Birch Bay - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

July 2, 2020

Birch Bay

We hadn’t really expected to get a ride in at all today, but when I look out the window this morning I’m surprised to see the world outside look dry and surprisingly pleasant.  Checking the report, I’m pleased to see that it’s due to stay dry for most of the day, with rain due to roll in by late afternoon and hang around through tomorrow.  Not wanting to miss our best chance for the next two days, we rush through breakfast and our morning coffee and leave our new home by 9.

It looks quite nice out this morning. Let’s ride!
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In the back alley behind our new home. We have a parking spot here on the alley, but it’s an incredibly tight fit and very difficult to back out and make the bend. It’s a good thing we came with a compact car, or we’d never manage it.
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It’s comfortably cool when we start out for Birch Bay.  There’s a decent breeze, maybe 10 mph, that will persist throughout the day.  It’s in our favor as we bike northwest toward the coast, but we anticipate a chilly ride home.

It’s becoming a Team Anderson tradition to show up in Bellingham in July.  This is the fourth July in a row now.  In 2017 we touched down here at the end of a short four day tour from Seattle to Bellingham.  In 2018 we were back again, this time with the Jetta, bound for a month-long tour of interior BC and the Canadian Rockies.  On that tour we stopped off here and celebrated our 30th anniversary with a day ride to Birch Bay very much like today’s route; and last summer we were here again, bound for Portland on our way back from Victoria.

The ride from Bellingham to Birch Bay is a beautiful ride, one I’m sure we’ll repeat again before we leave here.  We could really pretty happily ride it every week, so maybe we’ll be out here again on our anniversary next week.  Today it’s grey but pleasant, but hopefully we’ll get to see it with a bit of sun before we leave.

Here we go again! We’re approaching the Nooksack, anxious to see what good stuff Hank is offering. It’s the 4th of July weekend, we’re near the Lummi reservation, and Hank’s is one of a dozen or more fireworks stands we’ll pass in the coming miles.
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Crossing the Nooksack.
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There was a small flock of cedar waxwings, perhaps two dozen of them, hanging out on the log jam in the Nooksack below the bridge. I love their sharp facial mask. Like the Lone Ranger. Like our Fearless Leader.
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Jen GrumbyGreat capture of that yellow tail!
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1 month ago
On Ferndale Road, northbound across the fertile Nooksack delta.
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At the Lummi firework shopping mall. In addition to a dazzling array of pyrotechnics, they also feature a welcome row of port-a-potties (amusingly, when I first keyed that in it was spell corrected to pet-a-potato).
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Jacquie GaudetI've always seen it spelled "porta-potties". My MacBook has underlined that, though, like I've spelled it incorrectly. So, before posting, I checked in my Canadian Oxford Dictionary and I win. Mac is wrong.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Jacquie GaudetYou’re right, but I think I’ll still call them pet-a-potatos from here on out.
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1 month ago
Jen GrumbyPet-a-potato, Foop .. I think when you reach 7 we'll have to request a Collection of CycleBlaze Andersonisms!
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyAndersonism? Isn’t that a paleologism?

I’m thinking there could be a whole family of new words for special outhouses: ones built of stone: petr-a-potato; ones high up with a view: pent-a-potato; ones crawling with vermin: pest-a-potato; ones with fur lined toilet seats: pelt-a-potato. What do you think?
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1 month ago
Suzanne GibsonTo Scott AndersonWhat about peel-a-potato, or is that the kitchen...
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Suzanne GibsonNo, that would never do. It has a long E, and obviously doesn’t fit the pattern.
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1 month ago
Jen GrumbyTo Scott AndersonYou're on to something here .. a new portable john company with a relief station for every occasion and/or mood!
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1 month ago
Ron SuchanekI do like the track you're all on. However, with apologies in advance, I was thinking Dump-a-Trump, or the Donnie Dropper.
Too earthy?
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1 month ago
Rachael AndersonTo Ron SuchanekI love it! I vote for Dump-a-Trump which is want I wish we could do right now!
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1 month ago
We’re not in the market today, but if we were I’m sure we’d give our business to Ceona. Who can resist Illegal as Hell Fireworks?
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On the flats the corn crop is just getting started, and is only about as high as a Welsh corgi’s eye. We’ll keep track of its progress over the coming month.
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Last week, in the clover; today it’s the beans.
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Some pinks.
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Andrea BrownI love this.
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1 month ago
Barn and bale.
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Why would this shed be elevated? Flood protection? Rats?
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Jacquie GaudetProbably cheaper than building a concrete foundation wall. Wood in contact with the ground has this awkward tendency to rot unless it's pumped full of preservatives.
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1 month ago
A beautiful home. We don’t see many stone structures in this part of the world.
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Slow motion disappearing act.
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Such a graceful poser! We watched in amazement as this creature slowly sidled its way up the road in our direction. I finally got a bit anxious about it and thought we should carefully work our way past.
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On the BP refinery reserve at Cherry Point we enjoy a couple of miles like this, open only to foot and bicycle traffic.
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Fireweed and ocean spray, on the BP refinery reserve.
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Bill ShaneyfeltNice! If you get hungry, you can eat fireweed.

https://medium.com/invironment/wild-edibles-fireweed-is-everywhere-8ea22e6d0a0e#:~:text=It's%20called%20%E2%80%9Cfireweed%E2%80%9D%20because%20after,and%20quite%20tasty%20wild%20edible!&text=The%20shoots%20can%20be%20cooked,sweet%2C%20and%20very%20mildly%20astringent.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltGood to know! I haven’t got much of a sense of taste, so I like spicy cuisine.
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1 month ago
Approaching the coast on the BP refinery reserve. The best miles of an already fine ride.
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About twenty five miles later we arrive at the bay, pick out a quiet picnic bench, and eat our lunch looking across the water.  It’s still cool, breezy, and a bit early in the day for lunch, but this is the obvious best spot for our break.  We don’t stay long though, and are soon working our way back home.

So far, we’ve had a terrific half ride.  We don’t really care so much for the ride back though, particularly after reaching Ferndale.  From there we cross the Nooksack walking the sidewalk across the narrow, busy, unpleasant Main Street Bridge and then bike south on the west bank of the river.  There’s a decent shoulder the whole way, but it’s not really an inspiring ride.  We’ll just stick to the west side in the future.

Lunch stop in Birch Bay State Park, Looking across to Point Roberts. Very quiet today.
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Our only nearby companions are a few gulls hunting for clams, which they then drop onto the rocks from about thirty feet up before swooping down again for a small snack.
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Herons, Birch Bay.
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Video sound track: Fill Me Up, by Shawn Colvin

For dinner we head down to D’Anna’s Caffe Italiano and enjoy our first real sit down Italian meal since leaving Portland in late March.  Long overdue, very welcome, a safe feeling, and hopefully a place we’ll be able to return to later this month.

Left to right: house-made Gnocchi with pancetta, shiitake mushrooms, tomatoes, spring peas, spinach, and walnuts in a butter sage sauce topped with pecorino romano cheese; and spaghetti puttanesca with hot Italian sausage.
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Ride stats today: 49 miles, 1,500’

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