Our grand plans of climbing Mt. Rainier to sing “the hills are alive . . . .” at Paradise and traversing the Chinook Pass were dashed by rain today. Hoping the forecast was wrong, we left Castle Rock around 8:30 a.m. with the plan to stop at Morton for breakfast and do a status check before deciding what the rest of the day would look like. It poured on us all the way up I-5 before the Hwy 12 turnoff to Morton and we got more than one little shower from semi trucks on the freeway. My boots and socks were soaked by the time we hit Morton and I was reminded of when my sister and I were kids and my grandma would put bread bags over our feet with an elastic band at the top before putting our rubber boots on. Wished I’d remembered it sooner – my feet would have still been dry!! It was also a challenge to find the sweet spot of having the helmet visor up a bit to keep it from fogging and not getting splashed in the face with the rain. I don’t think Blair ever did find the balance as his windshield managed to shed the rain nicely – and funnel it up into his face under the crack in his visor! Chilled and wet and with a serious case of helmet hair (well me, anyway), we strolled into Papa Bear’s Restaurant and Lounge in Morton and were presented with the Main Street Slam breakfast. This turned out to be a huge breakfast that neither one of us could finish. Great value and good food – definitely worth the stop. The establishment didn’t kick us out, so we spent and hour and a half there, chasing the chill off before suiting up to head out again. While we were waiting, Blair directed me to look out the window and pointed down the street. Just a half a block down was the "Bucksnort Pub", advertising pizza, pool, beer and cocktails and sporting a MOTORCYCLE on the roof! If we'd seen that first, we might have been drinking at 10:30 in the morning. I was further amused by the sign on the side saying "financing available" - is that for the pizza, beer, pool, cocktails or the motorcycle? :)
The low-slung clouds and intermittent rain made it clear pretty quick that there was no point in riding Mount Rainier – there would be nothing to see and rain-soaked curves would be less than enjoyable, so we decided to book it through to Yakima. We still got some adventure riding over Hwy 12 – there were some really rough and bumpy patches that demanded our attention and respect as we rode the curves through the mountains. Still saw some beautiful scenery and were entranced by a couple of cool bridges over deep gorges. The rain stopped for a bit and didn’t hit us again until White Pass where we had another dose of rain. Temps got down to 9 degrees and the water that had seeped into my boots created some pretty icy toes. Once through the pass, the descent into Yakima brought the temperatures up pretty quickly. The landscape changed abruptly from the green, lush mountains to the dryer, bare landscape reminiscent of the Alberta badlands.
We arrived in Yakima about noon and pulled into the Sun Country Inn, pretty chilled and ready for some down time. Decent hotel – another like the others – older, but clean and reasonably priced. Wifi left much to be desired, meaning it didn’t really work at all. We checked into our rooms and shed our damp gear. Necessity being the mother of invention, I used the cardboard coffee cups in the room to stuff into the shafts of my boots to prop them up in front of the heat. Hoping they will be dry before heading back out tomorrow. Then it was hot bath and some relax time.
Noticed a big motorcycle store across the street – Owen’s Cycle – and couldn’t resist the urge to go take a look. Massive bike store with tons of gear, accessories and bike parts. We spent some time looking around before walking up to the Red Lobster for an early supper. We asked the front desk person if the Red Lobster was in walking distance and she said “Well, I wouldn’t walk that far”. After walking for about 10 minutes up the road – BAM – there it was. We were surprised it was so close. LOL
Margaritas were on special, so. . . . . done deal. The Red Lobster watermelon margarita is totally worth ordering. We ate too much – again – and then strolled back to the hotel to make an early night of it. Hoping to be on the road back to reality pretty early tomorrow and still need to decide on the route I will take back. All in all, another successful day, full of adventure, despite missing the Mount Rainier views and hikes. 'Nother time. . . .