Going all autumnal
I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen a Mazda RX-8. This one was an almost fluorescent yellow. And it was well and truly stuffed into the ditch.
The group had passed it on the way up to Barlow Pass, and sometime between then and the group returning a tilt-bed wrecker had arrived to remove it. The road was moist; the trees were tall enough to block sunlight, so one could safely assume the pavement was icy earlier in the day. Too bad the RX-8’s driver had to learn the hard way that there’s no “pause” button in real life.
Ralph had laid out a very ambitious route. We left Café Racer on a very indirect route to Snohomish and then Granite Falls. After a meal break, it was on to Barlow Pass on the Mountain Loop Road (we didn’t go further because the pavement ends at Barlow Pass). From there, it was back to Granite Falls for fuel and restroom use before heading to Arlington, then Stanwood, then Marysville, then home. Ralph said the route would cover 200 miles, but I foolishly forgot to reset the GTS’ trip odometer. I’ll take his word for it.
We started with 16 scooters and 18 riders, but only nine ventured beyond Granite Falls. The folks who left early missed the best of the fall colors. The golds, oranges and reds were amplified (or if you’re familiar with Photoshop, saturated) by the low angle of the sun. It was getting late in the day as we headed down Jordan Road to Arlington, and rode along gentle curves through the Stillaguamish Valley. This road is becoming very familiar; you take a different part of it on the way to Bellingham.
The pace was a workout. I didn’t know a Yamaha Vino 125 (that’s what Ralph rides) could go 60 mph, but that’s what the GTS’ speedometer said I was doing to keep up. I’d have been in trouble if I’d ridden the PX.
Ralph decided to cut the route short as we got onto Marine Drive in Everett. The sun had just dipped below the horizon, turning what was once Everett’s industrial area into a scene any sunset photographer would drool over. But riding in the suburban backroads of Snohomish County can be dodgy after dark, so we headed for Rucker Avenue, which becomes SR 99 a few miles south.
I bid the group seeyalater in Shoreline, needing a rest and something to eat. We went too fast and covered too much ground for pictures of the trees on the route, so the one of the GTS on Harbor Avenue in West Seattle will have to do.