North to Alaska
It feels good to be riding again.
Three and a half days aboard the ferry was a really nice rest, but when dawn arrives, I am restless. Time to pack up load up and drive the Valkyrie off of the ferry and onto terra firma in the lower 48.
The Columbia arrives on time in Bellingham, WA but since I was second to load I am next to last to drive off of the boat. The bike took the trip really well the trip was an amazingly calm passage with just the slightest amount of sea motion when we had to transit short passages of open water.
I am determined that I will not subject myself to the culture shock of Seattle and the 5 so I have routed myself slightly north and west from the ferry terminal to pick up Route 9 south to connect with 20 west. As you have probably already suspected, I am chasing another road from The Most Scenic Drives in America, my handy reference of great motorcycle roads.
This one is called the North Cascades Loop I have an ulterior motive here as well I can stop at North Cascades National Park and pick up another passport stamp actually two because the Visitor Center also has the stamp for the Ross Lake National Recreation Area. This is my 59th and 60th park and my 26th state. I now have enough parks and states to get the Iron Butt Association National Parks Tour, but I want the Gold version which will mean that I will need a park from California. I hope that happens in the next couple of days.
Cascades National Park
Meanwhile, I am not disappointed with the North Cascades Loop drive. Once again, I run out of adjectives to describe the beauty of this country. Cascades is well named for the water cascading out of the mountains from glaciers melting on top. Unfortunately, the hydro electric power people got here many years ago and dammed the Skagit river I understand the need for power, but it is delightful to imagine what this beautiful river must have been before the dams were in place.
Once again I am reminded that I am in the West cool on the coast 65 degrees then over the mountains to 95 degrees in the interior foothills. I had forgotten that Washington looks like a rain forest in the coastal mountains but as soon as you move to the interior it almost resembles a desert.
Apple orchards abound along the Columbia River only because of irrigation but I am once again in familiar territory with agricultural activity for miles on end with the occasional packing house and cold storage facilities dotting the route.
After Washington Pass its south on 153 to pick up 97 south next stop is Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. The wind is blowing at 40 mph and Im glad I have six cylinders to push me through it.
So to you and Iowa Sioux and Kahn, German Shepherd, Vancouver, Canada I say goodnight from Ellensberg, WA.
Index, Day, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 thru 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32&33 34