09-27-2013, 08:46 PM
Joined: Nov 2005
Location: Spokane Valley, WA (the dry side of the mountains)
Saturday July 13, 2013
As you follow this ongoing report you will rapidly learn that while I love motorcycles and riding I'm mechanically inept. Always have been and it looks like I always will be. Growing up the "tool box" in our home consisted of a pair of pliers, a tack hammer and a philips head screwdriver. If a flat head screwdriver was needed it was right there in the kitchen drawer most commonly used as a butter knife. Learning to use tools didnít happen, much less learning anything mechanical other than how to change the tire on my first car. Crap, it takes me 30 minutes to figure out which socket fits what when I do try to do something on my bike. Meanwhile I watch other people look at a bolt and reach over and grab the right socket every time.
With that bit of an explanation youíll have a little bit of an understanding as I tell you about my decision to go home on the 3rd day of this ride rather than staying out for another day when I still had time off work. My clutch lever had started sticking. When I would let it out the lever wouldnít go back all the way out and I would have to push it the rest of the way out. I looked at the cable, where it attaches to the lever, and it didnít look frayed so I suspected the cable was gummed up a bit. I had no idea why it would be but that was all I could think of. I decided I should head for home rather than staying out longer.
There is a cache at the Seaquest State Park that needs to be found for the challenge Iím doing but I couldnít figure out how to get to it and I wasnít into looking so I decided to get headed toward home instead of looking any further. I was in a funky mood.
I headed North on I-5 but luckily I didnít have to stay on the interstate very long and I exited onto Hwy 12. My plan was to ride this highway on my way home because no matter how many times I have ridden it I always enjoy the ride. There is a restaurant on highway 12 right after leaving the interstate and I decided breakfast and a hot cup of coffee sounded like just what I needed.
These stickers were pretty interesting. Inside I kept looking around trying to determine who was driving that vehicle. I didnít figure it out.
After breakfast I wasnít feeling as funky and was looking forward to the dayís ride. As I rode east I started thinking that it would be fun to ride up to Windy Ridge (A Mt. St. Helenís viewpoint). I was thinking about my clutch cable, the need to go home, and the desire to ride to up and look at the exploding mountain. The closer I got to the turn off the more I wanted to go. When I arrived in Randle, WA my motorcycle turned and headed for the mountain.
Mt. St. Helens is a Pacific Northwest volcano that decided to blow up in 1980. Anyone that was around that day remembers it. I was around and I remember that day very well even though I was about 200 miles away, as the crow flies. At the time I worked a graveyard shift and slept during the day so when the mountain blew I was asleep. When I got up for the day it was sort of gray outside but I didnít think anything of it, figuring the sky was just overcast. I went to the store and while I was in the store ash started to fall. I had no idea the mountain had blown until people in the store said Mt. St Helens blew. The ash fall got heavier and heavier and the sky kept getting darker until it looked like midnight at 4:00 pm.
For a few weeks it felt like we would never see the sunshine again. Vehicles were parked because sucking in the ash clogged the air filters and killed engines. Emergency vehicles, for the most part, were also parked. The police cars would go to the garage between each shift to have the oil, oil filter and air filters changed just to keep them running. Walking outside was a walk through about 12" of fine volcanic ash. The ash piled on roofs and clogged gutters. People were trying to clean the ash and dispose of it. The hospitals were full with people having breathing problems. Meanwhile others were wearing masks when they would go outside. Some people collected jars of ash to keep. I didnít. I just wanted that nasty, dirty, stuff to go away. Some said I would one day regret not having a jar of "keepsake" I said I doubt it. All these years later I still donít regret not having a jar of ash.
A couple of years after the eruption the road to Windy Ridge opened. When it opened like many others I headed out to see what happened, first hand. WOW Ė I still remember that first ride up toward Windy Ridge. At the time only a short ways was paved the rest of the road was fairly rough dirt/gravel. Most people didnít go beyond the end of the pavement. At the time I rode a street bike but I rode that nasty (it would be easy on a dual sport bike) rode so I could get as close as possible. The most memorable thing for me was riding through a lush forest then I rounded a curve and BAM! No more lush forest, instead there was the remains of stripped trees, trees blow down, and blackened ground cover. It was like going into a different world.
At least every few years and many times every year I ride up to Windy Ridge just to see how things are changing and watch mother nature heal her world.
As I was riding along and still quite a distance from Windy Ridge I saw a "Slide Area" sign and thought, "I donít remember that". Then I saw this.
Hmmmm that looks different
This is new
I stopped at a viewpoint with a ranger station at it so I could get my day pass.
And look at the information signs. Every year more and more is added for tourist enjoyment.
From there it was to the Minerís Car. The first time I saw it, there was a lot more to it however it had been stripped of all itís paint. Sadly three people had signed a waiver to go into the "blue zone" knowing there was the threat that the mountain would erupt. They had gone to a cabin in that car and all three died there. The cabin was disintegrated, the car was lifted and dropped 60 feet away, where it rests now.
As I said more and more things are being added for the enjoyment of the tourists. A walking path and boardwalk over wetlands has been added to the Miner Car viewpoint so I decided to go for a walk. Come take a walk with me and enjoy the scenery.
I have places to go
And there she is, the mountain. You can still see the crater on the North side of the mountain. Still at times steam will rise from the crater but it wasnít doing it this time.
The road is fun to ride
Stopped at another viewpoint
There is a great view of Spirit Lake here.
The white on the lake is logs that were blown into the lake when the mountain erupted. The elevation of the lake rose when it was filled with mud sliding off Mt. St. Helens.
From there it was on to the end of the road and the Windy Ridge Viewpoint.
And more views, other mountains were showing that day as well. I think this one is Adams (?)
This lady was getting a shot of her dog with Mt. St. Helens in the background.
I donít know who this guy is but I sure like the picture of the bike in front of the mountain.
I went and listened to the Ranger give her talk about the eruption of Mt St Helens and the things that have happened in the area since. She did a good job and she made the information very intersting.
During the presentation there was about a dozen cruisers that decided to leave the parking lot. The majority of them started their bikes and quietly left from the far side of the parking lot. Meanwhile there were three rides that chose to ride over next to the presentation area and reved up their bikes as they rode by. Hmmmmmm I wonder why some people donít like cruiser riders? Those three made the entire group look rude and obnoxious.