Acme - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

July 12, 2020

Acme

An update on the Croatia Project

We aced the next two steps of the Croatia Project today.  We completed our remaining accomodation bookings this morning and then left for our bike ride.  When we returned, we rushed through the tedious process of completing the travel announcement form - a slow process that required us to add details for all 25 bookings, including the name, street address and dates for each.  

And we survived a scare, one that occurred to me while biking home from the ride: we didn’t bring our passports to Bellingham with us, and needed our passport numbers to complete the form.  I was weighing whether it was worth driving back to Portland to get them from storage or just wait a month to submit the form, but luckily we found them on our previously submitted application for Global Entry membership - a program that will give us expedited entry at the border - if we ever manage to complete the membership process, and if we ever manage to escape our borders again.

We managed to complete and submit the form just before dinnertime and then rushed off to d’Anna’s, the lovely small Italian restaurant we ate at almost two weeks ago.  While waiting for our meal we checked our email and were pleased to pull up the automated response to our submission, which looks very encouraging.

Very encouraging. Good so far!
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Over an excellent meal, we discussed next steps.  It doesn’t look like more will be forthcoming from Croatia, so we think it must be time to begin looking at flights.  Perhaps tomorrow.  First though, let’s savor this terrific spread:

Pancetta brandy chicken: Pancetta, chicken, shallots, and mushrooms are sautéed, then tossed with tender peas in a delicate brandy cream sauce over cavatappi pasta.
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Manicotti Siciliana: House ground pork shoulder mixed with our signature blend of spices are paired with sautéed celery, onion, garlic, and fresh baby spinach and mixed with a blend of Italian cheeses. Wrapped in homemade pasta, baked in our marinara and covered in melted cheese.
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Ron SuchanekThat looks delicious!
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4 days ago

Back at the room, we fill in the hour until time to watch the next episode of our current miniseries (Professor T, a mind-bending murder procedural starring the Professor, a brilliant but uniquely disturbed individual) by checking the latest news.  The latest news is unhappy: just today, Croatia tightened down its entry requirements in response to an upsurge in Covid-19 cases.  The response we received is already out of date.  If we go, we need to present evidence of a negative test taken within 48 hours of arrival, or self-quarantine for 14 days.

Discouraging, and reason enough to stall off hunting for flights until the last minute to see how things develop.  In the meantime we’ll research how difficult it is to get tested at the last minute and get results back the same day, but we don’t feel optimistic.

Today’s ride

Today’s ride was a loop from home, starting out southeast on the one remaining exit south we haven’t taken yet: the road along the south shore of Lake Whatcom.  Whatcom is a long, narrow, fjordlike lake with rugged high ground hemming it in on both sides.  It’s a scenic ride through a tunnel of green, with occasional glimpses of the lake on the left and some striking rocky outcrops on the right.  Narrow, twisting and generally shoulderless, it doesn’t quite satisfy our safety criteria even though the traffic load is fairly light.  It’s a relief when we finally round the lake’s south end twelve miles later, and an even bigger relief when we find a pet-a-potato at a boat launch coming up the other side.

Looking across the south end of Lake Whatcom.
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High above Lake Whatcom, stopping to change batteries in the GPS.
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Looking north from the extreme south end of the lake. We’re only looking at a short expanse here - most of it is around a dogleg to the left.
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Leaving the lake finally, we cross a low saddle and drop into the upper end of the Samish Valley and intersect Highway 9, the Mount Baker Highway.  We bike north on the highway for about 20 miles, all the way to Nugent’s Corner.  The highway follows the Nooksack River through a pretty, narrow valley, passing through a series of tiny towns and settlements.  We stop at the largest of them, Acme, and eat lunch sitting on a wall across from the general store before continuing on.  It’s a pretty  road, and there’s a good shoulder most of the way; but it is a highway.  Today, Sunday, there’s a fair amount of weekend tourist traffic; but I wonder how it would be during the week and if we’d be sharing the road with logging trucks roaring past our shoulder.

I’ve got mixed feelings about the ride as a whole, really.  I doubt we’ll repeat it, as neither the ride along Lake Whatcom nor the long stretch up the amount Baker Highway were as relaxing as we’d hoped.

But maybe I’m just in a sour mood, brought down a bit by the discouraging news from Croatia.  So spoiled!

Eastbound on Park Road, crossing over from Lake Whatcom to Samish Valley.
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A cut above the usual bottle tree, Park Road.
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Mount Shuksan tries to peek through as we bike up the Mount Baker Highway.
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Lunch stop, Acme. A surprisingly interesting little community. I especially like this mural commemorating the old stage line that connected the towns along this valley many decades ago.
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Traveling in style on the road less traveled.
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Pets welcome, but please no goats.
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Jen GrumbyThe driver's narration "shall not be infused with profanities."

... I wonder if the driver was at least able to say, "Oh, foop!" when he discovered the passenger that smuggled on the goat.?
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3 weeks ago
In Acme. We’d like to travel here in better times, when we’d feel comfortable stopping in all these little country stores and poking around.
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Chevy hubcap, Acme.
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The community center, Van Zandt.
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In Van Zandt: a former church, now a woodworking shop.
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The north fork of the Nooksack.
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Bethany Chapel, Nugent’s Corner.
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The view east from Smith Road.
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Video sound track: Where Can I Go Without You, by Keith Jarrett

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Ride stats today: 48 miles, 2,200’

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Carolyn van HoeveHi Scott & Rachael,
Well I for one am cheering on your quest for Croatia. We're all desperately needing to dive vicariously into a cycling tour of Europe. Fingers crossed for you. Surely to god your dangerous orange monster from hell won't be voted in again. It seems like he's crucifying himself at every turn. Here's hoping for that also!
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3 weeks ago
Jen GrumbyTwo opportunities to say "Oh Foop!" in one post.

Sorry to read this latest wrinkle in the Croatia plan!

If there were a supreme location in which to quarantine and you could figure out the logistics of it all, would you consider that option?

If there were a lab with reliably predictable timing for test results, I suppose that option could work(?)

We know someone here that got tested recently and they told her results would take 5-7 days and it actually took 3 or 4 days.
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyYou’ll be interested to know that I remembered how ‘foop’ made its way into my vocabulary. It’s from a spoonerism of one fell swoop, I think from a comic strip or Mad Magazine. One swell foop is a big improvement, don’t you think?

At this point, all options are on the table but Croatia is still the goal. In fact, we’re looking at adjusting our plans over the coming weeks and leaving in mid-August instead and staying in Croatia longer, assuming we can still get in. We’ve contacted Kaiser, and it sounds like we can schedule a test and have results back in 24-48 hours, delivered electronically. So that’s promising, if it holds up.

So, lots of research still. Can we enter with results shipped electronically, for example? And if we enter quarantine because they aren’t available yet, can we get out once our (presumably negative) results come through?
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Carolyn van HoeveThanks, Carolyn. I’m feeling guardedly optimistic that we’ll be going to Croatia soon and that the country will come to its senses this fall, but then optimism to the point of stupidity has been my calling card for a long time.
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3 weeks ago