Friday, August 19, 2011

Rapturous Ranier

Today there is only 1 real place to hit, Mt Ranier, so we leisurely got ready. Had some breakfast at this place. (pictures are clickable and resizeable)

This pump was originally outside the Teapot Gas Station we visited yesterday.

We left the land of browns, tans and khakis

And hit the hills of greens and trees

We are riding up scenic Rt 410 towards Chinook Pass. One thing we noticed the trees were getting really tall.

Our first glimpse of snow

Road leading up to Chinook Pass

While riding up here I was wondering if Ranier was going to be half as good as Glacier. We are headed for the Sunrise Visitor Center which is on the east side of Ranier. At the turn, we have 14 miles go.

Our first look at mighty Ranier

Words, cameras, discussions can not possibly describe the beauty of this mountain. I was beginning to wonder if Ranier should have been ahead of Glacier for places to see, but we did both, so we don't have to make that choice.

The flowers in the fields were in full bloom. They are not very tall, but if you look out over the field you will see spots and patches of brilliant yellows, reds, blues and purples.

Ranier in its full glory

The Visitor Center at Sunrise

View of Mt Adams from Sunrise

There are 2 more VC's at Ranier, Ohanapecosh and Henry Jackson. It was really hard to leave Sunrise, but there are other places to see. Ohanapecosh is south of Sunrise and is the entrance to Steves Canyon Rd and Paradise Rd from the east side. At Ohanapecosh we met a couple that made a year trip to Argentina. Really neat to hear how they could take a year off to ride and especially while they were young. No picture thou.

Ohanapecosh VC. This is NP stamping location

Other things to see was this tree marked with years based on its rings

We head off to the Groves of the Patriarchs. This is a grove of really really big trees. One thing I found out, both of my knees that were replaced in November, are in tip top shape. Now I have to do something to make the rest of my body to be somewhat similar to the knees. The walk is not real hard, it is always the return trip that is the killer

The walk

MeAsWe holding up the tree so I can duck under it

Looking up to some really tall guys

Some perspective on how big these guys really are

MeAsWe going tree hugger on me. I think this guy was related to that other woody in Glacier.

Finally made it out of the woods and started to ride the awesome roads within Ranier. Keep in mind that this is a National Park and they really don't appreciate lack of throttle control.

When you believe you have seen it all you come around another turn to be confronted with another magnificent view.

The Henry M Jackson VC at Paradise

When you depart Paradise, you will find yourself on a very twisty road, with plenty of swithchbacks heading for the Nisqually entrance on the west side of Ranier. The roads are very narrow leaving just enough room for one car. Some of the switchbacks require you to enter from the outside of the lane to the apex and back out. This fucktard decided he was too impatient and passed me on the right just at the entrance to a swithcback. What an idiot, he endangered both himself (which I really don't care about) and us. I followed him for quite a few miles really pissed, but finally turned off and I found my happy place again. I really wanted the opportunity to pull up next to him and tell him how impolite he was and learn proper riding etiquette.

This guy was behind me about 3 seconds before this shot.

Headed into Kelso, WA for the night on RT 12. We were buzzing right along and came to an uphill climb with a passing lane. I throttled up and passed either a car or a truck and of course there was this non-descript white car coming at us. You know that sinking feeling when maybe you might have been over the speed limit. I was behind this truck traveling along. Its trailer doors were highly polished almost chrome and I saw some red blinking stuff going on. Quick view to the rearview mirror and yup that non-desscript car was no longer non-descript. The truck pulled over and I kept going and so did the LEO. Sigh, I found a place to pull over and to my chagrin so did the trooper. The trooper was very nice and explained to me about rules for passing cars in Washington and let me off with a verbal warning. Thank You Thank You.

Last stop of the day was Silver Creek, Washington PO for An Affair with Water rally

It is really hard to sum up the trip, so I won't. It would be hard to decide between Glacier National Park and Ranier National Park as a favorite or recommend one over the other. Both places I can get very excited about and would come to mind immediately if someone mentioned they were going to be in Montana or Washington.

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