Simply put, we are rolling again… I cannot say “finally” as the amount of work needed was a big and long task! It would take up at least one page of explanations, if not more… I would be conservative by saying that Andy has put in 100 hours of work into this project. What a gift… as today I am stunned at the results after a ride up and down Mt Rainier. No offense to any of my friends who in the past have also offered their help getting us back on the road, successfully I might add, but this time “everything” was addressed, reinforced, rebuilt, realigned… and repainted! And that is not just the sidecar and its mounts, but the bike itself going through its full maintenance from A to Z…
How does it ride?… This is a new rig! The suspension, the ease of handling, the “trust”, it is all there and gets better and better as the miles go by. It will be a while before I utilize its full potential… at the same time, when we returned today, I was telling Andy… “I don’t even want to ride it for fear of wearing it down!…”, the excitement has not hit me yet, it will take time for it to settle.
Up at 5 am, not wasting any daylight, with a beautiful day ahead of us, the warmest one yet since we have been here without a single cloud in the sky, we met a couple local riders at the Safeway store, Dan and Steven. The obligatory Breakfast and chat of course followed at a Restaurant called Charlie and we were all simply ready to get on the road.
Spirit was excited, I was excited, this was like old times again, camera fully charged up, a full tank and stomach… what a great day it has been.
Our destination was Mt Rainier, this beautiful volcanic mountain that I have been seeing everyday, when clear skies prevailed that is, by taking Hwy 410 along the Green River to its first entrance which took us to the “Sunrise Visitor Center”, at 6400 feet above sea level, being the highest point in the park one can drive a motorized vehicle to.
The view of Mt Rainier was breathtaking and I was surprised at the amount of snow still left, enticing many skiers for a hike and a short run on this Holiday week!
This above second map shows the route into the Park itself.
As usual when riding with others on two wheels, Dan and Steven I am sure did spend their share of patience waiting for me at the main intersections and turns! Trust me that you do not want to ride with me as much as I would enjoy the company! The stops are often, it entails taking the helmet and gloves off… sometimes, well often, replying to strangers asking to take a picture of Mr. Spirit! That takes time you know… I had forgot a bit about all that today as it has been almost three weeks off the rig… and again… it was all about him! I am again employed as his “chauffeur”, job security at least!
And we did well, the crowd was scarce early on, as the day went on the roads did get crowded with traffic and many motorcycles, everyone taking advantage of this beautiful day.
It was amazing to learn that Mt Rainier being part of the Cascade Range which has been volcanically active for the past millions of years, itself is only 500,000 years old. Like Mt St Helen, it has the potential to erupt again.
The volcanologists do expect the mountain to give ample warning before entering an eruptive period, but… this is what I was reading… “Be alert in river valleys, if you hear a loud rumbling or notice a rapid ride in water levels, move to higher grounds fast”… sure!!! We will run… fast.
Paradise is another entrance and section of Mt Rainier. Unfortunately the road has been closed dues to some slides and will remain that way till next year I was told. Dan and Steven were ready for a much bigger loop getting around that closure… I was not. I had missed some picture opportunities on the way, backtracking the same road for me was not a bad option at all… any route with this rig will never be a bad scenario!
We stopped at this lake for a while, watched the increasing traffic of motorcycles through the park, talked to more picture takers, it was time to head back, not before some grocery shopping for the coming days.
Will be moving out of here most likely Sunday as I decided we will go to a park near by and regroup a bit. Summer has still 3 good months ahead, north?… south (too hot…), not much more room left to go west… maybe east to Wyoming and Montana?
How incredibly busy these past 3 weeks have been… It is time to get back to the path of a previous life I remember having on the way here! The search for vast last lands such as BLM and National Forests in Wyoming or Montana I think is on.
If in your area… would love to cook for you…
Be well… Ara & Spirit
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