Monday, November 28, 2016

Completion of the Cascade Loop: Winthrop, Wenatchee, Leavenworth to Everett

One of the many rides completed this summer of our year 2016.

We completed the first leg of the loop on Highway 20 over the North Cascade National Park from Everett to Winthrop 2 days before. After spending a day wondering through this small eastern Washington town we take off to complete the loop.  

Winthrop my boyhood hunting grounds.   It used to be a sleepy cow and hunting town but in the course of 35 plus years it has been yuppified.   It is now a tourist destination filled with rafters, mountain bikers and believe it or not motorcyclist.  It seems that this ride we are on has a name the Cascade Loop and from the amount of bikers that we see it seems pretty popular.  

Now we must finish it up riding from Winthrop to Wenatchee then over the Cascades this time via Highway 2, back to Everett.  So after fixing a seat malfunction on Terri's motorcycle it is off to Twisp a short 8 miles south for breakfast at the Branding Iron Cafe.

This is a ride following a bunch of rivers.  The Methow, then the Columbia and finally the Wenatchee.  With long slow turns that eat up the miles through rough mountainous desert country it is a kaleidoscope of scenery. We pass through Wenatchee on are way to lunch in Leavenworth following the Wenatchee River.  Leavenworth is an old world German Village so we have a Wurst and German Potato Salad Lunch.

We are now back in the Cascades making our way to Stevens Pass and the long downhill to Everett.  Its a series of small mountain towns before we make it back to where we started another Washington State Motorcycle Adventure completed.

Friday, November 4, 2016

The National D-Day Memorial

One of the best stops this summers motorcycle trip was the National D-day Memorial in Bedford Virginia.  Traveling from Tennessee to Pennsylvania through Virginia I found this unplanned gem.  Riding through the Virginia Country Side to get to this memorial was an unforgettable experience.  A memorial to the greatest battle of World War II.  The invasion of continental Europe the Normandy Landings was the pivotal battle that returned freedom to Europe.  The Memorial is completely funded through private donations organized by D-day Veterans themselves.

Some people say why Bedford?  Well here is the answer; “Bedford’s population in 1944 was about 3,200. Proportionally this community suffered the nation's severest D-Day losses. Recognizing Bedford as emblematic of all communities, large and small, whose citizen-soldiers served on D-Day, Congress warranted the establishment of the National D-day Memorial here."  24 of 34 soldiers from Bradford were killed during the D-Day Invasion inspiring the movie saving Private Ryan.

The memorial is a remarkable place on a grand in scale.  “The memorial is a continuum of three distinct plazas which follow on a time line. The first plaza, Reynolds's Garden, symbolizes the planning and preparation activities for the invasion through the execution of the order for the invasion. It is in the shape of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force combat patch. The second level, Gray Plaza, reflects the landing and fighting stages of the invasion. It includes what is called the invasion pool with beach obstacles in the water, sculptures of soldiers struggling ashore, and a representation of the Higgins craft used for the invasion. This section includes intermittent jets of water spurting from the pool replicating the sights and sounds of sporadic gunfire. The names of the United States' losses appear on the west necrology wall of the central plaza, the rest of the Allies' losses on the east necrology wall. In the spirit of Dwight D. Eisenhower's one-team command philosophy for the AEF, no other distinctions are made.  The last and uppermost plaza, Estes Plaza, celebrates victory and includes the Overlord Arch and the twelve flags of those Allied nations that served in the Allied Expeditionary Force. The Overlord Arch represents the victory of Operation Overlord and bears the invasion date of June 6, 1944 in its height at 44 feet.”

In today’s world of self it is hard to imagine such sacrifice.  It is a tribute to the greatest generation who sacrificed so much and asked for so little.   The memorial is a small enduring testament to the 9000 Allied Forces that died during this fateful operation.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

It's Halloween: Time to Relive the Everett Massacre

Isn't Halloween a great a time to reflect on the scariest times in our past.  I'm in Everett Washington helping my son out by watching our grandson, when I noticed these fliers around town.  The Everett Massacre was a major event in Northwest history.   I was completely clueless about this event even though I grew up across the bay on Whidbey Island.,

It's Halloween and dead dock workers are roaming the streets looking for revenge for that fateful day on 5 November 1916.  On that day 5 longshoremen and 2 Policemen were killed while getting off  the boat here on the Everett docks.  It seems the police didn't take to kindly to 300 Stevedores sailing up from Seattle to protest the hiring of nonunion workers.  They refused to let them land and when they tried to step off the boat a gun battle erupted,   Almost lost to history it seems that the city wants to relive this infamous past on a day so close to Halloween.

So on a rainy Halloween night in Everett near the waterfront it is easy to imagine this gun battle happening and the repercussion that it had throughout the Northwest.  In the faint light you can see the dead wondering the streets.  Good thing they only want candy.