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51 degrees and sunny

February 18, 2011
S Samish Way, southbound

S Samish Way, southbound (Orin O’Neill photos)

Winter won’t quite let go. The overnight low temperatures have been below freezing. There’s still talk of snow. But today was sunny and amazingly warm. Time for a ride!

Samish Way used to be Highway 99, the north-south main drag in Western Washington. North of the foothill villa, the road is lined with motels and restaurants. I’ve been meaning to check out what lies to the south.

Lake Padden Park parking

Lake Padden is surrounded by a city park and is next to a golf course. Here’s a better view of the lake.

Lake Padden

Whatcom County has an interesting little quirk when it comes to street names.

Yew Street Road sign

There is no error here—the name is indeed “Yew Street ROAD.” Within Bellingham’s city limits it’s just Yew Street, but once in the county (indicated by the yellow street signs) “Road” is appended. I have no idea why this is.

Mountains in the distance

My mission today is to have a better look at roads I’ve ridden on group rides, which are usually too fast to pay attention to the scenery. I’m heading through the Chuckanut Mountains to Lake Samish.

Samish Park bridge

There are several roads with the word “Samish” in their name. I got on one that ran along the northern shore to a small county park, next to a small bridge.

Looking west from the bridge

You’re looking west from the bridge, above.

Looking east from the bridge

And above is the view to the east. Wow. I live here.

The GTS at the Shell station

I continued further south to Nulle Road, which goes east before it turns into something else. From there, I went north on Old Samish Road, which runs between the lake and I-5 before curving through the woods to this Shell station. It’s a familiar fuel stop on group rides in this neck of the woods. Premium was $3.699/gallon (which is a bit cheaper than in town), but the gas gauge showed over half full. I’ve found putting gas into the GTS nearly impossible until the fuel level drops below half-full, so our visit was limited to a photo op.

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10 Comments
  1. February 18, 2011 5:08 pm

    Nashville’s had you beat all week (after a crippling 1.5″ of snow on 2/9, it started warming up on 2/11, and has been in the 60s most of the days since… daytime highs, of course). Took a short group ride on Wednesday night with the scootnashville.com gang, and we’re doing a more ambitious 4-hour ride Sunday, when temps are supposed to reach 67°F!

  2. February 19, 2011 6:46 am

    No comment on the weather in Key West, it’s boring perfection supposedly all next week too. Yew Street Road is the county road that joined Yew Street obviously. Aside from making movie trailers, the job which i always thought would be cool, the other job I’d like is naming streets. Around here they make a constant hash of it by spelling places all wrong- and at both ends of the same street Galveston becomes Galvaston. Truly strange how dictionaries have gone out of fashion even as the need to be able to spell in public has increased.

  3. February 19, 2011 10:47 am

    conch, in other places I’ve lived, a thoroughfare often changes from “Street” to “Road.” I’m just wondering why Yew Street didn’t become Yew Road. Oh, well. In Dublin, Ireland, streets change names for no particular reason every two or three blocks. And there are no street signs!

  4. February 19, 2011 2:34 pm

    Heh. In Nashville, Roads become Pikes, etc. Plus, check Google Maps for Old Hickory Blvd. — it’s broken up all over town.

    And one street name becomes another without changing direction, and picks up with the old name a few miles later. Confusing for the tourists, I can certify.

  5. February 19, 2011 9:38 pm

    Nice outing. It was still a little nippy today, but good enough to go out for a ride.

  6. Tom- aka Dunkel man permalink
    February 21, 2011 9:45 am

    I suppose the “Road” addition is to distinguish city vs county, as the block numbers duplicate – to add to the confusion. Bellingham is famous for segmented, broken up roads of which many are due to the city originally being four cities rolled into one in the early 1900’s.

  7. Jack Riepe permalink
    February 22, 2011 7:25 am

    Dear Orin:

    Here it is the 22nd day of February and we got three to four inches of snow again last night. There is no reason to believe this won’t continue for another month. The freeze and thaw ice cycle has begun anew in my driveway and I doubt I’ll be riding anytime soon.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  8. February 22, 2011 10:02 am

    I suppose it is just as well with all the complicated signage that the weather is so nasty now that you daren’t go out at all. Pictures of the Vespa in a snowdrift would be much appreciated- perhaps later as I have to put on some sun screen and take the dog for her walk at the beach.

  9. February 22, 2011 1:50 pm

    Wonder of wonders, the ‘Winter Storm Warning’ was downgraded to a ‘Watch’ and postponed until Wednesday morning. Made a run to the library and the grocery store. Kicking myself for not filling the gas tank on the way to… prices at the Shell station on Samish Way went up 10 cents/gallon in the meantime, to $3.899 for premium…

  10. February 23, 2011 3:57 pm

    Eventually, almost no matter the circumstances, you get back out on the the ol’ bi-wheeler and have a ride. You have to. 50 degrees isn’t such a bad temperature for impatience – the ice and snow on the other hand…

    Brady
    Behind Bars – Motorcycles and Life
    http://www.behindbarsmotorcycle.com/

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