Alaska 2023

Day 21

July 28

  I get checked out of my cabin and wait until we can go down to the vehicle deck. We finally dock and it's time to get out of Dodge.  

I can tell that the four days of rest has made a big difference for me as I make my way out of Bellingham proper. I'm in a lot better physical shape getting off the ferry than I was getting on the ferry. In fact, one of the riders that got on with me had commented

"You were in pretty bad shape, weren't you?"

and I was.

  It's a reasonably short day of 360 miles or so from Bellingham to Todd and Kari's house in Seven Bays. I have to get on I5 for a little part of the journey but ...  
  the traffic is not too bad - or at least not as bad as I expected.  
  Fortunately I'm not on I5 too long until I come to lovely highway 20.  
  It's a lovely run through the foot hills and through ...  

interesting places like the town of Concrete.

Amasa "Peg-Leg" Everett was one of the earliest settlers and in 1890, the townsite was platted by another settler, Magnus Miller. Shortly thereafter, a post office was established and the town name changed to "Baker." In 1905, a settlement across the Baker River came into being due to the building of the Washington Portland Cement Company and was named "Cement City." After the Superior Portland Cement Company plant was built in Baker in 1908, it was decided to merge the two towns. Inhabitants of the new community settled on the name "Concrete" and the town was so christened and officially incorporated on May 8, 1909.


  I've been this way before and I always enjoy it as it is a lovely part of the State of Washington.  
  This area is know as the "American Alps' and though it does not have the elevation of the European Alps, it is still very pretty in its own right.  
  Sometimes highway 20 takes takes your through a shady cathedral of trees and then...  
  you're weaving your way between steep canyon walls.  
  I remember this old steam engine the last time I was through here ten years ago.  
  And having ridden this way before this sign says it all - it does rock for the next 10 miles - and then some.  
  There is tunnel to pass through then ...  
  a lovely lake to pass by on the right ...  
  then one on the left.  
  The rugged scenery is a pleasant backdrop to a great road to ride on two wheels.  
  Sometimes the mountains just barely peek over the trees ...  
  sometimes they are just out in plain view ...  
  and sometimes they just rise way up in majestic fashion.  
  Now this is an 'Alps Worthy' hairpin where it looks like the road is doubling back on itself.  
  Then it's just a series of wonderful sweepers running down the mountain side.  
  I somehow never get tired of looking down the valleys to see the rugged mountain tops on display.  

Soon I come into the interesting town of Winthrop.

In 1883, the lure of gold brought the first permanent settlers, three of whom were James Ramsey, Ben Pearrygin, and Guy Waring. Waring stopped at the forks of the Chewuch and Methow rivers in 1891. His family settled into the "Castle" (now the Shafer Museum). Although Waring is the acclaimed founding father, the town is named after Theodore Winthrop, a Yale graduate, adventurer/traveler, and author. The town was rebuilt after a devastating fire in 1893. Waring's original Duck Brand Saloon was built in 1891. It survived the fire and is now Winthrop's Town Hall.


  They have done an excellent job of preserving it's original pioneer store fronts and such.  
  There's an interesting suspension bridge just east of town.  
  The next town is named Twisp but the origin of the name is still a mystery.  
  I pass by another area that has suffered a raging forest fire and the scars still remain.  
  One of the things I remember when I came through here before was the netting that they put over their orchards. I still don't know the purpose of it just as I didn't know ten years ago when I came this way.  
  Then I am up into what I call the high desert where the landscape turns from vivid green to dry brown.  
  But at least in some sections a life giving river provides the needed water to make the areas green.  
  The road stretches on and on and is often shrouded by tall evergreens.  
  Soon I descend down toward Lake Roosevelt and the Columbia River.  
  When I hang a right off Highway 20 onto Highway 25 I come into some very fresh chip and seal - which I hate.  
  When they say 'Loose Gravel' they ain't kidding at all as BlueBelle is doing some dancing around on it. I start sweating bullets because if I drop her I'm probably a goner.  
  Thankfully I finally get back to good pavement and I breathe a big sigh of relief.  
  I find Todd and Kari's place with no problems and thankfully my mirrors have already showed up. Todd has all the tools I need and I make short work of installing them on BlueBelle. At least I will have good rear view mirrors on the rest of my journey back to the Holler.  
  Their puppy dog, Maggie, has decided to take a wait and see approach to this strange talking feller that has showed up at her house.  
  The view from their deck is just gorgeous and I really enjoy it.  
  Todd takes me around for a little tour of Seven Bays. He tells me it was originally built as a retirement area and interestingly enough many of the homes border the local landing strip and have plane hangars for their garage space. They can just roll out of their 'garage' over to the landing strip and take right off.  
  They have fixed me a wonderful supper that I thoroughly enjoy and I thank them for their many kindnesses they have already shown me.  
  We sit out on their deck for a spell and enjoy watching the sun slowly sink behind the mountains.  
  Just as Todd gave me some excellent route modifications on the way to his house, he gives some more great ones on the way out. As I've said before there is no substitute for local knowledge when it comes to roads and other such stuff. With my routing updated, I settle down for a pleasant route into the Land of Sleep.