Part 2: Day 3
San Juan Island to Orcas Island to Port Angeles, WA: 165 miles
July 2, 2012
As I laid in my tent, listening for orcas, I heard some rustling outside. Peeping out with my headlamp I saw two glowing eyes glaring back at me from the top of the picnic table. My food bag was open and contents spread across the table.
The raccoon didnít seem too concerned with me, even after I got out of my tent and threatened to chase it. It just casually wandered off to another campsite, sulking while scrounging for more scraps.
It was a warm clear night and I suddenly had the desire to sleep under the stars closer to the water. I put my food in my tent, hoping the coon wouldnít try to break in, and moved my sleeping bag down to the edge of the water.
It was a beautiful night, but I never heard any orcas.
I got up early intending to catch the 8:30 ferry to Orcas Island and made it back to Friday Harbor with just enough time to get breakfast. I went to the Hungry Clam, another place Billy told me about, assuring me it would be the best greasy breakfast ever. And it was. I had fried eggs with crispy bacon. Oh the glory and goodness of greasy food.
The skies were overcast and the air was cool. I loaded the bike onto the ferry, this time parked in the front row with the cars. Usually bikes are parked to the side at an angle in their own narrow bike lane. It made me a little nervous, but the ride over to Orcas was short and smooth.
I grabbed a map of Orcas Island on the ferry and picked the windiest road I could find. Mount Constitution is the highest Mountain of the islands at 2400 feet and it looked like the road going up it was full of switchbacks and steep grades.
Brady had told me about a fun dirt road to check out; assuring me it was in good enough condition for a motorcycle. He told me to turn right coming off the ferry heading towards Dolphin Bay instead of turning left with the rest of the thru traffic onto Orcas Road.
It was peaceful and quiet with no traffic winding through lush forest along the East Sound. It was hard to follow at times with lots of turnoffs and I constantly found myself pulling over to refer to my map.
Eventually the road looped back around to Orcas road before going through the cute town of Eastsound. I kind of wanted to stop and explore for a quaint coffee shop to melt into temporarily, but I felt more anxious to ride up Mount Constitution. I hadnít been on many technical roads in a while and was eager to giddy up.
I headed down Olga road and entered Moran State Park before riding along Cascade Lake. It was crystal clear as glass reminding me of Beautiful British Columbia.
Mount Constitution was just as fun and challenging as it appeared on the map. It felt good to lean the bike and accelerate around the steep turns switching back and forth all the way up the mountain. Thereís something about that focus and precision in every moment that makes me feel one with the bike and pavement all together. The feeling grounds me and makes me calm.
I guess this is why riding motorcycles can be so therapeutic. People ask me all the time, ďArenít you afraid?Ē And I know I am, because I know injury and fatality is a very realistic possibility. In fact, I think I feel more fear when I think about riding somewhere, and Iím planning the journey. But, once Iím on the bike, thereís no turning back. Iím going, itís done. Iím just in the moment focusing on the next turn and can no longer be concerned with the possibilities lying ahead. I leave fear behind.
When I got to the top of the mountain I was surprised no one else was there. It looked like there was a closed office and gift shop where youíre supposed to pay to enter the park. I saw there was a stone tower resembling a medieval watchtower with open gates. So I took advantage and climbed up with a 360 degree view of the islands. It was too overcast to see the Cascades, however it was still an impressive view.
As I stood gazing I felt a few drops tickle my nose. By the time I got back to the bike, there was a cool misty rain. I decided it wasnít a good day for kayaking, and would ride back to the ferry to head towards the mainland.
By the time I got back to Anacortes the rain was resting. I wanted to head towards Olympic National Park and it looked like I would have to take another ferry from Keystone Harbor by Fort Casey State Park to Port Townsend. That would make three ferry rides in one day. I was starting to get a little ferried out.
So, I rode south on 20 towards Deception Pass. I crossed the long bridge connecting tiny pieces of land towering over the foggy water. I wanted to stop and take a picture but there were so many tourists already I pressed on. It was 4th of July weekend and the roads were getting crowded.
I got to the ferry terminal a little early so I parked the bike in line after purchasing my ticket and walked up the road to a little cafť for some coffee. I searched the Droid for places to stay and found Thor Town hostel in Port Angeles just off 101.
The ferry was a quick ride over. I continued on 20 for several miles through Anderson State Park until I reached 101. I headed up the Washington peninsula riding just north of Olympic National Park. It rained off and on the rest of the way but I got to the hostel just in time to avoid a major downpour.
It was a cute house shaped like a big red barn with lovely gardens in the front surrounded by a white picket fence. The owner lived downstairs and rented the top floor out as a hostel. There were several bedrooms with bunks plus a community kitchen and bathroom to share. It was a small space and tight to get around in but cozy and quaint with all necessities.
I met a nice girl, Sara, from England. She had just driven up form California on her holiday. We found a local pub and enjoyed some heavy porters together. She had lots of suggestions on routes to take on my way down south.
I was hoping the rain would clear up tomorrow to ride through Olympic before heading to Portland. My Dad, Aunt, and cousin would be there to celebrate the 4th of July. So far the weather forecast wasnít looking so good. Washington may be beautiful, but it sure is wet.