Day 16: July 8, 2000
Wahoo! At noon today I completed the documentation for my fourth corner in Blaine, Washington, watched as the envelope was hand cancelled (special handling on a Saturday in Blaine, I'll have you know!), and celebrated the event by being a complete tourist in Blaine for about 3 hours. Blaine is the home of the International Peace Arch, a pretty little harbor, and the Semi-Ah-Moo resort. I visited everything Blaine had to offer, including the new mall (twice), City Hall, and the downtown shopping district, and I saw it all. Once the Four Corners Tour was complete, it's like I didn't know what to do with myself, so I just hung around in Blaine for a while. I guess this was an understandable reaction, since I had hurried through so many other places over the past 16 days.
I was on the bike and rolling toward Seattle at 6:00 AM again this morning, that's 2 days in a row! I think I'm getting prepared for Carla's arrival tomorrow, because she LOVES to get up and get going early. (Not)
I took I-90 West, and was about to pass an old white van when he slowed down abruptly in front of me, and when I slowed down as well, I saw that we were passing by the Columbia River Gorge. I pulled off at the Wild Horse Canyon Overlook. If that van hadn't slowed down when he did, I might have missed a beautiful view of the Columbia.
After Ellensburg, I-90 goes through some beautiful country, including passing over Snoqualmie Pass. While heading up the hill toward the pass, I was surprised to see two huge elk standing next to the fast lane of the freeway, just standing there about 20 feet from me as I passed them. I swear one of them lifted his head and looked at me, as if to say "Do I want to ruin your day today?" and then went back to grazing. Snoqualmie Pass was as majestic as I had heard, and really cold. The $9.95 Kragen special registered 50 degrees at the top of the pass, but with the wind chill created at 70 mph, I'm sure it was well below freezing. Carla will be happy to hear this, as we will be going over several mountain passes in the Rockies next week.
After Snoqualmie, I dropped down into the traffic mess that is Seattle. I can't imagine what it's like during the week, because the traffic was heavy on Saturday! I-90 connects to I-5, and I-5 passes right through the downtown. I looked for Frazier's apartment building, but I couldn't pick it out.
It was 111 miles north to Blaine, which is the last exit before Canadian Customs and Immigration, and I arrived just before 11:00 AM. I got the proper gas receipt, I found one of the "secret" phone numbers, and I went to the Post Office. The last piece of documentation is a picture of the bike parked in front of a sign that identifies the location. In San Ysidro, Key West, and Madawaska, this meant a nice shot of the ST in front of the Post Office in each of those cities, and I wanted all of the pictures to look the similar. Well, the lettering on the front of the Blaine PO is white on a stone background, and I could not get the Polaroid to take a picture which showed the name of the city and the zip code. It was so frustrating. There I was, standing in the middle of the street, waiting for a cloud to obscure the sun for a minute, thinking that might help. Nothing worked, and now I have 6 extra Polaroids of the ST in front of an unidentified building. Finally I drove around the back of the building and took a picture of a sign that says "Blaine Post Office - Entrance Around The Corner". And for good measure, I went to the Blaine City Hall and took a picture of the bike there and sent both to the SCMA. Let them figure it out.
So, after I mailed the letter, I found a Mail Boxes Etc., and sent a package home containing all of the stuff I used for the Four Corners, but will not need next week, like the Polaroid Camera, 4 packs of AAA maps, and a lot of paper documentation I generated regarding my route. And when I walked out of the store, I remember thinking, OK, you have more than 24 hours to get back to Spokane, so maybe it would be nice to look around here for a while. After a couple of hours, I realized that I had not even picked a route yet for the trip to Spokane, as the route I used coming into Blaine was the way out in the original plan. So, I looked at the map, and decided to take part of the original entering route, which included the North Cascades Scenic Highway. What a road! If you ever get the chance, don't miss this wonderful route. I saw a sign that referred to the area as "America's Alps", and I cannot disagree with that. And the road is cool too, lots of high speed sweepers, intermixed with 50 mph blind corners.
The problem I encountered after all this good riding fun was that there were no motel rooms available in the mountains on Saturday evening, so I had to ride to Wenatchee, Washington to find a room.
What a great day. Now it's late, and I'm beat. Good Night.
Road Writes * Photos * Documentation * The
© COPYRIGHT 2000, Richard R. Brookes, Peter H. Baumann