March 28, 2016, DES reporting.
We woke up to ice on our bikes and tarps. Woke up might be the wrong turn of phrase. The cold kept both of us from actually having a good sleep. Fortunately neither of us was damp from the rain/ice as that would have made things worse. Being in a hammock was great but I was having issues with my under-quilt in particular and my feet were freezing as a result, even with wool socks and my good sleeping bag. N suffered from the cold just as much so both of us had a bit of a slow morning. Coffee was a welcome addition to our morning with our little Biolite stove once again performing strong. We were smart enough to have had set aside fuel for it the night before and we were able to get it going without any problems, damp conditions notwithstanding.
Fortunately the weather turned to the sunny side of things. While there was a bit of fog the sun was trying its darnedest to break through. We got packed up after breakfast, had a nice farewell with the campground host, and were on our way. The sun really broke out as we went down the Sol Duc Hot Springs road to the Coastal Highway. There was steam coming off the damp pavement and the river off to the side. It made for a beautiful start to the day’s ride.
Once we got to the highway and started to make our way around Crescent Lake, we got to talking over the intercoms about heading straight back home from there. It would be a long ride but definitely doable. We decided to see how we were doing when we got back to Whidbey Island. If we needed to we could camp there for the night and make our way home first thing in the morning.
Riding back was even nicer than riding in. The wind, rain, and hail aside, there was a lot less traffic heading east along the peninsula than we had run into the day before. Add to that the better weather, the great scenery, and the many birds of prey, and we had a fantastic non-stop ride all the way back to Sequim. We stopped there at the Hurricane Coffee Company again. This time it was coffee and baked goods (YUM!) combined with a bit of relax time. We both needed it due to the lack of sleep. After about an hour we were feeling rested and rejuvenated. Onward to Port Townsend!
There’s a reason the 101 Pacific Coast Highway is so popular. It meanders among some of the most beautiful scenery along the west coast of the US. The Olympic Peninsula is particularly gorgeous with its rich and varied landscape paired with ocean views. N and I highly recommend traveling this area, whether it’s by motorcycle or car. You’ll enjoy every moment of the trip!
A Departure from the Usual
We got to Port Townsend in good time and were bumped up to the front of the ferry line… motorcycling has its privileges. This time the cost was $8US for the two of us and our bikes. Beat that BC Ferries! While we were waiting for the incoming ferry to unload we saw something peculiar; a woman in a white dress with a bouquet walked up to the walk-on area, along with a pastor. Shortly after that a US Navy sailor, in full dress, walked off the ferry and over to the lady and pastor. The pastor married them right then and there!! It was a short ceremony and when it was done both the sailor and his bride walked onto the ferry for Whidbey Island. Crazy!! We saw them on the boat once we were under way so I walked over and congratulated them. They were getting a lot of that since most of the passengers saw what had happened on the dock. The two of them were just beaming! It was one of the neatest things we saw all trip.
We got to Whidbey and were feeling pretty good so we decided to make our way home. We had a quick stop at Deception Pass for some food and rest then continued on with our trip. We didn’t break again until we got into Bellingham. After another amazing run at Chuckanut Drive, this time South to North, we were ready to gas up and eat. We found this great little burger joint called Fiamma in downtown Bellingham for our dinner. This place had a great burger with lots of options for toppings and sides. After a nice chat about it, we’re getting into the burger tasting business on our trips as well. Look for more about burgers as we blog!
From Bellingham we decided to take the most direct route home… the I-5. What a mistake. That stretch of highway from B-ham to the border was the worst hunk of road we rode our entire trip. From a motorcyclists perspective it’s just nasty with chunks missing, wheel ruts, and horrible striations. I am convinced that this hour ride took more off my new tires than the entire rest of the trip. Never again! Regardless we made it to the border and got through rather quickly. From there it was a quick and sunny ride home. We got there safe but exhausted. It was a 10 hour ride from start to finish and we were both a little sore. And, of course, we started scheming immediately about our next ride.
All total on this one we did over 700km in three days. Not huge but not bad.
We have a few takeaways from this particular trip:
1) Touring clothing is great camping clothing: it’s waterproof, intended to keep you warm & dry in most weather conditions, and it has padded knees so you can comfortably sit or kneel anyplace. Not great hiking clothes, though: especially the boots: they’re all wrong.
2) We found we wanted a second folding table: one for the Biolite (and now the multi-fuel stove too), which we can keep running as a mini-campfire for light/entertainment, as well as for charging / LED light. The other will make it easier for serving food and keeping cups/wine gobblets on.
3) Biolite is great for free fuel and no-battery light, plus cooking and a tiny, tabletop campfire à la Hermione Granger.
4) Freeze-dried backpacking food is kind of delicious.
5) No matter what your destination is, you’re going to get the makeup blown off you if you put any on. So don’t. (N’s rant)