Vancouver, BC - San Juan Island, WA: 132 miles
June 30, 2012
I followed 99 south leaving the rain in Vancouver behind me. It wasnít long before I made it to the tail end of parked cars waiting to cross the border into Washington. The sun came out and I began to feel warm. That was a first.
Even the bike began to sputter with no wind keeping it cool. Although I felt I hadnít been sitting there long enough for it to overheat already. It had only been a few minutes and it sounded like it was going to stall. I kept the throttle slightly open to keep her running.
When I got to the booth I showed my passport and was only there for a minute before getting waved through. Itís funny how every time I crossed into Canada, I had to remove my helmet and answer a billion questions. But every time I crossed back into the U.S., I only had to show my passport and that was it. I wonder what itís like for Canadianís vice versa.
As much as I loved Canada, there was something comforting about crossing the U.S. border. The main reassuring thing was I probably wouldnít need the Roto-Pax anymore. After getting on I-5, gas stations would be too frequent to be a concern anymore, and fuel would be cheaper.
Also, my droid would be more reliable for directions, and there would be no more international roaming charges on my phone. That shit got expensive. I think I had a $400 bill for the two weeks I was in Vancouver.
I settled into the pace of I-5 and it wasnít five minutes before I started to feel the bike losing power. I opened the throttle more but it choked and coughed, slowing down. I felt as if it was running out of gas although I knew it had plenty. I pulled over quickly to the right lane as it chugged and lurched and cars flew by.
I got to the shoulder and it spit a few times before finally stalling. I double checked the gas and tried to restart. The engine would turn but it just wouldnít fire. I was officially broken down on the side of the highway.
I tried not to panic and called Bee, praying heíd pick up. He answered right away, always my savior, eager to hear how I was, where I was, assuming something was wrong since I was calling.
After explaining what happened he told me to turn the petcock to prime and try again. The engine rolled over several times and fired up. Sigh of relief. He said to turn the switch back to on and see what happens down the road.
I got back on the highway, this time cautiously sticking to the right lane. In just a couple minutes I lost power again with no fuel reaching the bike. I pulled over defeated and called Bee again.
He explained to me how the prime bypasses a hose from the petcock to the carburetors and if it wouldnít run with the petcock on, something was wrong with the hose. He said to keep the petcock on prime and ride it like that until I could get off the road and check the hose when the bike was cool.
I returned to the highway, this time smooth sailing. I felt so lucky to have such a reliable friend.
The next time I stopped for gas I decided to investigate a little further. I pulled the face off the petcock and sure enough I could immediately see the hose connected to the second carburetor was split at the end. It looked like a simple fix to me. There was plenty hose left. All I would have to do is trim the end off and stick it back on the carburetor.
I called Bee to let him know. I was happy to see it would be an easy fix I could do myself. I still had 100 miles however to get to San Juan island, but Bee reassured me it would be fine to ride the bike that far on prime. It was better to get where I was going and fix it once it sat for the night.
So I stuck to the plan and headed for Anacortes. It was a little after 6:00 when I got to the ferry terminal. The next ferry departing for San Juan wasnít until 8:20. So I purchased my ticket and rode downtown to scout around for a place to grab some grub.
I found a cute pizza joint in the center of town, Village Pizza, and settled for a pepperoni, pineapple, jalapeno calzone and a refreshing local beer on tap from Anacortes Brewery. Unfortunately I canít remember the name of the beer I had but it and the calzone were both stellar.
While eating dinner I checked the Droid for hostels and camping on San Juan. I found Wayfarerís Rest hostel located close to the ferry terminal in Friday Harbor and called for a reservation knowing it would be late and dark by the time I got there. I didnít feel like pitching a tent or traveling far once I arrived.
The ferry ride was quick and easy. It was just thirty minutes or so and I enjoyed a beautiful sunset and rainbow on the way. I met a couple other riders on board that I chatted with for a bit and got some suggestions on roads to ride. There arenít very many on the island, but they did mention if I had time, to go to Orcas Island. It was more mountainous and entertaining for a motorcyclist they said. Maybe I can do that on my way back.
The hostel was a cute large house, a little pricey at $35/night but very clean and beautifully landscaped. I shared a room with three other girls from all over the world; France, China, and Argentina. It was nice having some company for the evening and I got some more tips on things to do on the island.
There was no WiFi, but I grabbed a map of the island on the ferry and studied it overnight. I wanted to ride to the west coast tomorrow and camp at the place Billy told me about in San Juan Park where I would be certain to see orcas.
But first, I would have some minor bike repairs to do. Until then, good night.