WeSTOC2013 Day 3

Monday, June 24 2013 – Today wasn’t a high mileage day, but involved bridges, two islands, and a ferry – and the beginnings of a huge issue that threatened to end the trip.

I had been emailing with a friend, Rick Wallace, the night before, and we’d arranged to meet for a coffee in the morning in Anacortes. So I set my alarm for early so I could get some breakfast and make it from Concrete to Anacortes in time.
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I woke up feeling pretty good after a good nights sleep in a comfy bed. I looked outside and everything was wet and dripping from the ongoing drizzle and the dew, so much so that I had to get some paper towel and wipe off the windscreen, mirrors, dash and the seat. Breakfast was going to be at the Perks Espresso & Deli back out on the highway.

In retrospect I should have taken a closer look at the back tire before pulling out, but it looked ok in the gravel parking pad at the cabin. This failure would haunt me later in the day.

I got packed up and headed out to the Perks.
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It’s a nice place, good food, but it’s kind of one of those small town places that has regulars who come in every morning for coffee. When I walked in looking like a blue spaceman, all conversation stopped and everyone stared at me as I walked to the back of the place to put my helmet and gloves on an empty table. By now, after 5 or 6 years of wearing the ‘Stich I’m somewhat used to it, but I still notice it.

After ordering my breakfast sandwich and a coffee, one old guy in the place started up a conversation – then all the others stared at him! He started by asking about the Aerostich and then went on, telling me that had fought in Vietnam as an infantryman, had a Harley-Davidson that he wrecked in a crash after getting back, then gave up riding for years and years until he found himself in a cabin way back of Concrete and used a 250cc scooter to ride into town for supplies, coffee at Perks and his pension cheques. While I ate I hardly had to say a word – he just talked and talked. What he had to say was rather interesting so it wasn’t very hard to take. But I did have a schedule to keep, and after finishing a second cup of coffee, I gathered up my helmet and gloves and said goodbye to the old fellow.

It wasn’t very warm, rather it was humid, but the Skagit River was steaming as the morning sun tried to burn through the clouds and light fog.
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As I headed west things got wetter and wetter with the drizzle turning into light rain as I passed through Sedro-Woolley and onto the causeway to Anacortes. The closer I got to the coffee shop, the heavier the rain got.

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Navigating to the Penguin Coffee Shop was pretty easy, it’s right on Commercial, one of the main roads in town. However, once inside I realized that I had somehow arrived way early and had about 45 minutes to wait. So I cracked open the iPad and surfed the news in Calgary for a bit on the free wireless in the coffee shop. Right on time, Rick showed up, so we got our coffees and muffins and caught up.

Rick is a really interesting guy, he’s served as a combat medic in Vietnam; as a firefighter/paramedic in Everett, WA and he’s taught a variety of courses over the years. A few years ago when he retired, he started his own business Crash Scene Safety Instruction in Anacortes. He teaches a series of courses that he offers to emergency first responders as well as to motorcyclists on how to manage a crash scene and help ensure the safety of everyone involved.

Finally, before leaving, he mentioned some roads I should ride on my way to the ferry terminal in Coupeville on Widby Island adjacent to Anacortes via the bridges at Deception Pass. They looked a heck of a lot more interesting than the arrow-straight Highway 20 on the island.

So we said adios, and I headed out – first stop, Deception Pass between Fidalgo Island and Whidby Island. There’s information on Deception Pass and the bridges on Wikipedia – click here. The area is called Deception because from far away, the two islands look connected, but in reality there’s a tiny third island, like the very tip of the peak of a mountain sticking up in the Strait between the two larger islands. In 1935, bridges were built from Whidby Island to Pass Island, and from Pass Island to Fidalgo Island.
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Just past the bridge I turned left across the highway and toured around the northern part of Whidby Island, taking the long way to the Coupeville ferry terminal. A few minutes of riding brought me to Dugualla Bay and Dike, which I believe protects parts of the runways at NAS Whidby on the west side of the island. Occasionally I could hear jets taking off and landing but because of the clouds I couldn’t see anything. I stopped for a second at the dike to take a couple of pictures …
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There’s a little town of Oak Bay that the road ran through and there’s a park on the waterfront. The tide was out and so I stopped and walked out on the pier that, instead of floating, was right down on the wet mud of the inner bay. The air smelled like ocean and sea-life and there were a ton of shell-fish scattered all over the place.

This picture was taken from the normally floating part of the pier back up to the fixed pier on the shore …
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For some reason, there’s a Flintstone’s car sculpture prominently displayed in the park …
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Rolling through downtown Oak Bay, I eventually wound up on the Highway 20 for a few miles until taking another local road along the waters edge. Lots of old homes, twistie roads and long vistas out over Puget Sound. Just south of the small town of Coupville is the Coupville-Port Townsend Ferry Terminal at Fort Casey State Park. I rolled up to the toll booth, paid my fare and got into a conversation with the supervisor and the girl in the booth. It started with her asking what the red thing on my left thumb was. I explained that it’s a squeegee for wiping the water off the helmet visor, and that led to riding in the rain (which at this point is was lightly drizzling) and a discussion among the three of us about the Aerostich suit and where was I from and where was I heading … Some cars pulled up behind me so I figured I’d better push on to the front of the line, and I was the first to board.

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Ferry pulling into the dock

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Right up front on the ferry

While I was on the ferry watching Port Townsend slowly getting closer, I was thinking about how the bike was handling the last little while – it was getting a little squirrelly. I figured at the time that it was just that the tire was getting old – it’s pretty near the end of life with the wear bars showing and it was pretty much squared off. Turned out to not quite be the case.

But I got distracted by this ship out ahead of the ferry:
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A little “google-fu” (thanks for that term Rob!) I discovered by searching the registry number on the forward hull (194) that the ship is the USNS John Ericsson – a fleet replenishment oiler – check her on wikipedia if you’re interested.

The waterfront part of Port Townsend looked pretty interesting and I would have liked to have had a look at a couple of larger buildings that were obviously pretty old and had very interesting lines.
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Instead of stopping and checking the bike out, because there wasn’t a handy place to pull over, I just pressed on towards Port Angeles. The rain eased off the closer I got to Port Angeles and I rolled into town and headed directly for the Black Ball Ferry Terminal and …. just missed the next-to-last ferry. Well it was still there, but they had the full capacity of bikes and had no more room. There was a later ferry, but it arrived in Victoria rather late and I didn’t want to have to be running around Victoria looking for a cheap motel at 1130pm. So I decided to stay overnight in Port Angeles. The helpful agent at the Black Ball office suggested coming back at 7am when the office opened to buy a ticket for the 830am departure – doing it that way would save me the reservation fee, while practically guaranteeing me a spot onboard.

There were a lot of motels up on the highway on the edge of town so I rode out there and pulled into a place called the Victorian Motel. I figured with a name like that it must be interesting. Parked and found the office, then asked how much for a ground floor room. The answer? $110 a night! For a dump of a motel! I figured there’s got to be better less expensive alternatives.

Rode back to the waterfront and popped into the Visitor Information Center and checked out some other places. I found the Downtown Hotel, which was less than a block away – with a Euro-room for $55 a night! Sold! Oh wait, there was a catch – there always is. I asked what a Euro-room meant. It means no toilet or shower in the room, just a sink. Toilets are out in the hall and shared among all the Euro-rooms. I went up to have a look and the manager showed be a room – and it was actually really nice! There was a bathroom right next door and the manager figured that they’d have lots of empty rooms so there’d be no problem with line-ups for the bathrooms. I paid up for the night and got a key.

It’s an old building and looks very heritage on the outside, but it’s been totally renovated inside.
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It was still pretty early in the day and so I thought maybe I’d get an early dinner and then head on up to Hurricane Ridge for a look. There’s a diner on the ground floor of the hotel, so I had a chicken sandwich and fries and watched my bike just outside as the rain slowly got heavier and heavier. Dinner done, I saddled up and headed for the Hurricane Ridge road and fought the bike on every curve and turn. The rain got worse and so when I got to the Park gates and was told that there’s a $15 charge to go further, I said to myself – that’s it done for the night, I’m not paying $15, going up to see clouds and rain, and fighting the bike all the way back.

Heading down, I finally pulled into a viewpoint, where there was no viewpoint because of the low clouds and rain, to check the tire. I kicked it and it was soft, so I checked the pressure and found it only had about 15 lbs!! No sweat, I have a compressor handy – I’ll just fill it up and it’ll be fine. So I dug it out and starting filling the tire up. It takes a while because it’s not a high capacity unit, so I was just standing around in the rain. I guess I looked like I needed help because three drivers stopped by to see if I needed a hand. That surprised me a bit.
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Anyway, with the tire back up to pressure, I rode back to the hotel, parked the bike and lugged the luggage up to the Euro-room, where I chatted with Louise and read a book on the iPad and worried about the tire and what to do about it in the morning.
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WeSTOC2013 Day 2

Day 2 June 23, 2013 – After a pretty good sleep, I woke up to the alarm at 720am and promptly hit the snooze. Sometime later I got up, made a pot of coffee to go with the muffins Frank left me the night before and finished Day 1’s blog, chatted with Louise, and listened to a conference call on the Calgary flood’s affect and contingency plans for my employer. I’m totally out of the loop of course, and my team is doing what they have to, but I was curious and listened while I packed up and loaded the bike.

The goal for Day 2 was to get to Concrete, WA, via Hwy 20 …

Route for Day 2

By 930am, I was off, filled up the gas tank and headed further west. It got a bit chilly going over the Bonanza and Paulsen Passes, but it wasn’t for long and I didn’t bother adding any layers. After coming down from the pass, the highway goes past Christina Lake, where there was a bike race slowing traffic down. I managed to snap a couple of pictures.

Bike race in Christina Lake slows down traffic


I think she’s going to get a sunburn!

The weather was nice, warm not hot, and sunny although the sky to the south-west where I was headed looked dark. Stopping in Grand Forks for some water and trail mix, I remembered to dig my passport out of the top-box so I’d have it handy at the border. Crossing at Danville was no problem, only took about 5 minutes and most of that was because the agent was moving and talking real slow.

Because I’m the US now, I’ve shut off the data on my iPhone and iPad. I wanted to look up some maps and ping Louise, so I was looking for a place with free internet in Tonasket, where I stopped for gas. Turns out the gas station has free internet! So I grabbed a sandwich and a banana. Using FaceTime I called Louise – but talked to my son Robert in a Walmart instead. It’s kind of surreal video calling someone in a Walmart in Calgary from a gas station in a little town in Washington!

Eating lunch and keeping an eye on the bike


The Junction – home of free internet … and lunch … and gas

Headed out again …

Heading south on Highway 20

It was at this point that I started to unwind from work somewhat. I recall just thinking of the scenery and remembering coming up this stretch of road in reverse 2 years ago on the PNW trip in 2011. It felt good to let go of work stress and just focus on the here and now of the road, riding and the trip.

That happy state of mind was interrupted not far south of Tonasket in the town of Riverside, where a pretty big accident had just happened. Well, I suppose big by local standards, it looked like four cars and truck pulling a long horse (or cow) trailer had collided with the horse (or cow) trailer in the ditch on its’ side.

Accident scene at Riverside


I have no idea if there were any injuries – man or horse (or cow) – but there were a couple of ambulances on scene, and probably a dozen other police and emergency vehicles. Traffic was detouring through the town to go around the accident on the highway.

You can just see the horse (or cow) trailer behind the red FireRescue truck …

Accident scene at Riverside, WA

The scenery in this area is quite stark – rocky, low brush … quite a bit different from the mountainous area I’d come down through into Tonasket.

Soon enough I turned off Hwy 97 at Okanogan as Hwy 20 heads west from here instead of south. Almost immediately after turning, I noticed large white tent-like coverings over a pretty large area. At first I couldn’t figure out what they were, then thought maybe someone was making a lame attempt to hide marijuana plants – but that was stupid.

I’m pretty sure that what’s under the screen is an orchard of some kind of fruit, with the screening protecting the trees and fruit from birds and insects and other critters. Not far from the first screened orchard, I spotted these 2 helicopters on the side of the road. I’m not sure what kind of ‘copters they were, and I tried to look them up on the ‘Google’ but nothing. I suspect that they’re used for crop or orchard dusting, but not sure I saw sprayers on the fuselage or not.

From here I followed Hwy 20 as it wound through the mountains to Twisp where the highway follows the Methow River north. Along the way, I passed through the crazy town of Winthrop, which is a false-fronted old-west orientated town – well the main street anyway. I had first though to stop for gas and a bit of a break, but it was just packed from end to end on main street – there was no where to park. So I figured I’d carry on and stop a little later for a break. Eventually I found a road maintenance facility on the side just past where the highway leaves the Methow River and heads west, so I pulled off, took a bio break and snacked on cashews, and dried fruit.

The sign wouldn’t apply by this time of the year, but in the spring and fall, I bet it gets pulled out when Washington and Rainy Passes are snowed in.

It started to get rainy by this time and I was glad to have my Aerostich on – no need to stop and pull on rain-gear. I did put the squeegee onto the thumb of my glove though!

Snow ahead!

And snow by the side of the road too!

The scenery here was spectacular! Amazing vistas anywhere you looked – even the road itself. There are a couple of serious hairpin turns along here that are fantastic and thrilling to go around. The major features in the area of Washington Pass are Ross Lake and Diablo Lake, both of which feed hydro-electric dams. Highway 20 picks up and follows the Skagit River pretty much all the way to coast from here.

By the time I got to Marblemount, I only had a couple of bricks on the gas gauge so I figured I’d get some gas.

The house right behind the gas pumps had some interesting lawn ornaments …

The rain, while not at all heavy, was steady and the temperature hovered around 10 deg C. all day.

I was layered up and had the FJR’s heated grip on low, so I didn’t feel cold at all.

Looking west along the Skagit River.

By 5pm I reached Concrete and I was hoping to stay at one of the cabins at Ovenell’s Heritage Inn. It’s on the south side of the Skagit River, and I had to cross this bridge (actually crossed it a few times this evening) to get to Concrete-Souk Valley Road. Apparently this road runs the length of the Skagit River on the south side and might be worth riding as far as possible instead of the highway someday.

I road up to the main building at Ovenell’s and checked in, getting the key to the Woodsman Cabin and a recommendation for dinner – Cascade Burgers back out on the main highway. I had a really good burger and a milkshake, then saddled up again, crossed the bridge (again) and made my way to the Woodsman …


After enjoying a quick shower, I called Louise, read for a while and traded emails with a friend, Rick Wallace, in Anacortes. We made arrangements to meet for coffee in the morning, then I hit the sack.

WeSTOC 2013 Day 1

June 22, 2013 – Well here it is – the first trip of the 2013 season! WeSTOC XVIII starts on June 25 in Sooke, BC, just west of Victoria on Vancouver Island. I’ve known the disorganizer of WeSTOC XVIII, Tim Graham, for some years, since first meeting him at the Calgary Motorcycle Show in 2006. He sells the StarCom bike communications system that my wife and I have used for years on our bikes.

WeSTOC – Western ST Owners Club – is a group of Honda ST1100/1300 owners who get together in June of every year somewhere in the west. In 2011, it was Nelson, BC and Tim invited me along even though I ride a Yamaha FJR. I had a great time in ’11 in Nelson so when Tim announced that he’d been awarded WeSTOC XVIII in Victoria and asked if I was in, I accepted right away!

The whole trip is going to be Saturday to the following Sunday – 9 days total. I’m taking 3 days to get to Victoria, then WeSTOC is Tue, Wed, Thu, departing on Friday. I’ll pick up Louise from the Victoria airport on Friday morning and ride 2-up back home with her.

Day 1’s route looked like this: Calgary to Castlegar, via Hwy 3

Route for Day 1 – 607 km

I’ve been looking forward to this trip for weeks ands weeks, but the recent weather and floods in Calgary threatened to derail leaving. That minor inconvenience pales into insignificance though, when compared to the impact that the flooding has had on many thousands of people in Canmore, High River, Calgary and other communities in the area. I’m thankful that neither my family nor property were affected, but I feel deep sympathy for those who’ve been flooded out.

Friday morning Louise and I went to the embankment overlooking Deerfoot Trail, (the main north/south freeway in Calgary) and the entrance to the Inglewood golf course. Here’s a couple of pictures …

There was a golf course there between Deerfoot and the river …


Deerfoot Trail near Inglewood Golf Course

On Friday, it wasn’t sure that I’d be leaving, or if I did leave, what route I’d be taking. Checking the news and weather reports for Highway 3 through the Crowsnest Pass area, revealed that high streamflows along a couple of rivers had undercut the edge of the roadway near Sparwood and Fernie. It wasn’t clear if it would get worse or not. Road closures outside the city on Friday morning included Highway 2 south and all the bridges over the Bow south of Calgary.

So with it looking like the route south was out, I was looking at going north to Red Deer, also experiencing flooding on Friday, then head west on Highway 11 to the Ice Fields Parkway, then go to Jasper and though the Yellowhead Pass.

By Friday night though, things in the south through the Crowsnest Pass hadn’t got worse and for the most part improved, so I got packed up. Saturday morning I packed up the bike and hit the road by 10am.

Since I filled the gas tank on Wednesday, I didn’t have to stop for gas until Sparwood, where I tried the new A&W Teen Guacamole burger – it was pretty good actually! There was a diner that Louise and I stopped at a few times near the World’s Biggest Truck, but it’s been closed or moved.

All the rivers a long the way were running very fast and very high, here are a few pics of various rivers along the way …

Stream running high out of Chain Lakes Resovoir, Hwys 22 and 533.


Another stream on Hwy 22


River along side Hwy 3 in BC


Hwy 3 just east of Sparwood, river has washed out the edge of the roadway


Another washout on Hwy 3, just west of Fernie

Traffic was surprisingly light on the highway. I thought for sure with the TransCanada being closed at Canmore that there’d be tons of truck traffic, but there were long stretches where I was the only one on the road.

I stopped for a stretch and some trail mix on the western outskirts of Cranbrook and had a little buddy come around for some bits of cashew nut. Probably wasn’t good for him, but they were only little pieces.

Rodent looking for handouts …

Then it started to rain, so I took a pic of the bike and headed out again.

Cranbrook Visitors Centre

Before I got to Creston, I had a rather unique bear sighting. I was following a car ahead, and as we came around a corner I spotted a large dog sized black lump hanging over the concrete barrier at the side of the road. As I zoomed past, I glanced over and saw that it was a black bear cub hanging over the barrier watching the car and motorbike go by! He was still there when I glanced back in the rearview mirror. I hope he didn’t decide to try cross the road.

I stopped in Creston for gas and spotted a herd of bikes at station, so I pulled in, thinking maybe to chat a bit. To my surprise, one of the riders was Trent Koenigbaur, co-owner of Walt Healey Motorcycles – the dealership that we’ve bought all our bikes from. He and his brother Sheldon, also there, were taking part in a charity ride over the weekend from Calgary to Creston and back. We yakked for a few minutes, then I headed out again.

By just after 5pm local time I arrived in Castlegar and rode around looking for a new more rustic (cheaper) place to stay than the Sandman Inn where we usually stay and I found the Flamingo Motel. It turned out to be a great little place, the owners Debra and Frank, were super nice, and the room, while pretty small, was very clean and comfortable. While checking in with Debra, it turns out that she used to live in Calgary, in Erin Woods, on the other side of the elementary school from us! Small world! I chatted with Frank for a bit, had a quick shower, then went to the local pub for dinner and a beer. On the way back, I got a triple venti Latte from the Starbucks in the Safeway across the street AND found a couple of muffins waiting for me in the room!

The Flamingo Motel, great little place, great owners!


Unit #6

While drinking my Latte, I watched the flood news in Calgary on TV for a bit, then chatted with Louise. I’m planning to make it to Winthrop or Concrete WA tomorrow night.

PNW2011 – Day 9

Aug 21, 2011 – We set off in search of breakfast this morning. The hotel breakfast the day before was underwhelming, so we hiked off into downtown Victoria looking for a place that Louise recalled from being here back in the spring. After much wandering around, we finally found one of the only places that was open, it turned out that it was the place! Finally coffee and breakfast!

Good thing I finally got some coffee …

Ian before coffee …


Ian after coffee – much happier!

Louise was pretty much unaffected by any lack of caffeine …

In the afternoon, we rode my bike to Fort Rodd Hill Park, on the west side of Esquimalt, the Pacific base of the Royal Canadian Navy. I had no idea this fort existed until Louise and Robert visited it back in March. You can find more information on Fort Rodd Hill Park at the Parks Canada website here. Here’s a few pics …


Part of the Fort Rodd Hill site is Fisgard Lighthouse …

We pretty much closed the park down, one of last ones to leave. After another relaxing night, we headed off to bed – tomorrow we were going to be back on the road!

PNW2011 – Day 8

Aug 20, 2011 – Ah sleeping in … So nice …. We got up, had breakfast in the hotel and wandered around downtown Victoria, I think. I don’t really recall and now after 10 months, Louise can’t really remember either.

We took a picture of us at the BC Legislature …

Later on we had dinner with Victoria residents Richard and Deb – Richard is one of my best friends from my Apple days. After dinner we simply chilled, relaxed and went to bed early.

PNW2011 – Day 7

Aug 19, 2011 – Managing to get up and get things mostly packed before 9am meant that we had a pretty good chance of getting away early.

On the way out of the campsite, we stopped at the General Store and had breakfast muffins, and checked out the current Vampire Threat!
Not much to worry about – threat level was Medium. The area around Forks has certainly tried to capitalize on the popularity of the Twilight books and movies, there were Vampire references all over.

Escaping the vampire threat, we headed north to Clallam Bay on the Strait of Juan de Fuca Highway. As we got closer to the town, the fog got thicker and thicker.

Stopping at the gas station just outside of Clallam Bay for a bio break, I let myself get talked into going further northwest to Neah Bay – the most NW town in the continental US. I was attracted to the twisty road and the helpful clerk at the gas station insisted that the view was absolutely worth the ride.

As Louise and I discussed heading to Neah Bay or directly to Port Angeles, the fog seemed to get thicker.

But I managed to override Louise’s concerns and we headed up the road to Neah Bay – on a crazy twisted road in the fog. I was happy, but Louise was miserable. Her VStrom wasn’t handling the curves and dips very well and she wasn’t having fun. Add to that the fact that because of the fog, we couldn’t even see the damn ocean not even 15ft from the highway edge!


That was a bust and with Louise now a little grumpy, (and justifiably so), I promised no more crazy roads for a while. Instead of the crazy road to Port Angeles closer to the coast, we went back up to Highway 101.

It became pleasantly warm as we road past Lake Crescent …
with the road still curvy but not crazy twisty. Traffic really picked up on the NE end of the lake and we road through road construction pretty much all the way into Port Angeles.

It was along this stretch of the road that one of the funniest things happened to Louise. While riding slow because of the construction, the guy behind Louise was tailgating a bit, but Louise found a way, accidentally, to make him back off. With the 45 liter panniers on the VStrom, it’s pretty wide, and Louise was weaving a bit in the lane. No problem until “bonk” – she clipped one of the orange safety cones between the lanes, and sent it spinning into the air! The guy behind fell way back and gave Louise lots of space after that!

Eventually the construction petered out and we were in Port Angeles, where before heading to the Black Ball Ferry Terminal, we stopped for gas.

When we arrived at the Ferry Terminal, we found that there was going to be a bit of a wait. So we parked the bikes with the herd …
… and went off to a nearby restaurant for a bite to eat. While I paid for the meal, Louise sauntered off to the tourist information office to see about a hotel in Victoria. Since we were going to sort of “take the weekend off”, the plan was to find a relatively nice hotel for a couple of nights. She settled on the Embassy Inn just behind the BC Legislature Building. Not long after lunch, it was time to board the MV Coho and unlike most other ferries, all the bikes were held back and boarded last and since we were pretty much off to the side of the herd, we were nearly the last on.

A fellow on a brand new BMW R1200GS, tricked out in a brand new BMW riding suit and helmet was beside us in the line and offered to take a picture of us: He was a really nice guy though – he had just recently retired from the US Army where he’d flying Kiowa’s – one of the Army’s Recon/Attack helicopters and was moving to the US Coast Guard to fly helicopters. This was his “between gigs” trip.

Just off shore, there was a really thick band of sea fog. This ship …seemingly just appeared off to one side, looming suddenly through the fog.

The ride across the Juan de Fuca Strait was pretty smooth and clear once we got further away from Port Angeles. On the way into Victoria Harbour we went past a couple of cruise ships docked for the night. These things are HUGE! There’s thousands of people aboard each one of these things!

Being the last on the ferry, meant in this case, we were the last off, and it was a slow grind through the line up for Canada Customs and Immigration.

The Embassy Hotel was literally 1 block from the ferry terminal – straight across the street! However, what the hotel had in location, it totally lost in rooms and ambience. We parked and checked in, then hiked off to our room. It turns out it was on the upper floor of the hotel annex – and no elevators! So we headed up the stairs, then peeked into the “room”. I’m sure you’ve seen on TV the quintessential long-term motel room? Well this was that style – and since it was right over the pool, it was noisy. The final straw was the folks a couple of doors down yakking it up about how much of a party they were planning for that night! Louise said nope, no way. So we went back down to reception.

We walked up to a different clerk than the one who checked us in, and Louise tells him that sorry, but we’re checking out. The clerk gets all panicky and asks why? We told him that we were not impressed with the room, and that we were going to go find another hotel to stay at. With that, the clerk asks if he can offer us another room in the main hotel building, say a nice suite? We shrug, ask how much more, the difference was acceptable, so we took a key and headed on up to have a look.

The room was alright, more like a small apartment than a hotel room – bedroom on the left, living room on the right and galley kitchen, and it was a corner unit. It was pretty stuffy though, and the bedroom would pretty much stay that way the entire weekend. Anyway, we decided we’d take it, and went back down to get our gear. Later on I asked for a floor fan to be sent up so we could get some air moving.

Once we’d showered, changed and got the fan running, we went out to get some food and wound up at Milestone’s for food and drink!

PNW2011 – Day 6

Aug 18, 2011 – Too early it seemed, we woke up, showered and set off in search of breakfast. Along the way, we spotted this naval artifact … even though I did some googling, I still haven’t figured out what this is – I only know from the designation on the side, “DD445”, that it’s from the USS Fletcher, a US Navy Destroyer built in WWII.

Some gizmo from the USS Fletcher

Some gizmo from the USS Fletcher

The Red Lion InnWe decided on the Corner Cafe, that we had seen the night before when we were looking for dinner. The locals – there was an entire corner that had about 10 folks from the local mill (I think) – all stared at us as we sat down, the kind of thing you see in movies! After a pretty good brekkie, we headed back to the Red Lion to pack up.

Raymond to ForksToday, we were headed for sparkly Vampire country – Forks on the Olympic Peninsula, well actually the Three Rivers Resort, about 15 minutes from Forks. For those reading over, say 40 years old, Forks has become famous with the teen and young adult crowd as the setting for the Twilight series of movies.

Anyway, by just 11am we headed, stopped at the gas station to tank up … Louise filling up … and we hit the road heading north. We stayed in forest for a while, and at about 130pm we stopped for a bit of a stretch.

By around 3pm, the highway came very close to the ocean and ran parallel for quite a few miles. We stopped and took some more pictures …

We arrived in Forks in the late afternoon and stopped at the Forks Coffee Shop for a sandwich and a coffee, before continuing out to the campsite a few miles from town. Somehow it didn’t look like the Forks Coffee Shop that I recalled from the movie Twilight, but maybe that was movie magic at work.

Anyway, we zipped along a really fun backroad from the highway to the campsite at the Three Rivers Resort. While the resort is a little bit of an exaggeration, it was nice; and it really caters to fishing – there’s a cleaning station right at the campsite, and the general store was loaded with fishing supplies and gear.

Once we had the campsite setup, we got a snack from the restaurant at the General Store, chatted a bit with some folks, did some laundry, then hit the sack.