It seems these days when I’m not working I can’t sleep in. While I could have used the extra sleep today, it was for the best as I had so much preparation yet do. But not to belabor the mundane I spent the morning cleaning and checking over the bicycle, then loaded it up, did some last minute shopping and so on. With all this I didn’t head out till 12:30. With at least 70 miles to ride and daylight not being what it used to be, I was going to be pushing it.
Amusingly enough the first part of the ride was daily commute route. So even on tour I got my commute in. This was though in my estimation the easiest route to the real start of the tour. Touring though is a mental state and even as I rode my daily route and the my old commute route I had that feeling of wanderlust and was on “tour time”. So I then rode the Sammamish River Trail to Woodinvlle, then through town and then I was really off.
I was taking Cascade Cycling Clubs RSVP route to Mount Vernon (the whole route is a two day ride to Vancouver) and then angle over to the Bayview campground on the Skagit flats. I’ve taken the RSVP route to Snohomish several times in the past, its a nice ride with good county riding and nice views. Still familiar territory but the novelty here of its long, long initial hill out of Woodinville with the loaded bicycle. But that went quite well I think all the hills on my commute are helping. After this hill it’s rollers for a while through countryside and farmland. Then a long descent into the valley. At this point there is the occasional drop of rain, and then some gusts of wind as I come into Snohomish. Worrying about th time I press right on and take the Centennial Trail.
I’ve ridden this a few times in the past and its a nice paved trail that avoids some busy roads. The RSVP route only follows it to Lake Stevens and then its rolling hills in the countryside. During this period the rain begins in earnest. I put the covers on my panniers and don my raincoat. Now I really wish the rainlegs had arrived on time. After some miles there is this great fast descent down winding tree lined roads into Arlington.
I rode through town and at the end of the main drag was a building that looked like the Alamo and had a sign for ‘Rivendell Hair’! Well I couldn’t pass that up. Inside was a cafe, the Shire and a new age bookstore. Hungry I got a panini and a cappuccino. Not bad, it was nice to find a vegetarian restaurant in such a small town.
From here the route takes highway 9 which at first is packed with cars, has little shoulder and is fast. After the turn off for I-5 the traffic mostly disappears and the rid route becomes very scenic wending through valleys, woods and past two lakes. At about this point I run into Joe out for a rec ride. We ended up riding together for ten miles talking about touring, photography, bicycles and the area. Really nice guy and though I was really plodding compared to him it was great to ride with another cyclist. Though I was a bit embarrassed about this persistent squeak my cranks had developed on this ride. At last Joe bid me adieu and through a stunning sunset I rode the last ten miles of so into Mount Vernon.
It was deep twilight as I road onto College Way. This began with a long climb thankfully not too steep. Traffic was really picking up so when I saw a sign for a bicycle path I took it. Pretty dark now (once again the Schmidt hub pays off) but this flat paved trail was an east ride. Anyway as it was now dark and I’d already ridden 72 miles I decided to find a motel and called
good. I wandered a bit but found a Best Western and checked in. A shower, a couple of beers and some Chinese food and here I am.
Total miles: 78.45m