Last Saturday myself and four others headed out for some riding around the northern half of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.
We met on the dock at 9:15 and left the Seattle area on the 9:40 ferry from Edmonds to Kingston. Bypassing the two hour line for 4th of July weekend traffic was, as usual, a sublime experience. 35 minutes later we were rolling off the boat in Kingston. We stopped in Port Gamble to collect those who got loaded at the end of the boat and were last off the ferry.
From Port Gamble, we soon crossed the Hood Canal Floating Bridge and headed towards Port Angeles, arriving around 11 am. After a gas stop in PA, it was decided we should grab lunch now and then head up to Hurricane Ridge. We found a great Mexican restaurant (Puerto de Angeles) and then rode up Race St. and then Heart 'O The Hills Rd. to the entrance to Hurricane Ridge and Olympic National Park.
There was about a 20 minute wait to pay the entrance fee to the park ($5 for motorcycles, good for seven days). While this was discouraging at first, I soon realized that this had the effect of metering traffic. After all five of us had paid the price of admission, it had been about 10 minutes since another car had left the toll plaza. We traveled at speed quite aways up the hill before we encountered the previous car. While the entire length of the road to the top of Hurricane Ridge is double-yellow lines, we found places where we could easily pass the gawking tourists in their cages - until we came up behind the Park Ranger in her NPS truck. Luckily, we were almost at the top by then.
The day was cloudless, and the view from Hurricane Ridge (elev. 5200') of the Olympic Mountains was spectacular. There were several deer munching on the grass of the meadows surrounding the parking lot and visitor's center. They were so calm while surrounded by hundreds of people that they appeared to be animitronic creations from Disneyland. After taking pictures and enjoying the view, we decided to head to Sekiu from Hurricane Ridge. So back down the hill to Port Angeles we went.
Just west of Port Angeles, we left US 101 for SR 112, a very fun ride through the trees and up and over the ridges separating the valleys along the Straight of Juan de Fuca. SR 112 continues on through the town of Clallam Bay (last gas for a while at the Shell station) and in to the sport fishing resort town of Sekiu (pronounced "C Q").
The guy riding the Ducati needed an espresso (go figure), so we found one for him here. We decided to head down the Hoko-Ozette Rd. to Lake Ozette. The road is barely maintained, has minimal warning signs, and is an out-and-back. One of our party had good memories of a prior ride here, so off we went. The road was entertaining, but there was loose gravel in many places so the riding was sometimes more stressful than entertaining.
After returning to Sekiu, we refueled in Clallam Bay and took SR 112 and then SR 113 south to US 101. From there, we headed east on 101 towards Port Angeles, riding along beautiful Crescent Lake for some time. Soon we passed through Port Angeles for the third time that day.
The closer we got to Kingston and the ferry the more we began to realize that we were going to cut the ferry back to Edmonds pretty close. One of our party had a hot date that night, and he started to compute what taking the next later ferry would do to his romantic plans. We pulled up to the toll booth just as the boat was pulling away, meaning we had a 45 minute wait until the next boat. Considering the gorgeous weather and that it was the 4th of July weekend, we had plenty of other riders to chat with during our wait.
Oh - the guy got to his date in time.