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Seattle, Vancouver Island, Vancouver Seattle loop or Mt. Hood loop? Or?

Old 12-19-14, 02:45 PM
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Seattle, Vancouver Island, Vancouver Seattle loop or Mt. Hood loop? Or?

I really have grown to like the north west US / south west CA and would like to see more. One thought I had was a Seattle, Vancouver Island, Vancouver Seattle loop. Another an loop in and around Mt. Hood. I would be open to other suggestions.

My requirements.

Great scenery lots a wildlife a plus.
I don't might most NW assents as they are usually long but not too steep. I would like to avoid higher altitudes if possible as I only live at 1K feet and not sure how I would handle 6K+ feet at my age.
No camping, lots of lodging. Might be in conflict with my first requirement but my riding partner does not camp and frankly at my age, for a week or two of camping I am sort of with him.
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Old 12-20-14, 12:28 PM
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I have ridden both around Mt Hood and several short tours in the Puget Sound Area. IMO the Puget Sound area is more interesting.

To ride around Hood requires being on busy roads, including a short stretch of freeway; and there are some pretty long stretches without amenities. It was one of the first times I tried a credit card ride, and it was in March. Short days and cold weather made it pretty challenging. Actually the old hotel at Maupin is no longer there, which may make the spacing even more critical.

I took I-84 From Trout Lake, WA to The Dalles, then south on 197 to Maupin, Madras, Warm Springs, Portland and Return. That was a long weekend, not a 2 week tour.

There are numerous options for planning a loop in the Puget Sound area. I believe that starting in Vancouver, BC; actually, Richmond where the airport is located, will give more interesting options than Seattle. Going south, it is a short ride to the Ferry at Tsawwassen. This ferry goes to Swartz bay on Vancouver Island, and to the Gulf Islands.

Also thinks about fitting in the San Juan Islands into your loop. It is fun to use one of the Islands as "base camp" and explore the others. All the inter-island ferries are free. It is then a short ferry ride to Vancouver Island (not free). You can't go wrong!

Going north through Vancouver on the Sunshine Coast , and crossing over to Vancouver Island at Powell River is a nice ride. Any where you ride in the area can require a lot of ferry time, which we enjoy.

We usually take the train to to Mt. Vernon, WA; and start most of our tours in Anacortes, WA. Vancouver, BC is also easy to reach by train. It is really handy for us. My wife and I just did a short tour in the San Juans, Vancouver Island area in 2013 with our daughters.

We've even developed what we call a "ferry strap"; a 4-5' piece of 1/2 tubular nylon webbing with a sidelock buckle. It is used to secure the bike to the ferries during the ride. The ferries usually have tie downs for bikes, but they are no always where you went them.

The red strap around the seatpost to the floatation ring bracket is a "ferry strap".


On some of the larger ferries they have bike racks on deck. However, a fully loaded bike does not fit well, and it put a lot of stress on that front wheel if used as designed.


I made this blue strap for my daughter to match her bike Also note the "parking brake" on her right brake lever. Really nice to keep the bike from shifting on boats and trains.

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Old 12-20-14, 12:50 PM
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This would be my recommendation for a two week tour. Plenty of scenic riding, plenty of accommodation and the biggest climb would be eastwards out of Port Renfrew.
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Old 12-20-14, 01:00 PM
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I wanted to start in Seattle because of size of the airport and it is in the US. It would make it easier getting to the airport and give me the option of shipping the bike ahead of me.

Thanks for the map Lou. Pretty much what I was thinking except I might stay on the east side of VI to cut some miles (i.e. time. Would you recommend or just do the extra days?

Would you do that loop again?

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Old 12-20-14, 01:03 PM
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Doug, you base camp idea sounds interesting. can I pretty much see each of those islands in a day or should I plan to take my gear with me and stay the night?
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Old 12-20-14, 01:04 PM
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Need a Valid Passport now to cross the Border , I think days of Drivers licence ID good enough, ended when TSA was created in 01~2..
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Old 12-20-14, 01:10 PM
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Re 3rd post map .. BC Ferries will close the Loop ..Northern Gulf Islands Schedules | BC Ferries - British Columbia Ferry Services Inc.
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Old 12-20-14, 04:19 PM
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This is what I came up with. Takes 8 days and makes my riding partner happy who likes to keep our trips around a week long. I would not mind adding another day or two spending more time on Vancouver Island.

Day 1
Vancouver Island Day 01 - SeaTac, WA 31 mikes

Day 2
http://ridewithgps.com/routes/6659438

Day 3
Vancouver Island Day 03 - Sequim, WA 61 miles


Day 4
Vancouver Island Day 04 - Sidney, British Columbia 54 miles

Day 5
Vancouver Island Day 05 - Nanaimo, British Columbia 65 miles


Day 6
Vancouver Island Day 06 - Richmond, British Columbia 60 miles

Day 7
Vancouver Island Day 07 - Bellingham, WA 61 miles

Day 8
Vancouver Island Day 08 - Coupeville, WA 65 miles
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Old 12-20-14, 04:52 PM
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Your proposed route will work. It takes half a dozen 2-week tours to do it right; and this will whet your appetite for another trip. After Labor day is a great time to ride that part of the world.

Yes, you can do an Island a day without any trouble. Orcas Island is the most challenging.

The ferry terminal is south of Richmond at Tsawwassen. There is no need to ride up to Richmond unless you want to.

The Lochside Trail is a good way to get from Sidney to Victoria. Just "Google" it

There is always a hill going out of ferry terminals; that is the law of ferry terminals
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Old 12-20-14, 05:03 PM
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I did the Selkirk after Labor Day and that seemed to be a good time of year. I think we got light ran for just a few hours in the morning only one day.

I am with you on the ferries. It really adds to the trip. This one will be lots of them.
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Old 12-20-14, 05:26 PM
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We did the Selkirk Loop this summer on our annual "Girl's Tour". We try to do at least one tour a year with our daughters, and that was it. It was a great ride, but I get a little embarrassed with all those sports bras flopping in the wind while drying on the back of their panniers
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Old 12-20-14, 06:13 PM
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Did you ride the Galena Trail in New Denver?

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Old 12-20-14, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Thanks for the map Lou. Pretty much what I was thinking except I might stay on the east side of VI to cut some miles (i.e. time. Would you recommend or just do the extra days?

Would you do that loop again?
The east side of Vancouver Island; north out of Victoria, is the main highway over Malahat Mountain which I was told would be tough. I found the Galloping Goose rail trail much more appealing; leading to Sooke on the road to Port Renfrew. Infact, the Lochside rail trail, from Sydney to Victoria, and the Galloping Goose, from Victoria to Sooke, make for some very agreeable traffic-free cycling in and out of Victoria.
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Old 12-20-14, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Did you ride the Galena Trail in New Denver?

I should have been more specific. We did a portion of the Loop including one of the side trips. No, we did not get into the New Denver area. We didn't go much further north on the east side of the Loop than Creston.
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Old 12-20-14, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
I should have been more specific. We did a portion of the Loop including one of the side trips. No, we did not get into the New Denver area. We didn't go much further north on the east side of the Loop than Creston.
I highly recommend going to New Denver. The ride from Creston to Keslso to New Denver to Nelson is some of the prettiest riding in the area.

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Old 12-20-14, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Lou Skannon View Post
The east side of Vancouver Island; north out of Victoria, is the main highway over Malahat Mountain which I was told would be tough. I found the Galloping Goose rail trail much more appealing; leading to Sooke on the road to Port Renfrew. Infact, the Lochside rail trail, from Sydney to Victoria, and the Galloping Goose, from Victoria to Sooke, make for some very agreeable traffic-free cycling in and out of Victoria.
I am a little confused. Isn't Malahat Mountain on the west side?

Anyhoo my plan is to head north from Vitoria. There is a back road to Sidney, then take the ferry to Salt Island. There is aback road once back on VI that takes you all the way in to Nanimao.
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Old 12-20-14, 08:33 PM
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Spinnaker, your route looks good overall. I've done quite a bit of riding in that area, so here are my suggestions/questions:
  • Any reason why you skip Port Townsend? I know that it's slightly off your route on Day 2, but it's a worthwhile stop. And should have plenty of lodging options.
  • Like doug64 suggested, I'd skip Richmond. There's no real need to go through it.
  • SR 20 through Oak Harbor is horrible. I'd get on the side roads between Deception Pass and Coupeville. Adventure Cycling has it on their routing through the area.
  • And in the "If this was my tour" category: I wouldn't really bother with the riding between Vancouver and Bellingham. I've tried a few different ways between the two, and they are at their best "serviceable" but not exciting. And that's a full day riding just there.
  • Along those lines, I'd probably end the tour at Vancouver and take Amtrak back to Seattle. That frees up a couple days, which gives you the opportunity to explore a few of the San Juan Islands (totally worth it!) And instead of taking the ferry to Kingston, you can take the ferry from Mukilteo to the south part of Whidbey Island, then take the ferry across to Port Townsend.
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Old 12-20-14, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by adventurepdx View Post
Spinnaker, your route looks good overall. I've done quite a bit of riding in that area, so here are my suggestions/questions:
  • Any reason why you skip Port Townsend? I know that it's slightly off your route on Day 2, but it's a worthwhile stop. And should have plenty of lodging options.
  • Like doug64 suggested, I'd skip Richmond. There's no real need to go through it.
  • SR 20 through Oak Harbor is horrible. I'd get on the side roads between Deception Pass and Coupeville. Adventure Cycling has it on their routing through the area.
  • And in the "If this was my tour" category: I wouldn't really bother with the riding between Vancouver and Bellingham. I've tried a few different ways between the two, and they are at their best "serviceable" but not exciting. And that's a full day riding just there.
  • Along those lines, I'd probably end the tour at Vancouver and take Amtrak back to Seattle. That frees up a couple days, which gives you the opportunity to explore a few of the San Juan Islands (totally worth it!) And instead of taking the ferry to Kingston, you can take the ferry from Mukilteo to the south part of Whidbey Island, then take the ferry across to Port Townsend.

Thanks for the tips. I will switch to Port Townsend. Makes the next day longish in miles but really much of that is ferry miles anyway so very doable (I usually don't like doing more than 60 a day.)

End in Vancouver? I do have us going trough Whitbey but from the north end.

How would you propose I get to Bellingham?

Maybe another option would be to take a train from Vancover to Mt. Vernon?
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Old 12-20-14, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
End in Vancouver? I do have us going trough Whidbey but from the north end.
Yep, I saw that. If you start at SeaTac and then headed to Mukilteo, then ferry to the south tip of Whidbey, then ferry over to Port Townsend mid-island, you'd get more than half of Whidbey. You'd miss Deception Pass and Fidalgo island, though. But you could add that as a leg and then ferry over to one or two of the San Juans. If anything, avoid 20 from Coupeville to Deception Pass as much as possible, especially through Oak Harbor.

Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
How would you propose I get to Bellingham? Maybe another option would be to take a train from Vancover to Mt. Vernon?
You can take Amtrak from Vancouver BC to either Bellingham and Mount Vernon. Roll-on bike service for an extra $5 per bike. If you get off at Bellingham you can ride Chuckanut Drive which is definitely a highlight!
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Old 12-20-14, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by adventurepdx View Post
Yep, I saw that. If you start at SeaTac and then headed to Mukilteo, then ferry to the south tip of Whidbey, then ferry over to Port Townsend mid-island, you'd get more than half of Whidbey. You'd miss Deception Pass and Fidalgo island, though. But you could add that as a leg and then ferry over to one or two of the San Juans. If anything, avoid 20 from Coupeville to Deception Pass as much as possible, especially through Oak Harbor.



You can take Amtrak from Vancouver BC to either Bellingham and Mount Vernon. Roll-on bike service for an extra $5 per bike. If you get off at Bellingham you can ride Chuckanut Drive which is definitely a highlight!
Ok I get it. Put Mukilteo on the front end. Am I missing anything by going that way instead of my way?

Looks like it is nearly impossible to do Deception Pass and Fidalgo island without doing 20.Is Deception Pass worth seeing? Maybe I would be best to spend the time on another island?
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Old 12-20-14, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Ok I get it. Put Mukilteo on the front end. Am I missing anything by going that way instead of my way?
Well, you'd be missing SR 104 from Kingston to SR 19, which was quite busy when I rode parts of that this summer.
SR 525 on the south end of Whidbey isn't as bad, but I'd use other roads on the west side of the island. Hillier, yes, but definitely quieter.

Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Looks like it is nearly impossible to do Deception Pass and Fidalgo island without doing 20.Is Deception Pass worth seeing? Maybe I would be best to spend the time on another island?
Yep, it's impossible to not use SR 20 as it is "The Bridge" (Deception Pass Bridge) and its approaches. I do like Deception Pass and the park there, but the riding around it can get a little gnarly. But you could also hit the San Juans via the WSDOT ferry from Sidney, BC (just south of the Swartz Bay ferry).

Here's a couple views of Deception Pass:

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Old 12-20-14, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by adventurepdx View Post

Yep, it's impossible to not use SR 20 as it is "The Bridge" (Deception Pass Bridge) and its approaches. I do like Deception Pass and the park there, but the riding around it can get a little gnarly. But you could also hit the San Juans via the WSDOT ferry from Sidney, BC (just south of the Swartz Bay ferry).

Here's a couple views of Deception Pass:

Wow that is nice, Looks worth seeing. Not sure I would fit it in without doing the whole island. Does not look like there is much around there to do an out and back.


Here is my new route from Mukilteo to Port Townsend. Looks interesting. I just need to figure where to stay in Mukilteo. Looks like only expensive places to stay so far. I really hate trying to find lodging online. Seems half of the places aren't listed that you find when you roll into town.

Vancouver Island-B Day 02 - Mukilteo, WA

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Old 12-20-14, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Wow that is nice, Looks worth seeing. Not sure I would fit it in without doing the whole island. Does not look like there is much around there to do an out and back.
If you were coming from Mt Vernon and going out to Anacortes, you could swing by Deception Pass State Park on the way out.

Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Here is my new route from Mukilteo to Port Townsend. Looks interesting. I just need to figure where to stay in Mukilteo. Looks like only expensive places to stay so far. I really hate trying to find lodging online. Seems half of the places aren't listed that you find when you roll into town.
That route looks good, though I haven't done all of what you've proposed. Yeah, lodging in general is going to be expensive when you get in that part of the world, especially during the summer.
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Old 12-20-14, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by adventurepdx View Post
If you were coming from Mt Vernon and going out to Anacortes, you could swing by Deception Pass State Park on the way out.



That route looks good, though I haven't done all of what you've proposed. Yeah, lodging in general is going to be expensive when you get in that part of the world, especially during the summer.
I'm thinking maybe a route through the San Juans then over to Sidney then up to Nanimao and then end the trip in Vancouver. train to Belingham so I can do Chuckanaut Dr.

Would I be missing anything by not going to Victoria then up to Sidney?


Looks like this route avoids most of 20. I might stay in Port Townsend anyway since it works out as a good place to stay mile wise. Would just mean a ferry over and back again the next day.
San Juan Day 03 - Port Townsend, WA


I will work out the rest of the details tomorrow. Getting late here.
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Old 12-21-14, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
I'm thinking maybe a route through the San Juans then over to Sidney then up to Nanimao and then end the trip in Vancouver. train to Belingham so I can do Chuckanaut Dr. Would I be missing anything by not going to Victoria then up to Sidney?
I like Victoria, and its a destination in itself. It can be a bit touristy, though. If it was me, I'd go. But this isn't my tour. Check out stuff about Victoria online and see if it's a place you or your partner would like to go.

Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Looks like this route avoids most of 20. I might stay in Port Townsend anyway since it works out as a good place to stay mile wise. Would just mean a ferry over and back again the next day.
That route looks good, my only reservation is you have it go through a bit of Naval Air Station Whidbey/Ault Field north of Oak Harbor, and I don't know if that road is restricted.

Here is the route I used through this area in August. It misses Coupeville, which is a cute little Victorian town, but hits up the lighthouse at Fort Casey and then Ebeys Landing and Joseph Whidbey Parks:
Islands-Sound Tour 2014: Day 2, Fri Aug 8 - A bike ride in Island County, WA



But honestly, most routes in this area are going to be fairly scenic and quiet as long as you avoid SR 20. You will get hills, though.
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