Washington/BC Motorcycle Ride: Day 1 – Olympic National Park

Every time I’m out of town on my motorcycle, I take a peak at my motorcycle when I wake up in the morning (or leave the motel/hotel) fearing that my motorcycle would not be there, or that it would have been knocked over. So far, I’m grateful that none of that has happened! This morning was no different!

The plan today was to go to Olympic National Park, through Anacortes & Whidbey Island; for a total of ~670Km, including two ferries (648Km was on the odometer at the end of today). As I was mounting my top case on my bike in the morning, I felt that today could be a hot day. It would feel cooler once on the road. I grabbed some quick breakfast to go from the motel, and off I went.

My intermediate destination of the day was Anacortes, WA (which is rather a short ride from Vancouver, BC, @ ~ 150Km). However, once I got to Anacortes, I quickly realized that I’d need to come back here, on a later date, to explore this little town properly. It’s a beautiful little marine town. I headed South on Marine Drive to Deception Pass. Since I had decided to come back some other day to explore this area, I decided to not stop too much, and just zip through Whidbey Island, to the Ferry Terminal; to enjoy my time in Olympic National Park.

On my way to the Ferry; I passed by a Blockbuster store; I thought these had become extinct! I made it to the Ferry just in time; for the 11:45AM sailing. Motorcycle Ferry crossing cost me $US5.65 (Why does it cost ~$40 to go to Vancouver Island!? I’m looking at you BC Ferries!). Finally, I’ve made it to the Olympic Peninsula. I opted to take Highway 101, then switch to Highway 112; to stay by the sea. Though, I’m sure that riding through the park would’ve been beautiful. But, I’ve got a thing for water! It was a rather quiet ride on the northern side of the peninsula, not too much traffic.

I decided to take a small break, and have some packed-snacks for a late lunch. I stopped in Pillar Point recreational area in Butler Cove, WA. There was no one there other than an older couple doing some bird watching. The path to a small picnic/BBQ side area was gated. I was able to slip through with my motorcycle; where I rested for a while. I’m not sure if this rec area has been permanently closed, or just not open yet for the season! I can’t see why. It’s Summer, and it’s a beautiful day. That’s alright with me. It gave me my own private park for a little while.

Next stop was Forks, WA. A small town with a population of ~3500, which has become world-famous for being the center setting of the fictional events in the Twilight series. (I’m not a fan! I know this because Twilight mania was everywhere. I first came to know about this was while I was in Asia on a business trip. I was in a mall in Taiwan, and I went to a bookstore; to get a book for the long flight back home, and I saw Twilight signs all over. I didn’t know what it was, as I had never heard of it. Later, I found out that the second movie had just come out, so Twilight merchandising was all over the place. Incidentally, when I had returned to Canada, I realized that the phenomenon was global!). I had heard how Forks is now thriving with Twilight fans tourists, and they were right. There’s Twilight-themed things everywhere: Stores, tours, food stands, street art. There’s even an old red pick-up truck; with he vanity plate “Bella“. Whomever went out and got that plate first; if it’s real, was a genius. I wonder how much money he gets for displaying the truck there, that I can only imagine exists in one form or another in the Twilight universe.

I got back on the road. At some point, Highway 101 gets real close to the Pacific Ocean. It was the perfect ride. I’m riding through huge cedar trees, with some sunlight finding its way through the trees and onto the road. One could hear the waves. Occasionally there would be some gaps in the trees on the West side of the highway, where one could catch glimpses of the Pacific Ocean. If I wasn’t on my motorcycle, I would’ve found a safe spot to park the car, and ran down to those empty beaches.

I guess, technically I didn’t really ride inside of Olympic Park, I kind of rode around it. I should definitely make this trip again, and explore other roads. I really enjoyed the area! So, I started making my way out of the Olympic Peninsula; I had planned to spend the night in Everett, WA. I opted to go through Kingston, WA and grab the ferry there and cross to Edmonds, WA (which is at the 30Km half way mark between Seattle & Everett). The end of the day ride was very smooth, with very little traffic. It was the right finish for a great day. The ferry had a few other bikers there. I’m guessing all these people are crossing to go spend the night out in near-by Seattle.

I passed by SubWay, grabbed me some late dinner, and went to Sunrise Inn, where I had booked a room for the night. I have to say Sunrise Inn is probably the best motel; for its category that I’ve ever been to! From the outside it looks just like any other typical motel. But it’s the cleanest, it has the largest room (with newly remodeled washroom) I have ever seen, in its category. Usually when I go on motorcycle rides; I pick the cheapest place that I could find that would have good reviews, clean rooms, decent neighborhood, and free parking with WiFi; for  anything between  say $60-$100. As all I need is a hot shower and a clean bed for one night’s rest. Obviously, I’d pay more if I don’t have a choice. Also, for the same sort of service/quality, hotels in the US are about $30-$50 cheaper than in Canada. Anyways, Sunrise Inn is located just by a gas station (which is great as I can fill up my tank quickly, and not having to look for the nearest gas station. Something I’m always too exhausted to do at the end of my day). And a gas station means one could buy some food, snacks or drinks. There were a few restaurants within walking distance, like next door. And it’s a rather busy area, as I’m always concerned for property theft around motels (I did have my car broken into, while in Victoria, BC back in 2010). Anyways, for $73.27 a night, Sunrise Inn is definitely a great deal.

Tomorrow, the plan is to ride through the North Cascades and back into BC; for the second day of riding. Then for the third and last day, I shall be riding the long way back home through Lillooet and Whistler. So far, this trip is off a great start. I would definitely do today’s ride again.

 

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