OK, it's not that big a deal being the first rider across a 1/2 mile stretch of asphalt, but it's a good excuse for a ride. It started out when I got an E-mail from DOT telling me about the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new section over by the town of Nile. Since I never really need a reason to ride across Chinook Pass, and since a bad day of riding beats the heck out of any day at work, the choice was simple. Skip work and head over, which I gladly did, leaving Port Orchard at about the same time I would head out for work. By 07:30 I was up on the pass at Tipsoo Lake, just below the summit. (It's the first time in a long time I have seen the actual lake. Normally it is still buried in snow when I go over.) From there it was smooth sailing all the way down to the town of Nile, so I had some time to kill. Thank my lucky stars that the Woodshed Restaurant was there. It was 40 degrees on the pass, and not much warmer in the valley, so a bit of warming sustenance seemed to be in order. The locals seemed a bit bemused by the fuzz ball that had ridden 150 miles just to be the first rider over a new stretch of road, but they deemed me harmless and wished me luck. As I was getting ready to hop on the bike an head fro the staging are the local news showed up, and upon hearing that they had some idiot who had invested the better part of a tank of fuel and a vacation day just to come over, he saw fit to get me on video, both pontificating and also riding my bike for the camera. Then it was on to the speeches and the reason we were all there. After that we got lined up to head across the new section, and I beat the local riders to the mark and got in place behind a Corvette and a sweet Ford roadster and we were off. (If you saw the KOMO coverage that is my butt going by on the red bike. :secret Then it was back to the pass, down 123, which has been resurfaced and is quite nice, and through Stevens Canyon to Paradise. Not a fast ride, with all the construction and tourist traffic, but worth it just for the sweeping vistas. If you want to take the back way up to Paradise this weekend will be your last chance. They are closing the east entrance to do road work on the 4th.