Day 11 – Victoria to Longview, Wa

Distance: 327.8 miles / 527.5 kilometres
Temperature: Low 12 Squeet / High 25 Longview, Wa
Traveling Time: 12:30-8:00pm

Well, it certainly seemed odd to load everything up and make my way to the ferry by myself. Seemed like something was missing, and, well, it was – Fiona. Really enjoyed our riding adventure together. Now I’m on my way for my own riding adventure.

The Victoria to Port Angeles ferry only comes a few times a day – four to be exact. Needless to say that even on vacation I’m not that interested in piling on to a ferry at 6:10am! I waited for the next available one at 10:30. I had a small breakfast (this will be important later in my story), a drink, packed and went to the ferry at 9:15 thinking I’d be ‘really early.’ Turns out that I barely got on the ferry. If I had been driving rather than riding I would have had to line up for 2.5 more hours. Crazy! Once you’re in the loading area you can’t leave. You’re checked by customs and then stand around until they load the ferry.

I’m not sure what it is about ferry trips and mid-60s new motorcycle riders and their comments for me. Again today I had a guy get snotty with me because I was too close to his new bike. Not sure what makes these type-A personalities get on a bike, let alone offer ‘advice.’ There’s are a few tell-tale signs of a new rider – brand new riding gear that is spotless, general nervousness when asked questions about their bike/journey, and tires that are only worn in the middle (showing they haven’t ridden any corners). All signs were present so I dealt with it as I normally would – passive aggressively – “um, yeah, whatever, have a nice day (then mumble under breath ‘asshole.’).

I’ve certainly reconfirmed that sea travel and me don’t mix. Half way to Port Angeles I had to visit the bathroom and have a conversation with my friend ‘ralph.’ Otherwise it was an enjoyable ferry ride. I even got to meet yet another dalmatian on my trip (picture below).

The ride to Neah Bay was fun but not spectacular. Highway 101 south is enjoyable since it bypasses all of the big city headaches of Seattle/Tacoma. It’s a pretty trip that is like a freeway in this section but passes along the coast in spots, low mountains and rain forest-like conditions. I didn’t stop a lot for pictures since I was trying to make up some time and get farther towards Oregon and ultimately California (hopefully southern California this year). There are some beautiful camping spots and places to hike along the way on the Olympic Peninsula.

What was horrifying on the trip through Washington was the absolute destruction of the environment. Logging has stripped bare a lot of the state. Logging companies have cleverly left a few rows of trees near the roads, but on closer look you can see miles and miles of clear-cut logging. I’m not sure if it is a wise marketing move on their part to put up huge signs showing areas will be ready to log again in 2048!

Had a great conversation with an older feller in Hoquiam at the gas station. Little weather, little about bikes and just what the area was like in general. So far I’ve met some really nice and friendly folks along the way. The town of Aberdeen and surrounding area seems to be completely devastated by the downfall of the forestry industry. Many of the businesses and homes are boarded up and/or simply left vacant – not sure if this is a recent development. One can easily see the US economy seems to be struggling in the small towns – there are few signs of tourism or people staying in the hotels or using local services. Everything seems quite empty, even for a midweek day. One can only hope that this will improve as the world economic situation rights itself.

Got in touch with a friend from the VFR site today and hope to meet up tomorrow some time. Again, not exactly sure where I’ll end up tomorrow. Possibly in Portland/Vancouver or farther down the road towards California.

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