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Monday, August 30, 2010

Mt. Baker Chapter ride to Lillooet

Lillooet Canada

Saturday August 28th, 2010 the Mt. Baker Harley Owners Group met up at Starbucks on Bakerview. Where else would you start a morning ride when Mt. Baker H-D isn’t open yet for business? Coffee!

Oh give me a cup
Or two or three
Where it brews all day long
And the beans never run out
A comfy chair
With music in the air
And a fireplace soon to come

How may I help you?

Coffee that’s what I want
Now gimme my coffee
Cause I gotta wake up
Money don’t buy everything
But it does buy a cup of Joe
Hot, cold, latte, café mocha,
Sugar, cream, foam
Caffeine, decaf
Whip, no whip
That’s what I want
6 AM till bedtime
It’s all good

Before we made the last three day ride, Larry purchased a new Harley-Davidson tour-pak rack bag for the trike. It holds our raingear, gloves, muffs, neck scarfs, sunglasses, and a place to keep the quick layers we shed or need to add when riding. It worked out perfectly and made packing the trike easier because now we just attach the bag and go, everything stays in the bag. No more looking in the garage cubbies for everything we need. No more driving Larry crazy because I have misplaced something I can’t find and I can’t ride without.

We had coffee, a morning pick me up, drew our first poker card, and we were ready to ride. Dave McNeill our lead road captain, Bob and Carole Chambers, Dave and Dawn Johnson, Shelia Bayne our sweep, Mike and Dana Snyder, Tim Tussing, and Larry and I pulled out of Starbucks at 8:00 AM headed for the border at Lynden.

The border crossing went fairly quickly with the usual questions: where are you going, how long are you staying, what are you bringing with you, how do you know these other people riding a Harley. Once we all crossed we headed north and saw hundreds of cars, headed south, maybe a mile and a half long waiting to cross into the USA to shop, visit friends, go to the beaches???? I don’t know, but we were glad we were headed north.

Whenever possible you avoid the freeways but sometimes it is unavoidable to get somewhere without using the freeway. This trip we were heading towards north Vancouver and the freeway was a better choice than the city streets, although neither option is optimal.

It wasn’t always easy to stay as a group because some drivers just feel the need to squeeze in between a group of bikes even when there is not enough room for another bike--not yielding when they should, or they think you should just get out of the way, move over, and let them in, or out, or by. As Larry likes to say “we defied death and destruction” and made it to our first pit stop unscathed physically, if not mentally. We all agreed that having heated gear was a good thing. It was only in the 40’s when we left and I’m not sure what the wind chill factor was riding down the freeway but it felt a lot like February.

The roads to Whistler have been greatly improved since Vancouver hosted the 2010 winter Olympics. Four lanes of newly paved asphalt in most places but even when the road narrowed to one lane each way the bumps, dips, and potholes were gone. The next stop was Squamish for gas.

We pulled into Pemberton a little after noon and stopped for lunch at the Pony Bar Restaurant Café. The weather had warmed up and we choose to sit on the patio rather than inside where it was a little too warm and stuffy. The portions were generous and the typical bar/restaurant foods have been given a gourmet twist. Who would have thought in the middle of nowhere you would find a unique biker friendly gourmet place to eat, but then everywhere is somewhere to someone. We drew our second poker card during lunch.

Now it was time to head to Lillooet which meant up and over highway 99 also known as Duffy Lake Road. Dave M. had cautioned anyone who had not crossed a wooden bridge that even when they are dry they are very slick and we would be crossing a number of them before we reached Lillooet. The road had twists, turns, steep grades, tight corners, hairpin turns, bumps, ruts, gouges, and sometimes these were back to back or all together in one short stretch. In about 200 feet we had rough road, gravel, one lane, a wooden bridge, and construction. Just as we crossed our 3rd wooden bridge, a car was in the ditch on its side. No one was around but we all figured it took the bridge too fast and learned a hard lesson.

We stopped at Duffy Lake for a short break before heading down the canyon for Lillooet. We checked into our hotel and Dave M. made dinner reservations for our group at Dina’s Restaurant which serves Greek and Italian foods. Kickstands down it was time for cold drinks, snacks, hot showers, and time to unwind with friends sitting in the parking lot next to the bikes talking about the adventures of the day. Carole was adventurous and took a short hike to work up an appetite. I was fighting a sinus infection so I took a headache pill and crawled under the covers for a quick nap. Larry found the ice machine and joined the group.

Lillooet was originally known as Cayoush Flats and the name was changed around 1860. It became the second largest town north of San Francisco and west of Chicago due to the discovery of gold. Lillooet is mile 0 on the Cariboo Road and boasted 13 saloons and a population of over 16,000 people. It has seen several boom and bust days and was almost destroyed by fire in the 1970’s. Lillooet was also the location of a Japanese-Canadian internment camp during WWII. The economy now is based around logging, ranching, farming, and tourism.

We had our same table as last year at the restaurant and after making our food selections we went back to laughing talking and just enjoying a relaxing evening with friends. Dave pulled out the deck of cards and everyone drew their 3rd card. No one really had a sure bet and Dave was going to draw the last two cards when we got back to our hotel and then everyone could see what their final hand was.

We checked out the Lillooet Inn Restaurant across the street to see what time they opened for breakfast (7:00 AM) and then slowly wandered back up the street to our rooms. We pulled out the chairs again and Dave M. drew the final cards. Larry was the big winner with a pair of 10’s and his prize was a dual mode flashlight. Dana took 2nd place and Mike drew the first joker as a consolation prize. Thanks Dave M. for the poker game and the prizes, it was a nice extra touch to an already great weekend.

We agreed that those who wanted to have breakfast would go at 7:00 and then be gassed up and ready to ride out at 8:30 AM.

Dave, Tim, Shelia, Carole, Dana, Mike, Larry, and I started the morning off with a full breakfast or other just having toast. Coffee, tea, or milk? Everyone was loaded up and as we looked at the grey clouds, zipped up, and plugged in to ride out in the 40 degree weather; we all decided that the power of collective positive thinking and prayer would keep the rain drops away. And it did.

We headed north east towards Cache Creek for our first pit stop. Dana and Mike are leaving the group to continue their stay in Canada camping for a couple of days, exploring, and Dana had her photography equipment so I am sure we are going to see some of her extraordinary photos when they return. After they left, the rest of the group continued on to Lytton for a break and then Boston Bar for a gas stop and lunch break. Dave commented after we had eaten that he had always wondered about stopping at this little place for lunch. Dawn told him that now he knew why he had always kept on going. You never know until you do stop, and make a note, if it is worthy of stopping at again. When we arrived we were the only bikes in the parking lot and when we left it was full of bikes. Dawn and I wondered if they stopped because they saw our bikes and we led the astray. Sorry we didn’t know either, but we do now. It still wasn’t warming up and the layers were staying on.

We stopped at Lake of the Woods rest stop before heading towards Hope, Agassiz, highway 1 to Chilliwack, and the Sumas border. The sun bearing down on us as we stood talking in the small parking lot--talking had us soaking up the warmth and Shelia decided it was going to be warm and took off that heated liner. Little did we know that in just a few minutes we might not need to plug in but that liner would be a good barrier from the wind coming through the Fraser Valley. From Hope through Agassiz the two lane road was lined with cars, trucks, and trailers, wherever a fisherman could get to the river and cast a line. The salmon were running and everyone was on the banks trying to catch one.

All those Canadians who had headed east for the weekend on Saturday was returning home on a Sunday afternoon and sometimes our group was split apart. Slow going but the border wait was only about twenty minutes once we arrived. We made our last pit stop at the last gas station on the right hand side of the road in Sumas to say our good-byes before heading our separate ways home

Dave M. did his usual excellent job planning the ride, arranging rooms, meals, games, and a safe journey. Shelia was an excellent road sweep watching our backs, helping ease the group out into traffic safely, also ensuring a safe journey, and boy can that girl zip and zoom on her new bike. Thanks Dave and Shelia.

Thanks Dave, Sheila, Dave, Dawn, Carole, Bob, Tim, Dana, Mike, for going along for the ride and the great memories of our travels. Larry and I enjoyed our time spent with each of you and we can’t wait for the next ride.

Mt. Baker Chapter Harley Owners Group ride to Lillooet

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pam has a brand new trike

Pam and Mt. Baker HD owner Greg Head.

Pam owned a 2010 sunglo red Street Glide trike and then she saw the 2011 Tri Glide Ultra Classic merlot sunglow/vivid black trike at Mt. Baker HD, and knew she had to have it. She made a trade and calls her new trike “my new convertible.”  

photo  by Mt. Baker Harley-Davidson

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Trike Owners Karen and Mike

I received a copy of your blog from our Chapter Dealership (Columbia HD). What a fun and exciting blog you do have. Our names are Karen & Mike. We have been HOG members for a little over two years and enjoy the synergies of biking and more. Sounds like you folks have a fun group to ride. Hopefully our paths will cross again. Our day took us to South Bend for oysters. We consumed many of these delicious morsels at Chester's Bar & Grill. With the scorching temperatures of 100+ we decided to head west to Long Beach. There the temperatures dropped nearly 35 degrees within a 3 mile variance. It was fun but too extreme going form hot to cold. Thanks for sharing.

Signed, Mike

(Thank you Jason Rodgers, dealer/owner Columbia Motorcycle HD Vancouver WA, for helping us contact Karen and Mike.)

Monday, August 16, 2010

3 days, 860 miles, Priceless - Ocean Shores, Whistlin' Jacks,

My bags are packed
I’m ready to go
Larry washed the Harley
And polished the chrome
Get up early
Starbucks here we come
Hit the road
Wait for a ferry
The ocean is calling
Now it’s kickstands down
A night at the casino
Laughing and splashing
Relaxing with friends
Rolling, rolling, rolling
Dave is ready to ride
Move 'em on, head' em up
Head 'em up, move' em on
Move 'em on, head' em up
East to Morton
North to Rainer
West along the Naches River
Whistlin’ Jacks calls out
It’s dinner in the pines
The winding road home
Through the canyon
The orchards
Past the lakes
Over the mountain
Good times and memories
Photographs to share

3 days, 860 miles, priceless

As we headed out from Ferndale Friday morning at 6:15 AM the fog was hugging the ground and the morning sun was starting to burn it off, making it look like smoke slowly rising. “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge is playing on the cd player as we ride through town on our way to meet up with our HOG family at Sehome Starbucks.

Marla and Bill were already at Starbucks when we arrived and enjoying a morning cup of coffee. Just after we arrived, Dave and Lorie, Dave and Dawn, Glenn and Martha, Bob and Carole arrived. Everyone finished their coffee and we headed straight to the Keystone Ferry.

Either the fish weren’t biting as we went past Pass Lake, or all the fisherman had decided to sleep in today, because the lake was quiet and still with not even a duck paddling around to disturb the quiet waters. Over Deception Pass and we pulled in to the ferry terminal with only about fifteen minutes to wait before our ferry arrived. Great timing. A chrome yellow bike pulling a trailer pulled in behind us. They were from Anacortes heading to Montana and Idaho by way of Seaside Oregon. They weren’t riding a Harley but it was fun talking with them and checking out their bike. They had pictures of their grandkids on the saddle bags, and he is a school bus driver so they had a pivoting stop sign on one of the antennas.

We rode down the Hood Canal and stopped in Elma at the Rusty Tractor for lunch. The county fair was taking place so the little town of Elma was jumping. One group of people who stopped for lunch, looked at the Harleys in the parking lot and were heard to exclaim that they were going someplace else because those Harley people might be packing guns.

From Elma it was only about a forty minute ride to the Quinault Beach Resort & Casino where we were staying. That would be on a normal day. It was Friday, Friday afternoon, one of the bridges is closed, traffic was rerouted and backed up for blocks and we were stuck in it. Aberdeen and Hoquiam sort of resembled the Guide Meridian on a Friday afternoon. The weather was hot, the cages were not always courteous to us, the bikes were getting hot, and there were no shortcuts. Glenn and Martha left the group to visit with family before meeting us at the casino for dinner.

Four floors up, with a view of the beach, a pleasant breeze was blowing inland off the ocean through the open screen door that led to the porch that was 4 inches wide with guard rails to protect you if you tried to step outside, you could watch the waves lapping at the shore as the tide was slowly rising. Horses and riders raced back and forth across the beach; barefooted children chased each other, while others sat in beach chairs just enjoying the afternoon sun. Our room had a fireplace dividing the sleeping area form the sitting area. Unfortunately we only admired the aesthetics of the fireplace and didn’t try it out for ambience. It was already hot enough in Quinault.

We arrived about 2:30 PM which gave everyone (well almost everyone, Dave and Dawn didn’t get a room till about 4:00 PM) time to kick back, walk on the beach, or play one of the many games in the casino. We met up in Bill and Marla's room for a cool drink before our 7:00 PM dinner after which we did a quick dance through the bar. Some went back to their rooms, and some tried their luck in the casino. Those who went back to their rooms were winners, those who walked around and didn’t bet were winners, some lost a little slowly, some lost quickly, some won a little and some won big. Carole had a wicked smile as she played the slots, Martha had a look of determination and concentration as she tried to figure out how her machine worked, Bill has a competitive streak and encourage Marla to keep playing, and Dave M. was on a mission.

Saturday morning and we were loading up the bikes. Bill and Marla again were the first ones downstairs and almost packed and ready to roll. Just call Marla “smokin’ hot” next time you see her. Everyone was checked out and almost everyone had at least one cup of coffee before we hit the road. We stopped for breakfast at a little diner on our way to Raymond to meet up with Martha and Glenn. Next stop was Pe Ell for a break and we arrived just before the Vancouver HOG chapter pulled out. They were heading the direction from which we had just come, and we were going east. We saw buffalo in Vader and stopped for cold drinks in Toledo, just before we crossed over the freeway. We passed beautiful Lake Mayfield and the tip of Riffe Lake before we arrived in Morton. It was the 69th annual Loggers Jubilee that Morton refers to as “The Granddaddy of all Logging Shows”. It was wall to wall people, cars, bikes, trucks, etc. It was 930 and all we cared about was a cold drink, a snack, and a little shade. We could handle the traffic.

We continued east and into Mt. Rainer National Park. The tall forest trees that towered over the winding, twisting park roads dropped the temperature allowing us to enjoy a pleasant ride through the park and a much needed break from the heat of the valley floor. The park was not overly crowded and we stopped near the top for our last break before heading to Whistlin’ Jacks.

There were an amazing number of bikes at Whistlin’ Jacks when we pulled in, but they were having a late lunch, stopping at the bar, filling up their bikes at the gas station, or stocking up on supplies in the store. Within an hour they were all gone except for the regular guests and the forest service workers staying at Whistlin’ Jacks. The Naches River was right behind our rooms and the babbling sounds of the water as it cascaded over the rocks was almost enough to lull you to sleep for a short nap. Dave M. arranged dinner reservations for the group at 7:00 PM, because if you didn’t have reservations, you weren’t going to get dinner. We stayed at the table long after the food was gone, just enjoying talking and laughing with friends.

Today we saw lots of motorcycle trikes, Can-Am Spyders, Honda’s, Harleys, VW conversations and Rat Trikes; shiny chrome and painted in red, white, yellow, black, orange, two tones, and tri colors. Something for everyone I guess, but we love our Harley Tri Glide Trike.

We were up and on the road by 7:00 AM because it was going to be a long days ride home and it was going to be hot. Along the Naches River, Marla and Dawn both saw a mother quail and her babies by the side of the road. As we headed up the Yakima Canyon, Dawn saw mountain goats but that was about the limit of wildlife sightings on this trip with the exception of common deer.

We stopped at Mineral Springs Restaurant on Blewett Pass for breakfast. We were a feisty group as we placed our orders with the waitress and that gave her a lot to chide us about as everyone laughed and joked. She even began referring to Dave M. as “sir”. The portions are generous and Bob ordered a short stack of pancakes that was short but was as big around as his plate. Bill kept looking over my shoulder to look at those pancakes to see if he had made a mistake in placing his order. I opted for peach pie for breakfast. It’s homemade, it sounded good, and I was on vacation.

A layer of sweatshirts and sweaters came off before we mounted up and headed to Wenatchee where the other side of the pass would be much hotter. A quick stop in Wenatchee for cold drinks remove jacket panels, put on sunscreen, and hit the road for Pateros which would be our next stop. There wasn’t much traffic on a Sunday afternoon headed towards Twisp and Winthrop which made the hot dry afternoon ride that much easier. Fresh fruit, milkshakes, fruit smoothies, and we were ready to ride again.

Twisp was hot but not crowded. I guess everyone headed home early today. We gassed up the bikes, found some shade to enjoy a cold drink before braving Winthrop on a Sunday afternoon.

Again we were surprised to find only a few vehicles moving through town and no stop and go traffic. Next stop Marblemount on the other side of the mountain.

It wasn’t any cooler on the western side of the mountain than it was on the eastern side but we were much closer to home. Now we were headed for the freeway where we would peel off as we reached the exit closest to our respective homes. We waved, we honked, and soon it was just Larry and me headed back to Ferndale.

It was a great three days riding with our friends. Amazing scenery, great roads, new places we visited; and as fun and effortless as this ride was to participate in, it does take careful planning and attention to detail to make it all work. Thanks Dave M. for again for all the great pre-ride logistics work and for being a wonderful lead road captain; and thanks to Dave J. for always having our backs as sweep.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's Not Really a Trike...It Just Looks Like One!

Rob Tygret of Eagles in Flight comes across the most amazing trikes or in this case a motorcycle with an extra set of wheels made to look like a trike.

I'm not sure from what I have read if it is legal in Washington state but the conversion kits are being sold here.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Party Animals - A HOG Picnic

The annual Mt. Baker H.O.G. picnic was a smashing success. Just ask Monty Brown. It doesn’t take a lot to entertain our group and after everyone threw in a few dollars for charity, Monty wearing his yellow Harley sunglasses for protection took a pie in the face from his daughter Nichole and a little help from Mt. Baker owner Greg Head. Monty only had one request…it had to be Marionberry pie and since Greg had brought about ten pies and half were Marionberry, we all laughed, cheered, took pictures, and congratulated Monty while Nicole whooped and danced with joy seeing her dad’s face covered in pie. Now a little side note to this is that without a little pre-pie conditioning it might not have been quite the display that is was. The quick minds of Dawn and Kaye realized that a scored top pie crust would make sure the filling would ooze out so that we got our money’s worth, so they prepared the pie. What a way to finish the day.

Mike Gilbert did an excellent job of planning the picnic, arranging a year in advance for the reservations for the covered picnic area at Lake Padden and the baseball field. He had a little help from his wife Jeannie who was sent out on a Saturday afternoon to Costco, Wal-Mart, and Fred Meyers to do the shopping--along with everyone else in the county and all the Canadian shoppers. A core group of volunteers, Dave Lahr, Dave and Dawn Johnson, Kaye and Rob Hansen all arrived early Sunday morning to help set up. The ice chests were bulging with cold drinks, the coolers were full of hotdogs and hamburgers waiting to be grilled, and the tables began filling up with side dishes and desserts as the HOG members and shop employees began to arrive.

It was a little chilly and everyone had at least a sweatshirt or two, or a coat that they kept on until early afternoon when that small, tiny, speck of clear sky finally gave way to sunshine and warmth.

Dave Lahr and Larry Marrs were the chefs preparing the burgers and dogs and Kaye Hansen took on the bbq grill cleanup job. With pasta dishes, fresh vegetables, chips, dip, (Shelia Bayne won an award for the best side dish…a seven layer Mexican dip that went so fast a lot of people didn’t even get to sample it), cakes, cookies, pies…lots of pies, (I won the dessert contest with a chocolate trifle renamed “Death by Chocolate" by the group), no one went home hungry.

We had new HOG members attending, one new person who is signing up as a HOG member, long time HOG members, spouses, kids, and shop employees made it was a great day to visit with friends, enjoy the food, desserts, and just relax. Dana Snyder brought a beautiful bouquet of lilies and gladiolus from her garden and this made it seem even more festive and gave the picnic some elegance.

Neither the HOG group nor the shop had a full roster of nine players for a softball game, but both teams took the field and had a great time hitting and fielding the ball. Bob Bayne had the players all spread out when Bill Rodgers took the plate expecting a long hard hit to left field, when I called out to Bill, bunt…and he did…and Bob had to run for the ball. Of course Bob was right and the next ball was way out in left field. Dana Snyder took some amazing photographs of the players as they came to bat and Dana was also teaching a mini photography class to Emily who then took a number of photos herself. Mike Sunderlin was also in attendance with his camera getting some great shots of the players on and off the field and those candid shots we didn’t even know he took until he posted them on the web. Of course, this made it really easy for Dave Lahr, the chapter photographer, who didn’t have to try to be everywhere all the time and he actually got to sit down and relax a little.

Some of the HOG members had several picnics and events to attend: Mike & Patti Hoelze were on their second stop of three for the day, and Roger and Cheryl were also on stop two of three and making the effort to stop in and say hello and stay as long as they could before moving on to the next party. Some of the shop employees were headed to the eastside to warmer weather so they left after lunch. It’s not how long you stayed, but that you came and had a good time. A number of HOG members weren't there because they had commitments to church groups, family visiting from out of town, work related reasons, and some left on extended Harley trips and couldn’t come but they sent their regrets. I’m sure Mike Gilbert will have the date for next year’s picnic posted soon and you can mark your calendar and plan ahead. Dave and Lorie McNeill did return from a two week trip in time to attend the picnic...and we had forgotten the tomatoes.

That is what HOG is all about: owning a Harley, finding friends to ride with, share a meal with, and getting to know each other-- It’s a family. We had a great turn out from the trike riders: Vern, Donna, Jeannie, Harmon, and Larry.

photo by Mike Sunderlin
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