THINK SPRING - EAGLE LEATHER’S GREAT NORTHWEST RIDE SERIES, #1 Ride to the San Juan Islands – A one or more day excursion
By Deborah Angus Photos courtesy San Juan Islands Visitors Center
trippers, here is a fabulous one- or two-day excursion for you that is
sure to thrill, and it all culminates in a visit to the San Juan
Just about 147 miles from Lakewood, Washington, the San
Juans are accessed by making a straight shot up Highway 5, then going
west on Rt. 20 (exit 230) to Anacortes. There, motorists, bicyclists and
foot travelers can catch a ferry at the terminal coined the "Gateway to
the San Juans."
Step onto the ferry and you have officially
entered the state's newest byway, the San Juan Islands Scenic Byway. And
yes, the byway is combination traditional pavement and marine-based
transportation. Considered an equally thrilling part of a visit to the
San Juans, the ferry ride from Anacortes to Friday Harbor can be one to
two hours. Ferry-goers can travel on the ship's deck and enjoy the fresh
air or relax in the enclosed interior that features huge windows for
riders to enjoy the scenic view.
visitors make their first stop at Friday Harbor, the largest marina in
the San Juans. Friday Harbor is a quaint and eclectic combination of
marina and town center where visitors can find boats and yachts to see
and enjoy along with restaurants and boutiques, galleries and museums.
you have disembarked from the ferry, however, you are most likely
interested in tackling the roads on this approximately 18 mile long by 4
mile wide island! Take note, the only gas stations on the island are in
Friday Harbor, so if you need, be sure to gas up!
easy destinations here include the two national historic parks, Michell
Bay Landing, Roche Harbor (on the national register of historic places),
and Kiln Point State Park. Along the way, you will encounter farmland,
forest, glimpses of the Salish Sea and a number of different bays, and
some narrow and winding roadways. Overall, it's an amazing amount of
scenery for the motorcycle enthusiast.
If you take some time to
revel at the beauty of the sea, keep a close eye for Orcas, known to
occasionally swim by Mt. Finlayson in the southern part of the island.
Or, if you are dead set on seeing one of those mammoth beasts in the
water, visit Lime Kiln Point State Park on the west side of the island.
Known as Whale Watch Park, at least three orca pods are know to frequent
the area in the summer.
If you are skirmish about traveling
unknown areas or just want to know more about the San Juans, take
advantage of the many companies that provide whale watching, kayak,
cruise, walking, shuttle bus and other tours. Or check out this great driving map, complete with recommended stops by the San Juans’ visitor’s center.
Skip Over to Orcas Island If
you have saturated your visit of San Juan Island but still want more,
hop back on the ferry at Friday Harbor for Orcas Island. Here you can
ride the final 19.5 miles of scenic byway through Moran State Park by
Cascade Lake to Doe Bay.
While in Moran, take a detour via the
narrow and windy road to the top of Mt. Constitution. Complete with
one-way bridges, hairpin turns and observation towers, the 2,409 ft.
summit is said to be the best view in Puget Sound and a veritable thrill
for riders. At the stone observation tower, take in the 360-degree view
where on a clear day you can see Vancouver, the Cascade and Olympic
Ranges, and all of the San Juans.
Mt. Constitution is part of
Moran's 5,000 acre park that hosts 30 miles of hiking trails, lakes,
waterfalls and campsites. The destination might be a good excuse for
making the ride into a weekend excursion with your favorite riding
What to do in the San Juans this Weekend
Savor the San Juans This
theme runs the entire month of October and highlights food and art and
culture through a variety of events in Lopez, Orcas, and San Juan
10 AM to 1 PM, Saturday, Oct 27, Brickworks Plaza
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
Saturday, enjoy the Farmers' Market featuring island grown vegetables
and fruits and other foods. Artisans selling jewelry, pottery,
paintings, photography, soaps, healing oils and more will have their
kiosks open, and food vendors will be open to tend to that open-air
appetite! The Farmers' Market is open every Saturday spring to fall in
Lopez, Orcas and San Juan Islands.
Shellfish Farm Hatchery Open House and Tour
10 AM to 4 PM, Saturday, Oct 27, Sweetwater Shellfish Farm
203 Shoreland Drive, Lopez Island
part of the Islands' Great Island Grown Festival, many local farms and
fisheries are open for touring and business. Find out about the local
shellfish industry and take a tour of this interesting hatchery.
Fisheries on the island sell locally, to grocery stores, and restaurants
across the county, including Seattle!
Prix Fixe 3- and 4-course Dining For $30 to $35 per person, you can enjoy fine cuisine at a number of San Juan Islands' many restaurants. See visitsanjuans.com/savor for a list of over 10 establishments to choose from.
HALLOWEEN ACTIVITIES Great Pumpkin Weekend
Various times, Saturday & Sunday, Oct 27 & 28
you are looking for more family-friendly events, check out the variety
of activities San Juan has scheduled for Halloween at
visitsanjuans.com/events/orcas-island/great-pumpkin-weekend. There's a
little bit for everyone with carving contests, face painting, hayrides,
and spooky story telling.
Halloween Fruit Tasting, The Funhouse Commons
4 to 5:30 PM, Saturday, Oct 27, 30 Pea Patch Lane, Eastsound
apples and pears from your neighborhood grocer to compare against
others from around the region. Learn about apple and pear nutrition,
genetics and other interesting scientific matters.