Chris' 1994  R100GS/PDChris' new bike, a 1996 F650 ULTIMATE JOURNEY Erin's 1997  F650
Living a Dream . . . 2 Live-N-Ride

June 20th, 2003.-- 49 months and 96,000 miles later...

Credit to & New Friends in Seattle

-- Story by Erin --

Sunday, June 15th: After a wonderful couple of days traveling together we said goodbye to Bob and Graham, as they were heading east into the Rockies and us heading north to Washington.

While we were at the rally we met several interesting people including Nelson Philips from Vashon Island near Seattle. Nelson has been communicating with us for some time now on email and he took the opportunity to come to the rally to meet us. Nelson, having a deep knowledge of this area of the country gave us a wonderful and scenic escort over two days up to Seattle. Leaving the high desert of John Day we traveled through rolling plains of wheat fields towards the dramatic Columbia River Gorge, which is also the dividing line for the two states. After crossing the river and into Washington State we quickly rose again into the Cascade Mountains and pine forests that smelt strongly of Christmas!

After stopping for the best huckleberry pie (a la mode!) I’ve ever had in the little village of Trout Lake, Nelson took us to one of his favorite camping spots, on a lake at the base of Mt. Adams. The mountain reflected perfectly off the lake and made for a wonderful spot to stop and rest for the night.

Monday, June 16th: After a lazy morning sleeping late and making breakfast, we headed out to see the infamous Mt. St. Helen’s. The ride was twisty and turny the whole way, all the way up to the vista point at Windy Ridge. The landscape is incredibly dramatic with miles of barren surrounding hills, rotting tree trunks all blown down in the same direction lay down like a blanket. When Mt. St. Helen’s erupted back in May of 1980 she blew about of mile of earth and ash out of her side (not upward like most volcanoes) and down the mountain into nearby Spirit Lake. The shock wave from the explosion blew down every tree for a few miles in the direction of the blast. Every living thing in the path of the blast was killed --- plant, animal and human life included. More than 50 people died including Harry R. Truman (owner of the Spirit Lake Lodge), hikers and campers in the area and geologists studying the imminent eruption. Today you can get remarkably close to the volcano and the crater to see its destruction.

We spent so much time here just gazing at the bareness of the land that we didn’t have enough time to make a run through Mt. Rainier National Park just below Seattle. We did however get commanding views of that volcano from many points along the road north. After a late lunch we said goodbye to Nelson and made plans to see him again in a few days at his home on Vashon Island.

It took us another 4 hours to reach our final destination, Snohomish, Washington about 40 miles north of Seattle. There we were warmly greeted by our old friend Don Siewert.   Don has been looking after Chris' R100PD, which we sent back from New Zealand 2 years ago.  His wife Joni was away visiting Europe, so bad timing for us.   However, we got to meet fellow bikeshare member Ted Scott from England -- Ted had just completed his holiday on a borrowed bike.

Don made a delicious roast dinner complete with roasted veggies and real gravy (i.e. not from a can!) We talked late into the night swapping our India stories and sharing about places each other had seen in the last few years.

The next morning we slept in late and woke to a huge breakfast----the Siewert famous egg-scramble (a.k.a. "the kitchen sink scramble"). The boys worked on the bikes all day, cleaning them and tinkering around. I spent the day working on this story and catching up on emails!

Wednesday, Jun 18th: Time to fix the seal on Chris’ front fork. He had blown the seal while on the GS ride at the rally in Oregon.  After pulling the fork, we headed out to Ride West BMW in Seattle -- Chris took the R100PD and was happy as a kid with a new toy on Christmas.  We got to the shop and were able to borrow the special tool needed to make replacing the seal it easier. It took surprisingly no time at all and we had extra time in the afternoon to play a bit. Nelson met us at the shop and brought us to his home on Vashon Island, a short ferry ride across the harbor. He invited us over to his island to meet his wife, Charlotte and son Eric. The family obviously loves animals. Charlotte raises and trains guide dogs; they have 3 horses and 2 cats besides. The island is only 15 miles long and 3 miles wide, so everyone knows everyone. By coincidence, a good friend of mine from New York, Nina Segal, happened to be on Vashon Island at this time as well. Her husband Wil is a native of Washington and spent his childhood summers and weekends on Vashon. Now they were back visiting relatives and brought their 4-year-old daughter Isabel with them. We had a nice but too short visit, trying to catch up on 4 years of news and happenings over a 2-hour coffee.

Thursday, June 19th: Returned to the mainland and met up with Don downtown. Seattle is home to REI, a well-known outdoor store----so we had to make a stop! Like candy to a child, stores like this suck us in. We managed to get out with spending only a little money.

One of Seattle's famous landmarks is Pike’s Place Market, where you can see the fish mongers hurling fish through the air and chanting to entertain the tourists. We made a stop here to take it all in.  Its a lively place full of butchers, fish sellers and flower merchants. 

Later that night we planned to attend a rehearsal presentation by Helge Pederson (famous rider who traveled around the world for 10 years on his motorcycle) for an upcoming event he is doing at the rally for BMW’s 80th anniversary in Lake Tahoe. Nearby to the rehearsal location is the International District, which has loads of Asian restaurants. We found a little hole-in-the-wall place and settled down to some good cheap Chinese food for dinner.

The informal presentation was hosted by the American distributors of Touratech products, and attended by friends and family. The show consisted of Helge’s photos from international tours (like Africa and Mexico) from the recent past, as well as a video presentation by his friend Sterling about their trip to Iceland. As happens at these type of presentations, we became motivated to see new places like Africa and Iceland.

Seattle’s famous rainy weather reared its head that night as we nervously navigated our way home in pitch-black rainy weather. At one point we even saw a car do a 360 degree spin in the fast lane on the highway. Thank goodness it didn’t turn into a multi-car pileup.

Friday, June 20th: There was still work to do before getting on the road again. Since we were only going about 100 miles north to Vancouver, we took our time doing the preparations to leave. We also wanted to spend a little more time with Don.  It didn’t matter how long we waited though it poured all day and all the way to Vancouver...


Nelson Philips who met us at the rally and escorted us all the way back to Seattle.


A patriotic roadside barn in Oregon.


Camping below Mt. Adams, Washington.


Mt. St. Helen's volcano, whose last eruption in 1980 was devastating.


My old friend from New York Nina Segal who just happened to be in Seattle.


Pike's Place Market in Seattle is famous for its "flying" fish.

The fish fly so fast we couldn't catch it on film!

Outside the market Don Siewert helped us catch this big pig.


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