Ride day: 1 - DGB

We had a leisurely start to our auspicious first ride day. I went out to the bike around 6 AM to check it over, arrange baggage and to start it up and ride it a few blocks to fuel up. There was zero traffic on International Blvd. at that hour on a Saturday morning. After fueling, I headed back to the motel southbound, and realized the gas station was located on the crest of hill. As I pulled out, I was treated to the ghostly vision of Mt. Rainier filling the horizon to the south. Seattlites have become immune to this vision, but it never fails to impress the traveller.

The bike was running well, and as I pulled back into the motel, other riders were beginning a similar ritual of preparation.  We gathered and "organized" ourselves, and took the obligatory group picture. I was happy that Bill Sapsis then carried out the next tradition of sprinkling Holy Water that his mom provided on each of our bikes. This always is very meaningful to me, and I prayed for our group's safe journey as he visited each bike. 

Then it was kick stands up time. In the final shuffle to park our bikes for the photo, I wound up in the number two slot behind ride leader Greg Williams (Chrome). The group pulled out into traffic and followed Highway 99 north through Seattle, passing Boeing Field, the waterfront, downtown, the Space Needle, Green Lake, etc. and then connected with I-5 and headed out of town towards Everett.

If you've been reading my preride blog and comparing it to Chrome's and Hopalong's, you'll notice that one big difference in our experiences is that they both describe in detail sights, sounds, smells - things that are sensed by being exposed to the elements in a way that Patrick and I were not by traveling in the truck or "cage." It was awesome to finally be exposed to all of this, as we rode; the smell of the sea air, the heat of the roadway, the "feel" of the road surface, the sounds of the bikes roaring through tunnels and overpasses.

We left I-5 north of Everett and crossed the Samammish River. Soon Mt. Baker loomed into view and became our watchful companion. We turned and rode out to Deception Pass, executed our first refueling at a small gas station, and rode back to the bridge for photo ops. Deception Pass is one of my favorite places on Earth.  Good to be back.

We stopped for lunch in Edison, then headed out for a twisty ride along Chuckanut Bay. Back to I-5 and on to Vancouver. The border crossing was fairly painless, as our group had been well prepared for this. It took a few minutes for some of us to wrap our heads around "kilometers per hour" but other than that we arrived at the hotel about on time.

We were whisked away for a dinner at The Whip in downtown Vancouver, and then off for ice cream at a marvelous ice cream joint with literally hundreds of flavor choices, including "seaweed". Awesome.

Tomorrow, the ferry to Vancouver Island. 24 bikes on a ferry. This ought to be good.