Island Time

The wedding in Seattle was simple and elegant at the same time. 

Saturday, I had a nice ride with Don DeVeau along a trail that circumnavigates Lake Washington. We started at Washington University, the other UW and did an out and back 29 miler. We got to catch up on happenings in each other’s lives and I got to stretch my legs.

Next up: San Juan Islands… My Divide buddy Jim has a brother who lives on Shaw Island in the San Juans and he was generous enough to allow a stranger to come and stay with him. Shaw Island is a small, very non-touristy island. It only has 200 residents and two renters, one of them my host, Randy, and his wife Sue. They told me the island had everything from blue collar folks to Bill and Bill Sr. Gates. I didn’t meet them.

To get to the Island, you take a ferry from Anacortes, coincidentally, the starting point for the ACA TransAm bike route. I saw lots of cyclists starting their journey at the ferry terminal. I loaded my motorcycle rig aboard and settled in for the hour-long ride.

Shaw has an unchecked deer population, not what a motorcyclist likes. A short five mile, slow ride found Randy at the end of the driveway waiting for me. The house they have rented for ten years has a great view of the channel where you can watch the boat traffic and wildlife. Nice.

As soon as I arrived, my hosts asked if I wanted to go crabbing with them. Of course! We jumped into a zodiac with another house guest, Brad, and motored off to pick up two other crabbers around the point. The process involved finding your crab pot buoy, pulling up about 80 feet of rope with a cage, hopefully full of crabs into the boat. Then the fun starts, you carefully grab the crabs, avoiding their strong claws, turn them upside down to check for male/female (females go free), and measuring with a gauge across their shell to see if they are large enough to keep and throwing them into a bucket. I took my turn pulling and sorting for the whole experience. Back at the house, we cleaned and steamed the crabs right on the shore for a wonderful welcome meal. I could get used to this.

My plan was to use their house as a base to explore other islands. Randy and Sue directed me to San Juan and Orcas as the best samplers. In the morning, I rode back to the ferry dock, bound for San Juan Island. San Juan is the largest and busiest island, the docking point is Friday Harbor. My new pal, Hardy, I met at the ferry dock suggested parking my motorcycle at the school and riding clockwise around the island. This would take me to the beaches on the south end, the Lime Kiln park on the southwest (whale watching site) and then Roche Harbor on the northwest coast. Unfortunately there was a dense marine layer making the sightseeing less spectacular. But, it was a nice day, the roads were not crowded and I was in my element. The view from the beach.

Naturally, there were no whale sightings as you could only see a hundred yards out into the fog. Can you see the kayakers?

It did clear as I rounded the north end and into Roche Harbor, home of the rich and famous. I got to board and your a $495 Million, yes Million, 90 foot yacht. It’s the bigger one..

I had a lamb burger, yes, it’s that hoity toity and left for the final circuit back to Friday Harbor, 42 miles and a great day.

The next day, I decided to go to Orcas, another large and popular island, only a ten minute ferry ride from Shaw. The weather was cool (50’s) and cloudy. I elected to explore the island by motorized bike. The high point, literally is Constitution Mountain, a long and steep (13%) climb to a great view around the island.

I ventured out to the far edges of the horseshoe shaped island and made it back to the ferry just in time to ride on. 

The next morning I caught the ferry back to Anacortes and headed up to Vancouver to visit my nephew. 

Next phase, Canada.

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