Belfair 2015

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Belfair State Park was the first campground John and I ever biked to. A few years later, we wanted to try it again and see how it compared. First of all, we took a more direct route so that saved some miles and lots of time. The long climb up SR-3 was no problem. It seemed like we arrived in no time!
It was cold again this weekend. The sunny days were comfortable, but multiple weather underground sites reported the overnight low at 33°F.
The whole trip was fun, but I’m going to be honest, the route was not amazing. There are some views of the Olympics, you get to go on the ferry, the shoulder is mostly wide. It’s just loud and busy, and it is far from the romantic back road journey one might picture when contemplating a bike tour. If you want an easy-to-navigate route with a guaranteed hiker/biker site, this works. Definitely a good trip for a test run of your equipment.
All the gear. Only panniers and water bottles missing.

All the gear. Only panniers and water bottles missing.

Kitty didn't want to say goodbye!

Kitty didn’t want to say goodbye!

The Route
Belfair is on the peninsula, so that meant a ferry ride! But wait….before the ferry even arrived, we saw wildlife! I heard sea lions barking, and we spotted the group of about six of them swimming around the bay. I didn’t get a good photo because I actually just watched and enjoyed them while they were closer.

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Sea Lions in the distance

Sea Lions in the distance

I like the upstairs galley of the Kaleetan better than most ferries

I like the upstairs galley of the Kaleetan better than most ferries

Last time we attempted this ride, we thought it would be smarter (safer) to avoid SR-3, but we were met with lots of hills and detours that were just not worth it. This time, we took our bikes right on the on-ramp and went for it! The shoulder is pretty decent for this whole route, but there is traffic the whole time. It’s not overly scary, but you have to pay attention and deal with the traffic noise. It is definitely not a relaxing experience.
Olympics in distance

Olympics in distance

Once in Belfair, after a stop for supplies (aka beer) at Safeway, you go a little over 3 miles on the road to the park. This road does not have shoulders. For the most part, cars have plenty of room to pass a bike. Some cars give more room than others, some trucks seem to enjoy intimidating bicycles, but it’s just for 15 minutes, you can handle it with some blinky red lights and patience.

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Seriously contemplated if I could haul a bundle of wood on the rack

Seriously contemplated if I could haul a bundle of wood on the rack

I was shocked at the car traffic on this small road on Easter morning. There were a lot of cars leaving the womens prison. John tried to take a video of that, but that’s when the battery died. More on that later.
It was about 50 total miles of riding. We left around 1:30 pm Saturday and returned about 2:30 pm Sunday. Not technically a S24O, but it could be if you wanted.
The Campground
Belfair State Park has 3 hiker/biker campsites that are $12 per night. Since it is not peak season, and there were plenty of open sites throughout the campground, we thought we would upgrade and inquire about a spot on the beach. For those, we would be charged the full-utility hookup fee of $40. We compromised on a standard site for $20. I wish there was a little more flexibility there, considering bikers are low-maintenance campers, but I get that the ranger on duty might not have felt authorized to make that decision.
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Even though it wasn’t peak season, there was a camp host, which means we could buy firewood! After chatting to Gus a little about his history of opening and closing up the camp every year, I’m assuming that there is not a host onsite year round. He was nice enough to give us some extra kindling too.
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In the summer you will see a lot of kids swimming in Hood Canal. The beach was mostly deserted on this chilly April Saturday evening, the day before Easter. I’d love to come back in the fall to see salmon in the creeks.DSCN0191
 
The Food
The mission this trip was to be fully self-supported for food. Knowing there would be a Safeway and Starbucks 3 miles away, we were ready to pack in all our food and cook it onsite (with the replaced pump for the MSR stove). Full disclosure: we did buy beer and a bottle of water (luxuries) at the Safeway just because we could.
The dinner menu was precooked Johnsonville chicken sausages, some leftover hotdog buns, a pack of ramen each, and some carrot and celery sticks. We lost one sausage to the campfire, but we didn’t miss it. Eating the ramen with chopsticks was really the highlight. A snickers for dessert. 
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Breakfast didn’t go as smoothly. The stove was not cooperative, but in a new way. The white gas kept coming out as liquid. It took John many many attempts to get the burner going. We’re still not sure if it was just too cold or if maybe the stove needs a good cleaning. During the frustration, John grabbed a metal piece and burned his thumb pretty bad. 
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After downing some oatmeal, we took our coffee cups for a morning beach stroll. John stuck his burned thumb in all water or any cold metal that we passed for relief.
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By the time we got the ferry, I was starving. I think in the future I would pack something like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for a morning snack. There is only so much breakfast you can eat before exercising. The ferry had an adequate snack for purchase. 
The GoPro
Still working on figuring out the GoPro. Since the time lapse photos weren’t very exciting, John tried taking a few videos. This one of me riding onto the ferry is kind of neat.

There was another cool one from Bremerton where you could see the aircraft carriers, but the video got lost somewhere during the import process. Learning to use the GoPro and the Mac has been rough….
 
John was feeling really comfortable turning the camera on and off and starting and stopping videos on the move. But the battery wore out on the second morning. Really? That’s it? Maybe the cold temperature affected it, or maybe it was in standby mode more than John realized. We need to do some more research on this. I would hate to take a dumb video at the beginning of the trip and then have a dead GoPro when we are at some hypothetical cool location far from home we may never see again.
Any advice on battery efficiency?
What I wish I brought: I remembered gloves, but the ones I packed happened to have holes in them.
What I wish I didn’t bring: I packed pretty smartly this time around. I would go for a different flavor of sausages next time though. Johnsonville three cheese Italian style chicken sausage has a really fake cheese flavor when you eat it plain.
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