(below the cut)
Day 2 – Port Townsend to Port Angeles.
After a nice breakfast in the Fort Worden commons, I packed up then biked around the facility a bit to check it out for potential revisiting with The Family. Fort Worden was built up in 1902. Combined with Forts Flagler and Casey, it formed the triangle of death protecting the
Jedi training camp Bremerton shipyard and Port Townsend golf course. No shots were ever fired in defense. The fort started being decommissioned in the 50s. It’s been well-kept, and many of the (former) officer houses are available for weekly rental.
In the first few miles we had a very gravelly climb, primordial chip seal, if you will, followed by a very steep downhill. The ARES volunteer had set up a food stop just before we were supposed to get back onto SR-20. I am pretty sick of Clif Bars this time of year, especially since the cool holiday flavors haven’t been rolled out, and reached for my customary Fig Newtons. (It’s obviously early in the ride and I was being fussy about food. That would change.) Tom made a comment that people had raved about the Bumble Bars. I glanced at the label, liked what I saw, and took a couple.
Bumble Bars are very tasty. The fat-to-carbohydrate ratio is higher than I’d normally care for, but the ingredients are all organic (vegan, even) and it went down well. (It also helps that I spend most of my time in the “fat burning” heart rate zone.) I liked them enough that I ordered a couple of boxes from their web site.
Riding on State Road 20 sucked because it’s narrow and busy. I was relieved when we turned back onto US 101, which though busier, at least had a wide shoulder… and espresso stands. At the pre-ride meeting, they stressed that this espresso stand being open early for us and had a bathroom. A lot of other people thought it was a good idea, too, evidenced by the large queue of cyclists wanting their fix. By the time I got my mocha, I had already cooled off too much to enjoy the beverage. I poured it into my water bottle and took off again.
To keep us off US 101, they routed us onto “Old Gardner Road” whenever it went our way. I caught up to a guy who was celebrating his 50th birthday by doing RAW. He noted his 40th, skiing 40 times at Whistler, was far superior. There was a steep grade going back to US 101 where he just couldn’t keep up with me, which is a nice way of saying he wasn’t having a good day. I didn’t see him the rest of the day.
|John Wayne Marina|
Having to think about turns and stuff disrupts my zen moment on the bike. With the long, straight road and ample shoulder, I didn’t mind US 101 at all. The tick sheet showed lots of on- and off-101, so I just stayed on until the rest stop at the John Wayne Marina. Now this was a nice spot!
As a reminder that we were getting close to the Pacific, the Tsunami Evacuation Route signs became more abundant. (We also have Volcano Evacuation signs in the south Sound.)
The headwind picked up the closer we got to the coast and the only thing shielding us were the large signs proclaiming “private tideland.” At another rest stop (roughly one every 10-12 miles), I reloaded my Bumblebar cache and looked over a map Bob (ARES) had with directions to Dungeness Wildlife Refuge.
I hiked around a couple of miles, but the access points were socked in. The combination of the fog and no longer riding made me very chilly, so I cut my visit short. On the way out, I passed some rather amusingly-named streets. “Kitchen-Dick Road” heads south, intersecting with “Bon Jo View” (snort)
|Bike on icy
|Gun club noises||Waterfront||D’oh, a deer!|
A few more miles later, we joined the Olympic Discovery Trail. This currently spans Sequim to Port Angeles, but will eventually reach Port Townsend. It’s a bit rugged, with chip seal, gravel, a couple of very steep grades (though the trail is generally flat) and curious signage. In addition to the “bike on a potentially icy triangle” sign at the left, there was also a fenced off area placarded with a “Gun Club Noises, dismount if necessary”. This is probably intended for equestrians, though cyclists prone to crapping their pants at on-trail gunshots are well-advised to walk a bit.
After a downhill too sinewy to ride without constant braking and an uphill inducing chest pains, some cyclists bagged the rest of the trail for US 101 again. It’s a shame, too, because a paved(!) section follows the waterfront. Still, directions got a little weird becuase there’s one section where you go across the parking lot and duck into the hole-in-the-fence– versus taking the steep grade uphill, like some did — and follow the gravel until you come to a deer crossing the road, who’ll give you further instructions.
It was almost overwhelming to exit back into downtown Port Angeles and the buzzing activity. The final segment included 3/4 mile of uphill to the Jefferson School parking lot. The locals were amused by the luggage blossoming into a tent city.
|Hung out to dry|
I staked out my tent space and washed laundry. There were several confusing signs about reserving/not-reserving ferry tickets for an incursion into beautiful Victoria, BC. I heard the Kayaking trip was still an option and called Sound Bikes and Kayaks for reservations. I asked for a girly-man kayak (as this was my first time) and they had two times, both theoretically full. Another newbie was also going in the afternoon, which sounded great by me. There was a fire in a shed a couple of blocks from the school.
|Inside the tent|
(Correction)I woke up around 12:30 a.m. when someone set off firecrackers in the campsite. While waiting in line at the sani-can, I chatted with Roger Salstrom, the camp uber-coordinator, who indicated some teenagers had been the culprits. Another group had also broken into OK Cascade’s food stores and stolen some expired eclairs and leftover sandwiches from day 1. (Take my bland vegetable medley, please!) After that, people were more actively locking their bikes to stationary objects.
Day Three A large contingent of people were planning an early morning ride up Hurricane Ridge. This is a 5,500′-ish climb with magnificent views on a clear day. I would have had time to do this, but rumor was going around that Day Four was going to be our hardest yet. I spent the morning doing puzzle books and laundry.
The kayak place was 1.3 miles down the hill. Two of the RAW committee members were already there talking with Vicky Adams, the proprieter. Apparently three of the morning kayakers from our group were no-shows, leaving her with only one customer whom she took out anyway. We were chagrined. She got us set up with canoes and life jackets, and we took off for Freshwater Bay, west of Port Angeles off of SR 112. (We’d be plying this route on Day Four.)
Vicky’s lived in the Port Angeles area a cumulative 36 years, always coming back after distractions to California, Chicago, and elsewhere. I assumed that I would immediately tip the kayak over and fall into the sound, multiple times, and left both my camera and voice recorder in the tent. It’s unfortunate, too, because I would have loved to capture her vivid descriptions of the local scene sprinkled with charming Irishisms like “fiddle faddle.” One of the other guys asked her the fanatic question, e.g. if a bicycle person needs three bikes to cover his bases, how many types of kayaks does a kayak person need to cover hers. Her 15-minute answer was beautiful to listen to, punctuated by her obvious preference for whitewater kayaking because “it’s a real kick in the pants.”
I did not overturn the kayak in the placid water as expected, nor did I freak out at any of the undercurrents, jellyfish, or bull kelp. It was… pleasant and I now have a fallback hobby in case I ever need more danger in my life.
After I left, I bought some post cards. Unfortunately, I totally brain farted on bringing my address book and missed an opportunity to broaden Rachael’s post card collection. Back at the camp, I signed up for a sports massage. The catering service, OK Cascade, served baked chicken, aspirin mashed potatos and a bland vegetable medley. Kayaking on smooth water wasn’t as much of a workout, and my food fussiness was back for the last time.
Port Angeles was a nice layover spot, and a place that we’ll likely visit next year on family vacation.