three bikes peeled off for a quicker route to their homes.  A quick stop at the Acme Store and the remaining group continued north and west.  Two more bikes left us at Smith road and one more at Hannigan Road.  We followed Dave and Lorie back into Ferndale and then turned off to follow our detour home and avoid the very rough and bumpy stretch of Mountain View Road.
Thanks Dave and Lorie for the invitation and planning and thank you to our friends who made this an enjoyable day, Bill, Marla, Dave, Dawn, Rick, Marina, Dave, Rita, Maynard, and Kirsten.

Larry & Billie

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

If you don’t have something nice to say about “the Motor Company” don’t say anything at all.

It’s 6:20 AM and I am standing in Starbucks waiting for my wake up cup.  Three guys are sitting in leather club chairs like they are thrones talking about motorcycles.  Starbucks looks to be one or two helpers short so there is a waiting line to get our orders.  I can’t help but overhear these three guys and their conversation, one who rides a Harley because it is parked outside next to my vehicle and the other two just being guys so that makes them motorcycle experts.  I am laughing to myself as they are talking like experts about speed records and parts until I hear one of the non riders talking about friends who ride Harley’s and they  have to carry around a book showing all the Harley repair shops because they always break down.   Enough…I couldn’t take it anymore.  I turned around and said that book was a map showing Harley dealerships not repair shops and Harleys don’t always break down.  Larry said I should have told them it was a map to show us how to get to a Harley shop to buy a new t-shirt.  Well the Harley guy looked a little ashamed and didn’t say a word, one guy kept totally quiet, and the other guy tried to explain that Harley’s used to always break down.  No I was not done, as I proceeded to tell him that they did not always break down and that Larry and I have owned three Harley’s.  They looked a little surprised because I was dressed for a board meeting not riding and a woman was telling three guys who thought they knew motorcycles they were wrong.  My order was ready and I took my coffee and left smiling.  If you don’t have something nice to say about “the Motor Company” don’t say anything at all.

Friday, September 14, 2012

2,034 miles, 8 days, 2 countries, 2 provinces, 3 states 4 bikes, 8 friends, priceless memories

July 21st Bellingham to Clinton BC
We (Dave, Lorie, Dave, Dawn, Bill, Marla, Larry, and me) headed out from Starbucks on Bakerview at 8:00 AM.  We were suited up for rain because the clouds were hanging low over Whatcom and the weather prediction all the way to Whistler BC was rain.  We took Northwest and angled over to the Guide heading to the Lynden crossing.  A few quick questions and we were on our way.

Getting through the Vancouver traffic snarls, road improvements, drivers who think only they have the right of way, and large foreign objects in the middle of our lane was probably the most stressful part of the trip today.  But then Vancouver traffic is always like this.

The Sea to Sky highway is beautiful and we stopped for gas before we arrived in Whistler and then gazed in amazement at all the new condominiums, and houses that have been built since we last passed through Whistler right before the  2010 Winter Olympics.

We stopped in Pemberton at The Pony for lunch before climbing up and over the mountain to Lillooet.  A stop at the bottom of the mountain to remove the last of the rain gear and as many other layers as we could take off.  We started out in the high fifties when we left this morning with rain and now it is around eighty-two degrees. 
We are only one hundred kilometers or about sixty miles to Clinton where we are staying for the night.  We have been as far as the turn off to Cache Creek but have never gone farther north.  A new road, a new experience, a new memory.

Riding the canyon road far above the river you look out to the dry and parched high desert hills ahead.  A few twist and turns and we are down in the valley with small farms stretching out on either side of us.  Horses meander by small streams in the lush green fields while herds of white cattle stand in fields on the opposite side of the road.  Small vineyards are beginning to sprout up in the rich farmlands. 

We pass old log homes, barns, lean-tos, and outbuildings in various states of decay and disrepair.  Occasionally we would see one of these barns with a coat of paint that while maybe several years old, shows that someone is still using it and trying to preserve a part of history.

We checked into the Cariboo Lodge Resort and the owner Darla had a full crew to welcome us and chat.  With the bikes unloaded and settled into our rooms it was time to socialize.  We were on the second floor and had tables and chairs so we could sit around, relax, tell stories, and laugh. 

Clinton was originally known as 47 Mile House before being renamed Clinton in 1863 when the Cariboo Wagon Road was completed and only had a population of about six hundred.  The Cariboo Lodge was built on top of the original lodge and is constructed of spruce logs and even has a western saloon.

The lodge had a restaurant so we didn’t have to ride someplace else for dinner.  The waitress was one of the ladies who helped check us in and she was vibrant and fun.  She kept up with our jokes, dinner orders, and everything else in-between and the smile never left her face.  The patrons behind us even joined in several times.

Back at the ranch we sat on the balcony talking and laughing.  We have ridden with this group many times and it is always a pleasure whether it is a day ride or a multiple day ride just to be with them.  No drama, no worries, just friends who care about you, and with whom you enjoy spending time.

July 22nd Clinton BC to Prince George BC
We were on our way before 8:00 AM.  We only have to travel about 250 miles today.  No gas stations open in Clinton on a Sunday morning so we went north to 70 Mile House to get gas which was only about thirty miles.  The good part was they were open, but the bad part was they only had regular gas and our bikes run on premium.  Dave and Bill had enough till we got to 100 Mile House but Dave and Larry each put a couple of gallons in so we were not running on empty.

We stopped for breakfast in 100 Mile House which got its name because it was 100 miles from Lillooet.  The original name of the town was Bridge Creek House.  The area has a population of about 20,000. 

We stopped at Smitty’s for breakfast with lots of laughter and then topped off our tanks with premium with a higher grade.  Back on the road… You could say it is a pretty straight shot because there were not a lot of noticeable twist and turns in the road and every few miles there were passing lanes.  The roads are fairly well maintained and lots of improvements in the works to add more lanes in some areas and more passing lanes in lots of areas.

A few eagles, three deer, and one possible fox sighting was the total animal count for the day.  Well, we also saw a few cows and lots of horses.

Farmland stretched out on either side of us, farmers bailing hay and some fields looked like they had been planted a second time.  Fields were dotted with round hay bales and open sided barns were filled.  We passed several large lakes and small communities but the wide open spaces with farms and forest land is almost more than you can comprehend when everyone is talking about how populated the world is.

More homesteads, barns, and out buildings built with logs lay abandoned and replaced by newer houses built from the early nineteen hundreds to the current date.  Split rail fences lined some of the old farms and numerous cattle chutes stood deserted.
A couple of stops to stretch our legs and we pulled into Prince George around three o’clock.  We headed to the local Harley dealer and it normally would have been closed on Sunday but a HOG group from Vancouver BC had arranged for the store to be open for their arrival.  A little shopping and we headed to our hotel.

Prince George is the largest city in northern British Columbia and was named in honor of King George III.  Logging and lumber mills are still the primary employers.
Mischief…we don’t look for it, it just sort of comes our way. All the girls are people watchers, not stalkers, we just watch people to see who they are and what they are doing. We laughed about the guy whose car broke down and hired some local guys who work on machinery for the logging industry to hammer, pound and bang away at this guy’s SUV trying to fix it.  They met at an ATM and I can’t imagine hiring anyone who looked like they did--no recommendations, no real shop, they just arrived at the motel with some tools and spent hours hammering away at fixing the bearing on his vehicle.

Ok, we went to dinner, laughed way too much and thought we would just go back to our rooms, socialize a little more and call it a night.  That was the plan.  The guys sort of were talking guy stuff and the girls were still just laughing and joking innocently enough.

 A car pulls into the parking lot, a woman gets out, low cut top, high heels, lace tights, short black skirt, (a lady of the night)  and proceeds up the stairs to the room of the out of town guy who had his car worked on by the sort of odd repairmen.  The door is open, she goes in unannounced but expected, about five minutes later the door is locked the curtains closed and we can’t believe there is a prostitute in our motel.
A few minutes later a pickup truck with two guys pulls into the parking lot taking up two spaces and this is what gets us to look at them because it seems all the trucks in the lots think they need two spaces.  The motor is running, and they just sit there.  We begin to think they are with the hooker when they don’t get out or leave.  Well they finally roll down the window; say something we can’t understand, get out of the truck and go into Wendy’s which is right across from the motel.  More speculation on our part and super sleuth detective Dawn decides to investigate.  She walks over to the motel entrance driveway and can see the two guys in Wendy’s having a cold drink watching the motel.  One of the guys is looking up at the room where we all firmly believe a transaction and exchange of money has taken place for sex.   Are these the pimps, the husband, the boyfriend, the brother who worked on the guy’s car…we don’t know, but they seem interested in the room.  About twenty-five minutes after she went in the room the two guys finally come out of Wendy’s and leave slowly.
About this time our husbands are thinking it’s getting late and time to head to our rooms so they come to check on us.  We told them our story and they sort of looked at us like we had been reading one too many novels or watching one too many police shows on television.  Well the innuendos rang out from the guys and a little singing with the girls saying shhhhhh and laughing.  Thirty-five minutes after the hooker went into the room, she left.  Lorie timed her. Then the guys believed us.

Speechless is what it came down to.  How could you ever imagine that we would stay in a motel and we would watch a hooker do business in front of us?  What happened in Prince George BC is public knowledge…the names were not changed because we don’t know who they are, but these are the facts, nothing but the facts, this is our story and we are sticking to it.

Night, night, 5:45 AM is wake up and we need to be in full rain gear, breakfast finished and on the road by 8:00 AM.  It is not a long day by miles, about two hundred and fifty miles, but rain, thunder, and lightening is predicted.

July 23, 2012 Prince George BC to Jasper National Park, Alberta
Bill said there was a sixty percent chance of rain today and it rained all but about fifteen minutes of the two hundred and fifty or so miles we rode from Prince George to Jasper, Alberta on the Trans-Canada Highway #16 also known as the Yellowhead Highway.  It misted, sprinkled, rained, poured, and dumped on us all day.

In those early morning hours you could see the heavy fog clinging to the side of the mountains.  Occasionally it would dip low into the valley and we would ride through this veil of mist.  There was never a clear hole in the clouds ahead; instead it was a grey cold day, all day.

The roads were pretty good with only an occasional rough spot and lots of passing lanes.  The traffic itself was not bad until we neared Jasper and then most of it was going east.  We did see our first moose running parallel to the road on the opposite side of the road from us.  What a magnificent sight. 
We were pretty much enveloped in a forest for the first one hundred and twenty-five miles.  It is almost unimaginable to think of this much land that is uninhabited except for an occasional farm or provincial park.  Of course this meant there were no towns for gas or breaks. 

When we finally arrived at a rest stop, I think McBride, we did stop for a short break and to add more layers, tuck existing  layers in, and try to find whatever else we had packed that might keep us warm and dry.

Back on the road our trip was interspersed with small clearings that farmers had carved out enough forest land to grown hay.  Occasionally a few horses could be seen huddled together in a field.  The rest of the day was forest and farms until we reached Jasper and then everything just seemed to change to canyons and rivers. 

A very slow moving train that must have been over a hundred cars moved westward between the road and the river.  To the west of Jasper, we crossed into the province of Alberta.  The main highway between Canada runs through Jasper National Park so you have to pay to go through it.  Dave and Lorie were the lead bike and paid for everyone so we wouldn’t have to stop for each bike.  When we pulled into for a pit stop a few minutes later the train had crossed to the other side of the road and the engineer blew his whistle and waved to us as he went by.  The thunder clapped overhead and it was time to ride.  Several minutes later we saw our first elk grazing under the tree branches on both sides of the road as we arrived in Jasper.

We drove from one end of town to the other and the street was filled with clothing stores, restaurants, and souvenirs shops.   We found our hotel and began pulling of layers of gear and clothing.  Water had managed to seep into and under rain gear, soaking shirts, pants, shoes, and socks and under the protective covers for our nylon bags strapped to our tour packs.  The hotel had a laundry so some items went straight to the dryer; other items were placed over the heaters in the bedrooms to dry.  My boots stayed dry but others were not as lucky, including Larry.  My helmet is another story and not sure how the whole lining became wet when I was wearing my hood from the rain gear.  It acted like a big wick which made for a fuzzy head of hair.
Everyone brewed a pot of coffee in their rooms to try and get warm and some of us had to go to the office for more coffee and towels.  Hot showers felt great and dry clothes even better.

Rather than ride to dinner or walk we found a local pizza place that also had sandwiches and salads so we ordered in.  Good idea!  Marla took our orders and called it in.   And still the rain is coming down.

It was a quiet evening visiting with our friends, watching a little television, and resting.  The funny thing is last night and tonight both the television had all three of the major Seattle channels so we could catch up on everything that was going on at home.
The plan is to have breakfast at the hotel at 7:00 AM and be on the road by8:00 AM. 

July 24th Jasper BC to Lake Louise BC and Radium Hot Springs BC
Food, dry clothes and we are ready to ride.  We were on the road by 8:00 AM.  The skies are grey and we are dressed for rain.  Going south we hope to leave the cooler weather and rain behind sometime today.

The pass through the mountains is beautiful.  We stopped at Sunwapta Falls to take pictures and had a short break.  It has been a steady light shower but nothing like yesterday.

We are pretty much following the valley floor next to the river.  You can see high the water marks when the spring floods come from melting snow.  The Canadian Rockies are breath taking and Larry said it was like riding through the North Cascades on steroids.  We stopped at the Columbia Ice Fields to take a break and admire the amazing scenery.  Marla fed crackers to a Canadian blue jay which sat on Bill’s windshield waiting to be fed.  We had our first mountain goat sighting.  Dawn spotted three teeny tiny white dots up on the mountainside that if you watched would slowly move.  We made one more stop at Crossing Café and motel for a break.

We stopped at Lake Louise for gas, food, and sightseeing.  Not as many tourists as I thought we might find considering the parking lot was full.  The lake is beautiful with its green ice cold glacier water and up high you can see the glacier that the water comes from.  Sometime after we left Lake Louise we crossed back into British Columbia.
Around every bend you think this must be it, but the road just keeps going past more amazing mountains, cliffs, and rock formations.  We began to see lots of deer alongside the road as we moved farther south. 

We arrived in Radium Hot Springs about 3:30 PM and checked into our motel.  We walked down to a German restaurant for dinner and it was early to bed for an early departure tomorrow morning.

Radium Hot springs is a small town of about eight hundred people in east Kootenay BC.  It is named for the hot spring in Kootenay National Park.  There are radioactive elements but they are insignificant.  We did not, however, decide to join the several hundred other people in dipping our toes in the hot springs.

July 25th Radium Hot Springs BC to Columbia Falls Montana USA
The sun is shining and while there is a little fog surrounding the valley, there is no rain in the forecast.  We filled our tanks and looked across the street to see seven male Big Horn Sheep having an early morning meal of plants and leaves on the center median.  They looked calm, not afraid of people, and no fear of vehicles. 

We crossed back into Alberta and passed Frank’s Slide near Crowsnest Pass.  Turtle Mountain collapsed April 29, 1903 and in one hundred seconds, rock, wind, and dust blew through this little valley killing seventy to ninety people.  This was one of the largest landslides in Canadian history and the deadliest.  The slide area looks almost exactly as it did the day it happened.  To see half a mountain side gone, spread out across the valley floor with boulders as big as semi trucks is truly remarkable.
We passed many lakes and streams, crossed the Columbia River, Kootenai River, saw deer, and cattle in the farmlands.  The forested lands gave way to farm land that changed into dry land covered in sage brush.

The border crossing was quick at Chief Mountain  and we drove through open range land and slowed for cattle that couldn’t decide, when they heard our loud pipes, if they wanted to cross the road or just stand and stare at us. We stopped at St. Mary’s on the east of Glacier National Park for lunch.   A half hour wait at the small restaurant (they make homemade pie) was more than we wanted to wait, so we grabbed lunchables and rode on.  There are only a few restaurants and gas stations for miles in either direction and this is a popular rest stop and accounts for the large crowds at any time of the day.
We entered Glacier National Park on the east side riding the “Going-to-the Sun” to the top of mountain.  Clear blue skies with white fluffy clouds that Montana is so famous for filled the horizon.  We stopped at the top of the mountain and saw big horn sheep, mountain goats, and ground squirrels. 

Glacier National Park is over one million acres and borders Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada.  The two parks are known as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and was designated as the world’s first International Peace Park in nineteen thirty-two.

We were on the mountain side going east to west towards Columbia Falls where we would be staying for the night.  A long stretch of the road was one lane and long lines of cars, trucks and motorcycles were led through by a pilot car as we crossed the Continental Divide at Logan Pass.

We checked into our motel for the night, the guys washed the bikes, we found ice, soda, chairs, glasses, and settled in to socialize.  We ordered pizza, salad, wings, and sat out in a little covered barbeque area behind our rooms to eat dinner. 

July 26 Columbia Falls Montana to Sandpoint Idaho
A beautiful sunny day and I am starting the day out without having to layer on or plug in the heated gear.  From Columbia Falls we went south along Flathead Lake to Elmo where we went west and south to Hot Springs Montana which is about half way between Kalispell and Missoula in the Cabinet Mountains.   After a brief stop for cold drinks and Dave J. tried to peek into the wizard’s room and got caught, we were back on the road again.

We stopped in Thompson Falls Montana for lunch at Minnie’s Café.  Great service, good food, and we had the whole back room to ourselves or maybe they wanted to keep us bad bikers away from the regular customers…haha.  This is a cute little town with businesses on one side and the railway on the other side of the street.

We got stopped somewhere before Sandpoint Idaho for road construction.  We had about a fifteen to twenty minute wait before a pilot car led us out of the construction zone.  We headed northwest to our destination and our route took us next to lakes and rivers, slowly leaving the farmland behind and climbing into forest. 

We arrived in Sandpoint Idaho in time for a quick rest before we gathered to as Larry likes to say “laugh and splash”.  We choose McDonalds for dinner rather than ride and it was only about a hundred yards away from the motel.  Something for everyone, salads, chicken, burgers, mocha frappes, and ice cream in waffle cones.  What a way to end the day

7-27 Sandpoint to Omak
Continental breakfast in the motel and we were ready to go.  It is going to be another warm day.  We heard before we left that Republic had winds over one hundred miles an hour the week before.  Downed power lines meant power outages and we weren’t sure what to expect on the roads.   Republic has been our go-to Fourth of July get away for several years.  We broke from tradition this year, instead just passing through on our week long ride.

The roads are less traveled in this part of the state, mostly locals and vacationers.  I missed the sign saying we had crossed into Washington State but the landscape didn’t scream, leaving Idaho, entering Washington.  In fact it looked a lot like the mountains of Montana and lower British Columbia and Alberta we rode through. 

We stopped at Beaver Lodge Resort and Campground located at Tiger Pass in the Colville National Forest for a break.  It sits next to Lake Gillette and Lorie said it is one of four interconnected lakes of Little Pend Oreille Lakes chain.   
We stopped for gas in Colville and continued on toward Republic.  We ran into road construction in several places but were lucky enough not to have to wait in the heat today.

 We continued on past Kettle Falls, over Sherman Pass, and began our descent into the valley to Republic.  We began to see trees snapped in two or completely uprooted.  Several trees were downed and laying on top of outbuildings.  Road crews had been through and cleared the road leaving chain sawed remnants beside the road.  The closer we got to town the more devastation of the forest we saw. 

We stopped at Sportsman Roost for lunch.  Our waitress said the town had been without power for about a day and a half but some places lost power for five days.  Right before we finished and left the restaurant a tree crew came in for lunch.  They were from Seattle and had come to help clear trees so power could be restored.  
We rode to Tonasket for a pit stop, shade, cold drinks, ice cream and then finished the final leg of our trip today in Omak.    Did I mention it’s hot, really hot?  Checked in we had air conditioned rooms, time for showers, and naps before dinner.  We walked across the parking lot to the Koala Street Grill for dinner.  This is our last night together.  We stood around the parking lot after dinner talking, laughing, watching the wind pick up, and finally blowing tumbleweeds across the road which was our sign to call it a night.

7-28 Omak to home
We had continental breakfast in the motel and then we mounted up and headed home.  We stopped in Twisp for gas and then breezed through Winthrop.  Heading up the mountain we could feel the cold air and were thankful we had layered up for the trip home.  There is still snow on the sides of the roadway and we pulled off at Rainy Pass for a rest stop.  Next stop Marblemount for gas and drinks.  We have decided to stop at Bob’s Burger and Brew in Burlington for lunch.  It’s been eight days since we pulled out of Bellingham and the time has gone quickly.

We can’t wait for the next adventure and we are genuinely thankful for true friends to ride with.  A special thank you to Dave M. for planning, arranging accommodations, details, and making this trip a success.

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