March 27, 2016, DES reporting.
Oh, what a good nights sleep; hurray for N’s Hang Calculator! We were both comfortable and cozy overnight and we woke up to a lovely sunrise over the ocean. I even took a picture of my morning view from the hammock. Just a little peek over the water. Bliss!
Fed, coffeed, struck, and gone. That’s the general theme of the mornings when doing this motorcycle camping thing. This morning we had one of those aforementioned freeze dried meals: eggs and beans. The stuff was actually tasty and filling! Check out the picture in the photo gallery. Funny thing happened after we had packed the bikes. I had just started mine and put up the kickstand when NMBL piped up over the intercom that her load wasn’t fastened down to her satisfaction. As she had attempted to remove one of her fingernails the night before, I heroically jumped to her aid… and dropped my bike. Yep. Down on the gravel. Good thing I have frame sliders. Anyway, after picking my bike and ego up from the ground, I got NMBL’s Rok Straps tightened up and we were off again on the 101.
And we hit wind. It was crazy windy heading in towards the city of Sequim so we pulled into town for a quick coffee at the Hurricane Coffee Company. I had a headache anyway, so riding was a little frustrating. By the way, stop in at the Hurricane. The coffee is fantastic, the baked goods are scrumptious, and the staff is amazing. The one lady who served us even had some Tylenol on hand for my headache woes. They also taught us that Sequim is pronounced “S’quim”. Who knew?!
And after all that time at the Hurricane it was still f*****g windy!
We got back on our bikes, my headache was subsiding, and powered on through the winds. The 101 follows the coastline; as the winds were coming off the water, we were getting hammered from the side. It was gusting like crazy as well. Every once in a while we’d get hit with a big blow across the bow. Keeping good lane position was hard, especially at speed. We managed to make our way into Port Angeles safely and fuel up. At this point, after doing what amounts to an hour or so of yoga trying to keep our bikes rubber-side down in heavy winds, we decide to find a place to eat. We start riding west through town, the clouds close in and it squalls. Rain and wind coming in off of the Pacific. Fun.
A Burger Moment
We had decided that we wanted to get through to Sol Duc Hot Springs that day, so we continued riding out of Port Angeles when we spied a cool little 50’s style diner and motel. The Fairmount Motel and Restaurant (It was a great excuse to get out of the rain that was traveling sideways). With that vintage of diner we were thinking one thing – BURGERS! Boy were we right. The Fairmount is one of those colourful little side-of-the-highway diners that it seems all the locals go to. I wouldn’t have been surprised if our waitress was named Marg. And the burgers did not disappoint. These things were huge, tasty, and combined with a side of very crispy fries. Yum! Check out the pic in the Gallery for the Brontosaurus burger that N ordered.
After wasting more time than we should have at the Fairmount, we got back on our bikes and rode off to Sol Duc. The wind and rain just didn’t let up and, somewhere around Crescent Lake, we hit hail. More like hail hit us. Huzzah. That was a bit of a sketchy ride with the windy road around Crescent Lake. The hail was coming down hard, the wind was still beating us, and the road was a bit slick. Add to that our visors fogging up a bit and you’ve got fun on two wheels! Still, we made it to the Sol Duc turnoff and trundled our way into the campground. We checked in with the campsite host, a great idea that the Washington State Parks have going on, and found a suitable site to hang. It was a wet setup but we were able to keep our bedding dry. This is one of the great things about hammocking; you can set your fly up first and do everything else underneath it while your bed never touches the ground or gets wet. With the gear sling underneath, you can keep your boots and other gear up and out of the water as well.
With camp set up we took a moment to chat with the host who had come by to see how we were getting on. It turns out that we were already known as “The Bikers” by the other campers at the site. We made an impression! The host gave us some good info on the hot springs, open and close times, the best pools, that sort of thing, which helped us decide to head over there that evening for a dip. Natural hot spring water was going to feel great after the day we had in the rain and wind. As an aside, our motorcycle gear held up very well. Mine is a bit newer than N’s so it was performing better. She was starting to get a bit damp under her touring jacket by the time we hit the campsite. Our touring pants were brand new so there were no problems with them.
Back to the hot springs, we got down there, paid, and went into our respective change rooms. I was out in the pools when N came out still fully clothed. She had forgotten her swimsuit. After a discussion and a consequent series of unfortunate events that would have impressed Tim Conway, we went back to the campsite with less soaking than we had anticipated. I did, however, have the presence of mind to buy some beer from the store at the hot springs so the evening was spent trying to keep a fire lit on waterlogged wood and sipping some darned good craft beer. It could have been worse.
The big takeaway here after the series of unfortunate events: I love my wife.