Friday, 24 August 2007

Lynden, Washington and Beyond!


On the way to the border, I did something I rarely do - I took advantage of the fact that I was on a scooter. The line up for the border was moving very slowly. Then I saw two motorcyclists zip by on the shoulder. The ‘ah-hah’ moment came and I scooted after them, rejoining the line-up at the duty free store. I’m so ba-a-a-d.

As I approached the border, the sun disappeared and, like a portent of doom, a dense fog descended. The border guard checked my passport and grilled me, asking the usual questions plus some I hadn’t heard before: What is your job? Are you meeting anyone? and my personal favourite, Where are you eating lunch? I thought of asking him for a recommendation but he didn’t appear to have a sense of humour. The US border is not so fun to go across these days.


The fog had risen a bit by the time I arrived in Lynden, teeth chattering. Lynden is a lovely town, famous for tulips and a pioneer museum. There’s a Dutch connection so there are plenty of windmills, Dutch themed stores and streets, and pictures of characters in traditional Dutch garb.

There were plenty of American flags - something I noticed the whole time I was in the US. Canadians show their flag for about a week around July first and then back into the cupboard it goes. The prevalence of American flags just seems so darned patriotic - something, as a Canadian, I don’t get worked up about except, maybe, at an international hockey tournament.

Stopped at the Sidewalk Cafe for brunch. It was in a small mall with lots of Dutch features including big clog shoes and flags from different parts of the Netherlands.

The breakfast I ordered was the typical eggs and bacon special. I think it’s safe to say that what I’ve heard about American servings is true. It was a very generous serving - four pieces of bacon and a mountain of fried country potatoes - but the problem was that it tasted absolutely fantastic! I snarfled up the bacon which was perfectly cooked and had to make a conscious effort to hold back on the fried potatoes!

Samson Winery

As I left breakfast, my optimism rose - the fog and clouds had cleared and it was a beautiful day. I left Lynden in search of the Samson Winery.

It was a very nice ride as I had found some quiet back roads. Unfortunately the winery (“Open every day in the summer”) was closed.

Nooksack River Casino

Sighing, I hopped back on and headed south to the Nooksack River Casino. It was a busier ride but traffic seemed fine. I went into the casino and discovered it smelled strongly of smoke but was quite popular. I spent my obligatory $5 on the nickel slots and left soon after as nothing seemed to hold my interest.

Return home

I took a more direct route home, stopping at the border. I was asked three quick questions, didn’t have to show any ID, and zipped back into good ol’ Canada. As my daughter says, the Canadian border is so much more chill than the US border.

Almost home, on the Albion ferry, I was chatting with another motorcyclist and spoke almost apologetically about the fact that I managed to have a good time riding on only 50ccs. He looked at me and said, “Hey, a ride’s a ride.”

How true.


Anonymous said...

The Canadian border is more chill than the U.S. border. I wonder why? Are you sure you are a school teacher. Are you trying not to get it.

Dave Dixon said...


Hmm, if you're trying to imply that due to a more relaxed, friendlier and less threatening border, Canada is at greater risk than the US, I'd have to disagree.

Just look at the EU with its open border policy - something I'd like to see in North America.

And, as September approaches, I'm pretty sure that I am still a teacher! ;-)

Joe said...

I'm not so sure national patriotism is measured by flag waving. I was at a Vacouver vs Boise baseball game in 2000 and when the Canadian national anthem came on, everyone in the place got up and proudly sang all the words. Gives me goosebumps to think about it years later. I don't think 1 in 100 Americans knows the first stanza of the Star Spangled Banner.

Steve Williams said...

What a great post Dave! You really are pushing the LX50 to get the most out of it. As I read through and looked at the pictures I could see not only the beauty of the landscape and locale but magic of the Vespa!

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Dave Dixon said...


I thought that Americans knew their anthem as well , if not better than, Canadians, since the only time we sing is at assemblies at school and at sporting events. But you're right, we do love to join in when O Canada is sung.

Maybe Canadian patriotism is harder to see but easier to hear?

Mind you, I'm not saying anything is wrong with flag waving - it just seems a bit, ahem, foreign to me.


I am really enjoying taking the LX50 on longer rides. The ride past Lynden was epecially good because it was unchartered territory. The busier roads are a bit of a challenge but when I find a quiet alternative, I can sit back and enjoy the scenery.

Maybe a ride to Seattle is not out of the question in the future!

Conchscooter said...

I would like to see more of the Gulf islands before the end of summer, from a Vespa's perspective.
I don't wave a flag- I don't need to. My patriotism is where it matters, caring for the collective, paying my taxes and choosing to live in one of the best places one can. Canada O Canada, love the health care, hate the weather...

Anonymous said...

Canada is not at risk the U.S. is. That is why we have less friendly borders. Unfriendly people from around the world come into Canada. Not to hurt the Canadians but to hurt the people of the U.S. By the way I like your national insurance too. I enjoyed reading about your bike trip. I ride too and love it.

Dave Dixon said...


Hey, flag waving is probably a good thing - it just isn't something we do a lot up here. That said, I absolutely agree with how you show your patriotism. And, on your comment on Canada - especially the weather....

I can see your point that the US feels threatened. I just wish there was a better way to screen out the terrorists/bad criminals without inconveniencing us regular folk.

I like our health insurance, too, but sometimes you do have to wait....

CodyandMichelle said...

Neat post as usual Dave:) Was that one shot a photo of Mt.Ranier?
Michelle and I are going to look at some property in Colorado along the sun belt. I wish BC has one of those:(
We also may look in Washington and Oregon. I still have a few years left before i leave the fire service and even though we have property in N.C. we are not married to it.
I definitely would like to visit a number of places in Canada, it's so beautiful and except for the French canookers the rest of the Canadians seem to be pretty friendly!

Anonymous said...

You may recall there were lots of flags displayed in Nazi Germany. The "security measures" are just another example of our current governmet's efforts to turn the United States into a fascist police state. I'm going to Vancouver this weekend, and crossing the border back into the U.S. just makes me sick. I wish I could just stay in Canada...

Anonymous said...

I am not waving a flag. I don't own one but I do care about what happens to my country and the people in it. I just want people to understand that we are in peril right now.We hope that won't last forever and I would like to hear some understanding instead of complaining. I hope you get to stay in Canada too but with that attitude I doubt they want you to stay there.

Dave Dixon said...

Yes, that was Mt. Rainier - it's always such a stunning subject.
Unfortunately BC is a wee bit away from the sunbelt - but very close to the rainbelt...
The Quebecois are a concern at times but they are part of what makes Canada, Canada. Besides, both of my kids are in French Immersion and have visited Quebec.

anonymous (first one)
Whoa, not sure about that comparison to Nazi Germany. I was just noticing a difference. Can't say I'm thrilled about the security measures, though. Just today in the news is a plea from the Canadian government to exclude seniors from the passport requirement when crossing into the us by land or sea. If the plea does not work, they will have to have a passport to cross in 2008.

anonymous (second one)
I think we all care about our respective countries. And I know that quite a lot of people in the US are not happy with some of the things going on there. That happens here, too.

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your blog. Still can't get over your taking the scoot to Lynden. I am impressed. My wife has a 50 cc Beamer, no way would I ride that down there.

I think I live about a mile from you so I'll keep an eye out for you.

Orin said...

Dave, the picture is of Mt. Baker... in Lynden you're too far north to see Mt. Rainier as anything but a very small bump on the horizon. Also, Mt. Rainier is a little more conical when viewed from the north...

Scootin' Old Skool

Anonymous said...

wow - riding on the highway on only a 50 cc. - a brave man - or a foolish man??

Dave Dixon said...

anonymous 1
A mile away? Have to look out for your wife's Beamer!

Of course, you're right, I often see Mt. Baker on a summer day when I get onto the Lougheed Highway on the way to work. Not sure why I agreed with Rainier!

I'm on the highway, not the free way, so it seems pretty safe.