North to Alaska

Day 28


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.

 North 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 – it’s 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 I’m 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