#88 PNW - Mount Rainier

2007 July 15
207 miles
PNW Trip
Day 8

Day 8 on the road brings me to the kind of scenery I love! Just wait...you'll see what I mean!

Leaving Yakima heading northwest on US12, I ride through Fruitvale, which is much more that just a name! I pass fruit stands, fruit companies, fruit fields...one after another.
Are dem der apples I see on that tree?Lots of fruit crates stacked up in massive hills and hills of crates.
After about 10 miles of Fruitvale Way, US12 takes a left turn and the character of the road starts to change dramatically. The flat fruit fields are left behind and the road starts carving its way through hills as they grow into mountains.
Gone are the fruit trees. Pine trees are now the norm.
Good news about many areas of the West... there is a plentiful supply of campsite outhouses.
These were of the more primitive pit-type, but...
...if you can hold it a bit longer, you can use the "upscale" version with running water.
Just look for these kind of signs that show the way to the relief stations!
The mountains are growing big enough that it seems to be easier to go through them rather than around them!
And what a view, worthy of framing, when you come out on the other side!
We have entered the Rimrock Lake area and ...
...we climb in elevation with every bend of the road. This is still US12...put it on your list of "roads to ride"!
I pull Fleeter over to get a better look at some water falls.
As I walk back up the trail toward Fleeter, I see someone else made a U-turn to come back to check what there was to see.
Meet Laura from De Beque, Colorado. She rides a 1957 Harley...complete with kick-start. We chat on the side of the road for awhile and compare notes on scenic roads. While there, a group of motorcycle riders stop and ask if we needed help. Maybe they thought a 1957 Harley on the side of the road was a sign of distress.... But Laura does her own wrenching and is quite capable of keeping it running. She had just done a carb adjustment (nothing to do with pasta intake) for riding in the higher elevations that morning before getting on the road! Her Harley is well taken care of and keeps her moving down the road just fine.
...But thanks for checking.
You can meet some of the most interesting people when riding across the country on two wheels!
Starting to get high enough to enjoy the cooler weather and see more glimpses of snow.
And as you can see, we're not having to twist our necks upward to see the snow...
There it is ... Mount Rainier! I'm heading that way for a closer look! There won't be any straight roads for a few miles...
Now officially entering Mount Rainier National Park. The excitement builds!
The lower visitor center on the southeast end of the Park provides a stamp collecting opportunity.
Stevens Canyon provides a breathtaking view across the southern base of Mount Rainier and up to the access route for Paradise visitor center at a higher elevation.Look close. Don't miss the water falls in the middle of the photo.Lake Louise When there's this kind of twist in a road, you can bet it will bring quick changes in elevation!
This time it's heading up.
Reflection Lake begs me to stop and reflect upon the natural beauty of the area. I stop, but only for a short time as I am anxious to keep making tracks closer to Mount Rainier.
This is what I'm talking about!
However, trying to describe it would fall short, so I'll let the camera do the talking.
The Cascade Mountains!
Paradise visitor center's location left no speculation on the origin of its name.
This is the view of Mount Rainier from the Paradise VC parking lot.
The clouds only parted long enough to show a glimpse of the top of Mount Rainier.
You had to be paying attention for the chance at a glimpse or you would miss it.
Riding back down, I pass where glaciers used to tread...or flow.Rivers of melted snow have now taken the path carved by glaciers. Back down on level land, the farmers are busy working the land. I ride toward the blue in the sky as the sun sinks low......leaving storm clouds behind as I go. What a perfect day to be astride the Fleeter--- and exploring the Great Northwest!

Tomorrow: I ride to the Pacific!

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