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18 August, 2010

Backroads: 542

Route 542 runs east, not far south of the Canadian border, from Bellingham to Mount Baker. That must be why they call it Mount Baker Highway. I have yet to reach the terminus, but it is one of those rare roads that ends. Not at a T, not by melding into another route, but by going as far as it can go, dropping dead from exhaustion in the mountains.

From the Bellingham end, it's no backroad. Many lanes, stoplights, sprawlburbs. Then farms. Then woods and cool little towns like Maple Falls and Glacier. The latter is my destination tonight after work, to see Cracker play at a bar that is guarded by at least one monkey.

Driving into the country, away from the lights and crowds and conveniences that soothe civilization, it is pretty common to see outcroppings of religion. Churches clinging to rural byways (quiet now, but destined to be fortified checkpoints in the endtimes), splinter churches occupying the husks of failed enterprises, exhortations to praise Jesus and fear his angry old dad.

542 is pretty mellow as far as that goes. The churches don't look too scary, and the signs are pretty nice, a break from the waytoomanywordsononesignbecausetheLordhasamessageandIcannoteditbecauseicanbarelyread syndrome, or the heartfelt but poorly rendered signs that cry out whereever there is a heart of darkness.

It should come as not surprise that my stop at the bible camp was only long enough to get a photo of the sign, whereas I was inspired to stop and spend some time at the beer shrine. I love Creation, but don't mind fermenting it a bit to see if it gets better. Harkening back to monastic tradition (but jettisoning the flagellation and silence, as far as I could tell), these people brew and bake. As I sat at the bar, a devotee extolled the virtues of this and other northwest brews, and planned a pilgrimage to other such places as far south as the Bay of San Francisco, south of which are heathens who do not worship hops.

There is more to this road, and more I may write, but now is the time to hit that road, follow it up the Nooksack a ways, and attend my church (nature) in search of revelation (long-forgotten human settlements).


  1. That sounds like not the end, but the beginning, of your road. Emerging from the mountains to roam, fresh and green until it grows a little older, a little wider, a little farther into "civilication". Its terminus sounds like its nativity, to me. The navel of the road! I bet Stay More knows where a road begins ...

  2. civiliZation, that is ...