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I REALLY want to be out riding today but still being fatigued from my little jaunt yesterday and feeling unwell in general, I'll have to stick with 'wanting' for now. Yesterday I attended a poker run set up by a local rider group/site (www.soundrider.com, if you're in the area) to benefit a local cycle history museum. This particular run started in Seattle and went all the way up to Bellingham via what USED to by old Highway 99 that connected Canada to Mexico back in the early 1900s (http://www.phenry.org/wsh/oldus/oldus99.html). This route took us North on some of the best 2-lane blacktop I've had the pleasure of riding on yet, through some valleys that would allow you to see all the way out to the coast, just barely visible on the horizon.
We also got drenched. Roughly an hour or so into the ride, the cloudy/misty day turned into a severe downpour that was enough to make it nearly impossible to see more than 50ft ahead through the rain. We kept on, however, hoping that we'd ride out of the storm farther North. When we got to our stop in Smokey Point, we were greeted by the gentleman who arranged the entire event as well as cookies and coffee to warm up the rather "drowned" looking riders that straggled in at the front of the pack. After hanging around, chatting with him and other fellow riders and generally drying out for 15min, Tom (the organizer) said that since we were all 'early' he would lead us to the next checkpoint so none of us need navigate. A group of a dozen bikes then left and headed North to Burlington. We managed to clear the rain a short time later, although by then it had reduced itself to a light mist. This was the part of the trip that got really fun, as some of the roads we took carved out some nice turns through bright, green farmland in the valleys of Skagit county. It was through here that the coast became visible in the distance, with spots of sun shining through the grey day to illuminate parts of in brilliant color over the muted ones we'd seen so far in the day. Burlington greeted us with yet another welcome surprise, food! After a long, wet beginning we were all ready for a bit of something to eat, which turned up in the form of a BBQ at the dealership that was our checkpoint. Standard fare, but welcome by all :) Once we'd finished our food, the small group of SV owners that I had hooked up with at the beginning of this little adventure and I headed out to make our way to the final destination, a small coffee shop in Bellingham. Possibly the last, true bastion of 'civilization' one reaches here before reaching the Canadian border.
And now, the true fun began. There is a road out here called Chuckanut Drive, which has been part of many different highways in its long career. This road is possibly one of the most scenic roads available to ride or drive in the US. It stretches for several miles back into the Cascades as well as running right along the edge of the coast, giving the rider a panoramic view of the San Juan Islands. It was this costal part of the road that we took to get to Bellingham. This was a road that 3 of us had heard about and wanted to ride due to some "amazing corners". Well, our expectations were exceeded by a fair amount and more than a couple blind corners :yikes: I wouldn't say that we "smoked" through this road, although I, and the mighty SV handled most of this road with aplomb at a bit over the recommended speeds. The difficulties came in the form of inland, blind curves that had oncoming traffic and some nasty ravines on the outside and blasted rock canyon walls on the inside. These turns DEMANDED a bit of respect and eye on your speed. All in all, it was a PHENOMENAL ride. Being roughly a 9 hour trip, I was exhausted by the time I got home. One final bit though, before I quit rambling here. At the end of this run, I was told that they were going to have a guest speaker. When I got there, it turns out to be none other than David Hough, writer of Proficient Motorcycling, himself! It turns out that he is a local (WA) resident and closely associated with many of the old time riders in the area. This man is, without a doubt, one of the most fun and interesting people I have had the pleasure of meeting in 32 years on this little rock. He is, first and foremost, a great story teller and he manages to use those stories to entertain and educate at the same time. He does not take life...or himself...very seriously but he is dedicated to the enjoyment of cycling for himself and those around him. He pretty much held a "campfire" style discussion in the parking lot and told us a few stories about his career/travels, etc. Answering any questions that people had and, of course, selling copies of his book out of the well used saddle bags on the back of his BMW 1150GS (sport version, without integrated brakes or ABS). It was interesting to find out he dislikes ABS as much as I do...:D
So, in closing, this has been one terrific weekend. I got to see some amazing roads and meet one of the best sources for riding information out there. I picked up both Proficient Motorcycling and Street Strategies straight from the horses mouth, as they say :)

I hope you all had a great weekend yourselves, and thanks for sticking with this rather drawn out tale of the weekend!

Talk to you all soon!
 

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WOW....sounds like a great ride except for the rain. :dthumb:
 
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