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Hood Canal

A waterside ride when you just need to glide

I'm a big fan of rides that just go on and on, with few stoplights, very little traffic and scenery that knock the socks off. If ever a ride existed, this one would come close to tops. Plan a full day, enjoy the road and scenery and pat yourself on the back for being the back road rider you are (all roads on this ride are paved).

The ride begins with breakfast in Poulsbo, a nice town to start and end a loop ride in. Near SR305 you'll find the usual chains of eateries, but if you wander down waterside you'll find the quainter caf�'s, coffee houses and muffinries. This ride is routed in such a way your best start time is about 10 a.m.

From Poulsbo you'll make your way to Silverdale. The last time you'll be near a motorcycle dealer for a while, so if you need provisions, stop by Destination Harley-Davidson right along the highway in Silverdale. Not only will you be saying goodbye to the slab for a while, but you'll also be seeing less and less stop lights and stop signs as you make your way east to Seabeck along Anderson Hill Road and the Seabeck Highway.

Seabeck is a nice seaside town and home of the first saw mill in the state. Later that mill was moved to Port Ludlow. I've you've got a camera and like photos of waterfront scenery have it ready to go. There's always something to photograph in Seabeck.

From here wind down out of Seabeck to the Seabeck-Holly Road and continue south along miles of wooded roads that twist and bend like a Dale Chihully glass spiral. Notice how few cars and even more-so, how few motorcycles you see along the way. It's a wonder more people don't use these roads. Most of this area is utilized for tree farms and other than the oncoming Tahuya Forest, there's not much out here.

Passing through Holly (don't blink or you'll miss it) continue making your way to Tahaya utilizing the road sequence on the map. A motorcyclists dream come true of few vehicles and stunning scenery. You'll notice you're hugging the Hood Canal's east slopes and getting some nice water views from time to time.

Once in Tahuya you're dumped right out onto the waterside North Shore road which will take you into Belfair. But first you'll be treated to some spectacular views of the lower Hood Canal looking eastward from a vantage point like no other in the area. It's long, very long, and when you catch your first view you can't even see the other end of the south elbow. After 15 miles of beachfront riding you reach Belfair.

Belfair's not the most exciting town on the planet, but they've got a good size grocery store and some eateries worth consideration. My favorite � Wild Willies BBQ, right on the main highway. You'll see a number of trucks loaded up with dirt bikes in town. The Tahuya State Forest provides miles of trails designated for off-road riding thanks to the Department of Natural Resources.

If you're not ready for lunch proceed west to Union and grab a bite at the newly remodeled Alderbrook Resort. A bit spendy, but the flavors are worth every penny. Union is a summer wonderland for vacationers with plenty of water sports activity humming all season long.

It's time to make your way out to 101 and head north for Quilcene. From Union to Quilcene it's about an hour in a straight shoot, but hey, you're only riding out in this neck of the woods so often, so take time to enjoy the ride. Consider shooting a few oysters or clams at one of several places along the way, or just pulling out to enjoy the view in one of the small towns or state parks. This area of the Hood Canal is a raptor alley of sorts and you never know what you'll see if you sit in one spot a few moments. Great Horned Owls, Eagles and more abound and there have been times when we've spotted them while in motion on the bikes.

Quilcene is a town always in flux. Some years they have a gas station in operation, others not. Some years the Timber House, one of the finest restaurants along this stretch, is open, others it's not. You never know and you can never count of anything other than the fact that this is an opportune time to leave 101 and head for the Hood Canal Bridge on yet another series of tree farm roads that will provide tasty twisties and stunning views.

These tree farm roads running along Dabob Bay and the Toandos Peninsula are typically free of any traffic and make for a much nicer way to get from point a to point b. Once you hit SR104 it's not long before you can take one more little side trip along Shine Road which will provide yet another beachfront ride for you today. If you want to kill a little more time take a side trip over the highway to Shine Tidelands and see what's in the water today.

Alas, some six hours later it's time to make your way back to Poulsbo, or perhaps the Kingston ferry for the trip home, but not before you grab a final canal view from Vineland. You've enjoyed a day of good riding, some stunning views and hopefully some great food. Could one ask for anything more?

Click Here for route map


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