Memorial Day weekend, the official and utterly arbitrary beginning of summer despite the solstice being June 21, is here. Places are going to be mobbed with people getting out and enjoying themselves for the first time this year because the mass media and social media say it’s true. But I can go places and see things anytime I want, and I don’t want to deal with huge crowds. So I’m just going to lay low and stay local in Vancouver, Washington for the weekend. Let everyone else get it out of their systems, and then I’ll go out and play while everyone else is back at work.
This is also a good time to consider the next steps of my journey. Given the geography and where the roads go, it makes sense for me to head to the Olympic Peninsula next. While I’d love to spend a few days camping out in Olympic National Forest, I’m concerned that I won’t have the cell service I need to work, and work’s gotten quite busy lately. US 101 does a big loop around the perimeter, through many populated areas that should have cell service. The various apps I use show many potential overnight stops, including a $5/night campground I could spend a few days at and explore the area on the bike, so that’s probably what I’ll do.
Following 101 will take me back to I-5 in Olympia. From there I’ll try to avoid Seattle, as big cities don’t mix well with a van and trailer. Jason, an old online friend who I’ve never met in person, recommends finding a place to stay between Issaquah and Snoqualmie on the east side of Seattle and exploring some great motorcycling out there. Of course, there isn’t much for boondocking, and campgrounds are booked on weekends through the end of time. There’s decent availability during the week, though, so I might spend a couple of days there and do some exploring. Jason said he could probably take a day off to ride out and show me around, which would be great.
From there, it’s just a matter of making my way up I-5 to the Canadian border, about two hours away. I don’t want to make too many plans in Canada until I know that they’re going to let me in (I’m just about certain that they will) and that my internet access will be adequate for work (completely unknown at this time). If I can’t work, I can’t drive across Canada right now. It’s that simple. If that happens, I’ll pop back into the States and come up with Plan B, but I’m not going to give up on Plan A without trying pretty hard. I have a few tricks up my sleeve.
I don’t like not knowing which direction the rest of my year’s travel will take from this important junction. But I also can’t decide without all of the information, which I won’t have until I get there. That’s why I’m resisting the temptation to take the ferry from Port Angeles, Washington to Victoria, British Columbia. If I get there and have inadequate internet, I’m stuck, but with a land crossing, I can just drive back.
Meanwhile, I’ll enjoy what western Washington has to offer — and avoid the big crowds over the long weekend.