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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.

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