Olympic Peninsula

...now browsing by tag

 
 

April Overnighter

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

April Overnight Day 1 - Atlantis, loaded for bear

Atlantis, loaded for camping

The end of April graced us with several spectacular days. Around noon on the 24th I decided that I was going to go on an overnighter up at Potlatch State Park, which I had been to on my 2011 tour and knew wasn’t too epic of a route.  So began a flurry of packing and prepping  and by 2:45 I was on the road. A brief stop at a downtown Olympia grocery store and I was on the road.

April Overnight Day 1 - End of Puget Sound

Mud Bay

Day 1
It being mid-afternoon when I hit the road it was pretty much at peak temperature in the low 70s (F). I was riding in as light of clothing as I ever do – seersucker shirt, shorts, sandals – which is so nice.  This route is a pretty familiar one for me having ridden parts of it on three different tours and various other parts in my rides around Olympia over the last year. I still had Google Maps generate me a route to see what it would suggest. It had more options off of the highways, which while adding some miles made for some nicer riding.  However as seems to be increasingly the case it had some quirks to it.  The first of these was just past Mud Bay where it routed me over hwy 101 and toward what was labeled as a dead end road. Now it looks like you can get into the Capitol Forest and wander around on logging roads and trails and make it back to 101 a few miles up the road, but not an even remotely reasonable route fully loaded and without a lot of time. So I took 101 on that stretch but did take advantage of Google Maps routing through Shelton.  This added a few miles and did put me on some busy county roads but still nice to be off 101.  Going through downtown Shelton I noted that it had been rather built up since I’d last been here. There was a brewpub and more coffee houses and touristy sort of places. Nice to see.

April Overnight Day 1 - Google maps routed me up this

Google maps routed me up this trail out of Shelton

Google Maps then threw me another monkey wrench.  From downtowan Shelton there is a serious climb out from the sea level town back up to 101.  I’d ridden up that hill fully loaded (and with serious knee problems) on my 2007 tour) but Google Maps instead put me on a trail up.  The trail up Library Hill turned out to be a dirt path with a series of switchbacks. I pushed my bicycle up which might have been about as much effort as riding the road up the hill. At least there was no traffic.  Back on the bicycle it was back roads through this part of Shelton and then onto 101.

April Overnight Day 1 - Olympic Mountains in the Distance

Olympic Mountains in the Distance on hwy 101

It was magic hour now, with the sun dipping behind the Olympic Mountains.  101 at this point is a two lane highway and really pretty decent riding.  Its mostly downhill to Hood Canal and I made good time. I arrived at Potlatch State Park a bit after 7pm to find one other party camping, plus the campground host.  Half or more of the campground was closed for the season including the section with the bulk of the hiker/biker sites. There was one in the open loop so I moved in and setup camp. As per usual I cooked as I setup and within 10-15 minutes of completing my setup was eating Green Curry Noodles. Nice thing about an overnighter is you can put together a meal at home, ready for cooking at camp.

April Overnight Day 1 - Full moon over the Hood Canel

Full moon
shimmering in the water —
the purr of the frogs

By the time I’d finished cleaning up, it was dark and a beautiful full moon had risen over the hills. I walked down to the water and enjoyed views of the moon, reflected in the water.  It was cooling down, but it was a nice early spring evening. Soon enough I retired to my tent for reading and such before sleep.

I rode 41.9 miles on this day.

April Overnight day 2 - Campsite

Old trees in Potlatch State Park

 

Day 2
I was in the tent reading when another camping showed up. He came in, parked and then walked around camp looking for his spot before relocating there. With nearly the entire campground empty he chose to move into the one space between myself and the one other group of campers. Odd. I’d only taken this spot as it was the only H/B site; personally I like a little more space between campers when I can take it.  Still not so bad as there was a big space between my site and his. I slept all right though it eventually got colder than my gear is really rated for. Even though the day was in the 70s (F) the night still got down to the uppers 30s (F).  In the morning I performed my usual tour routing of cooking breakfast as I packed up.

April Overnight day 2 - Old trees

Old trees in Potlatch State Park

Doing a spur of the moment trip like this you are bound to forget something.  Well I had forgotten my coffee mug which of course also has my coffee filter in it.  So as I had ridden out here I kept stopping at stores and gas stations until I found a place that sold a metal mug.  I also grabbed a couple of coffee filters from a gas station and thus was able to make coffee is not as nice as I’m used to. My usual oat bran with dried cranberries and walnuts accompanied said coffee.  Not being at all in a rush on this day I leisurely enjoyed my breakfast, reading the news on my iPad (which I also didn’t have to worry about keeping charged).  I washed up and finished packing and now I was ready to go.

April Overnight day 2 - Beach

The tide is out in the Sound

But as I noted I had plenty of time so taking my coffee with me I walked down to the seashore.  I walked on the beach and sat in the sun and just generally enjoyed being on the water on a nice sunny day. I sat on a picnic table and worked on my journal and read from a book of Chinese poetry. This poem struck me on this day:

Passing Rushfields
-Ching An

Where the willow shade is deep…
the water chestnut flourishes.
Endless, silver sands…
where the tide’s retreated.
Thatched booths with wine flags flapping
tell me there’s a market town nearby.
A whole mountain of red leaves:
a girl child carries kindling.

April Overnight day 2 - pink flower

Wildflowers in the woods

From the beach I returned to the campground and then into the woods. There was a system of trails behind the campground, the entrance just south of my site.  I didn’t want to take an epic hike, but I did want to get out into the woods. I’d bought a pair of trail runner shoes and part of the goals of this trip was to see how I’d like them. I felt they worked well in keeping sand and stones out and were fine on the trails.  They are supper light and compact well so seem like a good addition to my kit.  The woods were pleasantly cool with wildflowers blooming.  It was getting toward noon and I wanted to get to Shelton for lunch, so I presently set off.

April Overnight day 2 - wetlands

Lowland wetlands before the climb up to Shelton

April Overnight day 2 - Porter at the Grove Stree BrewhouseIt was a lot more uphill riding to return to Shelton, but this time I didn’t have any time pressures. I stopped frequently checking out trees and streams and waterfalls. There is just an absolutely fantastic section of 101, that climbs for about 2 miles along a stream.  Old, moss laden trees surround this babbling brook and traffic aside it is just a pleasant, pretty stretch. From there it opens up and I was able to duck off the highway and take backroads to Shelton — including riding the steep road down Library Hill bypassing the dirt trail. I’d seen the Grove Street brewhouse as I’d ridden through Shelton the day prior and I made a beeline for it.  I had very good veggie sandwich accompanied by a Golden IPA which was refreshing and citrusy and a classic porter rather in an Anchor Porter vein. A nice break before hitting the road again.

April Overnight day 2 - Olympics behind Shelton

Olympic Mountains behind Shelton

Getting out of Shelton of course meant climbing a big hill on the south side, but it had a decent shoulder and at the top was a scenic overlook where you could see the while town with the mountains behind it and the sound in front of it. From here it was a short ride back to 101.  Once again I alternated with frontage roads and riding on the highway.  101 has a big shoulder and a well placed rumble strip so it really is pretty easy, if not super pleasant, riding. I was always happy when I was on the frontage roads which often wended well away from the highway and was in trees, pastureland and crossed several streams.

April Overnight Day 1 - Wending through the streets of Olympia

Wending through the streets of Olympia

I was definitely feeling the warmth and the several days of riding and was pretty tired when I made it back to Mud Bay.  The return trip has more climbing which at least for this trip was preferable – I was in a rush getting to camp but able to take my time returning. It was even hotter today than the day before, but the low 70s (F) is just perfect riding and nothing to complain about.  Soon enough though I was back at Mud Bay and the long climb back up to Olympia. I made a detour to a store for some dinner supplies and then made my way home. I was back before 6pm, a bit beyond a rigid S24O but still in the ballpark. Less than 30 hours for the whole trip and a good time was had.

36.4 miles ridden today
78.3 miles total for this trip.
Check out all of my pictures from this trip in this Flickr set: April Overnighter.

Posted from Shelton, Washington, United States.

Journey to the East: 1 May 2012

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Tree over snow-melt fed stream

“The older you get the stronger the wind gets – and it’s always in your face.”

– Pablo Picasso

[note: I wrote these posts for the first couple of days of the tour after completing the tour]

Mayday
After a rather fitful night’s sleep (my camp was pretty close to the road) I arose to find my rear tire had gone flat. Well preferably to discover this in camp then on the road. On changing it I was unable to find the puncture and discovered that it was the valve. At that point I noticed that one getting the new rear wheel the shop had provided a new tube and it was a Kinda! The very same brand that I had four valve failures in my 2009 West Coast Tour. I changed this, tossing the old tube and was on my way. This was a classic spring day – sunny and windy in the morning and then in the early afternoon a sudden and intense downpour. By the time I had my raingear on it had stopped. This would be the pattern all day and I eventually would just stuff my rain jacket under my pannier covers when it wasn’t raining. My route continued on 106 past the bump in the road that is Union and then I took the Purdy Cutoff to 101. The Cutoff is an excellent side road that is almost always empty of traffic and follows a stream through moss strewn trees. The streams were swollen with snowmelt and spring rain with that fantastic aerated blue/green color that the pictures only sort of capture.

Tour 2012 day 1 - Atlantis on Mud Bay: the end of the Puget Sound

Atlantis on Mud Bay

The cutoff interests with 101 right before a mile+ long climb along a stream. Not super steep, but it does go on. At the top one pretty shortly comes to Shelton and the 101 becomes less pleasant to ride along – more freeway like with on/off ramps around which one has to be extra cautious. I’d duck off on frontage roads when I could but missed a turnoff that would have spared me a good chunk. So it was mostly highways until I could get onto Mud Bay road. From there it was a long climb up to West Olympia then downhill into downtown and up again toward the capitol where my friend lives and I would spend the next three days.

More photos from today or the entire tour can be found on Flickr.

sound of water all around  –
a fierce spring wind

Posted from Olympia, Washington, United States.

Journey to the East: 30 April 2012

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Tour 2012 day 1 - Stream in Twanoh State Park

Stream in Twanoh State Park

“One right to which few intellectuals care to lay claim is the right to wander, the right to vagrancy. And yet vagrancy is emancipation, and life on the road is liberty: one day bravely to throw off the shackles with which modern life and the weakness of our heart encumber us, in a pretence of liberty; to arm oneself with the symbolic staff and bundle and run away”.

-Isabelle Eberdardt

[note: I wrote these posts for the first couple of days of the tour after completing the tour]

Forever on the way
Today I left my apartment (sorry aPodment) in Seattle where I’ve lived for the last nine months. When I lost my job last July I’d wanted to set out on this tour right then. But for various reasons that was not to be and I did the shorter tour I did last August. I spent the time in between that tour and today’s departure could be consider as preparation for this day: I lived in a tiny apartment with a bare minimum of stuff; making do with less as you do on tour. The winter was very contemplative and inward looking but by early spring I was itching to take off. A May departure was about as early as I felt I could head out (as of today Washington Pass has yet to open). So on this sunny, but chilly mid-spring day, I gave up my apartment and now homeless headed to the Olympic Peninsula.

On the Ferry

This was a route I’ve done several times – ferry to Bremerton, back roads to Belfair and up along the Hood Canal on the very enjoyable SR106. This was the most loaded I’ve been on this route with the fully loaded Atlantis and I have to say the hill in Bremerton coming up from the ferry wasn’t much of a good time. But after that and negotiating the highways I was on Old Belfair road which is great riding through the woods. It got even better as I rode past Belfair and turned onto 106 along the Hood Canal. Beautiful riding in the dwindling daylight along the water. Unlike the other times I’ve ridden this route for the first time I camped right on the water at Twanoh State Park. This early in the season the only people at the campground was the host and a couple of RV-ers. I was the only occupant across the street from the main campground at the hiker/biker/boater site right on the beach. I had a front row seat to the setting sun which painted the streaks of cloud pink and purple as I setup camp and cooked dinner.

More photos from today or the entire tour can be found on Flickr.

a fluttering moth
etched by the rising moon
this cool spring evening

Posted from Union, Washington, United States.

Tour 2011 – Day 3

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

20110816-110203.jpg

I was definitely tired from yesterday’s exertions as I end up sleeping until 9am. I was woken up earlier at first light with the pattering of soft rain, but it stopped quickly so I ignored it. When it came back I got up to cover my saddle which was good as it soon became hard and steady for a spell. It didn’t last though and when I finally did get up it was partly cloudy and warming up.

I took my time at Fort Townsend State Park using the showers and seeing what was there. Turned out to mostly be hiking trails (which looked great) so eventually I headed out on the route I’d taken in to Port Townsend last night.

20110816-110337.jpg

A marina is at the end of the trail and while there I swung by the Port Townsend Brewery. It’s just a tasting room and I needed food first so I rode around the marina ’til I found the Marina Cafe where I had lunch before riding back to the brewery for a couple of beers. Brewery’s: the real reason to tour. I give their Hop Diggity IPA a thumbs up.

20110816-110521.jpg

I’d definitely lingered long in PT and it had become hot (this is more August like) so I pretty much rode to the docks and caught the next ferry. It wouldn’t be a WA State tour without a trip on a ferry and this one was particularly nice: clear, with a bit of cloud for interest and warm enough that standing outside was perfect.

20110816-110637.jpg

The route I’m on now I’ve ridden on several tours so not much new to add. It was warm but I hugged the coast most of the time as I rode back roads as usual. Beat from yesterday’s long haul (and the heat and probably mid-day beer) the West Beach Road rollers really wore me down. However the traffic on Hwy 20 had me missing those hills. I stopped briefly in the center island at Deception Pass Bridge to let cars pass and to enjoy the view.

20110816-110748.jpg

Now on Fidalgo Island I got off the 20 and rode up Rosario Rd, which goes past my childhood house, which turned out to be a horrible mistake – it had been recently graveled and oiled and was hard, slow, unsafe riding. It seemed that all the side roads had been graveled as well so I stayed on the more direct route and the gravel eventually petered out on Havekost Road. It was getting late and I was really tired so just got a room at the Anacortes Inn.

20110816-110916.jpg

I walked the rather long distance To the Rockfish Grill which is the Anacortes Brewery’s brewpub. Yes two breweries in one day, this is indeed the life. A couple more pints and I was back I’m sorts. I dug their porter by the cask conditioned IPA they had was the big winner.

Miles today: 42.7
Miles to date 152.3
Some pictures from the tour

Tour 2011 – Day 2

Monday, August 15th, 2011

20110814-103858.jpg

Blue sky, only a glimpse, and is it
darkening -Hōsai Ozaki

The first half of this days ride was along Hood Canal. The sky was overcast and threatening rain, but it never did. The road hugged the shore and was always going up or down, usually in pretty short segments. The tide was out and people were out in the slob digging oysters. There was that strangely compelling smell of salt air, ocean and decay.

20110814-103437.jpg

Weeds are just flowers that no-one is minding.

Occasionally there were hints of the sun, shining thorough a less dense part of the sky, or even a tiny tear of blue in the dark grey sky. It was fairly comfortable riding though, a bit on the cold side perhaps.

20110814-103415.jpg

Eventually the route turned inward and climbed far above sea level up to Walker Point with it’s view of Mount Walker. This was a pretty, long and wearying climb, several miles in length. At the summit there was a bit of mist, the closest it’d come to raining. The pure green mountains with the must pouring off them was a fantastic sight.

20110814-103516.jpg

Turned into a mountain of new green, into a mountain path -Hōsai Ozaki

The descent was fairly cold but once I got to bottom the rollers returned and I warmed right up. The route turned off 101 onto Center road which was tree lined and nice but not much to see. Here the rolling hills had a lot longer climbs. Eventually it descended into a valley with green pastures and classic farmhouses. At this point the clouds began to break up and there was some welcome sun.

I rode up this Valley for several miles, then through a tiny town and on to Highway 20 to Port Townsend. Only a few miles on the highway before the turnoff to Fort Townsend State Park. Up the best down narrow road to the park which had no-one minding the entrance so right on to the hiker/biker site which was a really great site. It was up a little path into the woods which opened up to this space in the woods with cleared spots and picnic tables.

I ended up having to ride into Port Townsend to get supplies for dinner and smaller bills to pay for the site. It had become a lovely evening with tattered clouds in the blue sky. But by the time I was back to camp it had clouded up again and was rather chill. A long, tiring day, but enjoyable in the main.

Miles ridden today: 75
Miles ridden to date: 109.6
Some pictures from the tour

Tour 2010: On the road

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

Tour 2010 day 1 - Atlantis


Tour 2010 begins now! This year I’m heading to the Great White North, on a route of my own devising and will be exploring the Cascade Foothills in Washington State then onto British Columbia in Canada where I’ll ride the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island. I’ve worked out routes that put me on new roads and will let me most see new places than I have on my other trips up north.

Once again I’m going to try to blog the trip though I don’t have quite the setup that I had last year. Those who have read my Tour 2009 posts may recall that I had setup an integrated battery charging system using my bicycles generator hub. Well that system worked, though it took about two days of riding to charge four double A batteries which could give my iPhone 3GS about a 3/4 charge. However the Ride and charge unit did not work as advertised: it would not switch to the headlamp when the Ixon IQ+ was unplugged. This didn’t really come up until the final day of the tour when I was riding home at night from the Seattle Amtrak station. So its 11pm at night and I discover that it won’t run my headlight and that the Ixon IQ+ itself wasn’t working as a light. I pretty much ripped the wires our of the Ride and Charge and twisted them together for my ride home. This year I won’t be using that system…

Tour 2010 day 1 - hobo bag

Most everything else I’m using this year remains the same, so if equipment lists are of interest, check out my tour 2009 packing list. There are of course a few changes here and there, but they aren’t really that big of deal. As I mentioned in my Atlantis repair post a couple of days ago, I’ve been waiting for my Hobo Bag to get its zipper replaced and I’m happy to report that I picked it up yesterday and it is better then new: they put in a metal zipper as opposed to the original plastic. I’m pretty happy about that as I inquired if they could replace it with a metal one and they said they didn’t have one. But when I picked it up they said they had a few and that this bag cried out for one. I fully agree. So a big thumbs up for Rainy Pass, I wholeheartedly endorse them.

Anyway enough preamble, I’m on the road in just a couple of minutes. Keep an eye on this blog for further updates as I can and power willing. I’m going to try to do a daily post but it may be a bit less journal like than last year. I’d like to post a more coherent narrative when I get back, so I’m planning to do quick updates here and keep a more thorough journal from which I can write that.

Tour 2007 – Photographs

Thursday, October 4th, 2007
Self portrait

I was pretty slammed by work upon my return from tour so it has taken longer then I’d hoped to sort through the 1200+ photographs I took on tour. But I have finally gotten through them all and have sorted them into galleries by day with a comment for nearly all of them. I made a new web page to organize all of these and to work as an index to the related blog posting. So check em out if interested.

Tour 2007 – Denouement

Friday, September 14th, 2007

Today was the first day back on my bicycle after the tour. I knew I’d need a couple of days off after so much riding, but the knee was still giving me a bit of trouble so I extended it another two days. Well the knee is still a bit tender but it felt good to be back on the bicycle. Additionally the patched rear tire continued to hold, which is nice and means that whatever caused those punctures must have shaken out. So I felt I was due to post some impressions, lessons learned and thoughts from the tour.

First off I should explain about the posting’s I did here during the tour. Normally what I do on tour is I get into where I’m staying, generally a campsite, setup, make dinner then do some sightseeing until dark. At this point I’d get into the tent and write out the days events for an hour or so and then read till I wanted to sleep. Well I decided this tour that instead of keeping a paper journal I’d post directly to the blog using the iPhone. So those posts are pretty unfiltered and are meant to have details that I’d want to draw upon when I do a real journal. I keep my journals at Crazy Guy on a Bike but I make an attempt to make those more like a travelogue with a sense of narrative. You can read my last journal, to see how that differs from these posts. I did edit all of these posts upon my return to fix typos, misspellings and to add some links but no content was changed.

So why has it been three years since my last fully loaded, self supported tour? Well I had another tour planned at one point, but scrapped it on the day I was supposed to set out. I just wasn’t feeling it. I ended up spending 5 days at the Washington coast and I did a series of day trips. In fact I cycled almost everyday on that trip but it wasn’t what I consider a “tour”. You can see pictures (with comments) from that trip over on my cycle trips page. Apart from that I went to New York city two falls in a row for a music festival and I went to Ireland last summer in a non-cycling vacation. My job only offers me so much vacation time and it was hard to dedicate a big chunk of it to a tour. Luckily that has changed and I now have twice as much vacation time. I should be able to do a two week tour almost every year, and up to a  month long tour if I find I want to spend all my time on a more epic event.

On to this tour in specific, thinking about training, planning, routes and so on. First off I decided to do it pretty late, not much more then a month before I set off. I had been reserving time off for two potential music related events that ended up not occurring. So I put in for five days off around the Labor Day weekend giving me ten days of riding time. I tried to pick up my riding during this time, but I never really did any “training”. Also I bought a bunch of new equipment as I intended to do this one a little differently then the last time. Most of this equipment arrived the day before I left and several key pieces did not arrive in time. Whenever I do a trip anywhere I compile a document of restaurants, places to stay, things to see, routes, references and so on. A bit of that can be seen in my Tour 2007- References post. For this tour, once I established the route I was going to take (I almost did a loop around the Cascade Mountains but was uncertain if I was physically up to that much climbing) I really didn’t expend much effort on mapping out exactly where to stay, what to do and so on. I had the Kirkendale and Spring book so I knew I could fall back on that if I had to. But mainly I just wanted to be out there and to make my way as it came.

So about that equipment I mentioned above, what was I doing differently? Well I decided that instead of using the four Arkel panniers I used last time I’d use a large saddlebag and front panniers. Why you ask, well mainly in that I wanted to carry less.  This tour was much easier for me even though I arguably was in much worse physical shape. I’ve put on pounds since that last tour and as I said I did much less training. I do of course have three more years of cycling in my legs, but still I feel I was much less ready. So carrying less would be beneficial I thought and also force more interaction with the places I was going. The things I changed in order to carry less was I used a smaller tent, I carried less food and less clothing. I figured I’d eat out more, pick up dinner on a daily basis before camping and wash my clothes more often. This all worked out very well barring to the two nights I pretty much had no food for dinner.

How did things go with the various bits of kit you ask? Swimmingly for the most part. The Eureka Spitfire tent worked very well, much smaller then the REI Half Dome Plus 2 I used last time, but still big enough to sit up in and to feel comfortable in. Its not a free standing tent which was fine but I bent its lightweight stakes pretty much immediately. When you are using the rocks and sticks at hand to pound these in it’s hard to keep them in good shape. A minor complaint though. The Paladin Saddlebag I got from Rivendell was up to their usual standards of quality – tough, spacious and handsome in appearance. My Arkel GT-30 panniers again proved their worth, they are the best production panniers out there. I used the same cooking equipment as before, a Brasslight Turbo II alcohol stove and a Snow Peak Trek 900 titanium cook set and they performed the same as last time – excellently. My sleeping bag was again the Kelty Light Year CD 25 which did its job admirably and the Therm-A-Rest® Backpacker ¾ Length again helped preserve my body from the hard ground. For the gear that was reused on this tour, my comments I wrote about them before are still vaild.

The major change for this year was the bicycle, instead of my Novara Safari I used a Rivendell Atlantis. While it may seem like I had quite a few bicycle issues, these were almost all related to the poorly built rear wheel. The bicycle itself performed flawlessly and I have to say I was in much better condition the whole ride. Barring the knee issue, which was caused by hiking, not cycling, I pretty much felt fine even with day after day of riding. Sure my calves would be sore after a long ride and my ass was pretty tender most of the time but that’s pretty normal for me. On my 2004 tour by about day 3 I could barely swing my leg over the top tube. Not having this kind of pain I attribute directly to the improved fit of the bicycle. When I’ve gone back to the Safari when the Atlantis is in the shop I experience this immediately. Its a fine bicycle but mine just doesn’t really fit. 50 miles on the Safari feels like about 80 on the Atlantis, it is that dramatic. Another new feature was my Schmidt Hub which proved to be very useful on this tour. The ability to have a real light, one you can use to see unfamiliar roads proved to be of use on several occasions.

I also brought a reduced set of electronics on this trip. Last time I had my camera, a cell phone and my Handspring Visor. This time it was my camera and the iPhone. I also brought a solar charging kit that I didn’t get to really fully test. In general the iPhone performed beautifully, the always available internet is such a boon. This really helped in my less planned tour where I could enter a city and do a search for bicycle shops, motels, routes and so on. I figured out my last days route completely using the the phone. Several times I was unable to get much by way of service, but I was way out in the sticks. Its ability to use both WiFi and the AT&T network was really handy. There are plenty, and I mean plenty of spots where there is no WiFi out in places like this. A WiFi only device would have been useless. Now of course some spots I couldn’t get Edge either, but usually I was able to each day. The only other issues I had with it was related to its 1.0 nature. It’s javascript is lacking so I wasn’t able to do much with my blog editor – no access to any of the HTML editing so I couldn’t put in pictures. Copy and Paste would really have helped as I could have written my posts in the notepad then pasted them into the blog and so on. I expect these issues to improve with software updates.

My other main bit of tech was cameras – I used my larger Canon S2 as the replacement for my shattered a70 had not arrived in time (ended up taking nearly 4 weeks). This camera is great if a bit bulky for out of the saddle shooting. I made do and we shall see how those came out. I’ve got 2GB worth to transfer over and need to free up some space first! I did take some pictures with the iPhone which I was able to email to Flickr during the tour. It certainly would have been possible to just use the iPhone camera, but I like to be able to zoom and such. I’ll put a few pictures up here when I start going through them, but keep an eye on my Tour 2007 set over at Flickr for the real goods.

Finally a few words on the overall experience. I find touring to be wonderful thing, seeing a slice of country at a sedate pace. It puts a lot of things into perspective stripping yourself down to the bare minimum like that. Ones focus completely changes, even with the increased connectivity I had on this tour. I love the Pacific Northwest and reveal in its beauties on pretty much a daily basis. But on a tour like this that becomes such a focus, the land you are moving through. Some of that is frightening or depressing but so much of it is glorious and revelatory. You learn a lot about a land and yourself when you are one tour and these are lessons I hope to keep with me. I thought about a lot of things on this tour and perhaps a few of them will make their way into these pages.

Tour 2007 – References

Friday, September 14th, 2007

I’d always planned for this tour to be pretty opened ended, without guaranteed destinations or pre booked places to go. There are a lot of options for camping, motelling, hostels etc on the route and I’d figured I’d stop when I felt I was done. That being said I did do a bunch of research beforehand to discover just how flexible I could be. Once I was out in the National Forest I heavily used Kirkendale and Springs Cycling the Pacific Coast as a guide. Though after having done so, I’d question a lot of their decisions (more on that in another post).  So since I did all this research, here is the information I gathered.

Books

Bicycling The Pacific Coast: A Complete Route Guide, Canada To Mexico (fourth edition)
by Vicky Spring and Tom Kirkendall
Mountaineers Books
ISBN: 0898869544

Routes
Cascade Cycling Clubs RSVP route.

Websites

Port Townsend

Port Townsend Bicycling Association:
Main Page: http://www.ptbikes.org/
Maps and routes: http://www.ptbikes.org/maps/
Port Townsend Guide:
Main Page: http://www.ptguide.com
Bicycling pages: http://www.ptguide.com/recreation/bicycle.html
Maps pages: http://www.ptguide.com/maps/index.html

Port Angeles

Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce: http://www.portangeles.org/

Thor Town Hostel: http://www.thortown.com/

Olympic Peninsula Cycling

Bicycling the Olympic Peninsula:
Main Page: http://www.youra.com/2002/bike.html
Maps: http://www.youra.com/maps/

Camping: www.youra.com/2002/camp.html
Olympic Discovery Org: http://www.olympicdiscoverybike.com/
Olympic Discovery Trail http://www.olympicdiscoverytrail.com/

Washington State

WSDOT: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/bike/Paths_Trails.htm
WA State Parks: http://www.parks.wa.gov/

National Services

National Park Service: http://www.nps.gov/olym/
Olympic National Park: http://www.nps.gov/archive/olym/home.htm

Forest Service: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/olympic/

National Forest
Campground guide: http://www.forestcamping.com/dow/pacficnw/olyminfo.htm

Journals

Bounded Shores (My Last tour):

Tour 2007 – day 10

Sunday, September 9th, 2007

I woke as if I was still in the tent but I had slept reasonably well. This was the final day, the ride home and I did have a few concerns. First the knee, did my ministrations of the evening before help? What about the rear tire? And of course I’d kind of cobbled together this route and wasn’t really sure how long it was going to take. I wanted to have as much time as possible so I got up and moving pretty fast. The tire had held it turned out though had lost some air. I gave the knee another session of icing and elevation and then hit the showers.  I popped a couple of Advil and hopped that would suffice. I got out of the motel a bit after 9am and did a quick circuit of Shelton and then headed out a back road to 101.

The knee felt all right so far and the back road began with a pretty long decent climb and I weathered that fine as well. The road then continued through a kind of outskirts/strip mall part of town then joined 101. This section of 101 was one of the nicer of the whole route- at least 9:30 on a Sunday morning. It went through woods, had a good shoulder and not much traffic. It also had a long descent and not too much ascending which was good. After one really long descent, maybe around a mile it flattened out a bit then I turned onto 106. I’d follow 106 for the next 18 miles it truly was one my favorite, if not my actual favorite bit of riding this trip.

The knee was doing fine, just the occasional twinge so I was able to fully enjoy this road. It began in the woods which then opened up to a valley with farmland on one side and a wooded hillside on the other. The road wound along assiduously avoiding that hillside and though it was mostly chipseal the shoulder often was not. The shoulder was pretty small and sometimes disappeared or was overrun with overhanging weeds but the traffic was very low. I forgot to mention but again it was totally clear and sunny and it was getting warm already. This turned out to be another saving grace of this route in that it  wended in and out of the trees and I never got hot even as the temps headed up to 80 degrees (f). Eventually the farmland became salt marsh and then opened up to the coast. A short time on the coast and I was at the little town of Union.

I stopped at the Union Country Store for water and ended up finding that it was a deli and bakery as well. I got a fantastic cinnamon roll that was still warm and not over iced (a common failing in cinnamon rolls) and a cup of coffee. I sat in the window eating this and resting a bit. Shortly I set off and found the rear tire a bit low on air. Ah the proverbial slow leak. Not too shocking with a patched tire or it could have been the mysterious object that poked through the last two tubes. I pumped it back up and rode on. The road went up and down hugging the coast, but never to big of climbs or descents. The cool sea air and stunning vistas of Hood Canal made for this incredible ride. I’m sure it wouldn’t be as much fun 6 hours from now when endless traffic returns from the coast but in the morning with little traffic this was a fantastic ride. The tire wasn’t holding for long enough though so at Happy Hollow where I had stopped for some more Advil, I changed it to my other patched tired. I’ve gotten a lot of practice, it only took me about 10 minutes.

Only a few miles after Happy Hollow 106 ended and I joined with Highway 3 at Belfair. Now I had been skipping this highway, not being interest in fast traffic right in the beating sun. The route I had worked out was to take the old Belfair highway that paralleled 3 and was supposed to be much quieter and scenic. Well I never saw the turnoff and I wasn’t willing to risk the time to explore for it so I just ended up doing 3. It was the usual no fun: hot, dusty, fast traffic and so on. But the worst of this was miles of climbing right out of Belfair. It kept going up and then a bit of down then further up for maybe 5 miles of this route. The headwind at this time was fierce and as I’d crest this hills I’d take it full in the face. This sustained climbing was not good on the knee and it began to ache again. At last this climbing ended and there was a couple of miles of plateau (with headwind natch) but then a long, long descent maybe 2-3 miles. At the bottom of this I had to do a flyway bridge on the route to Bremerton.

This part of 3 was along the coast, very flat but packed with fast traffic. It wasn’t too long till the navy shipyard came into view with multiple ships and an aircraft carrier in the water at the yard. The route to the ferry wended through Bremerton and included two horrifically steep climbs that pretty much wrapped it up for the knee doing alright thankfully after these it was over I was at the ferry dock. No charge for eastbound walk ons so I parked the bicycle and when I got a massive fish burrito. This thing was unbelievably huge, but I just wolfed it down waiting for the ferry. It was almost 3 in the afternoon and I hadn’t been eating enough. Just after I finished it they signaled to board the bicycles and I rode onto the ferry.

As far as I can recall I have never been to Bremerton before and this was my first time on this ferry. It is the usual scenic Puget Sound ferry crossing the water with the various nooks and crannies of the Sound for scenery. Not to mention in this perfectly clear day, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker and soon the Seattle cityscape were all there for the eyes. I got a Widmir Hefeweizen and enjoyed the scenery and putting my leg up for a while. The ferry is about an hour to Seattle and I needed that rest. On landed in Seattle I had to ride through the city including about 8 blocks uphill to the I-90 trail. An added complication was the Seahawks game had recently ended (I heard them setting off fireworks at the stadium a few blocks south – guess they won) so there was throngs of pedestrians and cars jamming the routes to the freeways.

Finally I hit the I-90 trail and took this now familiar route. I was doing okay, the rest on the ferry seemed to have helped for the knee. I did the first bridge, and then the Mercer crossing, both of which have their hills and then I stopped as I felt the rear tire was a bit low. Well it wasn’t, which was nice, but after that point my knee was screaming out in pain. I nursed myself the next 8 or so miles home, stopped and walking now and again but mainly just manning my way there through the pain. I was never so happy as to see my place. Piled on my porch were three packages of items I’d bought for the tour but hadn’t arrived in time. Ah well, next tour.  I washed my bicycle (it deserved it) took a shower (I deserved it) ran out for beer and ordered a pizza. And that’s it, tour 2007 over and done with.

Total miles today: 63
Total miles for the tour: 564.4