Hood Canal - Mt Vernon Loop

Meet BIG SUE...

Trip Date: 9/8/2007


  • Hood Canal
  • Potlatch State Park
  • Hoodsport
  • Port Townsend
  • Nisqually Ferry
  • Whidbey Island
  • Miles of roads paralleling salt water
  • Several lakes
  • Several river crossings
  • Views of MT Rainier & Adams
  • BIG SUE @ The Chuck Wagon Drive-In


  • Deer

  • Speed Traps (Hood Canal hwy 101)


Hood Canal - Mt Vernon Loop

16:9 Widescreen (400Kbps 18.4 MB)

Trip Details:

The intent of this ride was for the sole purpose of heading north of Seattle to Mt Vernon to try the hamburger voted WA best by the Burger Tour 2006. And as usual I have a hard time riding the boring length of  I-5. I decided to make this ride allot more enjoyable and chose to plan my route to include Hood Canal, Port Townsend,  the Nisqually Ferry, Whidbey Island and hwy 9. This route would be more then 300 miles and take all day.

Wing Man was due for a trip and agreed to meet at my place in Tacoma at 9:30 AM. He almost pulled it off but took  the same wrong turn or should I say "took the right instead of the left" leaving 705 and ended up down town again. No worries as he made it and neither one of us was in a hurry. After a brief chat we headed for the local Late stand and some fuel.  Be it clear and sunny we sure felt Fall in the air. Summer is gone and the mornings are a bit nippy now. Once fueled up, we headed across the old Narrows bridge that now has 4 west bound lanes. We took the Purdy exit and made a left to cross the Purdy bridge traveling just over 5 miles to the hwy 302 Jct. The next 11 miles the road was lined with trees with the latter half paralleling Case inlet and soon joining to hwy 3.  Normally I take hwy 3 all the way to hwy 106 but the map displayed what appeared to be a 2.5 mile stretch of road called Rasor road. Since I have yet to ride it that's exactly what I did. Rasor intersected with hwy 106 and we made a left and proceeded to ride the south side of Hood Canal heading west. The last couple times I have ridden Hood Canal the state patrol have been active in the area and this time was no different. I did my best to watch for them and still have some fun in the nicely laid out twisting roads. Others were not so lucky. I saw pretty blue lights a few times as I made my way towards the ferry terminal in Port Townsend. Half way down the south side we stopped to get a few pictures and take in the view. Once back in the saddle we road 19 miles to the west end of the Canal and turned right on to hwy 101. Near the west end we encountered a narrow patch of mist that was floating above the road and stretched half way across the canal in a line. Once on 101 we road 34 miles paralleling the water on the north side of the canal. We road through many little towns the most known being Potlatch, Road-Quest.com WA motorcycle rides roads best hamburgers burgers Port Townsend WashingtonHoodsport and  Lilliwaup. There are more places to stop on this side but the south side definitely has the best view of the Olympic mountain range. Potlatch state park is a very popular rest stop for riders as it has ample parking and is right of the road. When planning a ride this is a great rest place when riding in large groups. As we departed the waters of Hood canal I was pretty impressed with the ride so far and was also getting really hungry. 101 took us another 20 miles over some really beautiful country. The roads out there were great. Long straights with rolling hills to our left and intermittent sweepers to keep us alert. As we approached our turn onto hwy 20 we passed Fat Smitty's on the left in Discovery Bay. The Smitty Burger is well known to folks near and far. Once on 20 we road 13 miles most of which was paralleling the south side of Discovery Bay. If you choose this route to ride you will not be disappointed as there are countless scenic views of bodies of water, rivers and the Olympics. hwy 20 dropped us right into the heart of Port Townsend where some type of festival was under way. There is always something going on in Port Townsend. The Ferry was on making it's return run so our wait was only 15 minutes or so. Riding a bike has it's privileges such as first on the ferry. You never wait for the next boat this way. We took our place on the vessel behind 2 GL 1500 Goldwings and a Harley. Once under way, we went top side to take some photos and chat with some of the other passengers. We ran into a couple from Ohio heading to Juneau Alaska. Wow, what a long trip. They were driving a RV with their bike in tow. The ferry ride was short and sweet as the crossing is only about 5 miles. Once docked on the other side we waited for the foot traffic to depart the ferry and we were soon given the green light to depart ourselves. Once on dry land we turned left onto Engle road. This was a short 4.6 miles until we intersected with hwy 20 that runs the length of Whidbey Island. I have ridden 20 many times and this time chose a small detour. That is we stayed on hwy 20 for about 3.5 miles and turned left onto Libby and the right on Beach Road. Beach road runs almost 6 miles along the SE side of Whidbey Island. I was really impressed with this little stretch of road. Beach road became Crosby Rd and shortly after we turned left and road past the golf course turning right onto Clover Valley Rd. It was here we turned back onto North bound hwy 20 and finished up the last 7 miles taking us to the South side of the Deception Pass bridge. This is another great place to stop for a rest and bring your camera. The view from the bridge is breathe taking. There are walking ways for foot traffic on both sides of the bridge and both side are accessible from the other. Once across we road another 13 miles up hwy 20 with views of Pass Lake, Lake Campbell and Fildago Bay. Our next turn was onto hwy 536 for a 6 mile ride into Mt Vernon WA. Road-Quest.com WA motorcycle rides roads best hamburgers burgers The Chuck Wagon Mount Vernon WashingtonIt seemed like a few turns of the ramp and we were turning into the Chuck Wagon. By this time it was around 3 PM and we were hungry. This was my first time there and I was impressed to say the least. It was a tragedy to find the award winning burger was on a French roll. I can't classify it as a hamburger if its not on a hamburger bun. The boys from the Burger Tour should have considered this. It was then I found BIG SUE on the menu. Four seasoned beef patties, melted Swiss, bacon, ample pickles, lettuce, tomatoes,  mayo and catsup all hanging out of all edges of a six inch sesame seed bun. BIG SUE was a thing of beauty! Not to mention one of the messiest burgers I have enjoyed! After a few bites and already using up several napkins BIG SUE had put me in hog heaven. I now had a new #1 or should I say favorite WA hamburger. Wing Man settled for the Belt Buckle Chuckle voted #1 by the Burger Tour 2006. He was not let down by the taste but come on... A French Roll? As we placed the last of the napkins onto the pile of used napkins we both were stuffed and still had approximately 146 miles to ride. When I planned this ride I figured we would be back by 4 PM. Something to keep in mind, along the canal the speed limit is mostly 25 and 35 with sections that max at 45 mph. When we left the Chuck Wagon we road just a couple blocks North to the hwy 538 on ramp. 538 took us 5 short miles to hwy 9 where we headed south bound for 34 miles snaking through a few clusters of great twisties but riding allot of  long straight stretches of road. All of which took us past Big Lake, Lake McMuray, Lake Brynt and across the Stillaquamish River. Soon we came up on hwy 204 south bound that put us on hwy 2. This was a very relaxing 13 miles. As hwy 2 neared Monroe we turned onto hwy 203 and followed it into Duval where it became the Carnation-Duval Rd. Duval is a quaint little town that has a gem of a road called the Cherry Valley Road. 9.9 miles of great twisties shade and country side. I have ridden this twice and really enjoyed it. From time to time I miss my St1300. But then this new Goldwing never ceases to amaze me with how great it handles in the turns for a large touring bike. It seems to soak up the turns and does so with allot less shifting. Got to love the torque of that 1032 cc apposed 6 cylinder power plant. Once again, my hat is off to the Honda Engineers and design team. When the 10 miles of bliss was over we were dumped back onto the carnation-Duval Rd for another 3.5 miles. It was here we took the Tolt Hill Rd that ran into Redmond Fall City roads. Most folks stick to the tried and true and ride past the Falls. If you have seen the falls before, try these back roads. They are great! Another 6 miles of new found road and we turned onto Preston-Fall City Rd for a 4.6 mile ride to merge onto I-90. To avoid this trip log being any longer then it already is, I won't go into detail about I-90 and hwy 18 with the exception of saying great country side but nothing like what was experienced prior. This has been one of my favorite rides and if you decide to ride this very route plan on a long day and don't exclude the Chuck Wagon. It's well worth the stop. 10 hours, 310 miles and the one massive but tasty Hamburger!


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