Our third day, August 1, 2012, found us leaving Woodland, Washington, around 8:00 a.m. But not before we suffered another no-quality, no-value meal at the Oak Tree Restaurant. For the life of me, why we returned to this place after such a terrible dinner the previous night is a mystery. Maybe it’s a biker thing.
The 210 miles to Burlington reminded me why everyone I’ve known who moved to Washington returned to California. It was cold and overcast. Intrepid travelers that we are, we had two levels of clothing. Lightweight, mostly T-Shirts, and heavy gear for the snowstorm and thundershowers we expected to dump on us. We had nothing in between. After 30 minutes, I signaled for JAK to pull over. We brought out the heavy gear and buttoned up tight.
At 9:15 a.m. we saw our first
D – Dangerous
E – Evil
E – Everywhere
R – Rodent
Deer are a rider’s worst nightmare. Except for automobiles, deer have killed more motorcyclists than anything else. We were on I-5 on cruise control (70 mph) with our feet up on pegs, nowhere near the brake or gear shift. There at the edge of the roadway was a doe. We had no idea what she would do. A few years ago just such a doe ran right out in front of JAK up in Idaho.
We were lucky, the I-5 doe just stood there as we rode by.
Breathing again, we returned to our relaxed riding positions. Oops, wrong thing to do. Not five minutes later we were in the fast lane, having just passed a tractor trailer rig. I was prepared to swing casually in to the slow lane when I saw a shape ahead. The shape materialized as a fawn (small D.E.E.R.). The creature was running southbound in the northbound slow lane of I-5. The tractor trailer swerved out across the fast lane that I had just vacated. I HATE DEER.
The cold miserable weather and absence of scenery continued until Burlington, Washington. There we pulled off the interstate and onto State Route 20. We had heard nothing about this route except that it is one of the northern most roads paralleling the Canadian border. We couldn’t go into Canada; it’s a Second Amendment thing.
The moment and I mean the moment that we got onto SR-20 it all changed. The sun came out and it warmed up. For the next 150 miles JAK and I were treated to one of the most exceptional and rewarding rides we had ever experienced. Riding in the Northern Cascades alongside the Skagit River we were surrounded by picturesque mountain tops. We never went more than five minutes without sight of a river or lake. It was August, yet we passed snow piles along the upper part of the ride. Traffic was light and we carved through most of the curves at or above the speed limit. It was an exhilarating experience.
It came to an end when we pulled into Winthrop, Washington, a small tourist trap with a population of about 500. Fifty or so motorcycles were parked along the 1890’s style main street. We got the last room available and spent the night in a nice, overpriced hotel. Here is the view from our balcony.
We shared some might fine whiskey, Maker’s Mark, smoked an excellent cigar, and called it a night.
A Biker’s Life can be mighty nice!