Apple weather informs me it’s gonna be a sunshiny weekend Friday through Monday so I decided I’d load up my motorcycle like an over burdened ass and take it on her maiden camping trip, destination, Olympic Peninsula, Washington. I started out with no real plan only to try and evade work as early as possible and get on the road Friday afternoon headed for Deception Pass State Park, 150km south of Vancouver at the northern tip of Whidbey Island.
Day 1 – Vancouver to Whidbey Island
US border control took over an hour as my previous passport stamp had expired a few days before. I needed to get another three month pass, the toll being $6 plus face picture plus paw prints. It being Friday meant there was a hundred other immigrants in the line ahead of me trying to blag their way across the same line as me.
I arrived at Deception Pass just to see the sun setting as I crossed the bridge on to the Island, I didn’t stop as it was going to be dark soon and I still had me some camping to find, plus Canadian bureaucracy dictates I’m not allowed ride my bike after sunset, I’m not sure if this rule applies in the US. I got to the state park and enquired about camping but it was full, the ranger at the station entrance was an unhelpful wagon, I’d have happily let the sun drop a few more inches while I filled in survey on how helpful she was but it would be a wanton waste of time, paper and ink.
I backed out of the state park and found an RV park accross the road, these places are fucking awful, they’re spewing with families all rolling around in huge RVs, it’s not really camping but more like a trailer park just not as trashy. Every inch of the place is taken up with oversized 4×4’s and massive RV’s, the place smacks of tiny cock syndrome, anyhow, I was in no position to be fussy at this time of the evening. I stopped outside the office which was closed and a sign up saying campsite full, which I took as an open invitation to have a look around and find a place to put up my tent. There was one green area with three other tents at the back of the park, within 20 minutes my tent was erect and stove fired up at a nearby bench ready to incinerate dinner a la can. Bed happened pretty early tonight, it was after all Friday, and the work week had already the life drained out of me.
Day 2 – Whidbey Island to Brinnon
This trailer park was non eventful but a great location for an early start, I slipped out at around 8am and headed south down Whidbey Island, destination Couperville ferry via the best breakfast joint I could find, I was asked if I’d like my cappuccino wet or dry to which my bemused blinking elicited a further explanation form the barista, dry I said. After two dry ones and a breakfast sandwich I was on the road again a short distance to the ferry terminal.
I had no idea what times the ferry sailings were but I arrived at 9.45am and the next one was just about to board and leave within 15 minutes. Travelling by motorcycle gets you on the ferry vip list, I was ushered to the front of everything and stopped in a pool of maybe ten other motorcyclists who all enter and exit the ferry first. Some chit chat with the retired biker couple in front of me exposed their adventure of setting out on a six year journey around the world and this was day one of their trip, they were riding down the pacific coast to California where they would ditch their bikes with relatives before invoking stage two of their plan, they spoke about getting back sometime in 2022, as two very different people I imagine!
Before leaving Vancouver I had made email contact with John (Doe) who I met over a year ago on my bicycle trip from Canada to Mexico, at the time I was just chilling in Dosewallops state park at a park bench enjoying the nice weather when he walked by. This time we would meet again at the exact same park bench, prearranged by phone call on the short ferry ride over to Port Townsend. I remunerated his green fingered sponsorship last time with a half bottle of Jameson Irish whiskey this time, later to be consumed by the two of us.
It took me ten minutes of fumbling around the streets of Brinnon town from one end to the other infused with frequent stops to jab my google maps screen attempting to find the location of our agreed rendezvous bench. Once found I swiftly cracked off my motorcycle exoskeleton exposing shorts and teeshirt along with a waft of steam to the midday sun.
John rolled in a few minutes later with a different old beater from the last time, the previous one out of service needing a new part yet unknown. We chatted for an hour over a beer until a park ranger arrived, we proposed, to check vehicles for a park pass, which neither of us had. Rumbled we left, after agreeing that I could set up camp for the night on his property, with no more riding for the day I retired the motorbike and settled into a few beers more sitting out on his patio enjoying the view. The property is a remote cabin on a plot of land surrounded by hills to the back and trees and bamboo plants to the front, it was pretty wild and jungle like, definitely a neat place to setup for the night.
I gleaned some new and interesting information about bamboo plants and how they normally never go to seed, there are some rarer black ones that he has too, black throughout and to the core, usually they sprout up every year but occasionally they flower and go to seed before remove all traces of their existence but for the remaining blueprints they died for resting in the soil. There was no known explanation as to what pending catastrophe made them decide to move underground but they do it, and do it on mass.
The flowering of bamboos is an intriguing phenomenon, because it is a unique and very rare occurrence in the plant kingdom. Most bamboos flower once every 60 to 130 years. The long flowering intervals remain largely a mystery to many botanists.
These slow flowering species exhibit another strange behaviour — they flower all at the same time, all over the world, irrespective of geographic location and climate, as long as they were derived from the same mother plant.
Day 3 – Brinnon to Aberdeen
I rode out of Brinnon pretty early the following morning, the weather was warm and sunny, perfect for a days riding. I considered hitting up my cousin JP who was only an hours ride away in Olympia but it was Sunday and I had a whole lot of riding to do to get around the remainder of the peninsula and back to Vancouver by Monday evening so I opened the throttle and pointed the bike in the direction of Aberdeen 140km away, in an effort to get some more road behind me. Aberdeen is the birthplace and hometown of Kurt Cobain, as evident from the welcome sign greeting visitors to the village. The place didn’t really have a nice feel to it and nothing made me want to stop and get off my bike so I kept going and rode through it until I hit the Pacific coast on the other side.
The weather changed once I hit the Pacific Coast to a misty, chilly air which swiftly put a halt to the rest of my days riding, I fell at the first hurdle being a state park with camping at Ocean Shores where I set up camp and got a fire going for the remainder of the evening.
Day 4 – Aberdeen to Vancouver
Okay so I kinda made an arse of my milage budget, taking 3 days to get here, only half way, leaving one day to get all the way back to Vancouver, 600km away. Today is Monday and it started with an 8am email to the office where I bowed out of work for the day, cough, cough, awful cold, couldn’t possibly make it into the office today. This was definitely the nicest days riding, up highway 101 following the pacific coast for some amazing views riding around ocean inlets flanked by huge mountains and twisty coastal roads. With some possible sightings of Vancouver Island 20km across the water, by early afternoon I had come full circle and made my way back to the same ferry terminal that would reconnect me to the Washington mainland and get me on my back to Vancouver before darkness.