Thursday, 19 July 2012

Mille Bornes - The Olympic Peninsula Ride Part 1

A pretty part of Bellingham called Fairhaven - note the shiny red scooter in the shadows...
It's always a bit disconcerting when someone knows more than you do. Especially if you're a teacher.

Actually, as a teacher,   I encourage my students to show me up if they can - but outside the classroom?

You see, Bobskoot commented the other day that my impending trip to the Olympic Peninsula would be nothing but asphalt because there was so much ground to cover.

Bah - I thought - I'll have lots of time to see things.

Well, did I? Please read on for the next couple of entries - and judge for yourself!

Tuesday - 7am  - 0  km

 I got up early - strike that - super early, especially for summer. 6:20am. I had a light breakfast, made sure I had all my stuff, kissed the dog and patted the wife good-bye (it was early, after all) and headed out at 7am.

It was a bright sunny day but, being cautious, I wore my very safe outfit - armoured motorcycle jacket, jeans and hiking boots. I had an uneventful ride to the border and, as is my typical experience of late, the border guard made me feel that I was bloody lucky that he let the likes of me in the US of A. It's really too bad because I absolutely love going into the US - generally the people are really friendly and there's enough differences to make things interesting.\\

After slipping through the crossing, I headed down Portal Way and the old Pacific Highway until I reached Bellingham. I tried to turn off just the data and phone service on my iPhone so I could use an app that only required the GPS as I had downloaded all the maps between home and Aberdeen. Try as I might, I could not shut off the cell service unless I went into airplane mode. I finally gave up on the GPS and did exactly that - luckily I had printed up my Google Maps route earlier and shoved the 7 pages of maps and directions in my top case.

Incidentally, some of the roads I took were the same roads I had taken before on my LX50. It was great to compare the ride, and, although the pace was much quicker, I really enjoyed being able to keep up with traffic effortlessly and not spend a lot of time stressing about where I was going to pull off next or, worse, riding along on the shoulder, hoping it wouldn't disappear.

Birch Bay Square 44 km

Fairhaven area of Bellingham

9:15am - Fairhaven

I rode through Bellingham and ended up in the Fairhaven district, where I made my first stop. This area of Bellingham is very nice with old buildings that look to be old stores, warehouses and the like, that have been renewed and look great. I went to a coffee shop called Colophon which made a great latté and sat outside in the sun as I sipped. My only beef is the girl behind the counter asked if I was staying or wanted it to go and I replied 'To go' and then I disappeared to find the bathroom (oops, they say restroom in the US - funny since I neither can have a bath or a rest in a public toilet!). When I returned, I was given my latté in a paper cup. Oh least is was tasty.

Colophon Cafe

I continued on by taking Chuckanut Drive. Last time I was on this, I was riding my LX50 - now, on my Vespa GTS 250, the ride was a different story! Instead of a meandering peaceful ride with lots of nature (and a line up of people waiting for me) I had an exciting ride with lots of twisties and enjoyable curves. I never felt I was going too slow and still had time to pull over and take the occasional picture. Things did zoom by a bit quickly, however.

View from Chuckanut Drive

Sometime after Chuckanut drive, I ended up in Burlington where I had to make my connection to SR20 which would take me to Whidbey Island. I found the Tourist Info and the woman behind the desk happily gave me an assortment of maps to assist me. I was pretty pleased as they were all free - I'm sure the maps in Canada would have cost me $5. I carefully studied the map and, after a couple of false starts, ended up on the road that went to SR20. Funnily enough, it was the same road that I had just turned off of to go to the Tourist Info! Egads!

Pass Lake
 I went along SR20 for the next while and encountered a nice park just off the road. I went over to this lake - called Pass Lake - and took a photo before continuing on.

Pass Lake - 144 km

Bridge over Deception Pass
I then crossed this great big bridge that went over Deception Pass. It is truly an engineering marvel and is one of those things that is fine when you're on it but looks very intimidating before and after. I was then on Whidbey Island. This was still ground that I had covered before on the LX50 but I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. The highway was pretty busy and there were even 2 lanes each way at some points and I had no difficulty zooming along. I went by Whidbey AFB which has 2 very cool fighter jets at the entrance, angled towards the sky as if in flight. I also went by Oak Harbour which seemed a nice place.

Deception Pass
I continued on, past Coupeville, until I approached the ferry. The ferry was on the left side so I thought I had to turn left. Nope. I had to continue on the road for another mile and THEN do a U-Turn and come back to the ticket booth. I would have turned earlier but I was worried that there was some sort of checkpoint that made it so you had to go there. Nope - just a turn around! I got to the ticket booth and the nicest old guy sold me my ticket ($5.50) and said that I'd just made it! I zipped over to the ferry and got on - last. Two minutes later, we pulled out from the dock headed to Port Townsend and the Olympic Peninsula.

Port Townsend Ferry
Departed from ferry 11:45am - 195 km

 To be continued.....


David Masse said...

Dave, thanks for taking us along for the ride. I'm looking forward to the rest of the story.

Circle Blue said...

You wrote: "I really enjoyed being able to keep up with traffic effortlessly and not spend a lot of time stressing about where I was going to pull off next or, worse, riding along on the shoulder, hoping it wouldn't disappear."

Oh how I look forward to this experience. Soon, I hope.

I'm enjoying this report. Nicely done. Thanks for the share.

scooters for sale said...

It's impossibile do not notice the red scooter in the shadow. Why i notice it too? Because i have a similar scooter, blue color and i love it!