Someone's knockin' at the door
Somebody's ringin' the bell
Someone's knockin' at the door
Somebody's ringin' the bell
Do me a favor
Open the door and let 'em in...Paul McCartney & Wings
Uh, that would be me.
The day arrives when I depart Canuckistan for The Great Satan, and in a case of synergy, the right hand does know what the left hand is doing. Two countries, but shared personna, I think.
There were differences, surely, but they generally were no greater than just dealing with the metric system.
None of that driving on the wong (sorry, that's Hong Kong, I mean WRONG) side of the road, no language barrier...hey, they speak 'Merican too! Mostly.
Credit cards need a PIN-that's different, and there are bears and snow in the summer. But not a whole lot of that.
No, I wasn't surprised...at all. Sharing a genesis and a culture is comforting, and a crutch to lean on. ****, they have serial killers, too, I felt at home.
The riding up there, way up there, was superb, even in the rain. The scenery was spectacular, nonpareil even, unless you are a frequent visitor to the Alps. The food was very good and
(I will say it) better than the US unless you are in a USA foodie place/state...just more variety, more than:
Grilled burger and fries
Grilled burger with our special cheddar and fries
Grilled burger with our homemade chili and fries
Supreme grilled burger with chili and bacon topped onto our special bun and fries
generic Mexican ( and I like generic Mexican)
They have creative pasta dishes, and salmon, and halibut, and cod, and burgers, and salads with local fresh ingredients...and...fries. The food was good and I was not eating at high end places at all.
The people were very nice and it wasn't just tourist industry people, just regular people...it was noticeable. And polite. I will say that the people on the street were a bit aloof, though that may be my southern eyes seeing that. Down South, if we're passing someone on a sidewalk, we say hello, or How're ya doing, or Awright, or nod slowly and coolly, just a short exchange of pleasantry, a recognition of another traveler making their way on the mortal coil until they die.
There must be a parallel where, once you're north of that, that exchange is optional or labelling in some watchoutforme way. We just say hello, sometimes getting called "baby" or "honey" by the unlikeliest of people.
Of course I am generalizing, but you can get the drift. And if you get the drift that I didn't like it, you got the wrong drift...just an observation. Sometimes people would pass you by as you're packing or getting ready to leave a place, just feet away and act like you're invisible (or to be avoided). That's ok, there were still enough people to say hello. And do not read me wrong, the people who spoke were nice, and the inmates on ADVrider giving advice could not have been more helpful and enthusiastic...maybe just a cultural thing, maybe because it's cold so much of the time, people are bundled up so much of the time, that their body image is one of isolation. OK, I'll stop.
Time to ferry it again.
There are a couple of options to cross the waters...I chose the one from Sidney, BC to Anacortes, Wa---and the beginning of wonderful WA 20, a hidden gem of a road that goes from here to there though some spectacular stuff...BC worthy stuff.
One more aside before I start with shiny things to see.
A difference of sorts. Yes, the USA has mountains; think Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, the Sierras, etc., but the difference in the BC mountains is not that they are higher--they aren't, or easier to get to--they aren't, but I suppose, because of the northerly latitude the tree-line is lower so that many many of the mountains are the grey granite "things," big-a$$ things, big beautiful things that have a green treeline, but extending far above that is bare rock and ice and glaciers. You can see far more of that than you can in the US. It's stunning, expletive worthy, and it's all over.
So, I am taking the ferry. I made a reservation for it--I was advised that was appropriate though I don't know how necesssary--and that was easy to do. Loading onto it was easy, parking was easy, and it was advised that this route was the prettiest, and it was very pretty.
I am riding with a coupla Harley "types" :-). The passage took a little while and disembarkation was a breeze, as they guided us over to the customs people. I discovered that i was riding along with TANK and TANK, JR
US Customs for a native is a breeze...I have never crossed back into the USA with a surly officer. HR must train them, or maybe they are just nice. I get the routine questions about my occupation, why did I travel, how long, etc . and I knew all the answers, No questions about the bazooka, or the flame thrower or the assault weapons, or fentanyl. He asks where am I headed.
Because it's there and a convenient stop.
Grinning and shaking his his head, OK, I suppose so.
He did ask
What's the story with "Rosalie?" ( I have a vinyl sticker on my tank that says "Rosalie.")
He's smiling...Rosalie was my mother and I used her inheritance to buy the bike, and giving her some homage.
He liked that answer, smiled, thumbs up and said "Welcome, home."
He was a young guy, probably early forties, 6 feet, dark hair, thin, official, but an actual personality.
He starts walking to the next vehicle, and I turn around...
He turns back
I suppose they tell you all to say that, but I want to say it is really nice to hear you guys say, and you all do it, say, "Welcome, home."
He smiles, walks back over, and tells me that, yeah, he likes to hear it too. I've heard it a bunch of times, actually every time I've come back, and it is always really nice to hear. In Canada you don't feel like you are away, but you know you're "home" with that simple valediction.
Concrete is not far down the road.
I check in, and can survey the town from the balcony of the Mt Baker Hotel. Concrete is jumping. In a concrete way.
Concrete was formed by two towns joining, Baker City And Cement City. Both towns were formed by the Portland Cement Company in the late 1800s. Interesting town, with lotsa local color.
A slice of life in Concrete, Washington. A bunch of overalls just left The Lone*Star, spending some time on the veranda jawboning, rubbing elbows, telling tall tales, guffawing and then the guy in the picture, crossed the street with his squeeze.
He leaned into the gutter, occluded his right nostril, and vigorously blew out the left. From my balcony location at the Mt Baker Hotel, I could hear the snot hit the street with a splat. He stands upright, his squeeze doesn't notice, pays it no mind.
Tonight I dine at The Lone*Star, and so far I am not at all nasally congested, but in case I become so...I HAVE A PLAN.
But, before my Lone*Star repast it's time to Explore Concrete
. Dodging traffic I meander around the City Center.
I hear a rooster crow, this guy emerging from the dark of The Hub, better for his visit, yells to me:
I bet you ain't never heard that before in the city! and laughs.
I yell back: You'd be surprised! and that gets a belly laugh. Truth be told, there are chickens in my neighborhood and a rooster was on the lamb (:rofl) a year or so ago and would take up residence in various back yards, so, yeah, I've heard that before.
On the way into town I crossed the Henry Thompson Bridge
The Fire dept. the Police dept, the Health dept, and Thrive Direct- whatever that is, and can you say "thrive" in Concrete?
A bit of a perversion of Nietzsche, but close...
stupid lazy R...I was going left, but came from the right, so that sticker is spot on!
Those of you following this may remember they other time promises were made that could not be kept. Still no Swedish twins.
The Entertainment District of Concrete