The Pacific Northwest is normally a rainy, gloomy place, especially at this time of year. But much to the chagrin of local farmers, we've lucked out as Washington's Indian Summer has gone over 80 days without rain and the temperatures have been hovering around 20C during the daytime.
Our campsite at Brooks Memorial State Park
Come on, I promise not to Instagram you...!
"Which way to Watership Down?"
Unfortunately, this has also caused a lot of forest fires in the area, and one of the dual-sport roads we were looking forward to riding - the Washington Backcountry Discovery Roads - is closed. Despite the long break in Vancouver, we're still suffering a bit of fatigue from our hectic race away from the Arctic winter, so we've really slowed our pace in the last few days, just catching up on our reading and doing a bit of hiking in the area, relishing the warm and dry weather. This is the kind of leisurely pace we were missing on all of our shorter trips - the ability to wander wherever with no set schedule, not knowing where you'll end up for the night or how long you'll stay - and we are loving the freedom!
All Star Wars, All the Time at the Star Wars Store in Aberdeen, WA
With a little bit of "Live Long and Prosper" thrown in...
We follow Highway 101 hugging the western Washington coastline until we hit Aberdeen, then turn inland towards Mount Rainier National Park where we camp out for a couple of days. One evening, before we head for dinner, we run into a trio of riders just outside the park:
Ran into Tamas, Dmitri and Rey at Mount Rainier National Park, 3 local riders from ADV as well
A few days later Tamas sends us this pic and says hi to us on our thread on ADV!
Mount Rainier is Washington's highest mountain and can be seen from all around the area. Neda found us a great road that cuts further inland, State Road 410 AKA the Chinook Pass, which gives us great views of Rainier in the distance.
Riding up the Chinook Pass
Doing some hiking just off the Chinook Pass
Views of the valley of the Cascade Mountain Range
From Yakima, WA, we turned south on Highway 97 and visited Stonehenge!
Situated just north of the WA/OR border, this Stonehenge is a full-size replica of the one in the UK. It was built in 1918 to commemorate the American soldiers that came from the immediate area who lost their lives in WWI. The surrounding hills are covered in wind turbines, lending a surreal anachronistic quality around it.
Tilting at windmills
Can't imagine a structure this big built 3000 years ago without the help of aliens!
"These aren't the druids you're looking for"
Proud to be inside Stonehenge with the bikes
On a side note, it's Canadian Thanksgiving and to commemorate our ex-pat holiday (the Americans have their Thanksgiving over a month later), we eat a turkey sandwich at Stonehenge! We've been keeping in touch with family and friends over the Internet and social media but it's just not the same as being there with them in person, especially during the holidays!
Racing down the Columbia River
The Columbia River starts out in BC, but we now follow it as it snakes westwards back towards the Pacific Ocean. The Columbia River Gorge acts as a natural border between Washington and Oregon, and it's hard to keep your eyes on the road when you're riding beside something that spectacular!