03 - USA
Washington State - 08/09/03 - 14/09/03
We left Surrey and were at the border within about 15 mins. We had been advised to go on route 15, the truck route, rather than the regular route 5 crossing. As we approached there was a big queue for trucks which luckily we didn't have to join as all other lanes were clear. We were rather nervous and hoping we wouldn't have to empty all our luggage and get searched but all went well. The lady on the gate was a little confused about exactly what we were doing but we obviously seemed presentable. The license plate was a problem as the last four letters were not all letters, but she sent us over to immigration with very little fuss. They happily stamped our passports and we were in. I think it took about 15 mins.
Rich & Sharon In the Pike Pub
So here we are in America. We left highway 5 pretty quick and headed for the northern cascades highway. Some bikers on Vancouver Island had recommended it as a good route. It was pretty spectacular but got really cold, down to 7oC at one point! We stopped overnight in the town of Winthrop which is a western theme town, but I think everyone was out of town. It was a bit dull, no gunfights or dancing girls to be seen.
Next day we headed for Seattle. It was a pretty long day but we made it in time to meet Rich, who we met on the ferry, and his fiancée Sharon for dinner at seven.
We got held up in traffic approaching Seattle as there had been an accident and part of the highway was closed. It was a bit of a nightmare as bikes are not allowed to filter through the traffic here. They call it lane splitting and it's illegal! You have to sit in line and wait, like a car. As you who know Richard can imagine he doesn't take kindly to this. It's also illegal to go down the outside of traffic waiting at lights. They get really shirty with you as we discovered before we found out we weren't supposed to do it. This is driving R demented, so city driving is going to be kept to a minimum. There is no point in having a bike in a city here.
It was great to see Rich and Sharon and they told us all the good stuff to do in Seattle. Rich gave us a tour of the brewery and we sampled a few of the very fine beers. So if you're ever in Seattle, The Pike Pub & Brewery, 1415 First Ave is the place to go. Rich gave us a lift back to our hotel in his 1969 Oldsmobile Convertible - very cool! We had a very busy few days and went to see our first baseball game. We are now Mariners fans for life.
Seattle is of course the home of Boeing. Well I didn't know that but Richard of course did. So off we went to do the Boeing factory tour. It’s the biggest building in the world or something. It was pretty weird to be on the walkway looking down on three 747s nose to tail in a row. The tour guy was a bit much though, he was like Eric Idle's version of an American. He had the wacky moustache and everything. He was very excited that the doors were as big as a football pitch (American of course). We then went straight to the Boeing Museum in the pouring rain along the very hairy interstate 5. What a fun day! Richard can tell you all about the planes and stuff some other time.
Seattle from the Space Needle
We left Seattle and went out to the mountains, first to Mt Rainer and then onto Mt St. Helens. That was amazing; the hills surrounding it are still bare, 23 years after it erupted. We met lots of bikers up there, one group on a day out from Portland. R decided to race them down the mountain; he has a thing about anything being in front of him!
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