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The Anacortes/Whidbey Island loop

Total Miles 217

All pictures courtesy of Bluesurf

November 28th 2004

After scheduling the days prior to Thanksgiving off from work, I posted to Sport-Touring.Net to see if anyone was as nuts as I was wanting to do a day ride in late November. Not surprisingly, there were ten others that shared my level of masochism for cold weather riding. I plainly stated that if it was raining, I was going to bag out to ride another day, so it turned out that Sunday November 28th was to be the best day weather wise.

It started out cold, but dry as I meet up with another FJR rider in Renton. We road up to the Lynnwood area and meet up with the others. After a nice piping hot Americano and a Marion berry muffin, I was re-warmed and ready to go. I will admit that I wasn't the best "ride master" (I'll work on that for the next time) and managed to get us off on the wrong foot. Straight away I took the wrong exit, and managed to ride us into a fog bank. After pulling over, we checked the map and indeed found that we were on the wrong "Marine View Drive". How many freakin' "Marine view drives" are needed in a couple of mile area? In this case two, and I picked the wrong one. I asked one of the other riders who had a GPS to re-plot and lead us to the real Marine View Drive. Which he did in short order. Okay, the GPS was just bumped up a couple of notches on the farkel list. Right below heated grips, which would become numero uno on the list by the end of this ride!

We followed the correct route from Marysville, along the sound for a stretch and then up to Stanwood and across the Stillaquamish river to Conway where we then turned west toward La Connor. Right around Conway we ran into pretty thick fog. I had switched my Held "Steve" gloves for a warmer pair, and therefore didn't have the handy little rubber strip on the left index finger for wiping the water off my visor. I tried in vain to keep the visor clear by wiping it with my glove, but all I was able to do was make it worse. The water simply had nowhere to evaporate to since the air was already saturated. My next brilliant idea was to raise the screen all the way up, flip my face shield up and duck down behind the protection of the windscreen. This worked. For about a minute until my glasses started to fog up. So I slid those down my nose and peered over the top of them. I think the temperature was like 32.00001 degrees. At least it felt like that with the face shield up. Because of the thick fog, I had lost sight of the bikes in front of the bike in front of me, which pulled over at the first available wide spot on the road. We had rode for about 10 miles in the thick fog, and all along the road were "no stopping" signs because of the very narrow (like maybe one foot from fog line to dirt) shoulders.

 When we did stop, I don't think the rest of the bikes saw us at all and continued on into La Connor, just a few miles up the road. Three of us stopped. I wiped off my glasses and my shield, we exchanged a few "this fog sucks" comments and we took off again. At the La Connor roundabout we met up with one other from our group and followed him up to Deception Pass. When we stopped, it became clear the he had lost the pack as well. We thought that either they went into La Connor where we turned off to Deception Pass, or they were still in front of us. We decided to continue on and try to find a greasy spoon in Oak Harbor. Over brunch we decided that we would just continue on and with the aid of local knowledge (one of our group grew up on Whidbey Island) we would ride the twisty roads instead of boring old Hwy 20 all the way down the island. Excellent decision as all of these roads had excellent content. The Island tour took us by Fort Casey where we saw about a half dozen deer grazing in a large field. They had the  look of missed opportunity in their eyes and motions as we slowly rode by. I swear one looked at me with a "next time buddy" look. The roads were fun, but they were a little green. And I don't mean as in new. They had moss on them. Though the sun was now out and it was a little warmer (low 40's) the pace was kept at sane level. Though I wasn't happy with many of my lines through the corners, I also was playing "slalom the green patches" in many places. Some of the roads also didn't have the smoothest pavement which added to my sloppiness. What I did try and do was adapt to the conditions and leave myself some wiggle room just incase.

We traversed the Island and topped up at the gas station just before the Ferry at Clinton. As always motorcyclists get to ride to the front of the line and board first.

We finally caught up to the rest of the group at Azteca's Restaurant in Mukilteo. I stopped to make sure all went well with them. Indeed they had turned off in La Connor while we went straight through. The only casualty this day was one riders pocket book. It seems a rather enthusiastic LEO issued him a citation. Don't you all feel safer now?

Lined up ready to roll

On Whidbey Island

All in a row

It looks so warm in the picture

Anacortes

Great Views

Heading home on the Ferry


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