Motorcycle Commuting along the Puget Sound

Harborview Park along Mukilteo Boulevard overlooks Possession SoundMany of the articles here at have shared the great motorcycle tours along the highways, byways and backroads in the Puget Sound area.  My daily commute came up in conversation last week with a Facebook friend back in Northern Minnesota. Two obvious things hit me in that brief conversation. First off, I’m lucky to be able to enjoy motorcycling year round in mild western Washington. My friend in Minnesota had just prepared his bike for a long winter nap. Secondly, I have an amazing commute. The route twists along the Puget Sound and provides vistas of the Cascade Mountains, Mount Baker (on clear days), Olympic Mountains and Whidbey Island and others off the shore. All of this can be seen in just a 15-minute commute.

At the western terminus of US Highway 2 is the All-American City known as Everett, Washington. With just over 90,000 residents, it is the largest city in Snohomish County and the sixth largest in the state. It is the home to the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and home to commercial aircraft builder Boeing.

The railroad expansion in the late 1800’s is what drove the development of this western frontier. Much of that money came from James J. Hill and his Great Northern Railway. Everett bellies up to the shore of Port Gardner Bay, an inlet of the Puget Sound. This is where Hill proposed be the western terminus of his railroad. Plans changed and Hill laid tracks to Tacoma instead. The promise of the railroad and the vast nearby forests led Frederick Weyerhaeuser to build the world’s largest sawmill on the shore of Port Gardner Bay.

I find it interesting that I’m not the only person to make the move from Minnesota to Everett, Washington. Historically, Everett has been very dependent on Minnesotans for growth. That’s right, Hill and Weyerhaeuser were neighbors in Minnesota’s capital city of St. Paul. These men literally drove and pulled industry to this area from the state that I call home. I think that’s interesting.

Morning view of the Cascade Mountains from the pier in MukilteoEach morning my commute follows the shores of the Puget Sound westbound along Mukilteo Boulevard from Everett to the town of Mukilteo. There are several parks along the route that overlook the Everett Naval Station across the Possession Sound, Hat Island, Mount Baker and the Cascade Mountains. There’s so much to see that I carry binoculars with me and stop at the parks on a regular basis to just take it in.

When I’m not stopping to enjoy the scenery, Mukilteo Boulevard provides several miles of smiles as it follows the shore. I twist my way to the town of Mukilteo. The town is located southeast of Everett on the Puget Sound. It was listed as Money Magazine’s top 10 small towns in America to live. Mukilteo is one of the most affluent towns in the area with its nearly 20,000 residents commuting to nearby Boeing and other good-paying jobs in nearby Seattle.

As I take in the sights, I often stop to watch other commuters get on and off the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry on their way to work. Do they enjoy their commute as much as I do? If they commute by motorcycle then they might. Then again, I’m a little biased.

The Mukilteo-Clinton Ferry with morning commuters heading to work.After enjoying the ferry and nearby lighthouse it’s time to continue on to work. I get in line behind the ferry traffic and head south on the Mukilteo Speedway (also known as State Route 525). A short way up the road I have a choice. Go straight to work or hang a right on 84th Street SW and take a peek at the Boeing plant. I often make the turn because there’s something about watching the planes take off and land at Boeing’s Paine Field. The planes are commercial, yet graceful as they haul their occupants and cargo from the tarmac into the air. I really enjoy watching them. There’s a good viewing spot from the Future of Flight Museum. This is when I typically stop taking a joy ride and make a B-line for work. The greatest part is that I know I can do it all over again on my way home.


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