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
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
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?