Met up with Rickster in Georgetown yesterday morning at 0900 for a cup o' joe or two before heading up to Mount Rainier. I was on the GRiSO of course and Rick was on his Stelvio. Forecast was for a nice clear day in Seattle and temps in the 40s℉ (sub10℃), nothing that some heated gear, layering, good winter gloves and heated grips can't handle. It's about 85 miles if we route along the nice and curvy Green Valley Road out past the Flaming Geyser State Park before heading south into Enumclaw to catch Hwy 410 up to Chinook Pass.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Well the weather always gets a little weird in the Enumclaw valley and yesterday was a good example. Turning onto Green Valley Road the fog/mist settled in cold and thick and the temperatures dropped to just a degree or two above freezing. Visibility was shite and the glare from the low sun angles could get downright blinding. It was hard to carve up this fun little route as fast as we would have liked. Too bad because there were very few other vehicles on the road.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Before heading up the mountain we decided to stop at Charlies Cafe for a late breakfast. Some nice hot coffee and a tasty, big omelet would warm us back up and we were hoping a little more sun time might burn off all that fog. No such luck as the fog was still hanging heavy as we turned onto the pass.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.][You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Luckily for us, we didn't have to climb more than a few hundred feet before the mist gave way to clear, blue skies and sunshine. The highway was in great shape, clean and dry, and the traffic was light so things were turning up. As is my usual practice, we pulled off the roadway near mile marker 48 so I can pay my respects to the young elk I crossed paths with some five years ago.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.][You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
I was telling Rick that with a little looking around we can almost always find some bits and pieces of my crashed GRiSO that will turn up after the rain and snow moves them around. Sure enough after a couple of minutes of looking I found a piece of the instrument housing that blew apart on impact. Kind of funny five years later... I popped it in my pocket for good luck.
It's a peaceful spot and worthy of reflection on the fleeting nature of life. So after paying respect to the noble forest creatures that inhabit these environs (including the lightning fast rodent out of nowhere I had just fun over not a mile or so back down the road, this stretch is fast becoming my own personal abattoir...) we were off to go see how far we could ride before reaching the snow closure.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
As it turned out, it wasn't much further. Ten miles up the pass, just past the entrance to the Crystal Mountain Ski Area, the road came to an end. So we hopped off for a couple more pictures.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.][You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Having reached the end of the road, we set off back down the mountain to get back to Seattle while the light was still good and the traffic was light. Getting stuck amongst the commuting hordes is never much fun. So off we went, slaloming around the skiers driving back off the mountain and we were back in Seattle after about an hour and a half.
160 miles isn't all that much, but not too bad for January in Seattle. Good day for sure!