Other Riders' Stories
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|Day 1 - Santa Clara, CA
Day 2 - Lee Vining, CA
Day 3 - Baker, CA
Day 4 - Las Vegas, NV
Day 5 - Las Vegas, NV
Day 6 - Grand Canyon, AZ
Day 7 - Durango, CO
Day 8 - Glenwood, CO
Day 9 - Highlands, CO
Day 10 - Highlands, CO
Day 11 - Estes Park, CO
Day 12 - Craig, CO
Day 13 - Jackson, WY
Day 14 - Cody, WY
Day 15 - Mammoth, WY
Day 16 - Choteau, MT
Day 17 - Kelispell, MT
Day 18 - Sandpoint, ID
Day 19 - Omak, WA
Day 20 - Anacortes, WA
Day 21 - Anacortes, WA
Day 22 - Poulsbo, WA
Day 23 - Poulsbo, WA
Day 24 - Poulsbo, WA
Day 25 - Astoria, OR
Day 26 - Lincoln City, OR
Day 27 - Bandon, OR
Day 28 - Eureka, CA
Day 29 - Anchor Bay, CA
Day 30 - Martinez, CA
| Western Loop - July 18, 2002
Miles Traveled Today: ---
Miles Traveled on Trip: ----
|Today we got an early start, for us, and were out by
8:30 a.m. The plan was to stop at a fast food place around 10:00
and get some breakfast. As it turned out, the little towns on Hwy.
20 didn’t have any fast food places to grab a bite, so we kept going.
The towns of Omak and Okanogan are in the high desert country of Washington,
and so are warmer than the towns we were headed for. We wanted to
get out of the desert country during the early morning, and so kept
a comfortable pace of about 60 miles an hour. It wasn’t long until
we joined up with the Mathow River, which was more or less in eyesight
for the next 20 miles (photo 1). Meanwhile, we decided to
stop at one of the gas station food marts in the town of Twisp, and
get some donuts and milk for breakfast (photo 2), since neither
one us does well when we’re hungry. Twisp sounds like the founder
of the town may have talked with a lisp, but I did have to admire
the determination of the brewpub owner to get that truck up in the
air for his sign (photo 3). I’m not sure if there is a message
in the sign, like if you drive a truck it’s OK to have a brew. Maybe
he couldn’t sell the truck and needed a tax write off. Anyway, it
seemed to be a nice little town. Quiet.
It wasn’t too many miles outside of Twisp that we came upon the “gateway”
to the Cascade Mountains (photo 4). The road started to climb
and the dessert gave way to pastureland surrounded by mountains.
We stopped when we saw this house for sale (photo 5) for only
$86,900 with four parcels of land thrown in. The owner was willing
to carry the paper for you. Such a deal. And there are those of
you who are reading this who complain about not having enough affordable
housing. Actually, the farm right next-door, was taking a group of
about 20 hearty souls, out horseback riding, and their farm and home
were in fine condition. If you wanted to fix this one up, you would
at least have good neighbors.
Now the road started to climb in earnest and the scenery just got
better. The temperature dropped down to a reasonable 78 degrees and
the roads were in fine condition with a speed limit between 50 and
60 mph. I had no idea the cascades were this scenic (photos 6,
7, 8, 9, 10 &11). We found ourselves enjoying being back
in the mountains again. At some point, we felt the need to get off
the bike for a break so at the first real wide turnoff, we stopped
for a break. It also gave me a chance to take a picture of the bike
and trailer (photos 12 &13).
One of the reasons for doing this website, was to share some of the
scenery we expected to see along route. We’ve gotten all of the scenery
we expected plus some. We hope your enjoying it along with us. Anyway,
we were surprised by the variety of picturesque things to see in the
North Cascades. There were valleys, and peaks and waterfalls, and
rivers (photos 14, 15, 16, 17, & 18). Linda just carried
the camera around her neck since we knew we were going to have to
dig it out of the trunk every five minutes or so anyway, if she didn’t.
Since she had the camera, she got to take a picture of me from time
to time (photo 19), since I’m always taking pictures of her
when I have the camera. When you see a picture of a butterfly or
flowers, Linda took that picture.
Often on this route, there would be a river or lake or mountain peak
somewhere to one side of the road or the other (photos 20 &
21). I don’t remember all of the names because they kept changing
but I do remember Ross Lake and Ross Dam (photos 22, 23 & 24).
Ross Lake, near the dam proper, is a turquoise color and makes for
quite an unusual sight. As we were stopped looking at the dam, Linda
fed a squirrel about four almonds. You can see that little beggar
was loaded up for the winter (photo 25). Of course, not ten
feet away from all of this, in plain sight of everyone, except Linda
apparently, was a sign that said, “Don’t feed the Animals.”
Another thing that makes the Cascades different from other mountain
parks is the speed limit. In most parks, the speed limit is 45 mph.
That’s seems to be because you have to stop and pay to get in and
people who go there want to drive slow and see the sights. With the
Cascades National Park, Hwy 20 goes right through the middle of it
and it is a working highway. Although there weren’t many, there were
trucks that needed to get from point A to point B and I don’t remember
ever seeing that in any other park setting. I believe this helped
keep the speed limit at 55 and 60. If we hadn’t been stopping every
time we turned our heads, we would have made this trip today in about
four hours. As it was, it took us seven and a half. That’s OK though,
because we enjoyed ourselves and that’s the whole point of a vacation.
As we left Ross Dam and Lake, we seemed to come upon a bunch of waterfalls
(photos 26, 27, 28, 29 & 30) that kept our attention.
I know you will find this hard to believe, but we actually missed
taking pictures of a few, but only a very few. By this time, it was
close to 2:00 p.m. and I was getting a little grouchy from lack of
food. As we were leaving the small town of Concrete, we stopped at
a small place to eat outside of town, called Annie’s Pizzeria. Linda
had pizza and I had a meatball sandwich. Both were enjoyable but we
were the only people in the place. The Annie sat and talked with
us while we ate. She apparently was an ex-hippie who met and married
her husband at a commune in the 60’s, which apparently didn’t work
out. She said that was another story, but somewhere along the line
she started this pizzeria about eight years ago. She said she liked
the rural nature of the town of Concrete. It seemed to be what she
remembered Washington being like when she was a child.
You may remember Concrete, WA for another reason. It was the town
in the movie featuring Robert DiNero as the mean stepfather to Leonardo
de Caprio. Leonardo was actually a young man at the time and unknown.
The story is supposed to be about the life of a “famous” writer who
now teaches at Stanford or someplace like that. I just can’t remember
the name of the movie.* There
is a large, concrete silo as you enter the town and it has “Welcome
to Concrete” painted on the side of the silo. That was done by the
film crew and is the only thing that remains from the movie. That
is Concretes claim to fame and the truth of the matter is that was
probably during Concrete’s better days. The town is a little tired
at this point in it’s history with many of the shops in the old downtown
area needing paint or repair, or even a business to occupy them.
After we left Annie’s we were about an hour away from Anacortes.
I put the camera away thinking there was not one more thing we could
take a picture of. Wrong, you can see that we passed a pasture filled
with several Shetland Ponies. Linda likes flowers and we kept passing
these purple wild flowers in large bunches on the side of the road.
We thought both of these things would make a nice picture. We hope
you think so to (photos 31 & 32).
As we reached Burlington on Hwy 20 we started to get into real traffic.
I mean like the stuff we get in the Bay Area of California. It was
getting close to 4:00, which seemed too early for “rush hour” but
I think is an indicator that this part of the Pacific Northwest is
growing. We had traffic all the way to Anacortes and along the way
we noticed lots of new buildings and businesses that weren’t there
the last time we were here. Suspicions confirmed.
As soon as we got into Anacortes, we checked into the Anaco Motel,
a motel we have used several times before. Paula, the clerk on duty,
gave us an upgrade to a suite, I assume to reward us for repeat business.
This is a nice room. Cost for the night $78. I can discern no rhyme
or reason to the way motels rooms are priced. This is the one area
of capitalism where supply and demand clearly rule.
We got off the bike, relaxed a bit, and then had dinner at the Flounder
Bay Restaurant, another place we like. This was the end of a good
day. Fed, fat, and happy, we went back to our room. Tomorrow we will
relax a bit more, just ride around Fidalgo Island a bit, and take
some pictures of the sights.
* The movie is This Boy's
Life. based upon the award-winning memoir of the same name written
by the "famous" Tobias Wolff. Wolff is currently
the Melvin and Bill Lane Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University,
where he directs the creative writing program.