After monitoring the weather forecast all week long, all the omens foretold of nice weather to be had on Saturday and Sunday. It was the weekend we move into daylight savings time, so I posted up a two-day loop around the Olympic Peninsula with an overnight in Port Angeles. We would spend a nice day on Sunday working our way home on side roads. That was the plan.
Marv was the only other rider who was able to get away and who wanted to come. As is the standing routine, I stayed at Marv and MaryLou’s house on Friday night after work. Marv and I got out and rode south on the freeway to Little Rock, then found our way on back roads to get out to the coast.
Neither I nor Marv was feeling any confidence in our radar detector installations, so we were very mindful of our speed. We both have our detectors concealed inside the fairings of our ZX-14s, and their positioning must shield them. Neither of our detectors consistently pick up the “Your Speed” signs when their radar paints us. I think mine is a little more sensitive than Marv’s, but a radar detector either has your confidence, or it does not. If it doesn’t, then you better keep one eye on your speedometer, and always trim the edge off your speed when you see another vehicle. I had no confidence that my detector would warn me that I was being surveilled and, since I was in the front, I set a cautionary pace.
Shortly after we got off the freeway, we stopped for breakfast at Farmboy’s Restaurant in Little Rock. While enjoying my pancake I saw a group of bikes roll by. I was pretty sure that Steve was in the group. I recognized the bike and black leather gear. Marv called later that evening and determined it was indeed Steve and Tod with a group of the OLY RATS.
Our route took us through the Capitol Forest, which could be a great road if there weren’t a gauntlet of pot-holes to dodge. It’s a typical overgrown, canopy-covered forest road along a small stream. Just the kind of road we love to ride. These roads are rarely smooth, and well-paved. This one was a little worse than many. Keeping me on edge was the severity of the holes, and that the road crews hadn’t been out and marked any of them. Often they will mark deep chuck-holes in the roads with paint, but not these. It was just another reason to keep the aggressive riding in check. Wouldn’t it figure that the one road with no traffic, where the lack of reliable radar detection wasn’t an issue, would be shot through with pot-holes to keep the fun level subdued.
Riding through Aberdeen and Hoquiam is depressing, no matter how nice the ride was to get there, nor how nice it will be after getting past there. I always feel the intense gravity of a black hole of despair and hopelessness in those towns. I always have to fight the urge to twist the throttle to escape-velocity.
As gloomy as those towns are, when I get to the coastal highways I don’t feel any lingering negativity. The sun was out. The serial white-fringed waves were rolling in. It was a beautiful day, and we were riding. What could be better?
We pulled into a Tesoro station in Forks and found the pumps’ card readers weren’t working. It’s a minor inconvenience, and it’s certainly within our coping skills to talk to the attendant, so we went in to the register to hand over our plastic to get the fuel turned on. I must be lucky, because I haven’t had to deal with people who seemed to be utterly incompetent in a long time. The four attendants seemed to be confounded by the process but, between them, they managed to find enough wit to sell us some gas.
As we pulled out of the station, there were a couple of fellow sport-tourers rolling through town. We would later see those same two on the side of the road on Highway 112 near the junction with 113. They fell in behind us as we rode by. When we turned off Highway 101 and onto 113, there was a definite change in the weather on the wind. The sky grew overcast, and then a little darker. It didn’t bode well for Sunday’s ride.
The deer-hours were upon us as we took back roads around the east side of Lake Crescent, and into Port Angeles. We arrived at our hotel and got our bikes bedded down for the night. We cleaned up, and then took the hotel manager’s recommendation for a Mexican dinner at Sergio’s. It was good, and we both enjoyed our meals.
On Sunday we enjoyed the motel’s complimentary breakfast. The weather was damp, and sprinkles had been falling long enough to get the roads and the bikes wet. We decided to not try to squeeze any fun out of the wet roads, and decided that getting home early would be a better plan. We rode to Kingston, caught a ferry across the sound to Edmonds, and headed home. We were both happy to have experienced one fantastic day, and one normal Washington day of riding.