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I'm Retired
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A few of us from church got together last Saturday for a ride up on one of the Pacific Northwest's best scenic and motorcycling roads on the North Cascades Highway or Hwy 20. We had myself on my Burgman 400, Doug on his 400, and Pastor Scott on his Triumph Bonneville. We had invited Steve from church who has a Harley and Tom from the Kairos prison ministry on his WeeStrom, but both had to cancel. It was just as well. It's a lot easier to find a place on the side of the road to pull over with just three bikes, than with five or more.

We left early in the morning at @ 6:30. Leaving that early, we pretty much had the road to ourselves. The sky was overcast. We hit a few sprinkles on the way, but nothing much. Just enough to make me glad I hadn't taken the time to wash Deborah, my 400, the evening before. I wasn't worried about sprinkles, but kept wondering if I should pull over to let Pastor Scott put on his rain gear. He was wearing chaps, but while those are great for wearing on a horse, they don't do much for you if it really rains. :) (Or you slide on your rear. :shock: ) Luckily, that's all we found for rain that day.

If you're trying to follow this, we picked up Hwy 530 outside of Arlington and headed east towards Darrington, then headed north out of there towards Hwy 20 at Rockport. Darrington is a small little town with craggy high peaks rising up 4000 feet above it. Even in the summer, there are snow fields on the sides. It is just an incredible view that I marvel at each time I pass through there. These aren't mountains in the distance, they are only a couple miles away and rising straight up. Here's a link to the Google Maps Terrain view. http://goo.gl/maps/1Fgs Unfortunately, you couldn't see them that morning. The cloud layer was solid and down low. From Rockport, we headed east for the next 60-70 miles till we reached a lookout point at Liberty Bell Mountain. It was just a nice easy relaxed ride with some friends, with no agenda to eat up miles or anything. If we saw something that looked great, we stopped and took our pictures without feeling rushed. The road was in good condition with incredible scenary as usual and lots of twists, turns and sweepers to make it a delight for anyone on a motorcycle.

That's Doug on the left and Pastor Scott on the right. To give you some perspective, there's a waterfall above their heads appearing here and there on the way down. That waterfall is probably 30 feet across.

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This is the Skagit River. The picture is significant to me, because at this point in the river, I've only seen it as a small stream meandering it's way through the rocks. That is a lot of water moving through there! There were places on the road leading from Rockport, where it looked like the water level was only a few feet below flooding the road.

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Here's the water coming out of one of the dams. If that much water can come out of one spillway, think of what it would be like with all the spillways open!

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Now here is what the spillway normally looks like when I come through this area. What a difference.

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Here's the other two bikes over by the dam.

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Here's one of the stops towards Easy Pass and ...what else...Rainy Pass.

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Our turnaround point was at NF-500 road. There's a nice rest stop area with a look out to some beautiful views.

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Till they plow the road open in the spring, that road is covered by around 60 feet of snow.

One last set of pictures. There's a waterfall the road crosses over. We stopped there to walk over the steel grate bridge to view the falls.

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Being some guys from the same church, we looked at that view and after just letting the magnitude of what we were seeing sink in for about 10 minutes, a little humor started coming through. At the top portion of the falls is a tree that is probably 60 feet tall growing out of the rocks. It's top just touches the top of the falls. We made a little story about how Jesus and Peter were walking through the North Cascades National Park one day, and how Jesus pointed out to Peter on how to build His church on a solid foundation...thinking of that tree growing out of the rock like it is. Then I think it was Doug who pointed out how wide is the path that leads to destruction. Perhaps you've heard mention of the passage...anyway, the picture below reminded us of that, because there was no way you could live with that much water flowing down. And you have to admit that both the fall the the water, and the water itself looks pretty destructive.

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And then we tossed in the idea of living water and narrow is the path...it was a real stretch to come up with that hodge-podge of ideas that from one view, but somehow we did it...even though it isn't theological at all. It did give us a good laugh.

...and I took this picture of what looks like a tiny little place in the waterfall. It looks so beautiful to me. I doubt anyone has stepped within 1000 feet of it, but there it is. If you look at the first picture of the waterfall and go down about halfway, that's where this is.

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BTW, none of that was meant as a "sermon" or anything, just relating the joking we were making as we took it all in. It is incredibly beautiful, at least to me.

The way back was pretty uneventful. Doug and I could've made it all the way back, an advantage to having a 400 with its excellent gas mileage. But Pastor Scott's Triumph got some really poor mileage. I did a rough calculation and it looked like it was getting about 32 mpg. Plus 1 for not having a "real" motorcycle.

If it works out, we'll head to Artist Point on Mt. Baker at the end of August. They just dug it out last weekend, so with a few more weeks of sun, hopefully we can see some interesting sights there.

Chris
 

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awesome
 

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Chris, it sounds like and looks like it was a great ride!
Thanks for the great photos too! :D
 
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