Friday, 8 August 2014

Day 72: The Cascade NP; Sandy Hook, Whidbey Island to Leavenworth 506km

We are riding through Cascade National Park today.

We are going to see

...wonders of nature..

...Radioman jump...

...and, fire devastation.

First we ride the length of Whidbey Island which takes about an hour and a half.

It is a misty morning and the wheat fields glow.
Native magnolia gracing Deception Pass Bridge which links Whidbey Island to the mainland
Meet Marcie who owns O'Bryans Espresso coffe hut.
We have noticed espresso coffe huts in towns along the way.
Most are drive through with a window on each side. Marcie explained that Drivers like their coffee but don't like to wait.

We like to stop for a break for coffee.
At Sedro-Woolley we spot Latte Da' where there is one small table outside the tiny house.
Meet Kimberley a geology masters student in Boise. She spent a semester at Otago University, my alma mater. She is conducting research on natural hazards in the Skagit Valley.
We ride up the Skagit valley. Beautiful river scenes.
Rock faces and mountains.
Hydro dam lakes.
Lake Diablo above the Diablo Dam on the Skagit river.
The power station generates electricity to Light up Seattle. The Ross and the George hydro dams are close by.
Meet Nick from Sandpoint Idaho. He is a graduate in Law enforcement from College in Moscow, ID.
He worked as a fire fighter during his college summers. A super young man - looking for a job.
Wonderful winding roads.
Roads which take us to Washington Pass - 5477'.

Woohoo, we will be riding on this road.
William Stafford wrote poems about the mountains.
Dick and Mark's response.
Oh, Joy!
Radioman jumps again.
Take a peek and Radioman's blog and read his amazing compassionate and adventurous life journey.
The jump is his hallmark response when a scene makes his heart leap.
The last time we saw him jump was at El fin del Mundo in Tierra Del Fuego.
When Team Kiwi and Mark completed their Ice to Ice adventures.
'El fin del Mundo' - The end of the world...
...and the beginning of everything.
It's a long way down...
Handrails? What handrails?
The tree is tenaciously clinging on.
It is extraordinary to see the conifer trees growing on tiny ledges on rock faces.
Nick catches up with us.
He looks like he is prepared for anything with that axe on his top box which has a chainsaw inside.
It would have been useful to have had an axe when we encountered the tree across the road near Yellow Pine in Idaho.
Nick explained he had been doing some gardening work for an aunt.
The road down the pass was as exhilarating as it promised from above.
Soon we are on the smokey plains in the OKanogan and Chelan Valleys.

The air temperature rises above 100degF. The Max for us was 105degF


We ride through fire ravaged countryside.

I can't bear to take photos of the burned homes. The twisted roofing iron and brick chimneys are all that remain.

Over 300 homes were destroyed in this region. many were uninsured.

Farm vehicles lie charred where their sheds used to be.

The linesmen are replacing power poles.

The wooden swing bridges have only wires hanging.




The smoke plume is behind Leavenworth, our destination.

The flag flies high.
It is an inspiration in this place.
This has been a many faceted day on the road.

The day was not quite over when Mark's friends, Brook and Bella, came to meet us at the restaurant. It was lovely to meet them and Bella and I chatted about photography (she is a professional photographer) and the meaning of life. We enjoyed each other's company.

Thank you for sharing your friends with us, Mark.


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