Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Motorcycle Ride to Chuckanut Drive

One of our favorite motorcycle rides is the one through the Stillaguamish and Skagit Valleys and up Chuckanut Drive to Bellingham.  This one is also scenic for the entire way, starting with
Views of Deer Mountain as we rode on Jordan Road between Granite Falls and Arlington.
The park at the Jordan Bridge over the South Fork of the Stilley
The one lane road over Jim Creek where the bridge is under repair.
We crossed I-5 at Island Crossing and took Pioneer Highway into Stanwood.
Lots of barns and farm smells - dairy farms and sileage and an occasional field of clover.
At Conway, we smelled oats cooking at Conway Feed.  We turned onto the road to LaConner at Conway.
Then through the fertile Skagit Valley where the crops all have mountain views and usually have signs to identify them on the road.
The smell of waffle cones cooking at Snow Goose Produce is nearly enough to thwart any diet.
We continued on Best Road all the way to where it crosses Highway 20 and becomes Farm to Market Road.
Farm to Market Bakery
The town of Edison has two amazing bakeries.
The Bread Farm
and some really fine places to eat.
The Longhorn Saloon where we had fish and chips.

A mile further, in Bow, the Rhodendron Cafe is great.
We turned onto Chuckanut Drive in Bow.
You can't be in a hurry on this drive.  The views are awesome and lots of bicyclists and sightseers share the road.
There are lots of turn outs where you can stop and take pictures and enjoy the views.
Oyster fields at Taylor Seafood Farm
Big container ships in the shipping lanes, San Juan Islands behind them.
It doesn't take much dirt to keep a cedar tree alive.
Back on the bike, up to Bellingham, and back home via Highway 9.   A lovely day for a ride and great scenery to enjoy!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Blue Mountain Cafe

What a summer we are having in Western Washington!  Day after day of cloudless days with perfect temperatures - between 70 and 85 for highs.  The cool evenings allow us to sleep comfortably with windows open.  Although we have done many projects this summer, we have had time to get the motorcycle out for a ride quite often also.  Yesterday, we picked the Blue Mountain Cafe as our destination. 

 The entire ride from our house in Granite Falls to the Blue Mountain Cafe is about 60 miles, and every single mile is scenic.  Of course, all the roads are under construction - I think every bridge in the state is being replaced this summer.  But we managed to get through the bridge replacement project on Jim Creek on Jordan Road without too much delay.  On the way home, we slipped into Granite from Arlington on Burn Road, which is the only path through the maze without a one-lane section.
Highway 9 out of Arlington winds and twists past several lakes - this is Lake McMurray.  Big Lake and Clear Lake are next on the ride.  Then just before Sedro Woolley, we crossed the Skagit River.
Lots of debris piled up around the bridge supports shows how high the river has been recently.
On to Sedro Woolley
And another railroad park that we didn't visit.
Mt Baker peeking out from behind the closer ridge.
Hungry when we arrived at the Blue Mouninta Cafe, we were greeted by the smell of bread fresh from the oven.
Sparkling clean, inside and out - by far the best biker bar we have ever seen. We always choose to sit outside!

Fish and Chips and the "Awesome" sandwich.  Both delicious!

The grounds are beautiful,
and the view from the deck is amazing.
We had a really wonderful ride and a great lunch.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Working on the Maze

Our oldest grandchildren, Sara and Jesse, have been working with us on our Christmas tree maze for the past couple of years.  It is really starting to take shape now.
Sara and Jesse and I trim and Ron mows -  this year we started to work on a whole new section.  The trees we are trimming now are Noble Fir, and they are so dense that they form a nice wall between pathways.
The Douglas Fir section has gotten so tall that it is forming a canopy over the trails.
We should be in great shape for our annual Halloween treasure hunt this fall.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Family Visiting from Salt Lake City

Our son, Cameron, wife, Anne, and sons, Gavin and Marcus who are visiting from Salt Lake City took a walk through the woods at our place in Granite Falls.  They are enjoying the cooler temperatures here.
Cam's high school friend, Kirk, and his family came to visit and the boys played several games of horseshoes before they got bored.  Then they resorted to their boyhood and tried throwing two at a time, throwing from different angles, etc. anything to make the game a bit more dangerous.  Everyone survived.
Anne showed us how to roast a perfect marshmallow - she turned it perfectly brown, without once catching it on fire.
    Hot tubbing                                         Eating berries off the vine
Driving the tractor
We had a great visit!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Motorcycle Ride in Record Heat

Yesterday, we had our first "free" day when the sun was shining, so Ron had the bike out and ready for a ride early.  By 9 a.m., we were on the road, already without jackets.  It started out about perfect with a 75 degree temperature under clear blue skies.
We started with breakfast at our favorite Denny's at Island Crossing.  The only backtracking we did all day was from Island Crossing to Highway 9.  The strawberry fields near Arlington were full of people picking.
This cornfield just north of Arlington has corn plants already way higher than "knee high".  I'm pretty sure my corn was in earlier so how do they do this?  Mine looks puny compared to this field.
This bridge on Highway 9 is being replaced, and about three right angle corners are being taken out. 
We've been watching the Centennial Trail work for the past couple of years.  The northern terminus of the trail now has been extended well beyond Bryant, nearly to Lake McMurray.
The old barn on the property that was acquired for the trailhead parking lot has large photos of the early days of the Nakashima farm.  Many hikers and bicyclists were taking advantage of the new trail on this sunny day.
The views on this ride included lots of lakes - this is Lake McMurray.
Stillaguamish River
Skagit River
Rivers and mountains offer spectacular views on a pretty day.
Mt Baker from Highway 9 near Big Lake.
Mt Baker from Sauk River Road outside of Concrete.
We found our second one-lane bridge of the day at the end of Sauk River Road, near the junction with Highway 530.
You can see debris from the recent high water on the Sauk.
White Horse Mountain
We started in Granite Falls, traveled Highway 9 to Arlington, then 530 to Island Crossing for breakfast.  We backtracked about 3 miles to Arlington where we once again took Highway 9 north.  At Sedro Wooley, we headed east on Highway 20 to Concrete.  Sauk River Road follows the Sauk River from Concrete to Highway 530, so we took it as it offered a more scenic ride and a shortcut to 530.  At Arlington, we transferred to Burn Road for the last leg that returned us to Granite Falls.  The whole trip was about 150 miles, about perfect for a motorcycle day trip.  The only bad thing about the last leg is that the temperature had risen to 90 degrees by the time we had a milkshake and burger in Arlington at around 3 p.m.  Fortunately, Burn Road has quite a bit of shade so it was bearable.