Another late start but who cares. We refined our loading and it went pretty quickly. The travel guitar is also secured better but I do have a plan to improve it a bit. We had coffee and a breakfast scone in Packwood, very good. The place is named Josie's I think but I'm not sure. It seems they are big bicycle fans. Lynn was bundled up again. The plan was to head back up into Rainier NP and then east through Longmire and Paradise, loop around then down to Spirit Lake and Mt St Helens. From there we would head back west and find a place to stay. We got skunked, the road to Longmire was closed 10 miles from the entry gate so we turned around. We pulled over near the gate and spoke to Bill and Madeline, a local couple riding GSAs . They told us to take the route through Randle then to the Windy Ridge Lookout. So not skunked after all. MC riders are great. A fairly flat ride to Randle then onto FR 25. Paved, good shape, and twisty. We turned onto FR 99 towards Windy Ridge. Skunked again! The gate was closed and locked. We turned around and pulled into the adjacent rest area and struck up a conversation with Bernie and his orange 990 bike. He was also pretty bummed about the gate being closed. He told us he and some friends are planing a Colorado ride in August so we started talking places to see. We spent about 20 minutes. Bernie took off and we screwed around a minute or two more. Then I heard yelling through the trees coming from the area with the locked gate but I could not make it out. We finally wheeled around and out of the lot. I looked up hill to my right and Whaaaaa? The gate was open! Now it made sense - it must have been Bernie yelling to let us know it was open. Again - not skunked. Had we not run into Bernie and spent some time we would have left and missed St Helens today. The road was narrow and twisty. A bit of temporarily repaired winter road damage in places. And spectacular. Trees and vistas. Like Colorado but different. I would like to come back and ride it on 2 wheels sometime. We reached the first overlook. The whole side of the caldera blew out May 18, 1980. 40 years ago. If you remember, it was a real life BFD. I was living in Denver then and like much of North America we had fine ash on our cars for several days as the plume spread east. Some of the forest has come back naturally and some with replanting. We rode back down to FR 25 and turned towards Cougar, WA. It was 60+ miles of twisty roads and glimpses of Swift Reservoir. It was a real workout horsing the rig through all those turns. Lynn is helping on the right handers by leaning into the turns. I need to show her side sidecar racing videos so she can refine her technique. My arms and shoulders were tired by the end of the 135 mile day but that will get better. We checked into the Lone Fir Resort in Cougar at about 6 o'clock. Yale Lake is across the road and we have a nice cabin. I made a new friend here He seems OK with the restaurant here using his name for their Yeti Burger. We will head towards Olympic National Park tomorrow. Unless we do something different. There are lava tubes in the area one can visit and lave tubes are cool.