8 Ball In The Wind

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Ride To Paradise

Last August a few friends came over to party over the Loggers Jubilee weekend here in Morton.  This is an annual shindig, and we always go for a ride somewhere each day, so it gets us out of the frenzied craziness that is Jubilee.  Besides, we like to make our own craziness.

So come saturday, when it was time for us to go for a ride, we were ready for it.  But, the road we were going to take was closed because some granny in a car took out two state patrol sickledicks, and they were going to be doing an investigation for a few hours.  Needless to say we headed out anyway...and ran right into the parade through downtown.  Well it was a HOT August day, and we were right in front of the Bucksnort Pub, soooo.

While we were inside having a cool beverage, a few more bikes rode up.  Sitting inside the Bucksnort trying to figure out where we were going to ride, someone else in the place mentioned it was free admission weekend to all the National Parks.  So with that said, it was decided that we head up to Paradise on Mt Rainier.  Stopping here and there if anyone saw something they wanted to check out.  Other than destination, no other plans were made, and no time limits set.  Our usual sort of trip, starting out without even knowing where we're going, let alone when we'll be back.

We rode north once the parade was over, and turned right after crossing the Nisqually River into Elbe and headed for Mt Rainier.  There is a cool little spot I decided to stop and show everyone, and see how things went from there.  The band was already playing, but they seemed a bit stiff and rusty, so we hit the rode again and headed up to the mountain.

We rode into and up onto Mt Rainier.  The roads packed with everybody taking advantage of the FREE weekend.  But it was still a beautiful day, and as we rode up a few thousand feet the temperature cooled down into the upper 70s.  Perfect for riding on the twisting roads, even if we did have to do the speed limit because of the traffic.

We finally reached a viewpoint with a killer view of the mountain, and stopped to enjoy the view and a drink or two, and to just shoot the shit.  Everytime we would hear a bike come up or down the road, we'd check it out as we kicked back.  Including a blue FXR that looked familiar, but no one could figure out who it was.  At least not until a few days later anyway, after I posted some of the pics on the Back Talk forum, George The Painter posted saying he'd been riding that road the same day...

When we made the turn to Paradise, we hit stop and stop some more traffic on the steep hill about half a mile after the turn off.  Being as it was a narrow two lane, with a curve at the top, we split up and headed up the hill on either what little shoulder there was, or in the downhill lane, and just hoped no one would come aorund that corner.  But we all made it, and hung out for a bit before heading back down the hill to get away from the maddening crowd.

We stopped once we got back into Packwood, and the heat had begun to make itself known again.  Scott had noticed T  had a low front tire, so he stopped and put air in it, and the rest of us rode the 1/2 mile or so to the Blue Spruce for some cold refreshment before taking Hwy 12 back to Morton.  The fun part of the ride was over, now just 45 miles of boring, mostly straight two lane.  So we had a couple at the Blue Spruce and talked about the days ride so far.  Once we left the Packwood, everyone sort of drifted off to do therie own thing, with only the ones spending the night camped in the backyard riding back to the house with me. 

If you ever find yourself here in Washington State during the summer time, make the ride up to Paradise, and then down through Stevens Canyon.  it is one of the coolest rides in the state...unless there was a bad winter that had slides tear the road out...but usually it is a great ride.

Check it out sometime.

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