Back in the United States: September 2-4
This border crossing was smooth. The customs officer didnít know what to do when we told him we are from Romania, he considered having us pull over, wanted to make a phone call, but he gave up eventually (maybe he wanted to avoid extra paperwork).
And here we are in the United Sates again, this time in Washington state. We get on Interstate 5 heading South, as we didnít have a clear destination and wanted to ride some extra miles.
We are indeed in US and we are impressed by the highways system.
We donít fit here, our speed, 100 km/h, is inappropriate. Everybody is passing us. We are left behind even by that category who are ďon vacation and I am taking my ship with meĒ.
We keep our own pace and we approach the first big American city, Seattle.
We leave the madness on the highway for the city one. Everybody is enjoying the free day (try to find Andreea in the photo below).
We are actually looking for Pike street, to see the first Starbucks coffee.
We find it but there is a big queue so we prefer to see it from outside and enjoy some music.
We have lunch on the grass in the nearby park watching the restless the ferries carrying people and cars.
We discover that the Norwegian Pearl that we saw in Skagway
was also back from itís Alaskan adventure.
I would have liked to meet some of the passengers and asked them what they thought about Alaska.
After lunch we have our first city adventure when a driver almost hit us while trying to get out of a parking lot in a hurry. I manage to hit the brakes on time, let him get on with his his life on the run and find our way out of the city , without stopping at the Boeing factory. I would have liked to visit the factory where they made the planes I flew with so many times but that was not the time for it.
Maybe it was the lunch, the city, or the crazy driver but I wasnít feeling so good so next time we stop we decide to find a place to stay in Tacoma, so we contact two advrider users from ďtent spaceĒ.
Itís amazing, they both answer in less than 2 hours. So here we are heading towards Fox Island to meet Jake and Tammy, the first one who answered us. And we get the chance to visit Fox Island, a great place that we would have missed otherwise.
From one of the bridges we can see Mount Rainier bathing in the sunset light.
The best part in riding a motorcycle is that you can change your destination according to the places you see on the way. So we decide to get a better look at the 14,411 ft volcano.
Until then, we explore Fox island and park Gunnar for the night in front of another garage full with motorcycles. Jake and Ty are working on a new auxiliary lighting system for their KTM.
We get new maps, directions and good thoughts from Jake and his family and head up to Rainier. Actually, the Indians named the mountain Tacoma and we like the old name more.
There is a fee, of course, to get inside the national park. We show our pass to the pretty ranger and she gives us a smile in return.
We are part of the dream, we travel on a windy road, towards a high mountain, enjoying the blue sky above.
And so we arrive in Paradise, a small mountain resort. When you first see it you tend to think itís at least a Garden of Eden.
But if we check the whole pictureÖ. Things are not so pretty.
Lots of people and cars. No road, no traffic but we couldnít have gotten there otherwise. We still think that too many people in one place can easily damage nature. We leave the ďParadiseĒ and get back on less traveled roads, hanging on the mountain side.
We planned to camp in an orchard for the night, so we had to reach Oregon border. We follow our GPS and itís taking us to nice places. Thick forests, paved roads.
Thicker forests, thinner paved roads.
And thenÖ.. gravel!
We didnít plan this. Gunnarís tires are pretty worn out, we want paved roads! Modern navigation had failed us, we took a wrong turn somewhere. After checking the paper map we see where but it was too far to go back.
We decide to continue on this road. The compass assures us we are on the right direction so we keep heading south.
The paper map didnít show all the roads but the signs directed us to a place called Trout Lake. We didnít plan to spend the night there, but given the circumstances we shouldnít complain. All we wanted was a paved road. This gravel road was bad (worst that any Alaskan road). With every pebble I prey for the tires to hang on.
Anyway, this is a good opportunity to test the fork. If there will be no oil spill at the end of the day it means Kev and I did a good job.We get into a web of forest roads known only by the forest men and while at a crossroad, trying to find our way, hereís what we see: Woody in flesh andÖ. feathers!
It is late but we take our time admiring the woodpecker. We felt that the day would end up well eventually. We had water, Gunnar wasnít hungry, and the tires seemed to hang on pretty well. And the sunset can only make the pictures nicer.
We finally reach the paved road but still have to pay attention and drive slow as the road doesnít look too good.
By the time we arrive in Trout Lake is night time.We check out the camping site but donít really feel like camping especially when the tent space is 17 $. No shower, no food. We find a B&B cheaper than a motel and this is how it looked like in the morning:
We drive just a few kilometers and spot the Romanian flag, or at least thatís what we thought so we decide to go check it out. We discover that it was a Buddhist flag and the place was a bio farm owned by a Buddhist monk and a druid priest. So we look around a little bit and continue our ride.
We finally cross the Oregon border, we stop to meet Craig, another advrider, and his orchard where we were supposed to pitch the tent the night before. He offers us apples and pears for the road. Thank you!
From Craigís orchard we head to our destination for the night. We didnít have a long ride but a windy road through the forests of Oregon.
We are paying more attention to the road this time checking the GPS against the paper map. We donít get lost anymore and here we are at the Breitenbush hot springs.
We met Mark, a really great guy, at the motorcycle meeting in Nakusp and he invited us in this community. We will tell you all about it next time. Stay tuned!