I Left home 12:30 in the afternoon, more or less on schedule. The loaded bicycle handling took a bit of getting used to as always but I was riding no hands by Mercer Island. A hot day with a prevailing wind from the sound added to these initial difficulties. Decent amount of other riders out there, which had the effect of making the I-90 bridge crossing less fun on a loaded bicycle. I made my way through the mean streets on the edge of Seattle and down to the ferry dock. Alas the next boat departs an hour after I arrives so I had to kill some time. Cooler by the water but it’s a scorcher this 4th of July.
I sailed on the Kitsap which left on time just a few minutes after 3pm. Totally packed which is probably part holiday weekend part summer in general. There has been near constant announcements telling people to go turn off their car alarms. These announcements get increasingly exasperated, telling people to just go turn them off if they had set them. After about 50 minutes we docked at Bremerton and I was back on the bicycle.
Those who followed my 2007 tour may realize that I’m following the final day of that tour here but there are significant route differences. Leaving Bremerton is one: I took a much more direct route with only one decent hill and the I was on the parkway out of town. The biggest difference though us that I then turned onto the Old Belfair Highway instead of taking Hwy 3 which was much, much nicer. The road followed the valley floor along railroad tracks, through woods and along rivers. It became farmland and back road homes before arriving in Belfair. A nice ride even right into the sun on this hot 80+ degree day. It being the fourth there were areas where it rather sounded like I was in a war zone. A couple of places on this road I wasn’t sure if kids were setting off fireworks or shooting guns. A bit disconcerting.
At Belfair I was back on the 3 for a short bit and then I left it for hwy 103. This was my favorite stretch from last year a winding road that follows the Hood Canal shoreline. On that trip it was late Sunday morning in September, today it was a hot 4th of July weekend. Lots of people parked on the edge of the road, which wasn’t a large shoulder to begin with, and I was riding right into that hot sun. still a beautiful, scenic route only marred by a flat near the beginning. I’d hoped for less flats this tour with my new big tires but there’s been a lot of glass on the road and I found a piece in the tire and another embedded in the tread. I changed it pretty fast and was back on track.
As per my last tour I stopped at the Union General Store and ate a Huckleberry Cheesecake ice cream cone. So good. I filled my water bottles and after a short break departed. About five nor miles and and I wad off the good canal and on yet another new stretch, the Purdy Cutoff. This stretch was in the woods and right on a large river, the Skokomush I think, and wad mercifully cool. It was about 7:30 now and cooling off a bit. Alas the cutoff was pretty short and then I was on the 101 for the final stretch.
I immediately began a climb that while not too steep was quite long, a mile or two. Again I was along a river and it’s joyful descent down the hill as I was grinding up it was a nice distraction. After this hill it was rolling hills through clear cuts and then past a regional airport. Finally I arrived at Shelton around 8:15.
I checked in and took a very welcome shower. One has to enjoy these amenities while one can- it’s camping from here on out. Across the street is a Fred Meyers which I hit for a couple of small items I had forgotten. I picked up dinner there which I took back to my hotel to eat. Outside there is a gorgeous full moon and an increasing reports of people celebrating America by blowing up part of it. Any now that I’m done with this it’s back to enjoying a fine ale and watching le Tour.
Miles ridden today: 60.5
Miles ridden to date: 60.5