An Olympic Trip

An Olympic Trip

Tackle and I spotted a weekend that neither of had commitments on and planned a 2.5 day trip to the Olympic Peninsula. Perhaps planned is too strong a word. We picked out an end point and got some general ideas together, but we didn’t do things like arrange hotels or figure out mileage or anything like that. We invited Hot Rod and Tab to come along, making it quite the diverse collection of bikes – me on Penny, Tackle on her “well-loved” 600cc Honda Hurricane, Hot Rod on her (extremely loud) 500cc Buell Blast and Tab on her 250cc Suzuki Marauder.

I had just gone to Victoria to present at a conference for two days – had flown via float plane (which was a new fun experience, especially sitting up with the pilot on the way back), parking Penny in an enclosure at the lot. It had been fun to arrive at the parking lot in my gear, strip out of it, and emerge fully decked out in my suit and heels – the valets couldn’t figure out where I’d come from at first. So, I got off the plane, rode home, threw some stuff together for the trip and got out the door. We ended up leaving at about 5:30, crossed the border at Peace Arch (don’t believe wait signs), and took the Chuckanut Drive route down to Whidby Island. I was leading, and missed the turn for the interesting way, so ended up on a road that could not have been any straighter. That was OK, though, ’cause I really, really had to go, and barely made it to the gas station without crashing.

Rode down Whidby as the sun set, getting a truly amazing view of sunset over islands and water as we crossed the second bridge. We just made the last ferry and almost got in trouble – I led us into the exit area and lined us up, without thinking that perhaps we’d need to pay before we got on – I guess I’d gotten used to European ferries like that where you pay on the ferry or there’s someone walking around. Hot Rod made it back to the toll booth to pay before they had decided what to do with us, so it all worked out.

Got over to Port Townsend and tried to find a hotel. The cheap ones were full, and we almost went for a room at a generic place outside of town, but in the end, decided to explore further. By doing so, we found a really cool character hotel with a suite with a kitchen for the same price as the generic place. It was in the middle of town, which turned out to be a character-type place filled with old buildings. Asked the slowly garrulous hotel lady for restaurant info and were directed to a pub/restaurant (The Taphouse if I recall correctly) where the food was quite good, as was the local microbrewed beer. Tackle especially fell in love with the idea of getting her burger medium rare. Tackle and Tab then went to bed and Hot Rod and I explored the local scene.

As it turned out, the slowness of the hotel lady was quite normal for the town, as all the locals seemed to be missing a few synaptic connections, some more than others (one might suspect some recreational greenery). But the beer was good, and we had a good, if weird, time chatting, slowly, with the locals.

The next morning, after breakfast prepared by Tackle, we headed out on the road. At first I was leading, but then Tackle and Hot Rod got impatient and sped by me, so I sped up to keep up with them. We had fun zipping along the roads, and then through the buildup of Port Angeles. When we stopped to regroup, we saw the group of um, Harley riders, who we would keep remeeting the rest of the day – one of the women’s beanie helmets proclaimed “Straddle the Leader”. They were careful riders actually, and kept to quite a tight formation, and actually let us by and waved to us the rest of the times we saw them.

From Port Angeles to Neah Bay, the road was mostly heaven. Hot Road and Tackle lost us quickly as I worked on still getting past my residual fear of corners. But the corners were cambered perfectly and the road was fairly recently paved, and the scenery was typical Pacific Northwest Beautiful, and the weather was sunny but not hot, so the ride was sheer Nirvana. Well until we hit the Reservation, where the roads went to crap, and we got stuck behind some other bikers, including one obese couple on a cruiser. But that part was short.

Riding back we tried the other route, turning at Sappho to take 101 back to Port Angeles. It was OK, but not as nice as the coastal route, and the part by the lake suffered from very bad paving.

In Port Angeles we decided what to do next. We were way ahead of where we thought we’d be by that point. We investigated taking the ferry over to Vancouver Island, but nothing until the next morning. We then found a decent Mexican restaurant (Las Casitas at First and Eunice), and ate and debated what to do next. The weather was blowing up, so we vetoed the Hurricane Ridge idea. We tried to find a room in town, but there was some music festival on, and we couldn’t. So we decided to head for Port Townsend and try to make the next ferry.

Well, by not exactly observing the speed limit (and having a nice ride with some random WA bikers who stayed with us until we turned off for Port Townsend), we managed to make it just before the sailing. On the ferry, we tried to call places on Whidby to find a place to stay, but the expense and the lack of road for the next day made us decide to just press on for home that night, as it was only 2.5 hours past the ferry. We also mirthfully observed the folding armrests and drinkholders for the passengers on the Goldwings in front of us.

On the way home, we got separated from Tab, which caused some consternation on all sides, but we all got home safely. I think we slept especially soundly that night – a 12 hour day of riding with one meal will do that. The trip also did wonders for my riding confidence, ironing out some of my lingering fear and raising my limits.

Oh, and practicalities: each of us spent about $100 US and the trip was about 850 km.

Map of trip

Waiting at the border – Peace Arch wait time N/A my arse

Crossing the border with Hot Rod

photo by tackle_me_2

Tab at the border

Tackle at the border

photo by Hot Rod

Hot Rod and Tab on the Port Townsend Ferry

photo by tackle_me_2

Me and funny lady on the ferry

photo by tackle_me_2

All of us on the ferry

photo by Hot Rod

Apparently the eagle’s name is Fred – and he sits there all summer – kinda fitting for Port Townsend, really

The Waterstreet Hotel we stayed at. This town is cool…all victorian buildings.

photo by tackle_me_2

The bikes in front of the hotel.

photo by tackle_me_2

View from back of hotel

Tip of Port Townsend

Great staircase in hotel

Hotel room

Sweet suite actually

Eating brekky – thanks tackle!

Leaving hotel

Hot Rod’s visor cleaning service

A wee break

Photo by Hot Rod

TM2 being a Badass…

photo by Hot Rod

Tired badasses on ferry back

Tackle pole dancing at gas station in Blaine

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