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Well above freezing and sunny

May 1, 2011

Cycle Barn/Vespa Lynnwood graphic

The National Weather Service made it official: this has been the coldest April in Western Washington since 1891. That was when they first started keeping records.

In the last two weeks, there have been three actual spring-like days. Three. Hell yeah, we took advantage of them.

Saturday last, Cycle Barn/Vespa Lynnwood held its Scooter Season Opener. Todd F and I led a group from Skagit down to Lynnwood.

Vespas in Lynnwood

It was also the Season Opener for the Harley crowd, which outnumbered the scooter crowd considerably. My ears have finally stopped ringing after standing in line next to giant speakers blasting Classic Rock™ for what seemed like half a day. Oh, the things I will endure for a free burger. Which, it turns out, I could’ve gotten down by the service entrance without having to wait in line. Oh, well.

While the powersports business is picking up, there were serious markdowns on everything in the showroom. A black 2010 Vespa GTS 300i.e. could’ve been mine for $500 off the MSRP, which after all these years is still $5,999. I keep thinking, if I had actual employment and an actual income, selling the GTS and getting one of these is something I’d seriously consider. It’d be nice to have a scooter that’s not a beater, in spite of how well the GTS runs and rides now.

The Cascades, seen from Evergreen Way

See what a nice day it was? If there’s an upside to the persistent chill, it’s seeing the Cascades still wearing a dusting of snow. One of the ski resorts is going to be open until June. One of these years I plan to give snowboarding a try.

Todd and I had bailed early, and we stopped in Conway for a cold drink.

The GTS and Todd's ET4

I-5 going north was as congested as you’d find in Seattle on a Friday afternoon. Thank the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival for that. Conway is on the edge of the tulip fields, and the roads making up the usual route back to the ‘Ham were nearly gridlocked.

We made some moves of questionable legality to get onto the I-5 frontage road leading to Mount Vernon, and did some more extra-legal maneuvering in town to get onto WA 536, which merges with WA 20 a few miles to the west. From there, it’s a short run to Farm to Market Road, and eventually, Chuckanut Drive.

Fast forward to Saturday. It was sprinkling at the end of the monthly SOB Club meeting, but Todd, Tom and I headed out for a ride, anyway. The clouds parted and the temperature warmed once we got out of town, so we spent considerable time on the county roads. These roads are becoming more familiar; I actually had a rough idea where we were when we stopped for coffee.

Espresso stand on Slater Road

This is Western Washington, remember. Drive-thru espresso stands in the middle of nowhere are quite common. The barista at this one was fully clothed, which is becoming increasingly uncommon. Except in Seattle, of course.

Tom pointed out an eagle’s nest in a tree nearby. And as if on cue, a half-dozen bald eagles swooped around the tree. I was already cursing not having the G11 with me when we passed a group of great blue herons on the Red River.

Happily, today’s weather was even better than Saturday’s. And as I said, I knew where I was, so I went back, camera at the ready.

Can you spot the eagle?

Of course, the eagles and the herons were nowhere to be found, except for the eagle hunkered down in the nest.

Oh, well. There was some nice rural scenery.

Barn off Slater Road

And Mount Baker was looking good. I think it’s subject to the same optical illusion phenomenon that makes Mount Rainier seem like it’s just a few miles south of Seattle.

Mount Baker

Heading for home on Slater Road eastbound, lines of Harleys rumbled past, headed toward the casino I’d just passed. It was definitely a good day to ride. Favicon

  1. mark morris permalink
    May 1, 2011 8:46 pm

    Such beautiful scenery…

    …and naked baristas!! Or half naked or quarter naked!!! LOL!

    You coastal inhabitants get all the luck.

    There appears to be lots of flatlands around there as well. Would that be a coastal plain thing?

  2. May 2, 2011 12:26 pm

    We had an eagle couple hanging around at a small lake near a shopping center for the last few months. But they took off about a week ago for parts unknown and egrets have taken over their spot. I used to try and see them whenever I was in that part of town.
    Looks like a fantastic ride!

  3. Jack Riepe permalink
    May 3, 2011 12:21 am

    Dear Orin:

    Great pictures for an interesting spring ride! But I thought it was always mild out by you. We had a day here last week where it hit 82º (F). I was minding my own business, when I heard the central air conditioning kick on.

    I plan to ride for the first time this weekend.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad

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