Thursday, 30 July 2015

Cascade Loop Scooter Ride - Day 1 - Part 1

 It was finally time to go on a multi-day ride on my new BMW scoot. My rack for my Givi top case did not arrive in time so I crammed what clothes I could under the seat and had an extra bag that I bungied to the rear hand hold. I made sure that I had a water bottle, my passport and some road food and headed off.

I have written, on several occasions, about how unfriendly border guards can be, particularly American ones. Well, I take it back.

This border guard was an Asian-American and he was extremely excited about my scoot! He asked me questions about its top speed, how much I paid, how much I enjoyed it, and many other questions.  He did couch a few border type questions in amongst the scooter questions but it was not super obtrusive. He was pretty much the nicest border guard I've ever dealt with!

I took the I-5 to Bellingham and was pleased how easily the BMW C600 handles the highway speeds. OK, more than pleased, I felt like I was on a rocket ship flying through space!

Once I got to Bellingham, I took one of my favourite routes, Chuckanut Drive, to Sedro Wooley. I stopped several times to take some photos of the ocean - it was a perfect day for it!

I then started the actual Cascade Loop in earnest. I had asked for the guidebook to be sent to me at the beginning of July but, unfortunately, it hadn't arrived yet so I had to make do with an electronic version on my iPad mini. According to the guide, it is best to take the loop counter clockwise but I wanted to spent night two in Seattle so I did it clockwise.

After filling my tank at Burlington, my first stop on the actual Cascade Loop was the heavy-sounding town of Concrete. I absolutely loved the giant concrete towers outside of town! The town is just a little place and when I turned right onto the main street, I only found a coffee shop that was for sale. Luckily, I back tracked and found a coffee shop on the other end of the main drag. I stopped in for a stimulating and tasty latte at the 5b Bakery (not sure what the name has to do with concrete) and friendly proprietors. The only tricky part was I had to park on gravel and I was a bit paranoid of the whole thing tipping over but, after several yanks and pulls, the scoot seemed solid.

After I left Concrete (with a heavy heart?), I continued on Highway 20. This was cruising on my scoot! There wasn't a lot of traffic, the road was far from boring, and there were lots of us people on two wheels! I was now comfortable enough on the scoot to do the motorcycle wave thing without worrying about hurling myself over the side.

I filled again in Marblemount - even thought I had 3/4 of a tank - just because of the concerns of running out of gas that I had read about. As it turned out, that was not that much of a problem but it was probably good to be safe. There were a few stops on the way including this one pictured above which had an awesome giant tree.

My next major stop was at the North Cascades National Park Visitor Center. The best part was I was wearing my Maui Spock T-Shirt and one of the two young women rangers commented on the coolness of my shirt! She was a Star Trek geek as well - they are everywhere! I also took this boardwalk trail that led to a very nice view of the forest.

Next stop was Gorge Lake which included a big dam.

The final place for today's blog entry was Diablo Lake. It was right next to Gorge Lake - in fact I think the dam is between the two - and the views were absolutely amazing! Some great painting potential, that's for sure!

I finally took a selfie (something I tend to do a lot of now - but no selfie stick, thanks) in front of Diablo Lake but, more importantly, I got a great photo of my new Beemer in the parking lot of the Diablo Lake Overlook.

Absolutely spectacular views and a very nice highway to ride!

And we're not even at lunch yet!

More to come....


SonjaM said...

Give in to a selfie stick already, Dave. I did selfies even before the name existed, and so, my mother-in-law gave me a selfie stick for my last birthday... she's 84 by the way...

I love the Cascade loop, and Chuckanut Drive. Ah, sweet memories. Grand pictures, too. Looks like the Beemer really becomes you ;-)

Keep on rolling, and enjoy your trip.

30 Days In Europe said...

I agree with Sonja - submit to the selfie stick. If one must do selfies, at least do them to the best of one's ability!

Love these tours of yours - such a cool thing to do. Very cool how you search out the unique qualities of each community!