Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Hot Lava Scooter Tour 2013 - Part 1 - Maple Ridge to Longview, WA - July 6

So you have to understand, one of the common threads in the last couple of big trips is the rock connection. I didn't choose Aberdeen WA last year because of a Scottish connection and I certainly didn't choose Longview because there's another Longview in Alberta. Aberdeen was chosen because Nirvana was from there and Longview was chosen this year because of Green Day's song. 

And... Mt. St. Helen's is close as well....

I started off a little after 7 in the morning. The weather was great as I drove to Abbotsford. The odometer was 26, 980 km and I had a full tank of gas.

There was a bit of a line going through the border at Sumas  but nothing terrible - 20 minutes or so.

After that, I blasted down Highway 9 - a road I had taken before a few times - towards Sedro Wooley. As I rode, I tried to look around and notice things, an important part of every ride. I noticed that there were a lot - and I mean a lot - of American flags almost everywhere. What was causing this massive upswing in national pride and patriotism, I wondered. Then I realized, oh yeah, July 4th was two days ago. Good observation! 

Another thing that did draw my attention was the number of rosette things - they look like this. 

I wondered - why don't we have these in Canada? Is this some terrible US conspiracy? Then I realized that our flag colours are red and white and if one was made for Canadian colours, it would look at lot like half of a Target sign!

My first stop was for gas at Arlington after 155km and a pretty big fill (1.6 gallons). 

A half hour later, I stopped for a coffee break at Lake Stevens. I was amazed by how hard everyone was working  - at most Starbucks, people work well but there's a chilled out atmosphere that goes along with the whole Starbucks style. This particular shop, though, felt more like a busy McDonalds with a couple of obvious housewives hustling and bustling and running to get orders filled. 

The Vespa proved to be a wonder, once again, on the highway. No problems at all keeping up with traffic and pretty comfortable to ride!

Next stop was lunch at the Arby's in Auburn where I gassed up again after 284km. I chose Arby's because there aren't a lot of them in Canada and I also saw an ad for pecan chicken which seemed like a relatively healthy choice. Unfortunately, when the girl behind the counter asked if I wanted it on a wrap, I said "Yes" which caused the restaurant to almost self destruct as the whole team tried to figure out how to put that through the cash register. The wrap was, in the end, rather forgettable, and it's too bad that they went to all the bother.

So my plan was to take highway 99 all the way through Seattle, thus avoiding any massive interstates with 12 lanes and 75 mph traffic. North of Seattle, however, I came upon a 
Road Closed Ahead" sign and telling my to take I-5! I was not relishing this but finally took the plunge. I found the interstate speed to be a bit fast (70 - 75 mph) but, worse than that, the road surface, which is concrete, feels different to ride on and was a bit chewed up in spots. Also, there is a lot off traffic with 6 lanes going in one direction so I was very tight gripped while riding. I stayed in the right lane and, after a few minutes managed to exit, heading downtown. 

After a quick stop to power up my new GoPro camera, I proceeded to video the ride through Seattle, Here is a couple of minutes of that ride.

I was feeling pretty smug about making it through a stretch of I-5 when, all of a sudden, the section of highway 99 disappeared without warning and I was on the far left lane of, you guessed it, I-5!! Tight gripped, I made my way south, first staying in the lane, then slowly changing lanes until I was in a comfortable place. After 20 minutes or so, I finally found an exit I recognized and was off the interstate!

I took secondary highways, some single lane, meandering, twisty roads while others were four lane straight speedy sections. Nothing seemed to bother me after being on I-5 so that was a good thing!

I took this picture somewhere along a viewpoint on I - 12 . This interstate was nothing like I-5 and I felt very confident as I drove along it. I filled up on the way, hitting 427km.

The final road into Longview was Highway 411. It varied in size and speed along the way. At one point, a tree had fallen on some wires so there was a police car and the policeman directing traffic around it. 

Finally, around 5:30pm, I rolled into Longview. I checked into the Quality in ($89 - Trip Advisors #1 pick in Longview) and it was - well, Ok. Certainly nothing special and quite clean but just not that appealing a place to stay in. The toilet plugged the first time I used it, the furniture was kind of ugly and the room wasn't terribly big. The service was pretty good although when the door burst open while I was plugging the toilet, I thought that they were being just a bit too attentive....

For dinner, I was told that Ocean Beach Road had great restaurants and was expecting something out of LA or San Diego but I couldn't see the beach from the road and I was too bagged, anyways, so I grabbed a salad, wine, and sushi at Safeway, headed back to the room, and watched Netflix until I nodded off to sleep.

Total Distance - 495km!


30 Days In Europe said...

Seattle looks so much like Van. Hey, got a flick for you. Have you seen Suspiria? 1977 Italian/American - Black Swan with witches. super creepy. Watching Repulsion this week--finally!

Safe travels dude!

Dave Dixon said...

It does except it's bigger and kinda emptier...

Seen Suspira - hope you enjoy Repulsion!

Deb said...

I am following and enjoying your journey!

How do you "capture" map images like that to post to your blog?

Just curious as I'd like to do this too for some of my ride posts.

Dave Dixon said...

Hi Deb!

Glad you are enjoying the blog. On my Mac, I capture a screen shot of the area I want on Google maps by clicking Shift - Command - 4 and then dragging around the area that you want to copy.

On a PC, it's a bit trickier but I found this link to ways to screen shot for free on a PC. Enjoy!