Monday, September 4, 2006
Olympic Peninsula, Washington
I was one of those people who grew up thinking the best parts of Highway 101 existed entirely in Oregon. Lots of family road trips to the Oregon Coast as a child showed me a great deal of its beauty. But so much more lies in its northern most expanse. Following it around the Olympic Peninsula in Washington proves to be more than epic.
Most of the peninsula is sparsely populated and managed primarily by logging companies. So while clear-cuts can be plentiful small towns aren't so much. This provides for a lot of uninterrupted riding with fresh oceanic breezes at your side.
This particular trip I left from Seattle taking the Kingston Ferry across Puget Sound and headed northward. Just past Port Angeles I opted to take the Strait of Juan de Fuca Highway (Hwy 112) figuring that sticking to the coastline might provide the best curves. And true to form just as the road dips down to the water just northwest of Crescent Lake the riding gets awesome, indeed. From there I dropped down to Forks and hopped onto 110 West out to La Push for some beach camping.
La Push is a tiny little fishing town that's as close to a collective of Expats camping on the beach in Baja as you can get this far north. The fishing is supposed to be good, and the surfing even better. It's also one of the few legal campgrounds on the beach. There's also some damn good fish n' chips not far if you know where to look.
The sunsets? Yeah they're not bad either. I'm a strong believer that one of the best sunsets in Washington all happen over the Olympic Peninsula. This place possesses a certain magic. You know, if you're into that.
The rest of the trip involved dropping the rest of the way down 101 and across the southern end of the peninsula. There wasn't any dirt to be had this trip aside from a few hikes and exploring a roadside Madmax movie set. My riding companion was on a streetbike so we were limited to the pavement.
But keep your eyes peeled as you cruise down 101. There are some awesome little treasures all along the highway, tucked just back in the trees. They make for a good stop and rest point. Besides that I'm a sucker for rust-colored derelicts.