Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thoughts from the Road

We are on vacation this week.  It just so happens that it was necessary for me to bring my motorcycle on this vacation.  This is a distinct blessing as there are some fantastic spots to ride in the area.  Yesterday  I went on a road trip.  I left Birch Bay and went south through Bellingham onto Highway 11 which takes you through a State Park and out to the coast.  This is not a 'beach road'.  It's a high twisty, up and down kind of ride.  It's absolutely beautiful. 

I left Highway 11 and went across country towards 'Farm to Market' road where I eventually picked up highway 20.  Highway 20 took me to Whidbey Island where I crossed over 'Deception Pass'.  The bridge is 180 feet above the water and is 976 feet long.  A thick fog had rolled in about the same time that I arrived and there wasn't much to see.  Not to mention that I'm not a great fan of narrow high bridges to begin with....

I did some quick research into the name when I got back. Wiki tells me that the it was given it's name because it appeared to be the entrance to a bay rather than an actual pass.  Deception is about hiding secrets.  Hiding is hard work.  It's better to live with no secrets and have nothing to hide.

I stopped for lunch in Oak Harbour.  Oak Harbour is home to Whidbey Naval Air Station.  I would have loved a tour but I don't think the US Military offers tours of air bases.   I would have really loved the opportunity to ride my bike down the runway or at least on the road beside the runway like Tom Cruise did in Top Gun but I had to leave that for another day.

After Oak Harbour, I headed south on 20 for Clinton and took the ferry to Everett. I met another biker on the ferry and we had a good visit as we crossed the water.  He led me to I-5 and this is where things got interesting.  Traffic volumes were heavy and it wasn't long before I was crawling along thinking, 'what is that smell?'.  It smelled like something was rotting and decaying.  100 meters in front of me was a garbage truck.  He was in the centre lane and upwind (and it was warm) so it really didn't matter where you went, you caught the smell of Everett garbage.  It's not a great impression for a city.  'Drive on our Freeway.  Smell our Garbage!' is hardly a good tourism slogan.  As soon as I got past the truck and could breathe freely again, I started thinking about the smells that we leave behind us.  (No... not THOSE smells...)

Our lives are meant to be a fragrance.  To give off a beautiful scent that is as attractive as a rose garden.  Sadly, our scent isn't always sweet.  Sometimes it reeks of bitterness, anger or a distinct sense of 'betterness'.  At the end of the day, it's only as my life is transformed into the beauty of what God intended it to be that it becomes a sweet fragrance to all around me. Many years ago, a former pastor was leaving for Africa.  As he hugged me his last words were 'Stay Sweet'.  There are days I smell sweet and there are days I give off a horrible stench.  I try for sweetness but my garbage truck experience has strengthened my resolve to work harder at sweetness.

Having cleared the air at Everett, I pressed north to Burlington where I stopped at Cycle Barn and the nearby Starbucks.  Free wifi and a coffee after a browse through a motorcycle shop makes for a great way to finish the day.

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