Tackle and I had been looking forward to the May Long Weekend for months. We’d planned a 3 day trip to the Olympic Peninsula and Oregon Coast, and had 3 or 4 other people interested in coming along. But, as it grew nearer, it became apparent that the weather was going to be wet. Very wet. So, at the last minute, and faced with desertion by every other interested person, we decided to cancel and just go for a long ride on Saturday, the only day that looked to be good. Late on Friday night, we decided to go south, and head for Winthrop, to see how far we’d get.
We headed for the border, to find at least a 50 minute wait, so we scooted along farmland along the border and cut in the line at Sumas. After finding gas for Tackle, we headed on the road. We found that staying on Hwy 9 from Huntington is definitely inferior to the other route along 547 and 542 – more crowded and less twisty. Shortly after the two routes merged and we passed all the traffic, we noticed two other bikers behind us. They stayed nicely back, passing when we did, but not attempting to come up past us. When I pulled over in Sedro Wooley to talk to Tackle, she told me that they were BCRider and Allison, two of those who had planned on coming on our weekend trip. They were heading off on a three day trip to try and evade the rain in Eastern WA. We hurried to catch up to them, and decided to ride together for a bit.
I found us the South Slocan Highway, a route that avoided the towns along the north side of the river. I enjoyed the route, which swept nicely along the river through farmland and forest, but Tackle, with her lowered suspension, hated it because the pavement was bad – Penny is not bothered as much by this as a pure sportbike.
We then headed up into the Cascades, letting BCRider take the lead – I quickly found myself being pushed a wee bit beyond my limits as we twisted our way up into the mountains, but slowed down when I needed to and caught up later. Tackle and I turned back at the Diablo Dam overlook.
We ate lunch at the Buffalo Bar, or some such, in Marblemount. Not recommended – the food was edible, but that’s about it. We then decided to take the road unknown and head south along 530 for a bit before looping north and returning home. That was nice – deserted and mostly sweeping curves through the forest and farms.
The rain hit right about at the southernmost point, just spitting at us a bit. We took the scenic route back up along Route 9. That route is worth doing, but we were getting tired and there was traffic that was hard to pass. Despite that, and despite the increasing rain, we decided to head up on 11 (Chuckanut Drive) rather than the I5. The stretch of 11 before Chuckanut is straight and boring, but the Chuckanut was nice, as always, even if I was too tired to really appreciate it.
Finally got on the I5 at Bellingham and headed home in the rain. By the time I got home, I was fairly wet from the waist down as water came in at the fly and the bottom of my pants don’t fasten. Also, my boots leak. But the moisture was definitely worth a great ride, 598 km in all. Tackle and I ride well together, with similar speeds, views on stopping and eating and all the important things, and hopefully we’ll get to do a bunch more long rides this summer.
Unexpected but welcome companions
Me and tackle
Me and tackle from the other side
Where Swedes go after death…