I was born, a long LONG time ago, in Boston. But as an army brat I moved around a lot. I DO like the Red Sox, and, until Tom Brady came on the scene, I liked the Patriots. Rarely, if ever, though, do I think of myself as a Bostonian. I have lived in the Pacific Northwest since Junior High, so as far as I am concerned, I am a Northwesterner!
This means, rain doesn’t normally bug me. Lord knows I have ridden in it enough!
This year has been nuts though! We have had more rain since October than EVER before. And, even I am tired of it! (Last week I was caught riding home in a thunderstorm)
So, when it was heard that today, A SATURDAY no less, was going to be in the 70s and sunny, plans had to be made!
I decided it was time for the first 100 mile ride (A century is the term we bike geeks use) of 2017. My favorite route for this is to take the ferry
over to Kingston, then ride on the Olympic Peninsula to Sequim and back. There’s a great park in town that I like to stop in (on the way back) for pictures and a snack.
Things didn’t work out perfectly to start. First, I was out a bit late bowling for Junior Achievement last night. So, I had to get the bike ready when I got back last night. I was up WAY past my bedtime! Getting out of bed was hard! Then, when I got to the parking spot near the ferry I realized I had left my really good tail light plugged into the charger at home. Ever prepared Valente, though, had the back up light in the bag.
As I got close to the ferry I got stopped by a red light. I saw the last cars getting on the boat, so I was REALLY tempted to run it, but, standing right there was the Washington State Patrol officer who keeps an eye on the ferry lines. I bet he was really hoping I would do it!
The light changed and I bombed down the hill and got there just as the gate arm closed. But there were three things working for me. The first was the crewman who was running the loading is the same guy I have talked to MANY times while waiting, He deals with rude people all the time so I try to be nice to him. The second is the fact I am NOT shy. Finally, my voice carries for miles!
I hollered, “HEY! Any chance you still have room for a bike??” He looked at me, recognized who it was, and waved me in! I was the last one on the boat and very happy!
This was an earlier boat than I planned on, which means I could get on the road sooner. Things were looking up! And the day was shaping up to be perfect!
My route takes me out of Kingston, through Port Gamble, and across the Hood Canal bridge. Dropping me onto Hwy 101 toward Sequim. These are busy, noisy roads, but they have great shoulders.
I don’t mind riding these roads, hell, last September Rob and I did it for 8 days on the Oregon coast. Luckily, though, here there are times I can jump off the busy road. Before there was a HWY 101, there was Old Gardiner Road. There are parts of this road still in use by locals who live along it, and it is very easy access when heading west! A much more pleasant route!
Plus, the views on these side roads are MUCH better and it is easier to stop and take photos. (So, as always, stop I did!)
Even better, when you get closer to Sequim you get to jump off ALL the roads and use the Olympic Discovery Trail. Instead of breathing exhaust and hearing car noise, you breathe fresh air from trees and hear nature. I had to dodge a stellar blue jay and got buzzed by a hummingbird. It is not a heavily used trail in places, as you can tell by the moss. I LOVE the greenness!
They are also working to improve the trail. This brand new bridge (not there last year) took the place a of steep unpaved section through a state park.
After this bridge I came to a pretty steep, short hill. There were two kids on single speed BMX bikes taking up the whole trail and trying to get to the top without stopping, their there parents behind them shouting encouragement to them while on their own bikes. I quickly caught up and saw what was happening.
One of the parents asked me quietly if I wanted the kids to give me room to pass. I was in no hurry AND they were working so hard to get to the top, so I didn’t want to mess with them. I just joined the parents in encouraging them, and praised them loudly when they made it!
Once into Sequim, the trail takes you through a city park. I really wish I had had the GoPro going through this.
There is a small pond in the park that had been stocked with BIG trout (one I saw was close to a foot long.) Only kids were allowed to fish and they were SO excited to catch them! It was VERY cute!
I wanted to make sure to get my 100 miles, so I went through the Railroad Bridge park and added 3 more miles. On the way back I stopped for a snack. Part of a bagel and the ultimate biking snack, peanut butter and Jelly! I think you can see why I like this place!
I forgot to mention that there is another old railroad trestle you cross before this one, the Johnson Creek bridge!
Here is a combo video of the two bridges
The ride back home does NOT make getting off Hwy 101 easy. Old Gardiner is on the left side of the road heading east. I would have to cross a fast busy road time and again to use this route. I saw three riders do just that and I wasn’t sure they were going to make it! I decided to stay on my side and use the wide shoulder.
The ride to the ferry was uneventful, but the legs felt strong. Even the last 4 miles of rolling hills didn’t seem to be as hard as normal, this made me happy as did the odometer reading 106 miles.
I was a bit tired though, and craving a Diet Mountain Dew! (Yes I KNOW I just rode 100 miles so I didn’t need a diet, but it tastes better than regular)
I love drinking one on the ferry ride back to Edmonds. Alas, the vending machine had none, I had to do without!
However, Michelle outdid herself for me. She made homemade mac and cheese! OHMYGAWD it was good! And, since she dished it into a bowl for me, I refrained (barely) from eating seconds right out go the baking dish!
All in all a it was a beautiful day, a great ride and, though tired, I am feeling damn good! Plus, while typing this, I am enjoying Michelle’s other reward for me!
Tomorrow I am pretty sure there will be a few ‘old man’ noises (moans, groans and joint cracks) when I get out of bed, but it was WELL worth it! Mowing the grass might be a bit more difficult than normal though…
It was a great ride!