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Sunday, October 24, 2010

10-24-2010 Mt. Baker HOG Park Road Cleanup

Wednesday the weatherman’s forecast was for rain and high winds for Sunday morning and early afternoon. Thursday the forecast was the same. Dave Lahr who was organizing the Park Road cleanup said it was rain or shine so everyone should bring their raingear.

Larry picked up the vests, hats, garbage bags, and disposable gloves on Wednesday and Mike Gilbert arranged for some special prizes donated by Mt. Baker HOG to be won by those helping with the cleanup.

Sunday morning was a typical early fall morning in western Washington, grey, cloudy, with a strong chance of rain. We poured a cup of coffee to go and headed down the freeway towards Alger, passed Cain Lake, and onto the old Scooters Stuff store. When Larry and I arrived we found Pam and Pat taking cover under the small overhang to the store front. They said Dave and Brenda had gone up the road to drop off prizes and we told them we would return after putting out the safety signs.

The six of us stood huddled together the overhang laughing and trying to stay dry from the rain that was now a full downpour. As we laughed and talked waiting to see who would show up, Pat leaned back against the door to the store and it popped open. Whoa…. Well we took shelter inside and Pat and Pam called their friend who has the listing to let them know about the unlocked door and after the clean up and before we departed they had instructions on how to lock up the store. Meanwhile a group of HOG members had arrived and the rain was letting up. Dave L. gave quick instructions about what not to pick up, described the Jack-In-The-Box antenna balls that were scattered along the roadway that when found entitled you to a prize (8 in all). We were ready to go.

One group started at the store working their way uphill and the rest of us hitched a ride to the top of the road, about 4 miles from the start, and we began searching for trash to fill our bags. A few more members showed up and were dropped off at the midpoint and worked their way uphill. About an hour later and the road was clean…we hope…there were a lot of leaves covering the road and we did the best we could. Everyone was picked up and dropped back at the store.

Dave L. had called ahead to the Blue Mountain Grill and they were expecting our group for lunch. We were all looking forward to hot coffee, hot food, and a warm building to take the chill off. Just as we sat down and started combing over the menus to make our selections, the lights went out. The generator kicked in, then the power sort of came on and off again, and then the generator came back on. No matter how well you plan something, you can’t control the little things that happen in life. Judy, our waitress, had a pot of coffee and everyone who wanted coffee got a cup half full, all that is except Mike G. who somehow managed to get a full cup. A little checking and the staff said they could serve some breakfast items and some grill items, including French fries. We had choices and in a matter of minutes we placed our orders and sat back to visit with friends. We could hear Judy singing “You Light Up My Life” as she helped the staff get our orders ready while trying to conjure the lights on. We weren’t expecting to be serenaded. As Judy served up our meals she said this day should be called “The day the lights went out in Wickersham." (Remember the song, The night the lights went out in Georgia?)

Judy gave Nicole a quarter for the gumball machine as a Halloween treat leaving Lynn feeling a little left out so Judy brought him his own quarter and Nichole showed him where the candy machines were. Lynn skipped back to the table with a big smile on his face and a handful of jelly beans…it doesn’t take a lot to make Harley riders happy.

Judy referred to herself as “the little waitress that could” swinging her hips as she walked away.

Next time you see Monty be sure and ask him who won the Tinkerbell card game he was going to play with Nicole when they got home.

It was a good day. Together, Mt. Baker HOG members worked to improve our community by cleaning trash off the roadways. Judy at Blue Mountain Grill thanked us for helping out and I am sure everyone who travels up and down Park Road appreciates seeing the beauty of the road.

Photos by Dave Lahr

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mt. Baker HOG 20th annual Toy Run

October 9th, 2010

Mt. Baker Harley Owners Group 20th annual Toy Run to Blaine

The forecast was rain for the weekend. The reason we moved the toy run from Oct. to Sept. was to avoid rain; but due to unexpected changes this year we needed to move it back to Oct. Saturday morning was grey and overcast. Larry put on his raingear and prepared to head to the shop on the trike. I was driving the toy sleigh for the 11th year, so I would be dry and toasty warm.

We arrived at the shop to find Dave and Dawn to greet us and dressed for the weather and ready to ride. Slowly, a few people inside the shop appeared on the sidewalk and also said were going on the toy run. One or two at a time the riders pulled in on their bikes with saddle bags filled with toys.

At 10:45 AM we pulled out of Mt. Baker Harley-Davidson with 12 bikes, 1 bike with a sidecar, 2 trikes, a cage, and Santa’s sleigh. Jan was filming the procession as we headed south on State Street and it was fun to watch the video on Facebook later that afternoon.

Larry Marrs was the road captain and Dave Johnson was the sweep as we rode south on State Street, turned on Holly St. out to Marine Drive, past the Lummi Island ferry to Haxton Rd., then Red River Road, and a series of left right left turns meandering through the county. The sun was peeking out, the wind had died down, and it looked like the rain might hold off. An eagle flew about 12 feet high over the roadway and approximately 20 yards out in front of Larry as the group headed out Haxton. Dawn pointed out an eagle perched in a tree on the water side of the road and that was about it for wildlife sightings.

We arrived in Blaine to find there was a farmers’ market downtown so the bikes drew a lot of attention from the shoppers including Ron Snyder a former HOG member who waved to the group from his booth. We arrived just after 12:00 PM to find Santa (Martin Conyac) had arrived ahead of us and was waiting in the parking lot at Stafholt Retirement Center along with our photographer Dave L.

We unloaded the toys and Mike G. presented Stafholt, on behalf of the Blaine Giving Tree, a check from Mt. Baker HOG to purchase additional toys for the Giving Tree Program. Dennis, one of our newest members rode his bike into the building so the residents and staff could not only see a HD bike close up, they could hear and feel the potato, potato, potato vibration. A few of the residents had their pictures taken with the bike and we were treated to hot coffee and cookies. Santa greeted the residents and it was a good day for everyone. We waved good-bye to Stafholt and most of the group headed off to Big Al’s for lunch which was just down the street.

We were just a little fashionably for late for lunch because we took a more scenic route to Blaine, enjoying the weather. The waitress got us all seated, drinks served and meals ordered. Now we could just sit back and catch up with friends and listen to the adventures we each had been on since our last ride together--Lots of laughter between friends, photographs, and memories.

Thanks to those participating in the toy run: Dave and Dawn, Dave and Brenda, Dana and Mike, Joan and Rick, Monty and Nicole, Mike and Jeannie, Bill and Marla, Dave M., Shelia, Mike L., Luann, Larry B., Dennis, JD, Ron and Lorri, Martin, Larry and Billie. Thanks also to those who could not ride but dropped off a toy ahead of time. Helping our fellow Whatcom community members in need is what Mt. Baker HOG has been about since it was first founded in 1991 and we continue support various local charities and events making a difference in people’s lives.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sunshine, Harleys, and Friends

Thursday night at dinner we made plans to ride on Saturday. We didn’t know where we were going, just that we were going to ride and have fun. One of the Daves was leading and one of the Daves was sweeping.

Saturday morning and it looks overcast and grey outside but that isn’t going to keep us home. We packed the bag with raingear, put on our heated liners, and headed off to where else….Sehome Starbucks. What a surprise when we arrived. The parking lot was full and more cars coming. What was going on? Our group was parked in front of Robecks and we squeezed the front end of the trike in between two other bikes that were facing out. Seems that REI was having one of their big clearance sales and everyone from several counties, college kids, and Canadians were lined up, waiting for the doors to open at 10:00 AM. Bill said the line inside Starbucks was almost as long as the line for REI outside so we passed on a comfy chair and coffee this morning.

Six bikes with ten of us headed down Chuckanut for Anacortes at 10:00 AM, freeing up two more parking spaces for REI bargain hunters. It doesn’t matter how many times you travel down or up Chuckanut Drive, the scenery is constantly changing and it gives you something new to marvel at morning or night. The sun was burning off the fog and you could see across the bay all the way to Anacortes. Boats, large and small, power and sail were slowly filling the waters far below the roadway we traveled.

Through Edison, over to highway 20, across the bridge, and up to Cap Sante Park in Anacortes. The park is 27 acres on the eastern edge of Anacortes. Larry and I had never been to the top of the park and it was amazing. We could look east towards Chuckanut Mountain, north towards Vancouver Island, or south to the harbor down below in Anacortes. A remnant of an old amphitheater is located on the east bank of the park. Bill walked out on the rocky bluff and in a silhouette photo he looks like a sentinel keeping guard over the bay. The sky was clear blue and crisp as we watched a whaling boat leave the harbor and Dave L. heard them telling the passengers that the whales had been spotted on the west side of San Juan Island today.

We headed next to the 200 acre Washington Park in Anacortes and took the 2.3 mile park loop ride through the forest and meadows. The west side was close to the water and the views were peek-a-boo between the trees lining the shore. As we made several horseshoe turns and climbed higher we now could see the western side of peninsula overlooking Burrows Channel below us and Burrows Island across from us. To the right was the Tonjes Havekost monument honoring one of Fidalgo Island’s earliest pioneers. He stated, “Make my cemetery a park for everyone,” and today the monument stands near where he was buried.

Today was really a very informal ride, going to a few places that were new to some of us and we rode some less traveled routes coming and going. We stopped back in Anacortes for a quick lunch and traversed back across the Skagit Valley by way of Ershig Road to Colony Road to W. Lake Samish Drive and around the Lake. We split into two groups, one group staying on Samish Way heading for home and the other hitting the freeway for home. Sunshine, beautiful scenery, great friends, Dave and Brenda, Dave and Dawn, Bill and Marla, Rob and Kaye, Larry and me….What more could you want? (We missed you Dave and Lorie.)

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