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59 degrees and sunny

March 20, 2011
The GTS at the library

Returning a library book (Orin O'Neill photos)

Saturday was the day the Supermoon! was supposed to destroy everything on earth not already destroyed by the earthquake/tsunami/meltdown in Japan. Better return that library book, I thought.

The sun shone brightly, the blue sky was filled with fluffy clouds. I think we’ve finally emerged from winter. Just in time, as today is the Vernal Equinox.

The GTS, freshly oil-changed, rear-brake-padded and spark-plugged, needed some exercise. I’d been meaning to take the back roads to Ferndale, and this would be a great day.

The GTS on Rural Road

Holly Street turns into Eldridge Avenue before becoming Marine Drive. From there, you hit the rural roads; to get to Ferndale, you take, well, Rural Road. Yes, my scooter was in the sticks. A scooter in the sticks prompts curiousity from the local residents.

These guys were curious about the GTS

Roads are narrow, made from gravel and oil packed down by cars, trucks and farm equipment. There were no shoulders on which to park and photograph some of the more interesting houses along the way. Some of them are much more improvised than you’d find in town.

A clump of suburbia, in the sticks

Not all, however. Little clumps of early 21st-century suburbia like this one are scattered between the farms and light industry. You’ll find this entrance on Seahawk Lane, which I’ll bet didn’t exist until the houses were built.

Silver Reef Casino

There are a lot of tribal casinos in this neck of the woods. Some people look down their noses at the idea of, horrors, gambling, but lots of folks patronize these places, and as far as I can tell, almost none of them are tribal members. And I’m going to guess the casino patrons aren’t there for the $15.95 prime rib buffet, either.

Yellow Cab Inc.

There’s an actual taxi industry in Bellingham, and here’s where many of the yellow ones are parked at night and on weekends (there are also Red ones that aren’t red, and Blue ones that aren’t blue). Look carefully at the front of the barn-shaped building and you’ll see half of a Ford Crown Victoria above the entrance.

Ferndale Country Store

There was no scooter parking at the Ferndale Country Store. As you probably guessed.

Ferndale Sonic

It was lunchtime, so I decided to stop at one of the five SONIC® Drive-Ins in the state of Washington (last time I checked, there were only two). I’d never been to one, and I was curious. However, I didn’t try to park in a stall and order from a roller-skating carhop. There’s no place on the GTS to hang a tray, unfortunately.

Ferndale Station

The SONIC is located in a development called Ferndale Station. I’m not quite sure why they called it that—you can see train tracks from here, but as far as I could tell, trains don’t stop nearby. The whole place is done in the Old West Main Street-meets-21st Century style you see in the picture. Rather precious, though I’ve always wondered if anyone really likes the way developments like this look.

Cherry Limeaid

The Cherry Limeaid is SONIC’s signature drink. I dunno, to me it tasted like a 7up with a shot of cherry syrup. Their breakfast burrito isn’t bad.

I decided to return the way I came. I especially wanted to stop in a little park I saw on the way out. A sign at the entrance proclaims it to be owned by the Port of Bellingham. I wondered why, then as if on cue a Horizon Air Bombardier Q400 flew directly overhead. Of course… this little patch of ground is directly under the flight path to and from Bellingham International Airport (BLI). Nobody’d want to build a house here, for sure.

Bellingham view

But the view is nice.

  1. March 20, 2011 7:40 am

    Next time at Sonic, have the onion rings. They’re pretty danged good.

  2. jon permalink
    March 20, 2011 9:35 am

    Thanks for the writeup and photos, Orin. I don’t always comment, but always read your stuff.

    I rode my Sportster to work every day again this week. I work at a Harley-Davidson dealer in parts. Funny, but there are three of us in parts that ride almost every day-even when noone else does. We have two scooters in the family. My wife’s SYM HD200, and my Kymco People 150. The Kymco is at our place on the Big Island of Hawaii. We rent the place out short term to vacationers there.

    On Thursday night, after getting off work at 6:00 pm, I rode from work in Tacoma, to my gym on the south hill in Puyallup. I parked where I often do. It’s a spot a car can’t get into easily, so its always open. But it’s sloped a bit, and the high side is on the left, and side stand side of my Sportster. I came out after the workout and it was raining (big surprise). I set the gym bag on the seat and went to take out a towel to dry off the seat, when the bike started falling to the right, which is down hill. I couldn’t stop the fall, but tried to let it down easy. So I got over to the right side. I knew it was going to be a really tough lift, as the bike was laying past level on the hill. In 2004 they redesinged the Sportster extensively and went with a new frame and rubber motor mounts. The bike gained from 60-80 pounds, and is no lightweight. I’m 57 years old with a bad ankle and knee problems. I was able to lift the XL back up by myself, but it was iffy.

    Damage was light. A slighlty curled lever, a few scratches on the rear muffler, a mirror oivoted around and had scratcehs on the end. I straightened the mirror and rode home. I’ll probably replace the lever (though it’s not that bad) and call it good.

    And the XL is Harley’s lightest “beginner’s” bike!! I’ve been riding 50 years now, and I find the XL883 to be big enough for me-maybe too big weight-wise. The new rubber mounted XLs are most definetely more vibration free-but at a cost of getting a much porkier motorcycle. I had a 1984 XL1000, and didn’t mind the vibes on that old bike. I like some of the bigger Harleys, but then remember that some weigh in the vicinity of 700-800 pounds!!

    Take care, and keep the shiny side up.


  3. March 20, 2011 4:24 pm

    I, too, have never been to a Sonic. There is one about thirty miles away. If you were brave enough then I will be brave enough. Guess I’ll avoid the signature drink, though.

  4. JamesJohn permalink
    March 20, 2011 9:57 pm

    i scoot up the bays at my local Sonic (we have 4 in our town alone) and use the toolbox door for my “tray” ill post up a pic on FB of my Sonic view. nice write up of your ride, keep it up

  5. Jack Riepe permalink
    March 21, 2011 5:57 am

    Dear Orin:

    The last time I was at a Sonic (in Lancaster, Pa), I ate what they described was a Coney Island Hot Dog with chili on it. My ass instantly gained a cubic yard. So much for that. I love going for short runs in rural areas around here, and the Amish communities make nice, photographic rides in working farm country. Nice pictures today.

    My daughter, age 26, recently jettisoned her romantic interest, and has since had a number of dates with a guy who picks her up on a Vespa. He probably won’t last. but she is infatuated with the scooter. Since she lives in a major US city, she wants to dump her car and get a Vespa. I am more amazed than surprised.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  6. March 21, 2011 10:46 am

    Jack, why are you amazed? Going Vespa- (or other scooter-) only can work in a major city, as long as there’s good public transportation and the rider knows to dress for the weather. Your daughter is absolutely Vespa’s target customer…

  7. Bill Severson permalink
    March 21, 2011 6:02 pm

    I got cabin fever a day later than you and arrived at the same location on Sunday. I took Pioneer to Conway, across Fir Island out to Padilla Bay, and up Chuckanut in the wind. From Bellingham I went on Pac Highway to Ferndale and got a couple pieces of pie at Cedars to take home. I don’t think my day was as pretty as yours, but no day on a scoot is bad, and the cherry pie was fabulous. I don’t carry a camera.

  8. Rob Thomas permalink
    March 21, 2011 7:43 pm

    Rode to work yesterday in Mission (just over the border) it was gorgeous and saw a few bikes. Today it rained and the only fool out there was me. I have the Olympia full suit though. Gonna have to get to Sonic one of these days.

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