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How "doable" is a quick jaunt from San Juan Island to Victoria?

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How "doable" is a quick jaunt from San Juan Island to Victoria?

Old 06-21-15, 08:48 PM
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Tesgin
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How "doable" is a quick jaunt from San Juan Island to Victoria?

Okay, might sound like an obvious question to a local, but hey, I'm from Pennsylvania, so I thought I'd check this out.

I'm planning a trip to Seattle in Sept to visit my brother. Looking at taking a week off and doing the San Juan Islands: two nights on Lopez, two nights on Orcas, two nights on San Juan. I "was" looking at going from there to Port Townsend and exploring the Olympic Peninsula for a few days, but a few people suggested something to me...

When I was making hotel reservations, someone suggested I spend one less day on the peninsula and instead ferry out to Victoria and spend a day there exploring on bike. This was a guy from Sequim who said I'd enjoy that a lot more than the peninsula! Interesting.

My question is how doable that is. I'm not familiar with the ferry system. It might not be a big deal, but I'm wondering how easy it is taking a bike thru customs (along with my energy gels, food, etc. Is that okay?) Is there a place at "the other side" to exchange my American money for Canadian currency, etc. Is one overnight in Victoria enough time to explore (meaning, how long is the ferry ride? Do I need to leave a whole day there -- i.e., two nights -- to make it worth my while?)? I do have a current visa. Maybe it's not a big deal.

Sorry for so many questions that probably seem so basic, but it's all foreign to me (no pun intended!).

Thanks,
Tesgin

(well, maybe the pun was a "little" intended)

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Old 06-21-15, 10:33 PM
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there is no customs (basically). use USD and credit card. you have a current visa- what? not a passport?
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Old 06-21-15, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by tedder View Post
there is no customs (basically). use USD and credit card. you have a current visa- what? not a passport?
Oops. Sorry, no. I meant passport, not visa. Just a slip of the tongue.
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Old 06-22-15, 12:08 AM
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It's a 90 min ferry ride from Port Angeles to Victoria and no problem taking your bike. You should be able to get by with a Visa card, I rarely use cash. If you need some Canadian money you can withdraw from any bank machine with a debit card.

You could easily spend more than a day in Victoria. It's a beautiful city with lots to see and do and decent riding as well.

Edit: regarding food there are some restrictions in both directions to protect farming industry. Best to check online before you come. Bars and gels won't be a problem but apples, fruit and some meats can be a problem.
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Old 06-23-15, 08:33 PM
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While I have not done it by bike, I think a loop from Anacortes to Port Angeles via the San Juans and Victoria is doable. The only area I would question is the stretch from Sidney (ferry terminal on the Victoria side) to Victoria -- as I've only been on it by car and wasn't biking at the time. I'd get some more info on the riding conditions there. My guess is they have buses with bike racks too that go from Sidney to Victoria as well since a lot of Vancouver BC traffic comes through here. And if you could take the bus down to Victoria you could shave some time off (if you are interested). But you'd have to get more info on that.

Victoria is awesome -- the Sequim guy was right. Jump the ferry from Friday Harbor to Sidney. That area is the jewel of Washington State and Victoria is something not to be missed IMHO. But don't miss out on the peninsula either. As the guy above suggested, hop the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles. The Olympics from the northern view is great too. Just remember that PA isn't much to look at. I find it interesting for about 10 minutes and then I'm ready to get the hell out of there.

The ride from PA to Port Townsend (PT) should be fine with the main challenges riding out of PA and then riding out of Discovery Bay up to PT. However, once in Port Townsend, it is a different story than Port Angeles. Great little Victorian style city with great views atop the bluff(s) and a nice ferry ride across Admiralty Inlet to Whidbey Island.

Last edited by toddles; 06-23-15 at 08:54 PM.
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Old 06-23-15, 09:14 PM
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The ride from Port Townsend to Port Angeles is a little sketchy but ultimately a lot of fun - google "Olympic Discovery Trail" and you'll see the basic route. From Victoria to Sidney you ride the Galloping Goose trail for about 20 miles - a good ride and a lot of fun. Check the international ferry schedule for the San Juan run well in advance - there aren't many boats and they book up way ahead of time (although bikes used to be exempt from the reservation system.) I've taken the BC ferry from Sidney to Tsawwassen and ridden down to coast to Anacortez but that would take another day or two.
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Old 06-24-15, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by geronimo2000 View Post
From Victoria to Sidney you ride the Galloping Goose trail for about 20 miles - a good ride and a lot of fun. Check the international ferry schedule for the San Juan run well in advance - there aren't many boats and they book up way ahead of time (although bikes used to be exempt from the reservation system.) .
And there ya go. A loop from Anacortes to the San Juans to Vancouver Island to the Olympic Peninsula across the straight of Juan de Fuca (promounced "few-ca" for those wondering) and back to Whidbey Island sounds like a great way to go. Sounds like a great ride actually.
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Old 06-29-15, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by toddles View Post
And there ya go. A loop from Anacortes to the San Juans to Vancouver Island to the Olympic Peninsula across the straight of Juan de Fuca (promounced "few-ca" for those wondering) and back to Whidbey Island sounds like a great way to go. Sounds like a great ride actually.
That's a good loop, WA ferry from Anacortes among islands to San Juan Island and onto Sydney, ride to Victoria (and beyond?), then Coho Ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles, ride to Port Townsend, take the state ferry to Coupeville/Whidbey. Bike back up to Anacortes for the car!
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Old 06-29-15, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
That's a good loop, WA ferry from Anacortes among islands to San Juan Island and onto Sydney, ride to Victoria (and beyond?), then Coho Ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles, ride to Port Townsend, take the state ferry to Coupeville/Whidbey. Bike back up to Anacortes for the car!
That's a very doable route - I've done it, though I'm a Victoria native so I start and end here. You can easily do the loop in either direction, too.

One thing I'll throw out there is the fact that you can put your bike on a bus between Sequim and Port Townsend if you want to avoid some of the sketchier sections of that ride, but that still allows riding a nice portion of the Olympic Discovery Trail between Port Angeles and Sequim. I've ridden the route and it's mostly pretty good but there are a few narrow sections of highway with heavy traffic. I've also put my bike on the bus one time when I just didn't feel like dealing with it and that worked out fine.

You won't likely need cash for anything in Victoria - I can't think of a single business where you couldn't use a credit card.

[edit] Don't try to bring any fresh fruit across the border in either direction. Anything dried or processed is fine, but there are restrictions and quarantines and you don't want to run into any sort of hassle.
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Old 07-06-15, 11:13 PM
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This is excellent. I'm now looking at modifying my itinerary, to doing the San Juan Islands, ferrying to Sydney and spending a few days in Vancouver, then ferrying from Sydney to Port Angeles, biking to Sequim, and busing back to Clinton, then back to Lynnwood where my journey started.

I have been researching routes and trails and sites in the Victoria area; I'm having a little difficulty getting info on which routes are not appropriate for a road bike. I read great things about the Galloping Goose Trail, the Lochside Trail, the Seaside Touring Route, but it's not clear to me which are paved, which should not be done on a road bike. I'd appreciate any tips.

Any other suggestions on routes in Vancouver for a roadie?

Tesgin

Last edited by Tesgin; 07-06-15 at 11:22 PM.
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Old 07-11-15, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Tesgin View Post
This is excellent. I'm now looking at modifying my itinerary, to doing the San Juan Islands, ferrying to Sydney and spending a few days in Vancouver, then ferrying from Sydney to Port Angeles, biking to Sequim, and busing back to Clinton, then back to Lynnwood where my journey started.

I have been researching routes and trails and sites in the Victoria area; I'm having a little difficulty getting info on which routes are not appropriate for a road bike. I read great things about the Galloping Goose Trail, the Lochside Trail, the Seaside Touring Route, but it's not clear to me which are paved, which should not be done on a road bike. I'd appreciate any tips.

Any other suggestions on routes in Vancouver for a roadie?

Tesgin
Hi Tesgin,

I can answer your questions from the Victoria side: all of the major trails here (Galloping Goose & Lochside) are doable by road bike. There are unpaved sections, but they generally are in pretty good shape. There are also some wooden bridges that really rattle your bones, but again, these are safely navigated by road bikes on a daily basis. The Seaside route is entirely paved.

Also, to take the ferry to Port Angelas, you have to take a ferry from the Inner Harbour in downtown Victoria, not Sidney. You'll take the M.V. Coho to get to Port Angelas. The Sidney ferry connects with Anacortes Island in Washington State, which is quite a bit north of Port Angelas (though, that's a nice ride, too!). That ferry is a Washington State ferry Sidney is about oh, 30 km north of downtown Victoria, but Sidney is very close to the main ferry terminal at Swartz Bay. You'll take a ferry from there to get to Vancouver. Actually, you'll take the ferry to Tsawwassen, then ride into Vancouver from there.

I actually haven't ridden in Vancouver in a few decades so I'm not too sure about routes there, but I have noticed that there has been a great deal of investment in biking infrastructure on that side of the ocean.

Good luck, and if you have any other questions please ask (or PM)
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Old 07-13-15, 09:39 PM
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I would just like to second the recommendation to use transit between Port Townsend and Sequim. There's some unpleasant sections.
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Old 07-18-15, 09:47 PM
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Until you reach the prairie, the ride out PA to Sequim is a lot of ups and downs out of hairpin turns the like. There are a couple ravines that are very challenging.
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Old 06-03-19, 11:43 PM
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Sketchy parts?

Sorry to bring this post back from the dead.

Can someone explain what makes the section between Port Townsend sketchy? I am exploring ideas to ride from PT to Port Angeles then onto the ferry bound for Victoria.

Any help would be great.
Scott
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Old 06-04-19, 11:21 AM
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There's one section of Highway 20 that is narrow with no shoulder and a fair bit of traffic, including big trucks. I've ridden it and I know lots of other folks who have and it's certainly doable but a bit unnerving.

You are climbing a mountain pass and will get off the narrow part where Highway 20 meets the Olympic highway. Once you are over that, you are close to the Olympic Discovery Trail and that is great riding.

You can bypass Highway 20, but it adds a fair bit of distance and some extra climbing - I did that once.

You can also put your bike on a bus in Port Townsend to get over highway 20, then carry on to Sequim. I've done that once, too.

One of the nice things about the route you are doing is that the ferry from Port Angeles takes you right downtown Victoria.
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Old 06-09-19, 09:07 PM
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Thanks for your response, Winston. I am in the early planning stages of a tour for my cycling friends next year. We can just start in Sequim. I just thought about Port Townsend because I loved that place as a kid.
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Old 06-11-19, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Scottgps View Post
Thanks for your response, Winston. I am in the early planning stages of a tour for my cycling friends next year. We can just start in Sequim. I just thought about Port Townsend because I loved that place as a kid.
Despite my warning regarding Highway 20 I do think Port Townsend is worth including if you can. It is an awesome town in such a picturesque setting!

Sequim to Port Angeles is only about 20 miles along the gorgeous Olympic Discovery Trail so that part is very easy.
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Old 06-16-19, 07:37 PM
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Yes. I am quite fond of PT. I spent much of my childhood crawling all over those bunkers at Fort Warden. And I remember bombing down that hill coming into town (back then the town really didn't start west of the round-a-bout like it does now). That hill made me realize back then that I was going to be a cyclist for life. Loved it.

Thanks again
Scott
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