Snoqualmie river valley
Stretching your head over your shoulder you take in the culmination of teamwork and precision; 34 motorcycles flowing gracefully through the slow serpentine pavement in the farming valley of the Snoqualmie River Valley. Taking a slow deep breathe you feel the harmony of riding smoothly as a team and appreciate all the pieces that went together to create this moment and grateful that you pushed through the morning to experience this day.
Asking Google for the temperature as you finish your coffee, an automated voice comes back, “32 degrees”. Brrrr! Should you join the group for a ride? There is often a war with the anticipation for good and the struggle to prepare. This morning is no different, putting on constricting layers of clothes, challenging connections with communication devices, and minutes ticking down pushing you to get on the road to arrive on time are causing moments of frustration and thoughts of bailing on this day. However, you push through with the thought, “life is an adventure and adventures take work”.
As you arrive at Nash Powersports Indian Motorcycle showroom, the atmosphere is contagious, and anticipation fills the air. A banner reading “Happy 60th Birthday” pasted on the side of the building and 80’s rock music in overhead speakers adds to the energy, enthusiasm, and friendliness of the group. Smiles, laughter, and chatter around the bikes flow naturally as a kind eyed fellow biker approaches you with Indian bandana to welcome you to the group. It is amazing how one seemingly small gesture can warm your heart.
You cannot help but compare today with one year ago. When fear, isolation, and self-preservation filled your every thought. Like weathering a violent storm, you step out with some trepidation, but seeing the sunshine and the clear skies, you witness quiet murmurs turning to friendly conversations; isolation being replaced with connectedness. There is hope in the air.
Taking your place in line the engines begin to rumble, this deep encompassing palatable presence of power and unity reminds you of attending a concert where everyone participates in the rhythm of the song that flows through your being, as if one heartbeat. The line proceeds and you are on the road taking your place in this rhythmic journey of community.
The air having lost its crisp bite of winter shines low morning rays on a field of daffodils pushing through the rich soil of the Green Valley. Blanketed horses munch on fresh hay whose sweet odor wafts across the gentle morning air. It is as if the world is waking up. The slow tendrils of distant wood fires prepare make you feel at home.
Ascending out the of the valley the Douglas fir trees become dense, and a damp pungent odor alludes to standing water and the remnants a cold, damp winter. Breaking out of the trees, majestic cobalt foothills with crisp white snow reflect the morning sun. What a sight!
After a break at Snoqualmie Falls, light banter, laughter and directions from the leader and his strategically placed team flow over the intercoms. It reminds you of participating in a river adventure where the leader aptly directs the raft, his rudder man steers the back and carefully placed row-man create a safe bridge in this traveling flow of 34 bikes. The synergy of everyone working together is rewarded by a graceful serpentine trail of bikes through the Snoqualmie River Valley. A bald eagle pair perched high in the trees, fresh plowed fields and muddy trails of a tractor’s movement from one field to the other add to the sense of oneness to this moment.
Culminating the day at the iconic XXX Diner for lunch, you are drawn to the scent of home fries and the sight of massive overflowing milkshakes served in glass steins. This will be a calorie rich day! You chuckle at the posted sign, “Warning! Nothing that you eat or drink here is good for you.” Throwing this caution to the wind, you stand in line, fight your way in to pick up your meal, and gather outside on hard neon orange and canary yellow chipped benches and reflect on the day. With a smile and nod you acknowledge that this day was worth the effort and a hopeful beginning to many more rides to come.