Orcas Island - San Juan's

Trip Date: 8/5/2007

Features:

  • 2 Ferry Crossings - Ferry ride from Anacortes through the San Juan's is great!
  • Whidbey Island
  • Anacortes
  • Orcas Island
  • Deer Harbor (Orcas)
     

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Hazards:

  • I-5 Speed Traps!

  • I-5 Severe Congestion - Seattle

  • Roads with no shoulder - Orcas Island

  • Deer - Orcas Island

  • Extremely steep incline with very tight turns - MT Constitution Orcas Island. Watch for sun glare as well.

 


Roads to Orcas Island (Day 1)

16:9 Widescreen (400Kbps 13.8 MB)


Riding Orcas Island (Day 2)
16:9 Widescreen (400Kbps 10.5 MB)

Trip Details:

Day 1 (8-5-2007)

Today’s ride is one I have been waiting for and planning for a couple months. As a Worldmark owner I have wanted to stay at the Deer Harbor Resort on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands. I made my reservations back in June in hopes that when the day came to make the ride the weather would be favorable. As of the week prior the weather outlook wasn’t looking to good. We had some coastal fronts move through that were suppose to deliver overcast weather for a few days but luck would have it the front slid southward. Instead we were promised morning clouds followed by sunny sky’s. And this time the weather guy was right.  Highly anticipating this ride, I was packed by 8 PM the following night. The new wing was given a bath and a safety inspection along with a topped off tank. All maps and way points were loaded into my GPS as well. When morning came with the sound of the alarm clock buzzing, I was up and ready to ride. This trip would be a solo trip as my wife had to work and no other riders opted in. By 7:15 AM I pulled in to my favorite coffee stop for a iced Mocha. With my caffeine fix securely held in my drink holder I was riding parallel to the water on Ruston Way. The entire city of Tacoma was covered with a layer of low clouds. As I rode North on I-5 things didn’t change much. I-5 between Federal Way and Kent was one heck of a speed trap. At one point there were 6 patrol cars with lights flashing. Dim the lights and it would have looked like Christmas! As I rode in to Mukilteo the sun was doing it’s best to burn holes into the layer of clouds above me. I pulled into the Mukilteo Ferry terminal at 8:40 AM. The plan was to take the 9 AM ferry across to Whidbey Island then ride the length of Whidbey across Deception Pass and on to Anacortes to make the 11:50 AM ferry to Orcas.  Check the ferry schedule when planning these rides because certain runs like the 11:50 AM run are non-stop to Orcas. Others make two stops.

One of the great things about riding the WA ferry’s is you are almost guaranteed to meet other riders. In this case, meet Mike and Andrea. A couple riding a pre 2006 Silver Goldwing.  As the boat powered on we struck up a conversation. They were headed to Whidbey to do a little fishing. I was admiring their hitch rack on which they were toting a cooler and other goodies. They were interested in my RAM mounts and camera. The ride across was short and I said goodbye to two more riders who seemed like great people. The landing was smooth as the Captain docked the Ferry on the other side. I you have not ridden Whidbey Island you are in for a treat. Well, you’re in for a treat regardless. It’s a great ride with the Puget Sound waters playing peek-a-Boo the entire length of Road-Quest.com WA motorcycle rides roads destinations ride video Deception Pass the island.  My recommendation is take your time and snap some photo’s. I did allot of this. One of my favorite stops is at the road leading into Whidbey Island Air base. Next to the road is a jet fighter propped up on stands with missiles hanging off the wings. This always makes for cool photo’s. Another great stop is Deception Pass. This is a good place to stop and utilize clean restroom facilities. I tend to stop on the North end of the bridge where there is a pull out for site seekers. As always the view was spectacular. After 15 minutes of gawking at the tremendous force of the current running east to west beneath me I was back on the Wing with maybe 14 miles between me and the San Juan Ferry terminal. Just prior to the terminal the road just turns and the view opens up to a view of Anacortes and salt water. I love this area and plan to be back for Oyster Run 2007. I made it to the terminal with time to spare and then some as the ferry was running 30 minutes behind due to earlier fog. By know we had nothing but sunny skies. The delay was not an issue as I had more company to chat with. This time a Orcas Island local. He was riding a Harley. As we were talking he stated he was selling the Harley after 32,000 miles and looking at maybe a Suzuki. His reasoning was he was tired of the loud pipes and maybe even wanted a fixed fairing. He lives on a 5 acre piece of land next to the state park. He literally can walk off his property and up some trails to MT. Constitution. I’m not sure how far that walk is but wow! I would be making that ride daily! Soon our opportunity came to board the boat and start our 1 hour long journey to Orcas via boat. Most folks were up stairs but I stayed on deck and made my way aroundRoad-Quest.com WA motorcycle rides roads destinations ride video Orcas Island Washington the boat taking video and pictures. The view from the ferry was amazing to say the least. The breeze was a bit cool but the sun was working to change that. The hour long ride seemed to take much less time and soon we were approaching the Orcas Island ferry dock. As I departed the ferry and made my way onto the island the first thing that caught my eyes were gorgeous Madrona trees lining the roadside. The roads paralleled the water most of the way as I headed to my cabin. I passed a couple marinas prior to pulling up to the Deer Harbor marina and the Resort at Deer Harbor. This is where I would stay the next two nights. The cabin was deluxe with king bed, sink, fridge, marina view and a private hot tub on the front porch! Lunch was served out on the docks at a little food shack and store. Not a bad cheese burger and great potato salad. As I sat typing this part of the trip log I watched 2 float planes land on the harbor. The view from the desk I sat at was great!

As evening approached I decided to explore the island a bit in search of dinner. My GPS led me to a small diner in town called the A-1 Café. At least it was suppose to. I must have passed it I thought as my GPS displayed my current position as a couple blocks past it. Road-Quest.com WA motorcycle rides roads destinations ride video Orcas Island WashingtonAs I turned to head back I heard music coming from a little park area. I pulled in to see what all the hoopla was about. It turns out there was a live blues band playing. All instrumental as far as I could tell. The band was very good so I hung around for a few songs. I wish I could have stayed longer but it was getting late. As I made my way back to where the A-1 Café was suppose to be I found The Cabo San Juan diner. Apparently it used to be the A-1 Café. I order a pulled chicken Teriyaki sandwich. Just the sandwich was $10 with tax. So was the burger I had earlier. The place was closing so I had to take it to go. The ride back from the diner was awesome. I came upon a grassy field loaded with wild rabbits. I pulled over to get some pic’s and most of them hopped away to an adjacent field. I did get some pic’s of a few of them. Shortly after the rabbits I came across several fields with Deer grazing and bedding down. I stopped and took more pic’s. The icing on the cake came next. I approached a mini van stopped in the road. The family was watching something out in the field. I looked around an soon spotted a large Bald Eagle standing in the field. The Eagle probably had some pray for diner. Before I could get to my camera the large bird flew southward across the field. I headed back to the cabin as dusk was near. 1 mile before the cabin I was greeted roadside by 2 burrows (Donkey’s). As I rode by they crossed the road into another field. Well, that was it for day 1. I looked forward to day 2 and riding Mt. Constitution.

Day 2 (8-6-2007)

Day 2 was a ride up MT Constitution. Half of the trip up were roads I rode the previous day. It is a small island.  The road up is narrow and at times very steep. As I was riding up I could smell the burning brakes of the cars heading down. On the way down you will see a sign instructing you to keep your vehicle in a lower gear to reduces excessive brake heat. I would recommend you listen. As I climbed upward  the turns became tighter and the road became steeper. Soon I was riding through the clouds. From this point it wasn't long and I was rounding the last corner to the top parking lot. From here it was about a 50 yard walk up a trail to the view point. Once at the top of the view point there is a stone block tower that takes you even higher. This is the highest point in the San Juan Islands. Don't pass up the opportunity to experience this. In my case allot of the scenic view was covered by low clouds. Even so, the view was like being in an airplane look down over the clouds. It was still amazing to say the least. On the way down I took my sweet time. I figured why burn up brakes. Let the compression of the engine do the work. I slowly made my way down the mountain and never impacted my b rakes what so ever. The island is small so the trip up and down wasn't much of a lengthy ride. This is one of those ride where it isn't the quantity of miles ridden but quality of miles ridden. On the ride back I spotted a brown back end of a animal in the woods near the road. I pulled over and grabbed my camera in anticipation. I was lucky enough to take many pictures of a Deer eating leaves in the brush along side the road. So I thought, actually there was two. Not to much longer a female came out of the brush. This is one of the things I have come to really enjoy about Orcas. Ride early morning or late in the evening and you will see ample deer and wild rabbit. I feel some what at a loss because I really don't have much to write other then this but it's a very small island. Bottom line, this is one of those rides that the produces of scenery and wild life in a small island.   

 

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Tacoma, Washington - United States (USA)
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