Plan No Plan

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Plan No Plan: Riding the Five Corners part 4

A Guide to Biker Valhalla

By Joshua J. Dugan

…continued from Part 3

The day was clear and bright already. So, we leisurely packed up and said our goodbyes to Doug. We hit the road again northbound along US101. I knew I'd be back to South Bend and the Seaquest again someday. This was the final leg on our journey of discovery. We were headed home and planned on getting there for dinner. Shouldn't be a problem considering all the miles we made good the day prior.

Full leathers for at least the morning were definitely required. I was feeling a little optimistic at take off and just had my sweatshirt and vest on, wrong answer. A chill set in somewhere between Raymond and Aberdeen that I couldn't shake. Well, actually I was shaking quite a bit. A quick roadside pit stop to leather up fixed my problem in no time. Through Hoquiem we putted following the 101 northbound into the hills and then the mountains. Past Humptulips continued our epic journey. The rumble of the machines, the curves of the road, the smells of the forest were our companions for the rest of the trek up the coast. There's a stretch of road along this highway that is truly awe inspiring. Mild twisties that end up dumping you out into a long straight away through an incredibly densely wooded stand of fir. The trees reached to the heavens and blocked out the sun. It seemed as though a lush, dark green tunnel cut through the forest for our visual and mental stimulation. I was in Biker Valhalla all over again.

The road twists on over to hug the coast so we had the beach on our left for quite a while. We stopped after a while to soak it in and grab a few pictures of the coast and have a snack. We rumbled north again into the forest and through even more twisties until we entered Forks. Had to make a fuel stop in this definite tourist oriented town and paid the highest price yet for gas. Thankfully, this would be the last fuel stop of the trip. Being on a scooter that gets an easy 200+ miles on five gallons is the way to go. I'd hate to have to fill up one of those giant motorhome gas tanks at $2.00 + a gallon. One fill-up would have been more than we had spent during the whole run.

It was getting on toward lunchtime as we continued through Forks, turned and put the sun at our backs. All we saw for chow was a burger joint or two and I was pretty much burgered out by now. Besides, the Chester Burger is a hard act to follow. We ambled on for a while and eventually came across the Hungry Bear Café. Looked like a decent enough place so we pulled in, bellied up to a table and placed our order for a couple of sandwiches. Watch out for the parking lot, it's all loose pea gravel and a little slick. Neither one of us went down but it's definitely got that potential if you're not careful. Now, I said this place looked alright. The food was average and overpriced (gotta make a tourist dollar somehow) but it took forever to get our food delivered to the table. No kidding, we sat there for a full 45 minutes before the food came. We had intended a quick bite to eat and hit the road again. By the time we had finished up we had spent a little over an hour trying to get lunch. Let me back up a second; we were the only ones in there and ordered two cold sandwiches and soft drinks. I understand country time being a little slower than city time but come on, they must have been waiting for the lettuce to finish growing and the cheese to cure. This is plan no plan so it really isn't a big deal, just frustrating because we were so hungry and it was taking away from our riding time. Having been along this road a time or two I knew that Lake Crescent was just up the road a few miles.

The Lake Crescent area is one of my favorite rides in the Northwest. The combination of dramatic mountainscapes and plunging cliffs into the lake is truly amazing. Mountain peaks rise from nothing to thousands of feet right next to the lake. The road isn't perfect but hugs that lake like a tight sweater all along the southern shore. There are lots of twists and turns with prominent views of Pyramid Mountain rising from the northern shore across the lake. This is one of my favorite spots in Washington because it embodies almost all that Western Washington countryside has to offer; mountains, lakes, rivers, cliffs, dense forest, and twisty roads. The smell of the forest and a glimpse of a bald eagle fishing always gets me going. If ya ever get a chance to spend a day ride or two up there it'll be well worth the trip. I might have to spend a day or two up there before the riding season closes up for the winter. We hung out for a bit and snapped some more pictures for posterity then rambled on again.

The road got a whole lot nicer as we putted along towards Port Angles. The ruts had smoothed out and we were left with a wide smooth path through Sequim, picked up 20 again and continued all the way to Port Townsend.

We caught the ferry from Port Townsend to Keystone and had one last recapping conversation on the trip across the Sound. We figured we'd take our separate paths home shortly after the Deception Pass bridge; Shelby back home to Anacortes and me to Stanwood. We were both unusually quiet as we reflected on the preceding days on the road. We chalked it up to one amazing road trip. There was too much to say so we said almost nothing.

We got off the ferry and ambled along 20 through Coupeville and Oak Harbor toward Deception Pass and home. With a biker salute we parted ways as Shelby took the left to Anacortes. I continued straight home through La Conner and Conway in an uneventfully beautiful country ride.

Too much to say….this started as a consolation prize for missing Sturgis but turned out to be the best thing we could have done. We both agree that we made the right move to skip the timelines and hustle bustle of the Black Hills in August. It was the perfect run to my Biker Valhalla. No mechanical problems, no police problems, nothing but good people, new friends that seemed like old friends and good times for a meager price of a couple hundred dollars. I totaled exactly 1450 miles on this trip, a strangely coincidental number…ya see, the motor of my bike is exactly 1450 cubic centimeters. Maybe it was a little more than a coincidence. We rode hard, played hard, became one with our scoots, wandered off to Biker Valhalla, and had a better time than we could have dreamed about. Living the dream is now my reality.

My advice to you; take the road less traveled, experience the true American spirit by blazing your own path in your own time. You'll be deeply rewarded in so many ways. Your fantasy really can be your reality.

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