Gary Gardner (grgardner) wrote,
Gary Gardner

Fall Leaves and 30K

The weather and a travel/work schedule has kept me off the bike for a couple of weeks so I've been itching to get out on the highway.  Last week I was up in Roslyn, Washington  and noticed the autumn leaves were just about at their peak, and seeing that the weather forecast for this weekend was going to be nice, I decided to put together a last minute ride for the HOG Chapter to go over Snoqualmie Pass an up the canyon past Roslyn and into the Cascades to see the leaves.

Although it rained last night, and was a bit gray this morning, it was still nice to get out on the bike.  I was glad I opted to take my heated gear.  You may recall the heated gear gave me a lot of trouble this past spring on my ride from Las Vegas, so Friday I decided to test the gear out.  It didn't work on the black Dyna, but did work on the other two bikes, so I figured I'd see if the lead from the battery on the Dyna was the problem, and sure enough it was.  I replaced it and the gear worked fine all day -- makes me wonder if that was the original problem last spring.

I met the rest of the group up at Mile Post 34 on I-90 and over the pass we went.  I-90 over Snoqalmie Pass is beautiful to look at but hell to ride.  It's very rutted, worn and cracked by the winter snow, and has grooves worn by the trucks.  I HATE, with a capital "H", riding it, but we had no choice.  However, once we exited at Mile Post 74, we wound along the Yakima and Cle Elum rivers and it was quiet, and smooth, and absolutely stunning.  I wish I could have stopped to take some pictures, but managed to do one.  We even saw a few deer grazing along the road.
We looped up to Salmon LaSac at the end of the road and turned around and headed back to Roslyn for lunch.  Roslyn is an old coal mining town that has barely hung on, and had a bit of a revival when the TV show Northern Exposure used it as the set for the town of Cicily, Alaska.  The town still uses that claim to fame as a reason to sell a few T-shirts.  Nonetheless it's a nice little town and a great stop for a lunch.   After we ate and wandered the town a bit we hit the road back to I-90 and rode the freeway back home.  Once I got the club back to North Bend and the ride broke up, the weather was just too nice to stop, so I made a nice leisurely 100 mile loop to get back to the house.

Although I had a ball with the HOG Chapter, being the lead and planning the ride, keeping the group together and making sure everyone gets there safely means I can't really concentrate on enjoying "my" ride -- letting my mind blank and clear, and just feeling free.  It's kind of like a railroad engineer driving a train and keeping an eye on the back to make sure it's still there, and all the riders in between are OK.  Riding with a group is a lot of fun, don't get me wrong, but it isn't the same as a solo ride where one can let oneself go.   After I left the group, I was free to let my mind go blank and just enjoy the feel of the fall sun, the smell of the pines with a hint of woodsmoke here and there, and the gorgeous fall leaves on the backroads of King County. 

Somewhere along the trip too the Dyna rolled over the 30,000 mile mark.  I can't believe this bike and I have put that many miles in the three years I've owned her.  Of those, all but a handful have been ridden by me, and as I've said before, that bike is a part of me.  I sit on it and think back along a lot of those miles -- through the Western States, and from Key West, Florida back to Seattle, and a lot of points in between.
I realized as well that 30K seems to be the magic number this month.  I had to write the first of several checks to the IRS for a bit over 30K last week, and will write another 30K check to the bank this week as I buy the Olympia condo from Tony pandabuff . And there will be more than likely yet another 30K to the IRS next month.  So while it's a happy and proud number on the bike odometer, it's not really all that happy otherwise.

I love fall as a rule -- between the cooler weather, the impending ski season, the holidays, getting to wear sweaters and have the fire going, and the fall leaves -- this fall doesn't seem so great right now, and I'm not all that happy it's here.  Maybe it's just as well that it signals the end of the year coming up as this year, with rare exceptions, has been marked by a number of life changing events, most of which have not been kind and worth celebrating at all.  The riding season is winding down fast as well, and the bike will stay in the garage more and more.  But there will be those rare sunny winter days when the lure of the road will prove hard to resist, and spring will be just around the corner.  In a new year, which I hope will be better than this one has been.


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