On New Year's Day five of us met up at the ferry dock in downtown Seattle for a 310 mile round trip out to Neah Bay. Neah Bay is home to the Makah Indian Tribe and is the Northwesternmost point in the continental United States. Weather forecast looked good, clear skies and 40℉ temperatures, but the fog was hanging heavy over the Sound as we crossed from Seattle to Bainbridge Island. Our group consisted of Pete on his GRiSO 1100, Pedro on his Stelvio, Karl on his '73 Eldorado, myself on the Diavolo Nero, and the heretic James on his Yamaha Super Tenere.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Upon arrival on Bainbridge we made a quick stop to top off the gas tanks and headed off for Port Angeles where VME Larry from Tacoma was vectoring to meet us on his vintage Goldwing. New Year's Day rides are great because the roads are almost always virtually empty and certainly free of loping traffic. We made it to our first gas stop in Port Angeles without incident and took a short break for coffee, snacks, smokes etc. Larry's timing was perfect as he rolled up within ten minutes of our arrival. Just a few more minutes of fat chewing and we were off again with all the best roads still ahead of us.
The route out to Neah Bay is always a good one with mile after mile of nice, smooth curves that, for the most part, follow the coastline along the Strait of Juan de Fuca that separates Washington from Vancouver Island and Canada to the north.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
After about 90 minutes of riding, we arrived in Neah Bay on the Makah Reservation. In the past we've been able to grab a bite to ear and break the chill in the Warmhouse, the only restaurant in town, but they've not opened up on the past few NYDs. Last year we were able to eat at the Bay Cafe just back down the road in Sekiu, but they decided to sleep off the day this year too. Here are some pics from our break on the rez.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.][You must be registered and logged in to see this image.][You must be registered and logged in to see this image.][You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
So back to Port Angeles, but now detouring back to Hwy 101 along the south shore of Lake Crescent. Normally this is a big disappointment because of the heavy recreational traffic around the lake, but for New Year's Day, the traffic was pleasantly sparse and easy enough to fly around.
Arriving back in Port Angeles just before sundown, we stopped at a nice little cafe for a bite to eat as we were all pretty hungry. The hot coffee and warm food were just what we needed before heading eastward and home. As we were leaving the sun had now set, so it was going to be a cold, dark slog home to Seattle. Once we hit Sequim (pronounced Skwimm), the rain started to fall. It was a typically light PNW rain, but it didn't stop until we got back to Puget Sound. The group split up after we crossed the Hood Canal bridge with Larry heading south back to Tacoma, Pedro and James taking the northerly route to catch the Kingston ferry back to Mukilteo, and Karl, Pete and I rode back to Bainbridge Island to catch the ferry back to Seattle. Out timing was good as the inbound ferry arrived shortly after we queued up on the dock.
We were all pretty worn out by this time as the rain, slick roads, and the glare of oncoming headlights had taken its toll. But then there was one final tradition that we had to complete before calling it a day. So we headed to the Georgetown neighborhood and the warm embrace of the Nine Pound Hammer for some welcome beers and maybe even a dram or two of Jamesons to ring in the new year.
Welcome 2014! Nothing like starting out the year with a great motorcycle ride!