Poulsbo Hood Canal Loop

Trip Date: 9-16-2006


  • Narrows Bridge
  • Gig Harbor
  • Tides Tavern - Great food!
  • Port Townsend
  • Fort Warden
  • Fair Winds Winery
  • Hood Canal
  • Case Inlet


  • Hwy 16 road work 

Road-Quest.com WA motorcycle rides roads destinations ride video Poulsbo Washington

Trip Details:

Well it's Saturday and I sure can tell fall is in the air. the morning temperatures are much cooler and we have had rain for several days now. Today we get a break in the weather and have partly cloudy skies and should not get any rain. Cool temps should make for a comfortable ride. A buddy and I decided on a ride to Fort Warden, Port Townsend via Poulsbo and then return along 101 (Hood Canal). The sun is poking it's head out of the clouds and it's 51 degrees. I went through my pre-ride inspection, mounted my GPS, cup holder and my new tank bag. I have been kicking around the idea of a tank bag specifically to hold my camera equipment so it's easily accessible.

10:30 AM and we are off to fill our tanks and hit the road. Once fueled we headed across the Narrows bridge. Traffic was exceptional heading west bound 16. The DOT has been building the new bridge span for some time. They are currently lifting pre-stressed sections of roadway into place. This tends to slow traffic as people want a good look at what is going on. It's pretty cool how they lift them into place from a ship anchored below. I have to admit, I slow down from time to time to look.  Immediately on the exit of the bridge is our turn that will lead us down back roads into Gig Harbor. I always choose this route over the first several miles of Hwy 16. Although the speed limit through town is only 25 mph, it's worth the visit. There is allot of history here from the fishing to the lumber mills that no longer occupy the shore. The Tides Tavern has been in it's current location ever since I can remember. The Tides is a great place to stop for great food and a awesome view of the harbor. 

We made out way around the harbor and up to Crescent Valley  road. This road  leads away from Gig Harbor along the Puget Sound waters North of Vashon Island then turns onto Banner Road. We enjoyed the view as we paralleled the water and road through a few fun twisties.  These roads provide for allot of country farm land type scenery. This route has brought us well past any of the existing road construction and traffic. We made our way up to SE Mullix Rd. and then onto Hwy 16. From here we cruised to Bremerton where Hwy 16 turns into Hwy3. I always enjoy coming through Bremerton because you get to see the large Navy ships docked at the Bremerton navel Shipyards.

We pressed on towards Poulsbo. I have heard allot about Poulsbo and have yet to visit. I missed our exit and we took the next oneRoad-Quest.com WA motorcycle rides roads destinations ride video Poulsbo Washington which took us down some back roads.  After some creative navigating (GPS), we got there, but  in a round about way. We actually liked this diversion as it brought some nice scenery and a few more turns. As we arrived in Poulsbo you could see that allot of folks dig this little town. It has the Bavarian thing going on as does Leavenworth. In my opinion it's a great little town but does not hold a candle to Leavenworth. That said, I did like it. We parked in a lot near the marina and walked around a bit. This was another opportunity to get some pictures.   Poulsbo has a warm friendly atmosphere about it. People seemed very friendly and were having a great time. There are countless small shops and if you bring the wife, plan on a day of it. :-) After making a loop through the streets we headed back to our bikes to push onward.

We headed back to Hwy 3 via a few wrong turns (wasn't watching the GPS) and were on our way to Port Townsend WA. This is one of those roads that seems off the beaten path and is a fun ride. In a nut shell, more country scenery, literally no traffic, all the things that make you feel you are off the beaten path. Soon we pull into Port Townsend. This is another fishing town near the water. As we drive through we notice allot of motorcycles (30 maybe) parked sparsely on each side of the street from one end of town to the other. Like Poulsbo, this town is always happening. Every time I have passed through, the streets have been packed with people. We decided to eat at the Public House. Not a big menu but their Dungeness Crab Chowder is one of the best I have ever had. We ate and shot the bull for a bit then walked back towards the bikes to get on with our trip.  The next stop would be Fort Warden. Another place I have not seen. My buddy through in the option of visiting the Fair Winds Winery on the way back from the Fort. Sounded good to me.

Fort Warden was just around the corner from Port Townsend. It took us maybe 5 minutes to arrive. Once into the entrance we saw rows of housing painted white. We road through and down to the water. The place was packed do to a Sea Kayak festival. People, Kayaks  and day tents lined the beach. The water was filled with Kayaks! I have never seen so many Kayaks. I snapped a few photos and we were on our way. This stop didn't really do much for me. I'm not sure if I will return. Next stop Fair Winds Winery.


We made our way to the Winery with yet another wrong turn. :-) Our wives would love to hear this. And that's why they won't. All that matters it that we got there. Fair Winds is a very small Winery. I was surprised how small it was. The guy working the counter greeted us and offered samples of some of their wines. He turned out to be a great guy. Maybe because he rides a BMW. My buddy had a few small samples and decided to buy 3 bottles. I purchase 1 bottle. This was not like visiting the big Wineries where they give you tours of their large operation. Here everything can be seen in this one barn sized cement brick building. Very quaint little place. We said our goodbyes and he responded with  "ride safe".  We carefully stored the wine in our luggage and headed down the gravel road. Our next destination was Hwy 101.

Once on Hwy 101 we soon found ourselves paralleling Hood Canal. I have always liked this road specially in the summer months. This time of year it was a bit chilly. The winds were blowing about 15 mph creating white caps across the water. This brought back memories of scuba diving at Potlatch state park in the middle of winter. I was a wet suit diver and it was really cold getting out and changing. This stretch of road winds along the canal to the other end taking us through Duckabush, Lilliwuap and Hoodsport. Try not to blink because you may miss one. Never the less, great scenery and road conditions. Once at the South end we make a fuel and restroom stop. We turn right at the South end of the canal onto Hwy 106. This stretch of road took us up the other side of the South end of the canal. We then take Hwy 3 South to Hwy 302 paralleling Case Inlet. I really enjoyed this stretch of Hwy as it winds through the country side in and out of the trees. Soon we come up on the Purdy Bridge. As we crossed the Purdy bridge we couldn't help but notice the wind is really blowing. Once on the other side we made our last rest stop. My seat still isn't right and I'm feeling a bit of tail bone fatigue. Back to Rich's custom seats for an adjustment.

The rest of the ride is pretty much uneventful. We headed east bound on Hwy 16 towards Tacoma. The best part of this section of road it the opportunity to slow down crossing the Narrows bridge and watch the workers as they raise sections of the new bridge. It's really amazing how this is all done.  Once across the bridge and into Tacoma it's another 10 minutes and we pull into my driveway. Once again another great ride. We are nearing winter and opportunities like today will be few and far between. As far as this ride, I would highly recommend it!  

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Tacoma, Washington - United States (USA)
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