The blast started out as an idea by Zarly, who you all know by now is my co-worker and often riding bud. We were both talking about how much we wanted to go for a ride to the states. He has been all over the place on his adventures and I wanted to start mine off with a bang. So at that point the Volcanic Blast was born. Friday the 23rd rolled around and I was all packed from the night before. I didn’t sleep much that night as the adrenaline was pumping through me like an uncontrollable river rushing through a canyon. My mind raced all over the place as I dreamt about the ride that Zarly and I were about to undertake. What transpired over the next 3 days was nothing short of spectacular. A true learning experience for me as I was faced with a few things that you only learn about from experience.
Friday morning I was to meet Zarly at the local Beamer dealer as he was getting a tune-up and some new tires. Geesh, he had only owned the bike for 2 months and already he needed new tires. What a madman, all those miles and still his desire to ride just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I rolled into SM Cycle in beautiful sunny Langford at around 10:00 am. His bike was all done and away we went. We were trying to catch the 11:00 am ferry at Swartz Bay. For all you out there that don’t know us, we live on Vancouver Island, British Columbia Canada. So for us, we have to cross 20 miles of Pacific Ocean floating on the BC Ferries to get to the mainland. This isn’t such a big deal but our Provincial Government loves to overcharge for this service. There is nothing we can do about it except not take the ferry. This is not acceptable as one can imagine that living on an island you get a little tired of the small area that we have to ride here. This doesn’t mean that Vancouver Island isn’t a great ride, but it means that it doesn’t take to long to ride it all.
We arrived at the terminal with plenty of time. As is the way of riding a motorcycle you always run into people you know or will know very shortly. I have found for the most part that riders are some of the friendliest people I have ever come across. Waiting in the lineup on a gorgeous August morning I turned around and heard a sport bike come up behind us. It turned out to be Rav, who I met when taking my Motorcycle Safety course. He was heading over to the mainland for the weekend. After loading onto the ferry we headed upstairs to the coffee lounge to ponder over the ride ahead of us and get a good caffeine buzz. We did achieve the buzz but didn’t get in too much talk about the ride ahead of us as Rav tried to wow us with his talk about the Vroom Crew and all the wonderful things they do on Wednesday evenings. The Vroom Crew are a bunch of Sportbike riders that love to show off by doing wheelies, burnouts, tricks and just a whole whack of really stupid, life threatening things that a bike was never meant to do. Zarly was getting a kick out of listening to this young new rider talk about his club. After much head shaking and scolding I think we convinced Rav that this really wasn’t the best thing to do on a bike. I don’t really believe that he will change, but what the hell, it passed the time away as the captain came over the loudspeaker that we were nearing Tsawassen terminal. We headed down to the bikes and prepared to unload off of the Government owned cash cow.
As always happens to me when coming off the ferry on the mainland, I have an overwhelming sense of elation and pure freedom. One can only feel this when you have lived on an island for most of your life and you are faced with a whole continent at your disposal. When I ride on Vancouver Island I can ride from one side to the other in a couple of hours. When on the mainland it would take me a couple of weeks to get to the other side…(EastCoast). We blasted off the ferry and as we headed out on to the freeway, Rav, who was just itching to get going decided to show off and pull a wheelie. Zarly and I just shook our heads, and waved to Rav as he rocketed passed us. We were in a different space for our ride. We were heading to the good old US of A.
The day was very hot, not a single cloud in the sky and we were in full gear. My only saviour was I had a half helmet that gave my head and ears some much needed wind. We flew out Highway 10, and proceeded to the Peace Arch crossing to get to the states. Well it turns out that everyone else was having the same idea as we did. There was a 2 to 3 hour wait to get across. It was so hot that in between the lines of cars there were Ice cream salesman with their carts selling their wares. What a blast. We said screw this and decided to turn around and head to the truck crossing. There is never lineups there. Hah…we get there to find another lineup but only an hour wait. Again, we said screw this and decided we would rather ride than sit in a lineup. Turning around, we headed east on Highway 1 to get to the Sumas border crossing. After about a 45 minute drive we arrived at the Sumas crossing.
There seemed to be another lineup. I was so deflated. All I wanted to do was ride in the USA and we couldn’t get there. As we sat in the lineup, I looked up ahead and there was a sign saying “Duty Free purchasers go here”. I donned my helmet and away I went. I think I heard Zarly swear as he noticed I was going to butt into line way up ahead. Instead of pulling into the duty free I pulled up beside a convertible Mustang with an older gentleman in it. I asked him if this was the line for the duty free. He said no. I looked up and there was only about 5 cars in front of him before the crossing. I yelled to Doug if he would rather get Duty free on the way back. Smiling he nodded to me and the older gentleman asked if we would like to pull in front of him to get in the line. We obliged his kindness and with a huge grin we crossed the border.
It amazes me the difference you feel when you cross that border. Twenty feet back the other way and you are in Canada. It really shouldn’t make any difference but being on the other side of the border is very liberating. I knew then that I would be coming here more often. I loved the feeling I got when crossing that border on my trusty Ace. Two wheels and nothing but unexplored pavement ahead of me. Wow what a blast. I hadn’t even gone anywhere and already I would have been happy to just go home. I would have been content with what I had done up to that point. But I plodded on, yes it is true, I was able to pull myself together and away we went.
Sumas, Washington if you have never been there is a very small and desolate kind of place. Just about every gas station was closed down. We came across one that was open and refreshed ourselves with some gatorade. I was totally dehydrated. I figure that the bottle of gatorade cost me about $10 bucks after the exchange…hehehe. I didn’t care. I had to get some fluid in me as the sun was already kicking the shit out of me and we hadn’t even gone anywhere.
I was itching to get going. We had been held up for hours it seemed. We donned our helmets again and headed out. The first thing I noticed in Sumas was how small of a town it was. As soon as we crossed the border I realized that this was a town that relied on the Canadians coming across for gas, booze etc…I don’t think that it was working out to well for them as a good portion of the gas stations were shut down. I would think that the Canadian dollar had a lot to do with this.
While riding along we were held up again just coming out of Sumas on Highway 9 at a train crossing. There was a lineup of cars in front of us and we could see a train blocking the road. This sucked. All we wanted to do was ride and yet we were in another lineup. The funny thing about this train was that all it kept doing was going back and forth. It would go left for about 20 cars and we thought it was on its way, and then it would stop and go back the other way for 20 cars. It did this about 5 or 6 times. We couldn’t believe it. We just started laughing. What else could we do? At this point it was getting on in the afternoon. As the train finally moved out of the way we were able to get going.
The road south we were on took us parallel to the I-5. We didn’t want to use the I-5 as it is just a boring highway and we wanted to see some of the country. What we did find was a road that took us thru farming country. Acres and acres of farmland that represented a life of getting up early and going to bed early with nothing but hard work in between. I smiled as I looked to the road ahead and realized that my sedentary lifestyle was missing something. I hoped to find that something on one of many motorcycle trips that I have planned to experience. The miles swept by me as the day’s sunshine slowly lowered itself in the west. The long shadows crept across the vast farmland as we roared south trying to gain as many miles as possible to make up for all the wasted time sitting in the lineups at the US border. We headed down highway 9 stopping a couple of times for gas along the way and as the evening crept up on us, we were both feeling a little tired. It was around 7:00 pm as we came into North Bend. North Bend is a very quaint little town so typical of small towns in Washington with mountains in the backdrop and usually beside some river or lake. The sun was on its way down and created a very surreal setting to the city. We spent the next few minutes looking for a hotel to hunker down for the evening. What we found along the main strip was the North Bend Motel. It was nothing fancy but was clean. The brochure said the rooms were all air-conditioned. What this meant was you opened the window and turned on the oscillating fan. We had a good laugh over that one.
After getting our gear off the bikes and into the room I immediately headed over to the nearest store and purchased a case of Coors. It had been a long hot day and we were both drained. The beers were frosty and oh so satisfying. I was sunburned and my face showed it. I ride with a half helmet and you could see how red my face was except for where the straps came down on my cheeks and from my sunglasses. I was ecstatic. This was my first motorcycle burn…woohoo.
Zarly went over to Dominoes and ordered us a pizza. Very yummy at 9:00 in the evening when all you have had to eat was a gas station sandwich in the middle of the day. HHHMMMMM pizza and beer…I slept like a log that night after all the riding we had done. I don’t think we really rode that many miles but with the lineups, the sun and ferry ride it added up to a very long, hot day.
I knew when we woke up that we had a long day of riding ahead of us. We needed to make it from North Bend to Mount St. Helen’s and then back up to somewhere relatively close to Olympia by that evening. I woke up fairly early, well early for Zarly. I got up around 7:00 am, showered and went across to the local café. It was a little hole in wall restaurant filled with locals. I am sure I must have been quite a site for them dressed in my bike gear. I ordered a coffee and chatted with the waitress about their little town. It turns out that North Bend is quite famous. She informed me that the television show Twin Peaks was filmed there. I was impressed. After some toast and about 5 cups of coffee I headed back to the hotel to roust Zarly out of bed. This I found out was not something that was all that easy. I don’t envy his gf Kirsten, whom I am sure has to deal with this all the time. I found out that if it isn’t after 11:00 am then Zarly doesn’t consider it a very good time to be up and about.
After much chatter from me he was up and showered in no time. I think once he shook out the cobwebs he was as eager to hit the road as I was. We went for breakfast at the local Denny’s, you know, home of the Grand Slam Breaky. On the road by 9:00 am we headed out highway 18 towards Mt Rainier National Forest. We had decided to take the back roads thru this little treasure that Washington has. I would recommend anyone doing this as I encountered some of the most beautiful breathtaking scenery I have ever seen.
Switching onto HWY 410 we were taken up onto some incredible mountain twists and turns. Riding around Mount Rainier presented us with multitudes of picture stops, oohing and aahhhing and other bike riding enthuisiasts. As the day progressed I found myself in awe of all the country that I had never taken the time to see. Here I was only 1 day from home and was in a forested mountain range that was taking my breath away. What a terrible waste I felt, thinking about how little effort in the past it would have taken for me to experience more out of traveling. I think back to all the partying and time spent wondering when I would find the next party or mind altering substance…hehehe
Oh well, I was here now, winding my way thru the mountains and loving every minute of it. As we wound or way thru the mountains and forests of Mt Rainier National Forest I was reminded of the natural beauty of nature and all that it encompasses. What was once a wild, and untamed wilderness had become a tourist’s treasure. The winding hwy cut through the mountainside for all to experience and become a part of. I felt a little guilty as we roared thru the pristine forest. Everywhere I looked, all I could see was trees, rivers and one really incredibly white glacier.
Reaching the Cayuse Pass summit we were at a height of 4694 ft. The Ace was sucking a little wind but was still running admirably. I did find that the Ace has a little trouble on the big long hills and lacked a bit on the power side when it came to wanting to pass that Truck and camper that always seemed to be in my way when we came to a hill.
Zarly was having no trouble at all as his Beamer was tackling the hills like he was riding thru the flatlands of Alberta. Looking in my rearview mirror I noticed a group of riders creeping up behind us. Just about every turn we made we were faced with tourists in their RV’s and a lot of other motorcycle-riding enthusiasts. Just before getting to the summit we noticed that there seemed to be a lot more bikes coming and going. It amazed me that I could actually be riding on such an incredible road that so many others were taking the time to experience.
Around the next corner we came across a mountain café and rest stop that I don’t remember the name of, but what was so cool was that there were about 50 motorcycles parked outside. All makes and models with their owners all milling about looking at each other’s rides. It must have been a club of some sort that was on a weekend or daily ride and riders being as they are, all waved, as we roared past. This camaraderie is one of the things that I love about riding a motorcycle as you meet the nicest, friendliest and most sincere people you can imagine when out on the road. You all have a common goal and that is to experience as much new scenery as possible in whatever time frame you have allowed yourself. It was an awesome sight to see all these bikes all gathered in one place. I was tempted to stop and have a chat and peruse all the metal gods on two wheels but looking at my watch I realized that we still had a long way to go before reaching the volcano.
Coming across some odd turnoffs up in the mountains we were faced with hwy 410 going one way and hwy 123 going the other. We decided to stay on 410. and ended up heading in an easterly direction and on up to a higher peak. We realized that we might have taken the wrong turn and stopped at a small little lake oasis tucked up in the mountain where there were multitudes of people walking a little chip trail that encircled it.
After a couple of pictures and a drink of water we were on our way again. What a great ride this was turning out to be. Here I was lost on the top of a mountain in the middle of Washington and I didn’t care. It was sunny, not a cloud in the sky and I was riding…it just doesn’t get any better.
After finding our way back to the right turnoff we headed out west on Hwy 123, which turns into hwy 12 and on to Toledo, Washington and then East on Hwy 505 to Mt St. Helen’s. With a couple of stops along the way to gas up, get a quick bite to eat at the local gas station, we slowly made our way towards the turnoff. Passing thru many small towns on hwy 12 such as Packwood, Randle, Morton and then Mossy Rock Dam along the way I noticed they were not unlike some of the smaller cities and towns here on Vancouver Island. I guess the small town feeling and look doesn’t change much, even tho we are in different countries. There will always be the same family owned corner store and gas station that is found in every small community.
One of the things I did notice were the speed limits and how much they vary from the area that I live in. We have a rural farming community out our way and the speed limits are very low. Most streets in this area are set to 50 Kph, which is 30 mph in the USA. What I found in the same type of communities we were riding thru was the speed limit at the 40 to 50 MPH range. This was nice for ridingas you actually felt like you were getting somewhere. Naturally, you had to watch out for the local smokies and their speed traps. We found a few of them along the way but thankfully never had to stop and bow down to the Hwy patrolmen.
The day was getting on, and since we had been riding since 9:00 that morning I was getting tired. This being my first big ride, I was experiencing some things that I have never felt before. I was starting to get a little stiff from the ride, with my back and legs getting a little sore. On the Ace I didn’t have highway pegs or a backrest so it was tough to stretch out and get into a different riding position. It was hot, and I was feeling the heat a little more than Zarly was. As you can tell from the pictures I am not a small man and do feel the heat a little more than most others. The worst thing about all this was that I didn’t know ahead of time that a sheepskin cover for the bike is an essential part of any long distance rider’s must haves. The sheepskin supplies your backside with a much-needed cushion of air and comfort. Unfortunately I didn’t have one and was learning the hard way. My jeans were starting to get a little damp from me sweating and from me having to sit in the same position for the whole trip. I am sorry about the picture you will have in your head after I describe this but I have hairy legs. So every time I shifted in my seat the damp jeans would tug at the hair on my legs. This was incredibly uncomfortable. If you are to take any advice I give you then let it be that you carry a sheepskin and a small bottle of baby powder in your tank bag. Trust me, you will be glad you did. Once I was settled into the seat I was fine as long as I didn’t have to move. Every time we stopped and then got on the bike again I had to endure the hair tug…dam that sucked.
When we turned onto Hwy 505 to finally get on the road to Mt St. Helen’s I was getting a little antsy because we weren’t there yet. I learned a great deal about myself on that trip and that is I am not a patient man but had to be because there was someone else with me. I had to take into consideration that there was someone else with me and I couldn’t just do as I pleased. I just wanted to get where we were going and get on with it, instead of just enjoying the trip and relaxing.
The first glimpse of the Volcano was from pretty far away, but you could see the desolation of the explosion, which happened an incredible 20 years ago. The valley was still covered in ash and was only just beginning to restore itself with some grass and low plant life. We came upon the first lookout point to see the valley and the mountain from quite a distance. Getting off the bikes we strolled up to the lookout and noticed they were offering an in house video presentation of the eruption and all the devestation. We crowded into a small room all done up like we were in the forest with fake ash and downed trees all around us. The lights went out, the movie started and the room rumbled. The video came on and started showing some of the preceding events to the eruption. Then all of a sudden the sound got louder and the video showed the mountain starting to explode. This was incredible. I don’t remember all the stats and numbers they quoted but the devestation was unbelievable. I was in awe of the magnitude and power of the eruption. You don’t really get an understanding of this by seeing pictures on TV or in the newspaper. We left the 5-minute video and made our way to the lookout point. There were long-range telescopes to look thru and one recommendation was to look at the valley floor to see the herds of elk that congregate there. This was cool. Large herds meandering their way across the valley of ash looking for grass and whatever else that an Elk finds palatable. I had never seen an Elk before and I found this pretty amazing. They were grazing so nonchalantly, without a care in the world. Looking at our watches we realized we had to get going.
Hopping on the bikes we continued on our ride to the volcano. What a great road this was. We were in the mountains and naturally, where there are mountains you will find lots of twisties and hairpin turns. I was having a hard time keeping up to Zarly. I had found the downside to owning an Ace and that was its obvious lack of passing power on the hills. I was getting frustrated at not being able to keep up to him. It was at that point I decided I was going to have to get a bigger bike.
We approached the 2nd lookout wanting to get to where we were going. I kept looking up to the sky, as we got closer to the Volcano. It was getting a little cloudy as we rode towards the mountain. Pulling into the parking lot, Zarly wanted to get something to drink. I decided to stay at the bikes while he went inside. I got off the Ace, stretched a little, and just tried to work out the aches I was starting to feel. All of a sudden I heard a loud boom in the background. Looking Eastward I noticed gathering in between the mountains in the distance some really nasty, black clouds. They were getting darker and darker each minute that passed. I was mesmerized at what was unfolding in front of me. All of a sudden there was a loud crack and a bolt of lightning lit up the mountainside and the valley below it. All the people around me were shocked as was I. I stood there waiting for the next rumble and lightshow. We were all presented with more rumbling and then another streak of lightning. It wasn’t as amazing as the first one but I was taken aback at the force of Mother Nature.
Zarly got back from getting his drink and I told him about the light show. He looked at me like I was on drugs. He couldn’t see anything over there. Looking up I noticed the clouds dissipating as quickly as they had formed. I had some concerns about the clouds and the rain putting a damper on our trip. I didn’t have any proper rain pants. Zarly assured me that it wouldn’t rain, so I took his word for it. Getting back on the bikes we realized that we were not too far from our destination. I was starting to go thru all the emotions of a long trip. We had been riding for almost 6 ½ hours with out a lunch or any long breaks at all. My heart skipped a couple of beats as we started the final climb on our trusty metal gods. Blasting into the parking lot with big smiles on our faces we dismounted our rides and headed up to the lookout. There were tourists all over the place. Everyone had the same awe inspired look as we did.
Approaching the platform for the lookout I was almost brought to tears at the view and incredible sight that was layed out before me.
I applaud the government of Washington for building such a magnificent lookout platform. We were basically not far from the base of the mountain and looking out towards the Volcano I was time warped back to the day of the eruption. What an incredible feeling as I closed my eyes and tried to visualize what must have happened on the exact spot I was standing on. Total annihilation. Nothing survived the blast with trees that had stood their ground for hundreds of years laid down like small little twigs. Walking up to the edge of the platform and seeing the mountain for the first time made me feel very small. My life at that point seemed so meaningless as I was confronted with the wrath of Mother Nature. You can see from the pics that the devestation was only just starting to disappear.
There was a worker with a little speaker and microphone telling everyone all about what happened the days leading up to and after the eruption. The information she gave was great. It really put everything into perspective. She explained about all the mini rumblings leading up to the eruption. These were happening for a couple of weeks before the mountain actually blew. This enabled the scientists to setup all their equipment and cameras etc. It really was very well done. We spent about an hour at the mountain taking pictures, listening to the presentation and taking in all the scenery.
Realizing that we still had a few hours ahead of us we reluctantly got back on our bikes and went back the way we had came. Depression was setting in for me as I realized that the trip we were on was more than half over. All the buildup to getting there, seeing the mountain and experiencing it in its full glory was done. I felt deflated and very tired. As tired as I felt I still loved the wind in my face and the exhilaration of riding. We had just ridden for 7 hours, thru a couple of the most beautiful mountain passes I have seen and I was beaming all over again.
I was starting to get a pretty good feel for the Ace and its handling capabilities. The Ace is very nimble thru the corners considering it is a cruiser. You can lean quite away over on it before scraping the pegs. I loved this little cruiser but realized on the trip that I was going to have to sell it. I was just too big for it. Damn, I wish I had listened to Zarly from the beginning. He told me to buy a bigger bike but the fool I am I rushed in and went for the Ace. Oh well, it was a good lesson for me, and one that I will definitly learn from.
Leaving Mt St. Helen’s we still had a couple hours ride ahead of us, before getting to Olympia. All I wanted was a nice hot shower, air conditioning and a good supper. Heading back on Hwy 505 it took us a bit to get to the I-5. As much as I didn’t feel like riding the Interstate I knew that it should have been the quickest way to get to Olympia. What we didn’t know was that there was a major accident on the I-5 earlier on in the day and it was holding up traffic big time. Bumper-to-Bumper traffic was what we were faced with.
The exit from Hwy 505 to the I-5 was only about 50 miles from Olympia. This should have taken less than an hour to get there. About 20 miles from Olympia we came up to the traffic. This was brutal. We were doing about 5 miles an hour, stopping and then going again. My butt was killing me, the hair on the back of my legs was driving me crazy and I was hungry. I couldn’t believe our luck. I suppose I was being tested to see if I could endure this mini Iron Butt ride of ours. Zarly a couple of times suggested taking the next exit and going to the nearest Super 8 hotel but I said no, lets go on to Olympia. After an hour or so, the traffic lightened up and we were on our way again. We arrived in Olympia around 7:00. Booking into the hotel room, unpacking and popping a beer was all that I wanted to do. Zarly hopped in the shower as I called the front desk to find a good restaurant. I wanted a steakhouse, something like Black Angus. After much debate and many phone calls I found us a Red Lobster. We wanted to partake in a few beers and not have to ride anywhere so we called a cab.
The cab arrived and away we went. What was originally a $5 cab ride turned out to be $11. This isnt a big deal but we are talking American money. So this was really $19 Canadian. We get to the restaurant with much anticipation of a juicy steak and cold beer. A very nice lady seated us and we waited for our waitress. Now, rumor has it that one of us was flirting with the waitress but I am not at liberty to say which one of us was the culprit. After a couple of really cold Coronas we ate our meal. We both had nice thick Sirloins with seafood. What a great meal. After spending a couple of hours there we asked for the cheque. I think that with them putting chairs up on the other tables they were trying to tell us something. We got the bill for the meal and it was about $60. Again this was US dollars. I am not really bitching about the dollar conversion, but man it sure is a kick in the ass. We phoned for a cab and were waiting outside when out walks this really short guy and his girlfriend. No big deal, and you are wondering why I would mention him. While waiting for the cab we saw a Harley sitting in the parking lot with really high Ape Hangers. No big deal normally, and I am sure you see where this is going. Sure enough the short guy, who was probably just over 5 feet tall, jumped on the bike. The bars were taller than he was when he stood beside the bike. Doug and I had quite a laugh. He roared out of the parking lot, girlfriend behind him, and the guy barely able to reach the bars. What a joke. I can’t imagine how uncomfortable that would be after riding for a while. Oh well, whatever floats your boat.
The cab came and after paying him at the hotel we realized that our meal just cost us almost $90 US. You know the drill. It converted into about $140 Canadian. Oh my god. I just paid $70 for a steak, a couple of beers and a cab ride, and to top it off I was going back to the hotel with Zarly…
After a good chuckle, we watched some TV and crashed. We were both pretty exhausted after our day. 10 hours of riding took a lot out of me. The Ace’s seat is not the most comfy for long rides.
Waking up in the morning we packed up, and then stopped at the local Mickey D’s for breakfast. We needed to be in Port Angeles for the 1:00 pm sailing of the Blackball ferry to Victoria. We left Olympia around 9:30. We figured this would be enough time to run up the I-5 to Tacoma and then head west on hwy 16. This turned out to be a nice ride. Not a lot of traffic, as the weather was overcast. We went past the Bremerton Naval base. This was pretty kind of awesome as we pulled up beside a couple of big aircraft carriers and took some pics. The bikes looked pretty small sitting beside them. Off we went again, this time the hwy turned into Hwy 104. This took us on the homestretch to Port Angeles. You could sure tell that we were on the westcoast, as the weather got a little chilly. I had to stop and throw on a sweater and put on some rain pants. As soon as I did this we traveled for about 5 miles and the sun broke out again. Go figure…
Riding past Sequim, were only a few miles outside of Port Angeles. The sun was shining again, as we pulled into a gas station to fill up. We wanted to take advantage of the cheap gas. Not that my Ace held a lot of gas but what the hell. You need to save when you can. We pulled into the ferry terminal, bought our tickets and went for a quick lunch on the pier. I had some of the best clam chowder ever at that restaurant. Now maybe it was because I was so hungry but man it was yummy. Nice and creamy, and full of big chunks of clams. We had to hurry thru lunch as the ferry was boarding in about 20 minutes.
We boarded the ferry and we had to tie the bikes down and to the wall. This was bizarre. On the BC Ferries they are so big that you don’t have to worry about the bikes falling over, but I guess the scow that the Blackball is, rocks and rolls around crossing the Strait to Victoria. Oh well I tied down my bike as did all the other owners. There were a couple of very nice Harleys on board, a few sport bikes and one very nice, new Goldwing pulling a trailer. It was totally decked out with GPS and every other little doodad you could think of. The owner and his wife were from Quebec and were halfway finished their trip. They were going to head home thru Canada. Victoria was their 3rd corner stop as they were touring North America on the four corners. What an awesome way to travel and see the country.
Zarly and I were pretty happy to get on the boat and be sailing home. I was exhausted and as always, I was pretty appreciative of getting back on our little rock on the coast. After taking some pics at the back of the boat, some BSing about the differences between cruisers and touring bikes, which we always do, we were there. It took quite awhile for us to get thru customs but once we did I breathed a sigh of relief. After a quick handshake and goodbye to Zarly I was on my way home.
The memories and pictures of our Volcanic Blast are ones that will forever be embedded in my brain. As I wound my way home I was able to reflect on all that had happened and what we had seen. Pretty amazing when you think about all that the world has to offer. We are so close to so many world wonders and yet we never seem to take the time to make time to experience them.
We had traveled about 650 miles in 2 ½ days. This was the longest run I had ever taken on the bike and knew at that moment I would need a bigger and more comfy bike if I were to continue doing these kinds of trips.
In summary, the Volcanic Blast is one that I would recommend to anyone. Mt St. Helen’s is an incredible sight that can only truly be appreciated by actually seeing it. The devastation is still very evident but Mother Nature is slowly rebuilding itself.