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Return from the land of flashing (Blank) traffic signals

September 6, 2012
Old Blaine border crossing

Here’s the old border crossing station at Blaine, Wash. The new one is ginormous, but I was afraid to photograph it. (Photo from the Internet)

It was getting dark, and we needed to get home. Todd said, let’s take 99 to the border.

Uh, okay.

Since we were at the Summer Night Market, BC 99 really was the quickest way to get outta Dodge. Or Canada. Our challenge was finding the way through Richmond, B.C.’s suburban sprawl to BC 99.

After getting gas, we headed what seemed to be south, figuring at some point we’d run across a directional sign pointing to our objective.

Well, that wasn’t happening. So we pulled into a parking lot to consult my map. I’ve gotta tell ya, bringing that Metro Vancouver map was a godsend. I sure as hell don’t relish paying $15.36/MEGABYTE to use Google Maps on my phone, even if I could afford to. Which I can’t.

We discovered we were on the right track: keep following the main drag we were on, make a left onto another main drag, and our objective awaits.

Once on 99, we zoomed southward, through the Massey Tunnel and past the flat terrain of Ladner. In the dark.

Maybe it was the time of day, but the traffic on BC 99 didn’t seem as mellow as I recall. At least the pavement’s in good shape. Me, well, I was really starting to feel the effects of less than four hours of sleep. Not to mention the dropping temperatures. Oh, and the eyeshield on my helmet popped off again. My eyes were getting really dry.

We rode in a fairly tight formation at about 50 mph, which is top speed for Dorcie’s PX150. By the time signs noting the upcoming U.S. Border crossing started to appear, I was thinking, this was not fun. Not on an ET4, anyway. The GTS would’ve been a much better ride, but I don’t have it anymore, remember?

This was my first time through the new and improved U.S. border crossing station. Traffic used to back up for miles (or kilometers, if you prefer) southbound because the old station had just two lanes.

This new one has so many lanes, I lost count. It’s lit bright as day, and needless to say, there are surveillance cameras everywhere. Welcome to Fortress America.

The ICE agent looked about 12 years old. His only question of me was, why is Jason pushing his scooter when the rest of us rode? I suggested it overheats when not in motion, though I had no idea.

Once past the checkpoint, you exit through a large, well-lit area that seems designed to hold large numbers of vehicles. Then you negotiate another twisty road that ends at another booth, which was unmanned.

Having been deposited in downtown Blaine, where Todd, Dorcie and Alex were waiting, Dorcie said, no way she’d ride on I-5 to Bellingham. Good, I thought. I’d had my quota of freeway riding for the night, as well.

The day after-blue moon shone brightly, lighting our way home. I was glad for that. Favicon

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