Chilly Hood Canal Day Trip

About a month ago, I went on a trip to get back in the saddle after replacing the stolen bikes. This past Saturday I went on a trip to get back in the saddle after a month off from moving. Hopefully Saturday’s trip is the start of a string of winter cycling adventures. For the exact same reasons that the last destination was Amercian Brewing Company, the current destination was Hood Canal Brewery. Of course my initial reaction was this is boring, but I understood why it was the right call. I also thought there would be no material for a blog post because it’s yet another trip across the Edmonds-Kingston ferry. However, I will take this opportunity to describe the steps to putting together a bike tour, regardless of how long or short or old or new the journey is.

Route Finding

Researching and choosing a route is so fun. You can make up as many hypothetical bike tours as you want. About half of all conversations between me and my husband are about all our future trips, from how to safely get to South Seattle to spending a week biking down the Oregon Coast.

I love exploring new routes, and I am known to groan about repeating routes even once. Whether I’m cycling, hiking, and pretty much any style trip, I feel like “but I’ve already done that, I want to do something new!” My husband enjoys repeating routes in order to gain familiarity and comfort. Both philosophies are valuable, and we both understand where the other is coming from, but we are definitely forced to compromise when it comes to trip planning of all sorts.
This weekend was not a time to take on a new challenge. We both felt out of practice, and we needed to go somewhere we were familiar with the route. As I’ve mentioned before, knowing where you are going speeds things up considerably. My husband suggested Hood Canal Brewery. The route was familiar, but the destination was new. It was a good compromise because of course we needed familiarity, but we got to go on a daytrip, instead of riding bikes for the sake of riding.

Waiting for ferry in Edmonds

Waiting for ferry in Edmonds – Mt Baker is above my right shoulder

Gear Up

Some road cyclists doing a long training ride can get away without some essentials. Even though our trip was a modest 35 miles of cycling, we would be a long ways from home and help. After the flat on the Hood Canal Bridge in July, we learned a valuable lesson about pumps. If we carry so much gear, why bother with the CO2 cartridge when we have plenty of room for a pump? So now we travel with this Topeak Road Morph. It might take a little time to pump, but there is less of a chance of operator error if you’re tired and rushed and frustrated.

And since we are packing a whole pump along with our other flat supplies, let’s just throw it in a pannier along with a fleece vest, extra shirt, and the growlette. We almost used a backpack, and then duh, we carry panniers all the time, why would this trip be any different?

November in Washington means colder temperatures and earlier sunsets. Front and rear lights are important, but reliable front and rear lights are more important. We opted for the less bright red blinkies because the rechargeable Serfas Thunderbolt has not been long lasting lately. That’s no good. It’s also the season for full-fingered gloves. John got this snazzy new pair last week. He got to utilize a key feature within the first block of our ride. Can you guess what that feature is?

Gloves / Communication Tools

Gloves / Communication Tools


Make a Plan

Isn’t finding a route the same as making a plan? Not to me. The route is the basis for the trip, but the plan is how to make it actually happen. We knew our route and destination, but the plan includes things like deciding what time to leave, coordinating meals and snacks, determining if there is any additional gear required.

For this trip, we were limited by daylight. Sunset was at 4:45. We decided to leave at 10:00 to allow for 2 hours to get there, an hour or so to hang out, and 2 hours to get back home. We really need to get into the habit of not assuming the ferries will be on schedule. 2 hours assumed we wouldn’t wait long for the next ferry boarding and that things would be generally on schedule. We had delays on both ferries this trip. This added about an hour of travel time to the trip, which meant we didn’t get home until after sunset, which was darker and colder than we had prepared for.

I am extremely food-driven. I have a hard time functioning without fueling up first. John is more of a food-replacer, but I am a food-spender. This can be tricky because we plan around my food needs; however it still takes compromise because there is no reason to force John to eat more than he wants or take an unnecessarily long break. For this trip we checked the brewery website and determined they didn’t serve lunch, so we packed some sandwiches. For just a few minutes of preparation time at home, we avoided spending extra time and energy to figure out what to do on the road. We’ve been burned by this enough times already. The sandwiches were not exciting, but they were way better than dealing with Hangry Reba.

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No blog post would be complete without describing how we had to chain our bikes to a fence. We brought the thick cable and documented the situation.

Hood Canal Brewery Fence

Hood Canal Brewery Fence

It was a great trip. We experienced beautiful weather, we took in beautiful views, we visited a new brewery, and we got back out on our bikes together. It’s our favorite kind of date.


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