|07-01-2015, 10:57 PM||#1|
Joined: Dec 2013
Beating the heat at Rialto Beach
So I was supposed to take my first real motorcycle trip this last Sunday. I was originally going to head from Seattle to the Redwoods via 101 and come back up east of the mountains. Looking at the time I had though, this soon turned into exploring the east side of the cascades and doing some fly fishing. Then some family came into town. Then it got hot.
I finally got away for a single night. I decided I was going to head out to Rialto Beach, part of the Olympic National Park. This wasn't a particularly epic adventure but I thought I might do a little exploring on the way (I'm a novice-ish rider so even that would be just riding down some forest service roads). I also hoped to find cooler weather.
I woke up bright and early on Tuesday morning, say around 9AM. I missed my planned 7 AM ferry, making it just in time for the 10:40. I was off to a roaring start!
Heading out into the Puget Sound on the ferry. Sadly, this was to be the only off-road of the trip.
I started on Bainbridge Island and headed north up to 101. The urban center of Seattle and the mostly rural Olympic Peninsula make for a stark contrast, made even more glaring by their relative proximity. I decided I'd head up to Hurricane Ridge and stop in Port Angeles for some lunch, hitting a FS road or two on the way back down.
Arriving in Port Angeles, I immediately noticed it was about 10-15 degrees cooler than Seattle. Success on that front. I headed up to Hurricane Ridge. The trip up and down from the ridge was great. So many curves and people in cars kept pulling over to let me pass!
This panorama doesn't do the scene justice.
I'd done a 9 day backpacking trip last summer and come out at Obstruction point, relatively close to Hurricane Ridge. Being back up there really got me itching to get back out into the Olympic backcountry. Its really unique, even with the Cascades in my backyard.
Checking the time, I realized I'd grossly overestimated how much 'exploring' time I'd have. With that in mind, I decided to head back down into PA and grab a quick lunch then head to the coast. I grabbed a burger at Frugal's, which I didn't know until pulling up that it was a drive through only. Drive through on a bike was...interesting. I made in 20 feet to a parking space by a dumpster where I ate in the shade of a tree and enjoyed the company of some local character. He told me of the places he'd lived while I nodded and stuffed french fries in my face.
Heading out, it was about 30 minutes (?) to Lake Crescent, home of some deep blue water, a unique sub-species of Rainbow trout and some more excellent curves. And those cars kept getting out of my way!
Gorgeous lake. Took some pictures of the bike near here but they all turned out too dark.
From Crescent to Rialto Beach, the scenery is mostly clear-cut. I know the timber industry supports most of the folks who live out on the Peninsula but its still hard to see those bombed-out looking hillsides after looking over the untouched wilderness from Hurricane Ridge. Also, the roads on this portion of 101 are REALLY straight. I went fast.
I spent a lot of the time on that stretch of road looking longingly down every dirt road I passed.
I arrived at Rialto Beach around 6 PM to a cold fog and temps around 65F. The first thing I did after finding a campsite was put on a long sleeve shirt. Then I rode down to the beach, a few miles past the Mora Campground.
I went back, ate, and noticed that the fog had burned off. I headed back to the beach for an amazing sunset.
|07-01-2015, 11:28 PM||#2|
Joined: Dec 2013
I woke up the next morning (actually this morning) feeling a little hung over, which was odd as I hadn't been drinking. I forgot to bring coffee and I think my body was already rebelling.
Part of the purpose of the trip was to test out my new hammock setup.
I slept so much better than I do in a tent. It took a little doing to find the right trees, though. Everything in the site was either too big or too little.
I ate and packed up pretty quick. As I left I decided to get some coffee in Forks (sparkly vampires!) and then head back to Seattle by the route I'd driven in.
Forks had no coffee, or at least none that was immediately obvious. I returned to PA via 101. Had I been thinking I would have taken 112. Out and backs annoy me.
Once there, I drank coffee and sent a text to my wife on my nearly-drained phone. I also said hi to someone lurking in the back of a great Jeep I parked near.
Can you spot her?
On a whim, I turned off towards Port Townsend. I'd never been there and thought I might as well get some sort of exploring in, even if it wasn't backcountry. Good choice! I took a spin through Fort Worden State Park. Looks like a great place to bring my wife and 2 1/2 year old daughter for her first camping trip.
On the far side of the spit is a more 'Northwest' beach while the bit seen here is sand and ice cream stands. Most of the park is a World War II era military installation. (Actually, don't quote me on that, I've done 0 research on it).
I headed into Port Townsend and had some more coffee and lunch at Better Living Through Coffee. Tasty and kudos to those people for serving up some excellent coffee without any attitude. They had an amazing view from which I looked up and saw the ferry coming in just as I washed down the last of my drink.
I rushed out the door, hopped on the bike, and was on the ferry in 10 minutes, heading to Whidbey Island. There was a Harley, and 1200 GS, and a V-Star (as well as my Versys, which should have been mentioned before now). The woman on the V-Star told me about her stable of bikes (a TW200 and a Bonneville). She also clued me into a shop in Burlington that might have a SAE-to-USB converter so I could charge my now dead phone.
Quick aside: I'm quickly finding that one of my favorite things about riding is the camaraderie between riders, regardless of bike. Just in the past two days I've talked to many people I would have never approached had I not been on a bike.
With this information, I headed north rather than the originally planned south. My return trip kept getting prolonged, it was great! The best part was this took me over Deception Pass.
That was the last of the sight seeing, but I ended up in Burlington, got my USB adapter and charged my phone. I texted my wife that I wasn't dead and told Google to take me home by any route other than I-5. I ended up on highway 9 where I scared myself on some more curves. I made it home in time to put my daughter to bed.
Finally, I didn't get any amazing pics of the bike but here it is, waiting for me at Hurricane Ridge.
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