After successfully cyclo-camping twice, we wanted to to try something a little more challenging and a little more interesting. So we decided to Lopez Island a try. Lopez island is part of the San Juan Islands in Washington State. I always enjoy visiting America, excellent beer, slightly different culture and always a new experience.
The San Juan islands are serviced by the state ferry system, which has a ferry terminal in Sidney. We boarded on Saturday morning and starred into the grey horizon. The weather was forecasted to improved day by day, and Saturday was pretty ugly.
Unfortunately there is no direct ferry to Lopez from Sidney, we had a three hour lay-over in Anacortes. We went into Anacortes while waiting for the ferry to pick up some lunch (Anacortes is about a 30 minute ride from the ferry).
We boarded the Ferry to Lopez at 5pm and we were at our campsite by 6:30, which is typically when we start putting Oliver to bed.
Walk in site at Odlin
We booked the site about a month before going, and there were only 3 site available for our stay, they were all walk-in sites (which was great, we had our bikes). The website said they we’re private with views of the ocean. The site was private, there were people on either side and we barely noticed them.
The private nature of the of this site meant that trees blocked a lot of the sun. And being close to the ocean, this was a cold place to camp.
On our second last day we moved to an open site right on the ocean, which was much warmer (due to exposure to the sun) but far less private. Life is full of tradeoffs, and this is no different.
The Odlin campsite was decent. With 3 out-houses and a few taps for water, this campsite is more on the rugged side. There are no showers or sinks but there are nice fire pits and picnic tables. If you frequent BC Parks, you will soon realize just how spoiled we are. Overall, I would be happy to stay here again but I would try to get a beach campsite for more sun exposure and easy access to the beach.
Riding on Lopez island
There aren’t bike lanes or paths, but you don’t need them, the locals are friendly and give cyclists a lot of room on the road. The island is flatter than other island I have been on and can find a few areas with consistent tail winds. I can’t think of the last time of have seen so many bicycles, seriously, there are a ton of bicycles here, but I think most if the riders are tourists.
The village is a pleasant place with a couple grocery stores, a few coffee shops, and a bakery. The people of Lopez seem to have chosen a chilled out lifestyle which emphasizes local food and bicycle riding instead of chain stores and cell service.
I love it here, if they had a good disc golf course, I just might move here.
This trip was another success, we can enjoy a car-less multi-day camping trip. I wouldn’t call this touring though, we had a base camp, and we would do day trips from the base camp.
Touring with a toddler presents two challenges.
- The distance you can cover is limited (kids don’t want to be in the chariot for hours and hours).
- The combined task of packing up a campsite and looking after a toddler is really hard, we want to minimize this part as much as possible.
I think this home base style of cyclo-camping is the best way to go for us with a toddler. When Oliver is able to help pack up a campsite and can be more apart of the experience (instead of Being in a chariot) we will likely have more success with touring.
I am looking forward to our next camping trip.