Western US Moto Adventure 7/26/2012: WA – San Juan Island to the North Cascades

More beautiful weather as we hopped the ferry mid-morning to San Juan Island.


On the ferry to San Juan Island, we met a really cool lady who was part of a larger bicycle group that was on a two week tour of the northwest coast. She races dirtbikes, and pits for a professional racing team that races the Baja 1000. I didn’t ask how old she was, but she had to have been at least 70. I want to be like her when I grow up.

From there, we rode towards the west side of the island, towards a a lighthouse that is also a popular location for whale watching.

I figured it was a long shot to actually see any whales, but I was still a little disappointed that we didn’t see any. Still, we had lunch in a pretty spot, even though it was remarkably windy and cold next to the water. (Really, as soon as we walked inland a few hundred feet, the temperature was lovely).

This is the farthest point from home we will travel on this trip. San Juan Island is off the west coast of Washington State, and we could see Victoria Island, BC, Canada, from its shore. I’m not sure its possible to go much further north or west in the continental United States.

Ok, then, time to start heading east. From San Juan, we took the longer ferry back to Anacortes.

A note on ferries: Having a motorcycle is great. You don’t have to wait in line, and you pay the pedestrian rate. Since they can just squeeze you in a corner like a bicycle, you usually get to ride around the cars and semi’s waiting in line, get on the ferry first, and leave ahead of most everyone when you arrive. Its fantastic. We met a guy who commutes on the ferry, and has a less than 5 mi drive at both ends. He rides a little Yamaha 225 most of the time, and saves a ton of money and time. Plus, he told us that during peak times (for example, holidays in the summer), the wait for a ferry can be more than a day. On a motorcycle, he never has to wait, he just shows up 2 minutes before it leaves, and rides right on. Naturally, we loved this part.

The Anacortes ferry was the last ferry of the trip. When we arrived, we headed for the scenic route 20, headed east.

Once we were inland a little ways and near the end of a tank, we stopped for gas. I had noticed several days ago that my front tire was a little low on pressure, but now it was low enough that we needed to find a gas station with a compressor. That gas station we stopped at didn’t have one, and since the pressure was getting unacceptably low, Kevin decided to bump it up using the little pump we had brought for emergencies. That turned out to be a bad idea. The hose had dry rotted and leaked, and it wasn’t apparent that this couldn’t be addressed until all the air had been let out of my tire (exactly 0 psi). Now there was no pressure in my tire, which meant I was stranded at this gas station on route 20. I started asking around to see if anyone had a compressor, but had no luck. We started to call AAA, but the call got dropped from poor reception. I even asked at the little drive through coffee stand and the restaurant next door. The cop in the patrol car sitting in front of the convenience store just laughed at me, but by then, a guy walking back to his car overheard my request, and let me know he had an air tank in his pickup for putting air in his lawn mower tires. Perfect. That tank put 26 psi in my front tire, which was enough to ride down the road to an actual compressor and fill it the rest of the way. We hadn’t planned on hanging out at that gas station for over an hour, but we ended up with a break anyway.

The timing actually wasn’t bad. We were pretty sure we weren’t going to make it to Grand Coulee tonight anyway, so we just continued up route 20, with the plan to camp in the North Cascades National Forest. Route 20 through the cascades is stunning, maybe my favorite road so far. This part of the country is incredible.

When we arrived, we nabbed one of the last tent sites available at the 160 site Colonial Creek Campground.

7/26/2012 – 139 miles, probably over an hour on the ferry. Surprisingly, the ferry had great cell reception, which we used to call around and find rear tires for both of our bikes. Mine might make it another 1000 miles, and Kevin’s won’t go much beyond that, so we’ve got an appointment at a shop near Lewiston, ID to have them changed.

This entry was posted in 2012 Cross Country, 2012 Ducati Monster 696, Moto Ride Reports, Motorcycles +. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Western US Moto Adventure 7/26/2012: WA – San Juan Island to the North Cascades

  1. C. Combs says:

    Wow, Puerto Rico……..Nice! Ya’ll are gettin around.

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