Portland - Olympics - Vancouver Island

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by matloik, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. matloik

    matloik kludge

    Joined:
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    Portland – Olympics – Vancouver Island

    My wife (Susi) and I (Mat) just got back from our first real trip together on motorcycles, after many local day rides in and around the Portland and Mt. Hood areas. We made this trip Susi’s b-day trip (we won’t say how old she turned this year, but it was somewhat of a notable one). We rode from Portland, Oregon, where we live, up the Washington coast on the Olympic Peninsula to Port Angeles; from Port Angeles we took the Coho Ferry to Victoria, BC; we spend 5 nights on the island; and then rode home down the east side of the Olympics and then a straight shot down I-5 back to Portland. Trip was fantastic … we had blue skies the entire time … we camped every other night.

    PLAN

    The plan was to take 8 days plus or minus and ride up to Vancouver Island, BC. We mapped out a general route, mostly to see where we could get to if we averaged about 200 miles a day. Our preference is to spend a bit of time, do some hiking, etc., at each place we end up, and not necessarily spend all day in the saddle seeing how far we could ride. Not that we felt like we needed to stick to a specific route, but we actually ended up riding pretty much the route we Google mapped beforehand. Forgot to reset Trip2 so we don’t know how far we ended up riding, but it was somewhere between 1200-1400 miles.

    Click on the route image below to take you to Google Maps.

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    BIKES

    We rode our 650s. I’ve had my ’08 Versys for a bit over a year; Susi just got her ’11 G650GS not too long ago. Susi had a Giant Loop Great Basin bag plus a dry bag which held her sleeping bag. I used a set of cheap soft panniers that the previous owner of Susi’s bike tossed into the deal. Bikes and luggage worked out great for the trip. No real issues.

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    Unfortunately, as you can see, we had a little at-the-time unnoticed photographic malfunction for our departure pic.

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    #1
  2. matloik

    matloik kludge

    Joined:
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    We got an early start on the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend as we wanted to get ahead of traffic headed to the coast. We expected to hit a lot of traffic, especially on Hwy 101, but it turned out traffic was surprisingly light that weekend.

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    We only had one reservation for the trip—at a hostel in Port Angeles the night before our morning ferry—so we were not sure what to expect as far as being able to find a campground during the holiday weekend. We ended up at Ocean City / Ocean Shores, Washington, only to be turned away at the state campground—it was full (turns out the website-indicated non-reservable spots meant just one tent site). But we found a private campground that had a couple spots left.

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    For our camping accommodations we opted for a tent covered by a tarp. I like this setup as you can have all your stuff—even bikes if you want—under the tarp in case it rains.

    We walked down the beach a couple miles to an Indian casino and partook of such a venue’s uplifting atmosphere and gourmet cuisine. :lol3

    Snapped a pic of the gaming floor before security promptly told me that was not allowed.

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    Lots of kites on the beach, including this 16’ diameter disk.

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    #2
  3. matloik

    matloik kludge

    Joined:
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    On the second day we rode up the Pacific Coast of Washington, starting out with a brief stop at the beach from our campground.

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    Stopped at Ruby Beach.

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    After checking into the Toadlily House in Port Angeles, we rode up into the Olympic National Park to Hurricane Ridge. It cost $5 per bike (same as walk in per person) but the short hike and views up top were worth it.

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    Evidently there used to be skiing up here.

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    No pic of our accommodations at the Toad Lily, but we did notice this in the closet the next morning. We stayed in a tiny cabin of sorts in the backyard of the main hostel house. I'm pretty sure this is not a tea kettle. :lol2

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    #3
  4. matloik

    matloik kludge

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    The next morning we woke up early to catch the 8:15 am depart ferry. Oh, I guess we did have these reserved also, not knowing what to expect this weekend. This ferry is different than all (?) the other ferries in the area in that motorcycles have specific spots on board as they need to be tied down—or up to the inside of the boat rather, with ropes. Sometimes this crossing can be less than smooth, and this is not a huge vessel. They have room for 12 bikes. I think it cost $36 per bike and rider. Reservations before the day of sailing adds $6 to the cost.

    Rode around sleepy, foggy Port Angeles to find coffee.

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    There were two guys on Goldwings already waiting when we got to the docks.

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    View of Olympic Mountains above Port Angeles.

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    Arriving into harbor in Victoria.

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    We decided to roll straight out of Victoria upon arrival. We’ll stay in the city before we leave Vancouver Island. We rode the southwest coast of VI to Port Renfrew, and then inland to Lake Cowitchan. Went for a hike on the point at Port Renfrew and ran into a few bikes with ADV stickers. One guy I talked to (sorry, didn’t get a name) asked about Radioman since we were from Portland. Mark, if you’re reading, if you didn’t know by now, you’re a bona fide ADV celebrity!. :D

    One pre-ride prep thing I did was waypoint a bunch of campgrounds; but we actually did not end up staying in any of those. More useful were the “information center” waypoints. In the town of Lake Cowichan we picked out a campground off the map on the reader board. We were tired and didn’t want to ride much more so we chose the closest which was a ‘municipal’ campground. We didn’t have high expectations, but this ended up being a very nice campground. Our site sat up on a hill overlooking the lake.

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    After unloading, I rode back into town for beer, a bag of ice and food. No IPAs but a good summer lager in a can:

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    #4
  5. RecycledRS

    RecycledRS Along for the ride

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    I'll follow this one. Just the kind of trip I'd like to do myself, although from the other way. North to south and back.
    #5
  6. matloik

    matloik kludge

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    I still don’t know how to pronounce it—is it u-clue-let? I thought someone said the first ‘L’ is silent. Well, I guess we are predictable as anyone. Everyone we talked to who knew the island asked/assumed we were heading to Tofino at some point. We actually stayed in Ucluelet in a little cabin; Tofino is the more popular tourist town of the two west coast destinations. The fog was thick in the morning as we did a hike on a section of the Wild Pacific Trail.

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    Checked out and headed to Tofino.

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    Didn’t get many pics of Tofino. If you go there stop for most excellent fish tacos at Tacofino.

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    Did I mention we had perfect weather?!
    #6
  7. GuateRider

    GuateRider Long timer

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    Nice RR and great pictures :clap:clap
    Good to see some pics from places we just have been recently :D

    Right now we will stay almost in your neighborhood, in Gresham , for a couple of days
    #7
  8. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    where elephants roam
    Nice Labor Day weekend is a great time to go to Canadia! You guys scored on the weather. Keep it coming, thx
    #8
  9. Squishy

    Squishy Positively charged...really!

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    Great trip, great shots, good beer & sweet rides...what are the bags you've got on the Versys Matt?
    #9
  10. matloik

    matloik kludge

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    From Tofino we headed back, toward Victoria. Left later in the afternoon so we only got past Port Alberni … found a campground just after Lake Cameron—Little Qaulicum Falls. No pics other than our campsite.

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    Oh, by the way, the road out to Ucluelet/Tofino is an awesome ride—twisty all the way, on good pavement.
    #10
  11. matloik

    matloik kludge

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    Hey Squishy. I don't know anything other than they are Nelson Rigg, toss-over soft saddlebags. They are nothing special; I'm not sure I'd buy them--they were free. I didn't even use a rack as the Versys exhaust and muffler is underneath.
    #11
  12. Loud Al

    Loud Al .

    Joined:
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    Forest Grove, OR
    Looks like a great trip :thumb
    #12
  13. GtiKyle

    GtiKyle Been here awhile

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    Tacoma, WA
    Very cool! Looks like a good time.
    #13
  14. Radioman

    Radioman Moto rider

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    HOME (at least for now)
    :lol3 :wave It is amazing how many ADVRIDERS there are out and about!! It is a great community.

    Appreciate your Ride Report Mat!
    #14
  15. Scott_PDX

    Scott_PDX Leisure Engineer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Portland...the newer one on the left side.
    Right on guys - looks like a nice way to travel. I just might have to try that camping every OTHER day thing. Like th Noah tarp, I've got one I carried on a couple of trips, but have yet to set it up (It's my Rain Protection).

    Looking forward to the rest of the story.

    -= Scott
    #15
  16. matloik

    matloik kludge

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    Day 6-7 - Victoria

    We stop to eat breakfast at this place in Coombs. And didn’t realize until leaving that they have goats on the roof. But of course, where else would the goats be.

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    After sort of roughing it and going cheap with our lodging up to this point, we opt for a hotel right downtown Victoria. And Susi scores us an upgrade to a suite. Sweet.

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    By the way, I’ll just toss this in here, we had better luck finding open wireless Internet access in Central America than on VI. Not sure if our experience is typical and representative, but it was a bit frustrating at times. Also goes to show how dependent we’ve become on that. Had to go the visitors centre and do it the old fashioned way to find a hotel. Eh.

    We spend two nights in Victoria so as to get a whole day in the city.

    A few pics around the harbor.

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    That's Washington over there across the channel.

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    #16
  17. matloik

    matloik kludge

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    DAY 8

    So we plan to leave on the 10:30 am ferry the next morning, the first departure. While walking around the city the day before we stop in at the Blackball Ferry ticket office. All reserved moto spots are taken. But we can come early to see if we can get on. Hmm … this doesn’t sound promising. The gal at the ticket window says we should come at 7:30 am. So we get all packed up the night before and get up early. We think if 7:30 am is good then 6:30 am should be better. Except that they don’t even open up the gates until 7:30. But we are first in line.

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    A little before 7:30 another couple riding two-up on a Harley of some sort show up. They have more info than we do—evidently they only allow reservations on 4 of the 12 moto spots. We are relieved, we are in.

    All 12 spots will be taken on this ferry. Almost all the bikes are big touring bikes.

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    #17
  18. matloik

    matloik kludge

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    DAY 8 - Ride Home

    We had thought that we’d camp one night on the way home. It’s 230 miles from Port Angeles to Portland if you hit I-5 at Olympia. We didn’t really want to run straight down the interstate, but once we got on the road we decided to just push home.

    And now a word from our sponsors. :lol3

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    Cheers.

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    #18
  19. Squishy

    Squishy Positively charged...really!

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    Love VI, & Victoria. Saturday market on the waterfront is cool. Thought the Coho ran earlier than that, maybe i'm thinking of the BCF, we usually ride the Coho to PA though.
    Have to hear more about it, see you at AJ's.
    #19
  20. Crash Clay

    Crash Clay Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Hood River, OR.
    Great Report. Glad to see you both out enjoying your first multi-day ride together! :clap
    #20