August 22, 2015 – Another spectacular day on the coast….seems like we’ve been saying that non stop since….I can’t remember when. We haven’t been out on the bikes much this summer, too many other things have been going on lately. So we promised ourselves we’d go for a good long ride today, and make it down somewhere across the border.
The choices were Edison and lunch at the Longhorn, or the Blue Mountain Grill on the way back up, or Mount Baker and lunch at Chair Nine Pizza & Bar.
Mount Baker won out and so we headed out and crossed over at the Sumas crossing. As we got closer we could see that the higher elevations of the mountain were shrouded in smoke. The fires down south, in particular the fire in the Chelan area, are as bad or worse than our fires here in BC. Three fire fighters lost their lives last week in the Chelan blaze, outside of Twisp near Winthrop, an area we love to ride but which is currently closed due to the flames.
The ride to the border is always hectic no matter what route you take. The vast majority of drivers in BC have no regard for riders and it’s always stressful riding around people who lack awareness. But when we cross the border, it’s literally like another world and I don’t feel as if the drivers are out to kill me.
We stopped in Glacier at Chair 9, a place we always rode past, thinking it looked a bit sketchy. Turns out that, just as you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, you also shouldn’t judge a restaurant/bar by it’s outward appearance. Some time ago we stopped to eat where we had before but the place was closed. We were hungry and decided that we’d have to try the Chair 9….and we were so glad we did. The food was good and what we couldn’t see from the road was a lovely patio out back that was shaded from the heat and backed onto the forest.
Just don’t be in a hurry.
The food was particularly good…and inexpensive…today. After we ate and asked for our bill the waitress said she’d go get the machine for our credit card. I saw her pop her head around the corner and look at us with a slightly confused look on her face, I assumed she couldn’t find the credit card machine. I assumed wrong.
She eventually came back to our table, empty handed, and said “It appears that your bill has already been taken care of for you.” We were now confused as we’d only briefly exchanged words with a woman at a table behind us when we assured her we would watch her belongings while she went to the washroom. The waitress explained that due to some error in their system our food had been added to someone else’s bill, and that it had already been paid. Our guess was the large table of riders that was near us. So we asked for her to ring something up so we could give her a tip at least as we’d neglected to bring any cash along with us.
Looks like the face on the tree liked me taking his photo and covered our lunch for the exposure 😉
As soon as we rode into the forest we could smell the smoke, and the light changed dramatically. The smoke hanging over the park and enveloping the mountain filtered the suns rays and gave everything a strange golden glow. It’s a bit eerie to ride into a dry forest that smells strongly of fire and shrouds everything in a smoky haze.
The ride up was good, and it was a good experience to ride those tight switchbacks again. I used to come here a lot on the SV650 and it was where I gained my confidence in taking tight ….really, really tight, corners…nice and slowly. I scared the crap out of myself a few times when I came a bit too early in the year and there was still a lot of sand in the corners. I’ve encountered a couple of bikes, and a few cars, in the ditches along these hairpins. No excitement today though.
We stopped at the usual lookout where I’ve taken many shots down into the the valley below, but there wasn’t much to look at today.
We rested at the top for a bit, and then made the fun ride back down and through Glacier again. We got lucky, not much traffic on the way down, and other than one car that we had to pass, everyone else moved aside for us as we came up behind. So it was a fun and quick ride down, a stop for gas, and then a run back up to the border and home.
Only one driver really made a significant attempt on my life…and it was back here in North Vancouver. Typical idiot. Enters the freeway on an onramp and had at least a half a kilometre of lane before he has to merge over, and no one behind us. But no….it was patently clear that he was going to attempt to split us and come across two lanes to do it. Didn’t let him, and it was a rather comfy close argument, but seriously?!
Why do BC drivers suck so badly?