Thursday, August 12, 2010

Motorcycle Ride to Peninsula and Whidbey Island

The sun was shining and it promised to be a hot summer day when we left the house at 8:15 a.m. today on the motorcycle.  We fully intended to go to Sol Duc Hot Springs and, hopefully, rent a cabin for the night.  Ron worried it would be too hot to go hot springing, which turned out to be the least of our worries!  By the time we got 10 miles down the road where we lost about 200' of elevation, we were in dense fog and the temperature on the bike thermometer had dropped from 64 to 57.  The fastest way to get to the Olympic Peninsula from our house is to take the freeway (Yikes!) to Edmonds where we could catch the Kingston Ferry.  Traffic was heavy and it was foggy and cold so we were happy stop when we got to the ferry dock.  One of the real advantages of riding a motorcycle in the Pacific Northwest is you get preferential boarding on all ferries.  Many of our best motorcycle rides involve ferries, and we never worry about ferry schedules when we are on a bike.  After a 45 minute wait for the next ferry, we picked up a ferry schedule.
The fog lifted as we got off the ferry at Kingston, and it was sunny but still cool (59 degrees) when we got to the Hood Canal bridge.

The scenery is spectacular on the entire peninsula - Puget Sound is in view.  The road winds and twists around bays and harbors keeping the water or the Olympic Mountains in view all the time.
Lots of timber land
Port villages and small settlements dot Highway 101 which goes from Olympia to Port Gamble.
Port Gamble

Discovery Bay
Lavendar Farm near Sequim
One of several - the lovely smell of lavendar filled the air.

When we got to Sequim, it was nearly noon and we were ready for lunch.  When we stopped to eat, we consulted our map and realized it was still a long ways to Sol Duc Hot Springs.  If we got there and they didn't have a cabin available, we would have a long ride home or we would have to settle for some boring hotel somewhere along the way.  So we borrowed a phone book at the restaurant where we had lunch and called Sol Duc.  They were booked solid through the weekend.  We decided to head home, going via Port Townsend, taking the ferry to Whidbey Island, and then either taking the Mukilteo ferry or driving around by Anacortes.  
The Sound was full of sailboats in all shapes and sizes 
We once again ran into the problem with being spontaneous - we watched the 2:36 ferry pull out of Port Townsend and spent the next hour waiting for it to come back for another run.
Finally, at nearly 5 p.m. we landed on Whidbey Island and decided we had had enough of ferries for the day and we headed north on Hwy 20 heading to Anacortes.

A hotel/restaurant in Oak Harbor

Farm overlooking the Sound near Coupeville.

Whidbey Island is beautiful - farms and quaint towns, and always water on all sides.  Still chilly - the highest temperature we saw before we got inland after Anacortes was 63 degrees.  By the time we got to Mt Vernon, it was 75 - just about perfect for riding coatless, but we were so chilled by then  (it was 55 degrees when we got off the ferry on Whidbey) that we left our coats on all the way home.  We arrived home at 7:30 p.m. - a very long day for only riding 130 miles.  (Of course, the bike odometer doesn't keep track of all the miles on the ferries!)