Another islands tour ahead, and how the rest of the touring season will pan out

Emee on the ferry, from our 2019 San Juans Trip

After my first bike overnight trip to the cabins at Stub Stewart in February, I was getting the itch for more bike camping. I even wondered if 2022 could be similar to my 2012, where I had lots of overnights and tours. But besides a trip to Champoeg in April, I didn’t have another overnight until my Gorge/Ainsworth trip in June. I had hoped that I could see an overnight in July, but that hasn’t happened.

Chalk it up to a lot of things: The spring “drought” was caused by lots of rain (the wettest April and May ever) plus being busy with other things. The weather in July has been much more conducive, but again I got busy. Not only that, I’ve had “non-bike” travels, like the Bay Area in June and the Long Beach Peninsula in July. It was easy to pack it in with bike overnights and the like when touring was my only real summer traveling. But now it competes with other trips, and I have to squeeze in camping trips where I can.

Thankfully the drought of bike overnight adventures breaks today. Emee and I are currently en route to the San Juan Islands in Washington State. This trip has been planned for awhile, as it’s my birthday celebration (I’ll be turning 47 on Sunday!) These islands are a fave for me, but it’s been three years since the last time we’ve been.

And unlike the last tour, where we camped a bit, this will be a true credit card or inn-to-inn tour. We’ll be staying indoors the whole time. We’ll spend four nights on Orcas, bookended by overnights on the way to (Mount Vernon) and from (La Conner) the archipelago. When on Orcas, we’ll be staying in one place, and this place is right off the ferry dock! I had wanted to do something like this for some time. Being next to the ferry means we can easily catch a boat to another island, ride around, and come back to our home base. This type of “spoke and hub” touring on the San Juans can only be accomplished on Orcas (at the ferry dock village) or in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. 1 (The lodging on Lopez is limited and much further from the dock, and Shaw really doesn’t have lodging options.) The two great things about being on bike or foot while traveling on the ferries: you don’t need to reserve space, you can automatically get on the next ferry, and the only time you pay for ferry service is outbound from the mainland.

I’ll hopefully have a few updates, though they most likely will be on my Instagram and/or flickr feeds.

And while the rest of August and September look pretty busy, I still have plans to do more overnights before winter comes. Hope you can as well!

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1 Friday Harbor was our first choice, as there’s much more to do right there. However we couldn’t really find any great “bike friendly” lodging here. All the places we looked at have some janky rack out of sight and won’t allow us to bring bikes inside. The hotel at Orcas is ok with us bringing bikes into our room.

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