This was the longest tour yet, and we loved it! It had its ups and down, both literally and figuratively, but now that it’s over we feel like we can bike anywhere! The only obstacle now is time off of work. Every time I think about writing this blog post, it gets TOO LONG. The tour was long: 160 miles, 4 days, and it included a lot of new things. I will try to focus.
Day 1 John and I each took the afternoon off of work so we could hit the trail early. Riding mostly on the Interurban Trail, we arrived at the Silver Cloud Inn in Mukilteo just before 3:30pm. Hmmm…..maybe we didn’t need to leave work early after all. We filled our time with happy hour at Ivars, followed by dinner at Diamond Knot, and then we went to bed early. Or….maybe we stayed up late spending our firewood cash on TouchTunes.
Day 2 was the longest day, so bear with me. We were basically traveling the whole length of Whidbey Island on SR 525 and SR 20. The great thing about this route is that it was just one road. John and I could each go at our own pace, which often meant John went far enough ahead that we were out of each other’s view. But he always stopped at a natural gathering point. I love this about touring together. I get to feel like I am doing it on my own, and he trusts me enough to not have to watch me constantly. We are never really more than a few minutes ride away from each other. When I can see John, I tend to want to catch up, and that is an exhausting way to ride. When I am going for 5 hours, it feels good to go at my own pace.
Throughout the day there were varying levels of traffic, scenery, hills. It was all just enough to not get bored. Stopped for lunch at a tavern in Coupeville. There was a headwind ALL DAY, and it was a cold wind. I needed a jacket by the afternoon. We rolled into Deception Pass State Park feeling triumphant! They have 5 hiker/biker spots there, only 1 of which was already in use. And then a raindrop. WHAT!? We obsessively checked the forecast all week, including that very morning. Where did this rain come from?
We set up camp and walked to the store that was recommended to me when I called the ranger ahead of time (because I am so paranoid about not getting a campsite). It was July 4th, and since we were not doing typical July 4th activities, we kind of forgot it was a holiday. We were shocked when we walked in the store and learned it was closing in 5 minutes so employees could go enjoy it. CRAP! We panicked! This is what we grabbed: 6 pack of Bud Light, can of Pringles, pack of hot dogs, pack of tortillas, 2 sticks of string cheese. In case you are worried, the only thing we really regretted was not getting more beer.
My manly husband John started a campfire in the rain. Go John! We cooked our hotdog tacos, and alternated sitting on a wet picnic bench and drying off our butts. We brought a game and a deck of cards, but our entertainment tonight was limited to drying miscellaneous things by the campfire or finding random things to throw into the campfire. By the time we were ready to go to bed, the rain stopped. Figures! It was July 4th, and the sound of fireworks was incredible. I cannot possibly describe the level of boom that was heard. We were so tired though, we both fell asleep pretty quickly.
On Saturday morning (Day 3) we were rewarded with sunshine. After mixing up some instant coffee and grabbing brownies and leftover Pringles for breakfast, we explored the park. This is one of the highlights of camping, whether you’re doing it by bike or otherwise. Strolling through a park before it gets busy for the day is so peaceful. We walked along the beach, and we were happy and proud of ourselves and in love.
Packing up the campsite was less fun than usual this day because it rained more overnight. Many things were wet or damp, including my shoes and helmet. We backtracked down 20 to Oak Harbor in search of lunch. Pita Pit to the rescue! After the previous night’s ultra-processed dinner, this was just what we needed. It was so fresh and tasty, and hmmmmm…..we should be able to easily pack this kind of food ahead of time. I spent the next week experimenting with home-made pita sandwiches in preparation for next time.
After more backtracking to Coupeville, we turned onto Main Street toward the Keystone ferry terminal. This road was so much fun! It had good shoulders, low traffic, and it was really scenic. As usual, the photos don’t give justice to the actual view. I only got a glimpse of Fort Casey State Park, but it looks like a potential camping spot for future trips.
Then we were off to Port Townsend, and spent the night at Ken and Eleanor’s house. Check out this water view from the basement. Who has that?
The Day 4 trek home should have been uneventful. We have biked this route a few times now. Port Townsend to the Hood Canal Bridge is a long ride with narrow shoulders, impatient cars, and not much of a view. Crossing the bridge is definitely a milestone toward getting home because it’s a pretty easy ride after that. That is, if you make it across the bridge!
I got a flat tire about 2/3 across the 1.5-mile bridge. Pedestrians are not allowed, bikes are allowed with a decent attempt at a bike facility, but it is a weird surface and cars are flying by. I knew I had a rear flat, but I felt like I had to keep riding for a bit to get to a safe spot to dismount and assess the situation.
The whole tire changing experience could probably be its own blog post. I tried it myself, got really close, but ended up walking my bike to the end of the bridge where John was waiting for me. We got it mostly fixed with our supplies, but the nice people at the Olympic Outdoor Center in Port Gamble let us borrow a pump to finish the job. It all worked out and only set us back about an hour. But we learned a lot about what types of emergency gear we were lacking. We also learned a bit on communicating with each other when we get separated like that. I texted John I had a flat, but I never bothered to mention that I was ok or that I was attempting to fix it. Poor guy just sat worrying and wondering what was happening.
I can’t remember what time exactly we got home, but it was definitely still afternoon or early evening. Plenty of time to order pizza, mostly unpack, and then eat pizza. It was such a fun trip! It also felt like such a great achievement. With a little more packing space (bigger bags for me) and better supplies (handheld pump to supplement CO2 cartridges) we feel ready for anything! Where should we go next?