Fort Flagler

Another cool but sunny day in mid April saw Dan and I heading north from my home base in Bremerton. This time our destination was Fort Flagler. Our major hurdle was going to be crossing the Hood Canal Bridge. This bridge had been on my “to-do” list for quite some time and was also a daunting prospect. Why? The bridge is primarily a grated surface. Grated surfaces are known to be tricky to two wheels depending on their design and especially the weather, but we will get there in a moment.

Our route took us up highway 303 before joining with WA SR-3 in Silverdale. From there we headed North taking 3 to the 104 junction. Now if you’re looking at the map and saying to yourself, “Whoa, that’s a lot of miles with really not much description!” Well you’re right and I find that part of the ride very boring so I don’t have much to say about it! Now that we are at the 104 we take a hard right at the traffic light to get onto the Hood Canal Bridge. Now as I mentioned above, this ride was pretty much designed to force us to take this bridge. Its not particularly daunting when you are in a car, its low to the water, its only 1 lane each way, not even a particularly long bridge, but that grated surface had me worried. So far in my time riding my motorcycle I hadn’t needed to ride a grated surface and the unknown is what scared me. As you pull onto the bridge the grating is in sections with solid concrete strips spaced for car tires and grates between so you can ride the concrete part of the way across. So far so good, as you get into the middle sections though, the grates now extend across the entire road surface. At this point, I bet you’re thinking it would be a great time to take your Chevy Tracker and illegally cross into oncoming traffic to pass some guys on their motorcycles. Well apparently you wouldn’t be alone in that thinking because that’s exactly what happened! Dan and I absolutely couldn’t believe our eyes as this little old lady in her Tracker deciding that the 2 lane bridge was a good place to pass. You know those times you just see something so asinine that you aren’t even sure you’re seeing what you’re seeing? Like the time in college when it was warrant serving day and I got off my lunch break to head back to work and there were police, guns drawn, in my front yard. Now they were faced away from me and pointed across the intersection at the neighbors but still, not what you expect when you walk out of your front door on a spring afternoon! For those of you who don’t know what a Chevy Tracker is, go ahead and open a new tab and give it a google. You need to really immerse yourself in the stupidity to understand our bafflement. Moments after she completed passing us and pulled in front of Dan, she decided to pass the next 2 cars in front of her at the same time. Again, this is not an extremely long bridge, this old lady just had zero F’s to give any of her fellow motorists! The 2 cars she passed in front of Dan took the next turnoff after the bridge, but we were fortunate enough to follow this woman for a few more miles before taking a right onto Beaver Valley Road. She didn’t seem to be in that big of a hurry. Obviously she was in too much of a hurry to follow the speed limit over the bridge but we had no trouble keeping up and obeying the law once we got over. Little old Chevy Tracker lady if you are out there. I hope you made it safely to wherever you were going. Then I hope your family took away your keys and will never give them back. Beaver Valley Road is a sweet little road, it follows along a little creek and just kind of meanders through a valley on your way to become highway 19. Once we made Chimacum we left 19 and took Chimacum Road just a few miles to highway 116. On 116 we headed east and were able to catch some glimpses of Port Townsend Bay. The bridge onto Indian Island is a tiny thing but it offers you a couple seconds of Port Townsend Bay to the North and Oak Bay to the south. 116 looks to be the only portion of Indian Island available to the public as the rest is a Naval Magazine. Right now getting off Indian Island is a small delay. The bridge is under construction and it is a single lane crossing with a temporary traffic light on either side. The delay is minor and we only had to wait a couple minutes each way, maybe slightly longer than your average traffic light. 116 now turns north through Nordland and you can enjoy a fairly straight shot all the way up to Fort Flagler State Park. Unfortunately for us, at this point in time the park was closed and there were a dozen day trippers parked at the gate where we planned on taking a short water break before heading back. We found a small turnoff into someones empty wooded property just a couple hundred yards back down the road that we were able to take advantage of instead.

Peaceful place to turn around near Fort Flagler

After downing some water and conferring on our route home we were back on the road. This time just after Indian Island we took a left and headed south down Oak Bay Road. This is a fun little road that affords you plenty of opportunities to take in the bay itself. Dropping us down through Port Ludlow we eventually came to 104 right next to the Hood Canal Bridge. This time we made it through without any crazy people, taking a yielding right on the other end of the bridge to continue back south towards home. We exited onto Big Valley Road and took that into Pouslbo where we rejoined highway 3. We managed to escape 3 again when we exited onto NW Newberry Hill Rd, went under the overpass and exited the roundabout south onto Chico Way. Chico is a pretty straight shot down into Bremerton and isn’t a exceptionally twisty or fun, but it is better than riding a boring highway 3 all the way home! We had done it! We conquered the Hood Canal Bridge and I will say, this wasn’t the most beautiful ride, it wasn’t the most exhilarating, but defeating the bridge was an achievement. We are now set on circumnavigating the entire hood canal which will hopefully bring us some more fun along 101. The northern portion above Hama Hama looks pretty twisty and we will have to get creative to find some fun roads to take and avoid the highway 3 monotony.

Beautiful Day to ride up to Fort Flagler

5 thoughts on “Fort Flagler

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