Trains, planes, and automobiles – and motorcycles
No trains, actually, but I could not resist the title.
There’s an annual “fly-in” of mostly vintage planes at a small airport behind Concrete Highschool on Highway 20. I am not all that fascinated by planes, but some of my friends are, and it is a great ride there and back.
Six of us met up at the usual I-5 rest area just north of Smokey Point, and we would join Bellingham resident Rick at the event. We featured three BMWs, one Honda, one Kawasaki, and my faithful Triumph Bonneville.
The day started well at the rest area, as an Austin Healey club had also paused. One of their members strolled over and handed out small candies in wrappers to each of us, for a reason I did not catch. All the better for me, as three of my friends did not want theirs and later gave them to me. Great!
In addition, friend Marv had recently scored some leather gloves on a local no buy, no sell social media group. None of them fit him and he was looking to give them away. One or two pair for Donna, and two pair for me!
Then it was up Highway 9, and then east on Day Creek Road to the old Skagit highway and a lovely romp of 25 miles or so. North at the T to Concrete and we were there. A bigger event than previous editions I have attended, so my plane enthusiast friends were very happy. Rick even brought a folding chair on his Ducati Multi-Strada so he could sit by the runway and watch various iterations trundle by, land, an/or take off. Lots of food vendors on hand, so I supported the local Lions club with a burger, fries, and a can of pop.
There was also a small car show, but the coolest vehicle there was a recumbent bicycle. We had passed the rider/driver on the old highway and had a chance to talk to him. It had two wheels about a third of the way back and a third at the rear, enclosed in an extremely sleek body. What I thought were “aero humps” at the front to cover the wheels were actually there to provide room for his knees when pedaling. It had three different gear changes and some unimaginable number of speeds. The owner had great tales of catching groups of riders on “normal” bicycles and passing them with ease and pedaling ahead, no matter how hard they tried to keep up. It was spectacular.
Now for the unexplored part. There was a bigger car show in Lyman (maybe), a small town I had never heard of. Turns out there are several towns between 20 and the Skagit River, most of them obviously much smaller than in times past.
I found Hamilton-Lyman road, which none of us had ever ridden. To find a road that neither Marv or I have ridden in three quarters of a century of combined local riding is rare! After getting just a tad lost in what turned out to be Hamilton, we came to an intersection where a left turn would lead us to Lyman. True, my cell phone in the tank bag could have made things more direct, but what fun would that be?
Across the street was an amazing building. A solid three-story block of concrete with no windows, now obviously no longer in use. At the top, large concrete letters proclaimed it to be the Hamilton Gymnasium. I imagine it would have been the pride of the community when it first opened. The high school basketball games, theater productions, dances, concerts – it must have realty been something. Turns out it was built in 1930.
A few miles west we came to Lyman, and it was easy to find the car show. Fellow car nut Bob and I toured the three blocks with astonishingly cool stuff parked on both sides of the street, while our friends relaxed on a bench and waited patiently for us. When we returned, I had a nice chat with a fellow who had purchased a brand-new Bonneville in 1969 – the very model the Triumph boffins tried so hard to replicate, with all the modern stuff hidden, on my 2016. He paid $1,300 for his in 1969. Mine cost about ten times more.
Eventually we rode away and returned to Hiway 20 and then south from Sedro-Wooley on 9 and a pleasant ride home.
Copyright 2019 David Preston