Touring - Whidbey / Port Townsend camping suggestions
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09-07-06, 04:25 PM
My girlfriend and I would like to head out this weekend on a 2 night tour, Seattle to Whidbey Island, camp at or near Fort Casey, ferry to Port Townsend, explore the area for the day and camp somewhere nearby, ride back to Seattle via Kingston or Bainbridge.
Since the trip is a bit impromptu there is no chance of a campsite reservation at the parks I've checked (Fort Casey, Fort Worden and other state parks in the PT area). I've heard that Deception Pass has some bike-only campsites, and I've noticed that they don't appear on the reservation system, nor is there any mention of biker-only campsites on the state parks web site. We probably won't make it as far north as Deception Pass though.
I'm open to the idea of free camping, but we're new to touring and would prefer to stick to campgrounds for now. Does anyone know if any of the other parks in these areas have hiker/biker sites? Will we be turned away if we show up at a state park that has no available "sites"? We'd probably be arriving in the evening, so I'm not sure if there would even be anyone on duty. All we'd need is a place to pitch a tent, a shower would be nice too.
09-07-06, 05:04 PM
My best advice would be to try and call them and talk to someone with your questions. Get a name if they tell you that bikers are welcome even-if-full. Also ask about the walk-ins; I don't know if they are reservable or not, I only know they exist.
09-08-06, 12:05 AM
WA state law provides no bicyclist will be turned away from a state campground and accomodation must be found for the bicyclist. they'll get you a spot if you make enough fuss, but go check the sites first, always, before going to the office or paying the fee.
just roll right in, and look for the walk in sites. claim any unreserved spot. barring that, roll thru the car camping sites and take any unreserved spot. if all spots are taken or otherwise reserved, THEN check at the ranger station. at Worden it's in the old barracks, at Old Fort Townsed SP there is only a self pay box.
I've had NO problem finding spots in the walk in sites at Old Fort Townsend State park, just up the hill south of Port Townsend.
even at Fort Worden, I'd check there first. Ride in thru the gate, the walk in camping is about 200 yards straightaway, and then look to the left, past some old barracks and the little fuel depot. past another row of housing there to the upper campground, then to the left again to the southern end of that for the hiker/biker sites. just roll in and claim a spot.
Fort Worden is the coolest. much, much cooler than any other camping around. "an officer and a gentleman" was largely filmed there. lots of cool bunkers, tunnels, gun emplacements, museums, coffee shop, beach, wahrf, history just seeping out, etc...
but even Old Fort Townsend (not much fort, a lot of old) is just a 2 mile uphill ride past the last grocery store at the bottom of the hill.
you could always camp near the cemetary by Fort Worden ;) - go to the gate, and then to the left...check it out, therabouts....
you'll like staying in Port Townsend rather than Whidbey. there is little to do on the Whid at night, and a lot of neat stuff in Port Townsend, including live music.
check out the old Town Tavern at night, and definetly grab a slice from the pizza window downtown during the day.
09-08-06, 12:18 PM
Good to know about the state parks. This trip seems like a lot of fun; I'll have to try it myself sometime.
I second the pizza suggestion. They also have a few tables upstairs, where you can order a whole pizza, salads, etc. Better than any Seattle pizza I've had. The beer selection is decent too...not a huge selection, , just good quality in the ones they offer.
09-08-06, 01:24 PM
Thanks for the helpful input everyone. After I made the original post I found the direct numbers for a couple of the parks and they said the same - they don't turn away cyclists. I didn't know that was the law though! That's good to know.
Lots of prep to do today, then we hit the road tomorrow. This is the maiden tour for both our bikes (other than lots of commuting and day trips), which I've been slowly building this spring and summer. I was riding a too-big RBT which I bought on ebay, biding my time until I decided what frame I really wanted, until 2 weeks ago, when a used Bruce Gordon Rock n' Road frame in my size popped up on Craig's List. What a sweet frame!
I'll post a trip update after we get back.
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