Friday, January 29, 2010


I’ve done a fair amount of work travel around the state recently. For me it means hours behind the wheel watching the country side roll by. Some of my friends are reaching that threshold where they‘d rather not drive long distances, or are unwilling to roll much after dark. I’m not there yet. I’ve done this a lot in my life, and I think I am still fairly good at it, though it has different effects now. (mostly I’m stiffer when I get to where I am going). It’s not just gas that gets me around, caffeine is always involved.

As I was on my way back to the rainy side of the mountains earlier today I was treated to an abundance of nature’s bounty. I lost count of the red tailed hawks I noticed perched on fence posts, power poles, and other vantage points. There were bald eagles along the Cowlitz waiting for the spawner buffet to arrive. There were elk herds and goose flocks, and the ubiquitous blue heron if you knew where to look. Once down off White Pass I stopped (as I almost always do during business hours) at a little place that has treated me and my friends very well over the years.

Butter Butte Coffee, in Randle Packwood WA is a small upscale (by Packwood standards) coffee spot just off the highway. Jeb, the owner was there and I took a little time out to chat (and to unbend the stiff joints). No surprise that there was the local coffee klatch (elderly fellows in wool, wind breakers, and ball caps) lounging leisurely around a table enjoying plain good coffee.

I always stop as much to keep in touch as for the excellent Java. Butter Butte has in the past opened their doors at ridiculously early hours on a summer Saturday morning to provide my club mates and me a place to get a bite and a hot cuppa before starting out on some of our favorites brevets. The one that has become legend is the Three Volcanoes 300. I let Jeb know that we are hopeful to ride that route again this summer, provided the mountain roads fare the winter’s ravages. I didn’t ask him to follow suit, and he didn’t offer but I let him know we’d be in touch in advance if the plan came to fruition. It cannot be an easy task to keep a boutique coffee shop afloat in a small unincorporated community.

Are there places you frequent while on a bike, places that welcome you? Be sure to express your gratitude from time to time.


  1. Isn't it in Packwood? Great place!

  2. Ummm .... yup Packwood. You know, when you go trundling through those megalopolises (like NYC, Philly and DC) they tend to run together in the mind.

  3. Dear Paul,

    For me (and a few in Northern Colorado), that oasis was the Livermore store at "The Forks". It closed for a year (managment turmoil), and left two (actually, both) of my approved permanents without the linchpin of one of the routes, and a welcome break on the other. I was happy to see it reopen this fall, not least because it meant that I didn't have to ride/drive up the night before to cache water for my riders. Even if I don't actually need anything, I always stop by, pick something up, and thank the counter help (these days, one of the owners).

    thank you for the reminder.

    Best Regards,


    William M. deRosset
    RUSA 2401