Three Pass Motorcycle Trip

Motorcycles parked at the summit of Chinook Pass, WA
Motorcyclists stop for a breather at the summit of Chinook Pass to enjoy the mountain air and the amazing view of Mount Rainier.

When my friend, Clyde, invited me on a motorcycle ride with a group from a local church, I jumped all over it.  I’ll get out on the open road with my bike every chance I get.

My 2001 Kawasaki ZRX1200R isn’t really meant for touring.  The seat isn’t that comfortable and the riding position is a bit painful for long distances.

My wife won’t ride with me except for short trips of about 20 miles or less.  She’s been bugging me to get a Goldwing or some other type of touring bike – something with a plush seat and a back rest.  It’s on the agenda to do that, but I’ll need to sell my Kawasaki before I take that plunge.

For this trip, we were traveling a little further than 20 miles so my wife stayed home.  I was on my own this time.

Starting from the church in YakimMap of our trip over three mountain passesa that this group is from, we jumped on highway 12 heading east through Naches.  We stayed to the north at the “Y” toward Chinook Pass on Highway 410 and continued on until we reached Whistlin’ Jack Lodge.

At Whistlin’ Jack, we stopped for a brief stretch.  A few guys went into the store to purchase refreshments and/or to take a potty break.  This was about 40 miles into our trek, which is about as far as I can comfortably ride my Kawasaki without a break.

From Whistlin’ Jack, we continued on until we reached the Chinook Pass summit.

The scenery from the summit is absolutely stunning.  I think it’s one of the most beautiful mountain passes in the state.  The weather this day was perfect – clear, warm, and still.  The sky was blue, we were surrounded by the greenery, and off in the distance, you could see the white, snow-covered Mount Rainier….so beautiful.

And Tipsoo Lake right below us looked so refreshing.  Someday, I’ll come back to hike some of the trails around the lake and through the mountains in this area.  If I wasn’t with a group, I’d have been very tempted to venture off on one of them.

Mt. Rainier as seen from the summit of Chinook Pass in Washington state. Tipsoo Lake on Chinook Pass, Washington

After our stop at the summit, we continued west on down the highway.  For the next couple miles there are a number of switchbacks as you make your descent.  For motorcycles, that’s great riding – unless you are stuck behind a slow moving motor home pulling a boat.

It was refreshing to turn off Highway 410 and head toward Ohanapecosh on Highway 123 knowing the motor home was continuing west on 410.  By the way, Highway 123 is a very nice motorcycle ride – especially in the weather conditions we experienced.

We continued on past Ohanapecosh without stopping, though it’s reputed to be a very nice location for camping.  I haven’t been camping there for many, many years, and my memory doesn’t serve me so well, but its popularity would suggest that it’s a worthy camping spot.

Once we reached Highway 12 we turned East over White Pass passing by the White Pass Ski Resort.  Though we didn’t make any stops until we reached the Silver Beach Resort, there are a couple highlights that usually grab my attention.

I love the view of Dog Lake, that is adjacent to the highway just before the final climb to the ski resort from the east.  It’s such a beautiful lake, glowing in a mix of green and blue tones.  I did a bit of hiking there with my daughter a few years back.  Someday, I plan to make the trek to the top of Spiral Butte, just beyond Dog Lake.  Put that on the bucket list.

Frequently, when traveling over White Pass, I’ll stop at the view point to look at the Clear Creek Falls, just across the highway and to the east of Dog Lake.  From the view points you can see down over the falls without having to hike in.  It’s another bucket list item for me to hike in to see the falls from below.

Silver Beach ResortAnyway, we stopped at the Silver Beach Resort for a bacon burger and some more friendly conversation amongst members of our group.  Once we were done, we continued our ride back home to Yakima.

I understand that this group makes a variety of trips on their bikes about every 2-3 weeks.  I suspect that I’ll go on more of those rides.  At some point, I’m sure that my wife will insist that I get the Goldwing so she can join us.  Actually, I like that idea as well.

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Long Beach Coffee Roasters – Long Beach, WA

Long Beach Coffee Roasters
Long Beach Coffee Roasters

I feel compelled to stop at a coffee shop frequently while traveling. They offer so much variety and interesting decor and concepts.

At Long Beach Coffee Roasters, we found a strange mix of new age, antique, and home town cafe.

The free Wi-Fi was the main attraction for us.  Internet access was a bit of a problem around the area, so we came here mostly to spend some time catching up with our emails and facebook connections.

My mocha was satisfactory, though not quite as sweet as I prefer.  I think the coffee was good, but a little exotic and unusual for my taste.

The barista with the blue hair was very chatty with the local guests that entered the shop.  As and outsider, I didn’t feel quite as welcomed as other guests seemed to be, so I suspect they are most comfortable with their regular customers.

All in all, it wasn’t a bad experience and it served our purposes.

Long Beach, WA – Our Week in Pictures

Welcome to Long Beach - the Worlds Longest BeachLong Beach, WA At Play on the Beach Baby boys playing with their toys in the Long Beach sandFather and son playing in the ocean surfBaby boy apprehensive about the ocean tide coming in

Long Beach 121

Interesting Things to See

World's largest frying pan
World’s largest frying pan
World's Largest Chopsticks
World’s Largest Chopsticks
Orca the killer whale sculpture
Orca the Killer Whale Sculpture
Seahorse sculpture in the park
Seahorse Sculpture in the Park
Old mariner sculpture in the park
Old Mariner Sculpture in the Park

Museums and History

Marsh's Free Museum
Marsh’s Free Museum
World Kite Museum
World Kite Museum
Louis and Clark Interpretive Center
Louis and Clark Interpretive Center
Old Church on the Oysterville Walking Tour
Old Church on the Oysterville Walking Tour

Great Places to Eat

Long Beach 152
Lost Roo Restaurant
Long Beach Coffee Roasters
Long Beach Coffee Roasters
Cottage Bakery - Long Beach, WA
Cottage Bakery
Scooper's Ice Cream
Scooper’s Ice Cream

Sandsations Professional Sand Sculpting

End of the Day in Long Beach, WA

Sunset in Long Beach, WA

Overnight Trip to Birch Bay, WA


Mount Baker & Birch BayA cousin’s wedding in Lynden, WA area later this summer will take us to the northwest corner of the state.  We’ve booked one night at the Worldmark Birch Bay for our accomodations while there.

A quick online search for things to see and do in the Birch Bay area brought me to their Chamber of Commerce website and revealed some options for us, but we’ll have to be pretty selective due to the limited amount of time we will be there and the time occupied by our primary reason for being there in the first place.

United States side of the Peace Arch monument....
United States side of the Peace Arch monument. Blaine, Washington, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blaine, WA is nearby and I wouldn’t mind stopping in to see the Peace Arch State Park.  The only problem is that the park is situated between the US and Canadian border stations.  It seems that I would need my passport updated in order to enter the park.  Time is too short to get that taken care of before the trip, so I’ll just have to enjoy the photos that others have taken.

Another option would be to stop by the Blaine Marine Park where we could take a ride on the Plover Foot Ferry.  Ok, probably not, due to our time constraints, but we may take part of the 2 mile waterfront walk around to the marina and enjoy a little bird watching and the views of the San Juan Islands, or looking the other direction, a view of Mt Baker.

Birch Bay has a public market open on weekends through the summer.  There is something about a public market that is intriguing to me.  It might be the entrepreneurship represented by each of the vendors.  I usually end up spending most of my time quizzing the vendors about their businesses.  Anyway, it usually don’t cost anything to walk through the market to look around.

Because I enjoy perusing a museum, the Drayton Harbor Maritime Museum might be a place to stop in for a look-see.  It would take us out onto the Semiahmoo Spit and it houses a restored sailing boat among their collection.  I think access to the museum requires a ride on the Plover Foot Ferry, so again, time may be a constraint to visiting the museum on this trip.

If we had kids with us, I’m sure they would want to go to the Birch Bay Waterslides water park.  Besides the Northwest Washington Fair, the water park is probably Birch Bay’s premier tourist attraction and draws over 60,000 paid guests each year.

Due to the time element, I may bypass all the local sight-seeing this trip and just leave early the next morning and make the return home over the North Cascades Highway. It is one of the most beautiful mountain passes I’ve ever experienced, but it’s been awhile since I’ve taken that route.

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Cottage Bakery – Long Beach, WA

Cottage Bakery - Long Beach, WAI had seen photos of Cottage Bakery on Pinterest before our trip, so I suspected that it was a highlight to a number of people’s vacation.  I’ve never shied away from checking out a  local bakery, so I figured that I owed it to myself and to my readers to make my own evaluation of this one.

While on a walk by my lonesome, I decided to stop by.

The first thing I noticed when I walked in the shop was that I would have to wait in line to see what they have in their pastry counter.  I’m really not the patient sort, but in this case, having to wait in line meant that the product was in demand.  That’s a good thing.

I purchased a small selection from the pastry counter and took them “to go” back to my condo to share with the family.  We sampled their fruit turnovers, a cream cheese butterhorn, and something they call a blueberry race track. Later we went back as a group to try a few more items, including their muffins.

Everything we consumed from this shop was very tasty.  I would have to say that Cottage Bakery will be a regular stop on every trip we make to Long Beach.

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Lost Roo – Long Beach, WA

The Lost Roo - Long Beach, WAAt the recommendation of one of the Long Beach locals, we stopped in at the Lost Roo restaurant for fish and chips.  While there, members of our party sampled crab cakes and clam chowder, in addition to the fish and chips.

No one in our group were the least bit disappointed with the experience.  The food was tasty and plentiful.  The service was prompt and friendly.  The decor and surroundings were clean and comfortable.  The prices were reasonable – even for our frugal style.

I enjoy dipping my fish in barbeque sauce.  During the meal, I asked for some BBQ for dipping.  The waitress, seemingly apologetic, commented that their barbeque sauce is made with blueberries and wanted to know if that would be all right.  “Hello!”  Of course it’s all right.  Who wouldn’t want to try some blueberry barbeque sauce?

The Lost Roo will definitely be a restaurant that we will return to on our next trip to Long Beach.

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Olebob’s Seafood Market and Galley Cafe – Ilwaco, WA

Olebob's Fish Market and Restaurant
If you aren’t looking for Olebob’s, you will likely miss it.

Olebob’s is the kind of place that one would drive right by and not even notice as someplace that they might wish to stop.  It’s located along the port of Ilwaco in the midst of several seafood packing houses.

Whenever I am looking for a place to eat during one of my vacation trips, I try to find locals who will confide in me where they like to eat. I avoid the trendy tourist focused restaurants and instead attempt to find where the “real” people eat.

Olebob’s came on one of those recommendations. I asked where to go for the best seafood. I was told that if you want Clam Chowder you should go to Captain Bob’s Chowder House, located next to Marsh’s Free Museum. If you want fish and chips, you should go to the Lost Roo. If you want crab cakes, you should find Olebob’s.

The short trip to Ilwaco was well worth it. We easily located Olebob’s Galley Cafe nestled in behind their seafood market. We found casual accomodations and a relaxed family atmosphere. We placed our order at the counter and sat at a table for a short wait for our food.

The food arrived quickly and was hot and tasty. The crab cakes were scrumptious as were the fish tacos that I ordered. Our only disappointment was that the portion sizes were on the small side. None in our group walked away from the table completely satisfied and full. For the prices, we anticipated more food, but on the other hand, it’s fresh seafood. Maybe our expectations were wrong.

Still, for the quality of the food, I would definitely go back.

Yakima SkyBox Cargo Carrier

Yakima SkyBox Pro 16s Rooftop Cargo BoxSo, how do you take a 5-hour trip to the beach to spend a week with 5 adults and two toddlers in car seats with everyone traveling in one car?

First, it helps when you drive a Ford Expedition.

Second, you get a cargo carrier to mount on the top of your SUV, van, crossover, or station wagon.

As a disclaimer, I don’t own the Yakima SkyBox Cargo Cargo Carrier.  I have been the happy owner of the older version, the Yakima RocketBox, for Many years.  We purchased it to use on our old Chevy Blazer.  After we sold our Blazer in favor of a pickup, we loaned our cargo carrier to a friend who used it on their Suburban.

Today, we are using it for trips with the family (kids and grandkids) so we can all travel in one vehicle.  It’s had so much use and abuse, yet it still works the same as the day we bought it.  I couldn’t be more satisfied with it.  Without our Yakima RocketBox, we would not be able to carry enough luggage to travel together with our entire group.

When we chose which of the Yakima products we would purchase, I selected the long box as opposed to the shorter but wider version.  My reason was so that in addition to regular cargo for trips, it could also double as a carrier for our skis.  I haven’t been skiing in a number of years, but the box we selected is still very useful and versatile.

Today, there are too many sizes and styles to mention.  Yakima will have a cargo carrier to suit your individual needs.  Take a look at the selection below. The medium sized SkyBox is the same one that I purchased years ago (only they used to call it the RocketBox).

Yakima SkyBox 12 Cubic Foot Rooftop Cargo Box
Yakima SkyBox 12 Rooftop Cargo Box, Small

Yakima SkyBox 16 Cubic Foot Rooftop Cargo Box
Yakima SkyBox 16 Rooftop Cargo Box, Medium

Yakima SkyBox 21 Cubic Foot Rooftop Cargo Box
Yakima SkyBox 21 Rooftop Cargo Box, Large

Here’s what our old Yakima RocketBox looks like when it’s mounted on our Expedition.  I’m amazed at how much cargo it can carry, even though it looks so sleek and slim.

Expedition with Yakima RocketBox

Worldmark Long Beach – Long Beach, WA

Worldmark Long Beach
Worldmark Long Beach as seen from the beach.

We have a membership with Worldmark by Wyndham, so much of our travel is to locations where they have resorts.  This trip is no exception.

Check In

Upon our arrival, the check-in was great.  The people at the desk were very courteous and helpful employees.  The explained everything to us quickly and clearly.

Then we stopped by the concierge desk to grab some information about the area and ask a few questions about restaurants and activities nearby.  After answering our questions, they proceeded to invite us to an owner education class over the next couple days.

I’m smart enough to know that owner education class is short for “presentation to get you to purchase more ownership points.”  Anyway, the assured that it would be absolutely no longer than 1 hour, would be all about educating us on using our membership more effectively, and for our attendance, they would give us a $75 American Express gift card.  We agreed to attend.

The only truth to their offer is that they gave us the gift card.  The class lasted 2 1/2 hours and they offered to sell us more points.  We did get to tour their Presidential Suite.  OMG!  Now I know how the other side lives.  I’d have to save up all my points for a couple years to stay there, so it’s unlikely that I ever will.

Our Room

One of the reasons I like Worldmark is that their rooms are very consistent.  Our room at Long Beach was no exception.  Our room was clean and well stocked with all the necessary supplies.  We always need more coffee, laundry soap, and dishwasher soap during our stay, but a quick trip to the front desk remedies that.

Good thing each room has a vacuum cleaner in it.  With two young toddlers along, we used it after every meal.  I’m sure most of their food ended up on the floor.

Wireless internet access  is available in the room.  It’s a small fee for the service if you aren’t an Elite member.  Fortunately, we have the Elite membership.  The Long Beach resort is in a beta testing of resortnet 2 which allows wireless access without requiring the resortnet box that other resorts use.  We found it simple to use and reliable throughout our stay.

Phone service around the peninsula was good, except for data access.  Even with Verizon mobile, we weren’t able to connect with either 3G or 4G service, so we had no mobile data access except when in our room.

The resort has direct beach access. It’s located right at one of the main beach access road in Long Beach.  You have to cross about 100 yards of beach grass before you get to the sand, but there are no other properties between the resort and the beach.

It’s also got close access to the boardwalk that borders the beach area from the city of Long Beach.

Then on the other side of the resort, it’s only about 3 blocks to the main street of town where all the  shops and restaurants are located.  We couldn’t have asked for more convenience to all the activities.

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Scoopers – Long Beach, WA

Scooper's Ice Cream
Scooper's Ice Cream
Actually, 64 ice cream flavors.

Sometimes we like to stop for ice cream or frozen yogurt – ok, frequently, we love to eat frozen desserts.  Our trip to Long Beach was no exception.

While strolling downtown along the main strip, we came across a place called Scoopers.  Their sign out front boasted 48 flavors of ice cream.

“That’s a lot of flavors!” I thought. “I’m sure I’ll find something I like.

Upon entering the shop, we were engulfed by the aroma of sugar.  “Mmmmm.”  They have a glassed in counter full of chocolates.  They carry a good variety of fudge.  They also sell espresso drinks.  All this was very tempting, but we were in the mood for ice cream, so we made our way past all that.

I learned that the sign out front was a little misleading.  They actually had 64 flavors.  The have a diverse selection of Alpenrose brand ice cream.  I ordered a scoop of their Mt. Mazama Mint Fudge (I’m partial to chocolates).  Oh, boy!  It was amazing.

Their prices were reasonable.  A one scoop bowl was $3.50 and two scoops were $4.75.  My wife and I, being the frugal shoppers that we are, ordered a 2 scooper and shared it, instead of each having our own bowl.  That workaround saved us $2.25.

Later, I had the opportunity to speak with the owner of Scoopers.  He shared that the business began as a corner Standard Oil/Chevron service station in 1928.  They continued to sell gasoline until 2003, when they decided that they couldn’t compete with the likes of Costco and Safeway.

He maintains that they have 3rd generation visitors who stop by whenever they visit the Long Beach area.  Well, you can add me to the list of vacationers who will return to Scoopers on the next trip to Long Beach.