Riding to Mount Baker

Finally I’d reached the uppermost parking area and the views were more than spectacular.

I had to retake my motorcycle test when I arrived in BC, just like I had to retake my car driving test. That was four years ago and whilst on the riding course I struck up a friendship with James. Although we don’t get together frequently! It’s always a pleasure to meet up, especially when it  means there’s a ride involved.  And so it was over the Labour Day weekend.

Having already taken on two, two-wheeled roadtrips over the summer I opted out of the Lilooet loop and agreed to a day trip to Mount Baker. I’d ridden with Lesley to Baker last year but was not able to reach to uppermost parking due to the roads still being under snow. I knew this time would be different, I knew the road was open all the way up.

Needless to say holiday weekend traffic did its best to undo the good intentions and Highway 1 was a car park of M25 proportions. Having satin line as half a dozen bikes rolled past on the shoulder, I decided it was time to follow suit. James and I came off at the next exit and replanned the route to the Sumas border crossing. I rather like this being a Canadian citizen thing as I had yet another trouble free crossing. In fact the guy checking my passport was more interested in finding out more about my Ducati for his mate on the phone. Onwards to Baker.

The road to the National Forest is single lane and a mix of sweet curves and longish straights. Plenty of opportunity to lean and let-rip (within posted limits of course). The real jewel though was at the end of the road.As the road gets further in to the park so the curves get tighter, hitting hairpin status as the journey up becomes mountain pass like. Although a bit slow due to that darned holiday traffic, the ride was enjoyable, plenty of time to take in the increasingly superb views.

The number of parked vehicles on the verges increased, I was near the top. Finally I’d reached the uppermost parking area and the views were more than spectacular. A good ride was topped off by amazing views. There really is something very special about being up above the snow line on a warm sunny day.

Having taken in the views it was time to descend and eat. The ride down and out was every bit as entertaining as the ride up. Late lunch was taken at a somewhat rustic looking bar before Maple Falls, and they served up a pretty delicious lamb burger.

Having endured Highway 1 a few hours prior, an alternative route home was planned. We  crossed back in to Canada at Aldergrove and made our way along Zero Ave where we hit our final delay, an RCMP spot check on motorcycle helmets (the law has recently changed here) and licenses. I noticed a large Harley being loaded on to a flatbed with the rider in conversation with an RCMP officer. Hmmm, shouldn’t really assume, but it didn’t appear to be a mechanical issue. The officer that checked my license had told me there were more unlicensed riders around as fuel prices were high. I’m left wondering how these unlicensed riders get plates for their bikes. Maybe I’m just naive. Anyway, Harley rider and passenger were not looking too pleased.

A quick squirt up the 99 and we looped through New Westminster, James splitting off and heading home. Me likewise. Even though we’d no comms, riding with someone else is more fun, there’s a feeling of leader and wingman about it.

Another day, another ride. This has been an amazing two wheeled summer and with the Music Therapy Ride coming up, it ‘aint over yet.

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