Knowing of our love of baked goods, my friend Teri, a lifelong Washington State resident until a recent move to Utah, suggested that Barry and I might want to pay a visit to Black Diamond Bakery in tiny Black Diamond, Washington.
When I checked it out on google maps, it turned out to be eminently bikeable from our hotel in the small town of Pacific, south of Seattle. Total mileage one way was around 17, and there would be a big climb into Black Diamond, which would earn us some goodies.
Here was our approximate route.
After riding through the charming downtown of Auburn (photos on the return trip), we were soon in the rural Green River valley east of the city on SE Green Valley Road, pedaling by tidy farms and beautiful trees. Everything was, as the road name said, green and verdant -- pure pastoral perfection. And the road was nice and flat as well. Since I still didn't have a replacement camera for the old one I broke in Coeur d'Alene and Barry was not in a picture-taking mood that morning, we didn't get any photos of this leg of the trip, but suffice it to say, it was lovely.
Until we hit the left turn on 218th Avenue SE.
Barry is a crazy-good hill climber and, although he started behind me as he did a little extra bit in the flats, he quickly caught and passed me. I had to stop three times, I think it was, just to catch my breath and allow my heart rate to fall back into a normal range. I would have needed several more low gears than what I have to get up that one without stopping! But finally, I crested the hill and knew the worst was over.
When we got to the edge of Black Diamond, we saw Mount Rainier for the first time. In all the clouds of the previous few days, we had not had a chance to see it; or, as the locals say, "the mountain was not out". Today it was, in all its glory. We made the mistake of venturing into the edge of a construction site to try to get a photo and got chased out by one of the truck drivers working there, who gave us a stern lecture. That kind of of cast a pall on the day for awhile -- we really hate to get in trouble, and all we wanted was a photo, not to steal anything. Oh well.
We continued on to the bakery and found it easily. Deciding what to buy was a bit more difficult!
It was all good, but the highlight of our visit was the view from the patio. Yep, the mountain was indeed out today. Breathtaking, isn't it?!
Leaving the bakery, we stopped briefly at the old railroad depot and checked out a memorial to fallen Washington State coal miners.
Then we turned around to head back down down down the steep hill. This direction was a lot more fun, as you might imagine.
I made Barry stop and take a photo of these incredible blue hydrangeas dripping over the road as we headed back into Auburn.
We picked up the Interurban Trail for the short distance between Auburn and Pacific. Love the wildflowers!
And right along the trail, we caught some more glimpses of magnificent Mt. Rainier. We couldn't believe it had been lurking behind the clouds right there for the past several days, as we'd taken this stretch of trail several times before with no sign of it. I can't get over how surreal it looks rising up above the evergreens -- like a painted backdrop.
Barry put in a few more miles on the bike after dropping me off at the hotel, and here are a couple of cool things he saw.
For dinner we checked out a colorful little Mexican place, El Tajin, less than a mile down the Interurban Trail at the edge of Auburn. Cute, cheap, and authentic, and we could walk there. Perfecto!
I only eat pork once in a blue moon, but I splurged on these delicious tacos. Four for 5 bucks, and loaded with fresh sweet onion and cilantro. Yummmmmmm!
Barry went hog -- er, chicken -- wild and got a full chicken enchilada dinner -- I think it cost all of $6.50. We already had the guac and salsa in our hotel fridge so were able to make a great meal of it.
Stay tuned as we point our four wheels (our car, this time) eastward and head towards our next destination, Walla Walla!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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