Saturday, July 5, 2008

San Juan Bicycle Trip - Day 7

The final day of the trip. You might be wondering where all the pictures are...well, I didn't take any. With a bit of rain coming down and the desire to get the trip over with, I never took the time to enjoy the scenery around me.

The day started with Carey and I getting up pretty early. After a short discussion on ferry times, we decided that we might have enough time to make the early ferry at 9:30AM. We packed up as quick as possible and set off. We were about 14 miles from the ferry terminal and had about an hour to get there...for you math fans, that pretty much meant we needed to average 14 mph to make it in time. Faster than we had gone the whole trip. It was going to be tough, but we had to give it a try.

We gave it a hell of a try, but just barely didn't make it. I had pushed myself to the limit, feeling the blood flowing like I was racing in the Tour de France, and just as I arrived at the loading area they let one last car on and raised the gates. I checked my clock and I still think they closed the gate 5 minutes early, but there isn't much one can do as the boat quickly pulls away. Next available ferry, 12:30PM. That gave Carey and I 3 hours to kill at a ferry port with just a few stores. We ended up spending the time playing penny poker and charging up our cell phones after a week of little use.

The final 55 miles of the day seem like a blur. It was boring, the wind was knocking us around most of the time, and we were back in the hustle and bustle of the mainland. Going from the San Juans back onto the Washington State mainland kind of felt like going from the West Coast to the East Coast where I used to live. In the West things are at a slower pace and not quite as crowded, similar to the San Juans. Out East, everyone is rushing every which way and no matter where you turn you see something that has been created by society. This is how this last day felt. Cars rushing by, the Anacortes oil refinery scarring the landscape, and on a bike you just felt really small.

As the final miles were approaching, I started to get that end of summer feeling. On Monday I'd need to be back at work, my week long vacation would come to a smashing halt. I really wanted to get off the bike and clean up, but I also wanted to keep riding. I love my job, condo, and life in Portland, but it sure would be nice to keep the adventures rolling. Those travel tv hosts sure have it good...I'd sure like to know the downside of those jobs, because they seem perfect.

The worst part of the day was in the last home stretch. Unlike Carey, I had a bike computer and pretty much knew when the trip should end based on the mileage. I knew we were close to the end, so when Carey said he wanted to stop at Dairy Queen, I said I'd push on alone. I tend to do this with all things in my life...hold off certain things in my life, just to get to the end. The other day I was cleaning my condo and kept going and going, skipping lunch and hardly using the restroom. Once I focus on that end goal, hardly anything can get in my way. Turns out I was so focused, that I totally missed the turn to get back to my truck. And I knew I was close to the end, so I was pedaling like crazy. When I finally made up my mind that it was all wrong, I had to back track. Ended up going 13 more miles than I needed to. Quite a lot considering it was supposed to only be a 56 mile day. Moral of the story, when your riding partner suggests stopping at Dairy Queen, join him. No need to get lost after a long windy day of bike riding.

Next bicycle adventure? I don't know. I'd like to do some canoeing or kayaking...will try and get out backpacking as well. Have hopes to travel to Hawaii with Sarah in the near future. So much to do, so little time.

Day 7: 68.96 Miles, 12.94 AVS, 5:19:45 STP, 36.9 Max, 279 Total Miles

Friday, July 4, 2008

San Juan Bicycle Trip - Day 6

We didn't do many miles today, but it was still productive. Yesterday on a hike around the park we had come across the non-primative campsites that had super nice bathrooms with showers! Our motivation wasn't super high this morning and we were feeling pretty gross, so we marched down to the other campground and each enjoyed a nice 3 minute shower for 50 cents. Could have been longer, but it felt great! Can't wait for a full on shower tomorrow or Sunday.

After the clean up we got the motivation to get on our bikes for a ride down to Olga and Obstruction Pass State Park. Nothing overly exciting. Got a cup of coffee in Olga. Hung out at the beach at the State Park. Pretty much the whole day was being setup for the ride up Mt. Constitution. So, after lunch we took a quick nap just to make sure we were ready.

Around 6pm we said we better get done with this and pushed off. The 2,409-foot summit took us about 45 minutes. Was challenging, but not impossible. I guess I made it over so many hills last summer, that this was just anoterh one among many. I actually liked the uphill more than the downhill. Don't think many people would say that. I guess I've never been a speed junky, so the challenge of the climb is more fun than the speed I could achieve going down. I ended up riding the brakes most the time with all the curves and cutbacks the road makes. Carey was/is much more into the speed and easily blasted his way down the hill ahead of me. The top had some amazing views. Could see all around the area, 360 degrees. I took some pictures, but I know they won't do the view justice. Somethign like this really needs to be experienced first hand. Similar to seeing an eagle fly or a pod of whales pass by. Camera just doesn't cut it.

Well, tomorrow is our final day. We will most likely catch a 12:20pm ferry back to Anacortes. From that point it's a 40 mile ride back to my truck. The Orcas miles plus that should make it our longest day. Good way to end a 7 day bicycle trip!

Day 6: 19.21 Miles, 9.54 AVS, 2:00:46 STP, 35.1 Max Speed, 210 Total Miles

Thursday, July 3, 2008

San Juan Bicycle Trip - Day 5

The second half (upper) of San Island wasn't as nice as the first. WE made a ride into Roche Harbor, a place we didn't fit in. It was full of the yachting families getting the triple espresso and bottle of wine for a day out at sea. Even though we were out of place we still didn't care. One of the nice things about being dirty and stinky while on one of these trips. Because you put the work into getting to where you are on a bicycle, you feel like the stank is justified. That you have earned it. Not sure if the people who glared at us agreed.

After buying some donuts we hopped back on the bikes and headed to Friday Harbor to see if we could catch the 11:35AM Ferry. It think we would have made it, except we had our first bicycle problem. BOB trailer got a flat. Having somewhat become a pro at finding and fixing a hole causinga flat, it only took me about 10 minutes to pull the tube out, patch it up, put it back in, re-bead the tire, and get my gear all put away. Quick fix, but we still didn't make it in time. So, we spent the next few hours in Friday Harbor until we could catch the 2:20PM Ferry. This gave us a chance to look around.

Our first stop was to warm up with some coffee and tea while looking through some crazy postcards that were only a quarter each. Carey had been getting too cold at night and wanted a stocking cap, so we found the local thrift store. He picked up a nice pink San Juan island cap that is totally his style. After picking up dinner supplies at the local market, we had lunch and boarded the ferry for Orcas Island.

Orcas is hilly! Our fourth island is going to be a challenge over the next few days. From the get go your nailed with hills and it didn't seem like they'd ever stop. First stop on our way to Moran State Park was Eastsound. We walked around, but this tourist stop didn't have much for us. We did hit up the library to check our email. NOthing important, but I did clean out hte 104 junk emails I didn't need to read.

After Eastsound it was a hilly trek to where we would be camping. Moran State Park is a great place to camp, must be with 160 or so sites that the ranger said were almsot all gone. Good thing places like this set aside bike/hiker spots that don't require any reservations. The park is awesome. Spread out campsites. Some with lake front property. Tons of wildlife. In our short time here I think I've seen 5 or 6 deer.

The park also has Mt. Constitution. A task we face tomorrow. But, not before going back down from the hill we are up on to check out soem coastal place like Obstruction Pass State Park. We won't do a ton of miles tomorrow, but we'll get a workout. Than the next day, back to my truck in what should be our longest biking miles day.

Day 5: 34.32 Miles, 11.10 AVS, 3:05:28 STP, 36.9 Max Speed, 191 Total Miles

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

San Juan Island Bicycle Trip - Day 4

We did the opposite again in getting up. Instead of sleeping in it was 7 AM when we were both too cold to stay in bed. It was good we got up early as it gave us some time to hit up Ms. B's Bakery in town and one more Lopez Island beach before getting on the ferry. Ms. B made an amazing cinnamon roll that hit the spot. Warmed us right up. The place was so hopping, it's amazing Ms. B is closed on Tuesdays.

Our plan is to spend just one night on San Juan Island and the next wo on Orcas. Orcas will have more to do, plus a 10% grade up Mt. Constitution that I'm sure will be challenging. We should be able to do a full loop of San Juan Island, the bottom half today and than the top half tomorrow. It will hopefully work out well...campsite is at about the half way point, so it's perfect.

The coolest thing about today was seeing a pod of Orcas Whales off the coast. I don't know if it's that they are beautiful amazing creatures that makes it exciting, or the fact that they are rare and not many people can say that they saw Orcas Whales. Either way, it was a pleasant surprise to be biking along and than pull over to see what the crowds of people are looking at and discover it's whales. None of them did jumps out of the water, but they did surface and do some small flops. All the picture I took has is a black dot, so you will have to trust me that it is a whale surrounded by a bunch of his friends and family.

For the evening we are staying at the San Juan County Park. One of the few places to camp on one of the most wealthiest and large island in the area. They also have the campsites on top of each other. The family next to us has been yapping away about nothing. WE od have a sweet view to the West. First thing I'll see in the morning is the Haro Straight.

So, the plan is to boke the Northern edge of San Juan tomorrow morning. Afternoon ferry to Orcas Island. And ride to Moran State Park. Camp their Thursday and Friday night. Ferry back to Anacortes in the AM of SAtuday with the 40+ mile ride back to where my truck is on the same day. We should put in plenty of miles that day.

Not too much left and I'll be heading back ot the grind of Portland.

Day 4: 37.2 Miles, 10.8 AVS, 3:26:36 AVS, 36.7 Max Speed, 156 Total Miles

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

San Juan Island Bicycle Trip - Day 3

Up early yesterday. Totally slep in today. My plan was to wait until Carey got up, and I guess this was his plan as well. So, it was a slow morning, but we did eventually push off. We started off by going through the small Lopez Village to pick up some lunch and see about some pastries for breakfast. No luckh with the pastries as the lone bakery int own is closed on Tuesday. But, we did get some lunch at the grocery store and headed south to Shark Reef Park.

This was a pretty cool place to visit. We had just missed the Orca pos some other travelers had told us, but we were treated with some sea lions and a beautiful landscape to eat our lunch at. One nice thing with this trip compared to crossing the country is how many breaks we take. Last summer it was up early, bike all day, eat, to bed early. We had one goal in mind, to make it across. With this trip the goal is to bike, but also to enjoy these beautiful islands and all they have to offer. After a lengthy time at Shark Reef we headed north to Otis Perkins Park. Once again ditching our bike shoes so we could walk along the nice warm sand. This was followed by a trip to the Fishermans Reef Memorial and spit. This wasn't marked on the map, but we came across it. It actually turns out that the two places I've liked the most haven't been on the map. Funny how that works.

Tomorrow we are headed to our third island, probably Orcas. We are in for a rude awakening as it is supposed to have a lot more hills than the nice Shaw and Lopez island we have been blessed with.

Day 3:
23.61 Miles
11.23 AVS
2:06:07 AVS
33.8 Max Speed
119 Total Miles

Monday, June 30, 2008

San Juan Island Bicycle Trip - Day 2


Day two started off way too early for me. When ever I'm camping during the summer I always think it is later than it actually is, causing me to get up early and be tired most of the day. Hopefully I don't repeat that tomorrow.

After getting things packed up for the morning, we took off to see the rest of Shaw Island making our way to the other side of the island. Not much to see over that way, but it was perfect riding. Empty roads and a beautiful landscape. We ended up doing around 12 miles and than headed to the ferry dock to move onto island two. We had no plan of what island we'd hit enxt, with the plan being to just jump on the next ferry that came. This left us with about an hour and a half to kill sitting in front of the only store in town, playing some 10,000. A game I'm currently killing Carey in. I also got a chance to scarf down a Snickers, quickly becoming my bicycle riding favorite. Last summer I had three in one day as I put in a 130+ miles.

After a short ferry ride we were on the 2nd smallest island we will visit, Lopez. The plan was to hit up the campsite, drop out gear, and check out the island. At this point we had only gone about 16 miles and I was beat. T his is hard for the ego to take. My brain still thinks I can ride 130 miles in one day, but my legs and lungs have something else in mind.

After a quick rest we headed to the Southern part of Lopez. Beautiful roads again...a bikers paradise. Our destination being Agate Beach County Park. From the name on the map it looed like a big park, but the actual beach part was pretty small. Still a great view of Outer Bay and about 5 islands set off from the Lopez mainland.

We than took a tip from another bicyclist we met to check out Watmough Bight Nature Preserve. It was great advice, even with having to ride on some dirt roads. Gorgeous little cove that just shimmered in the sun light. I think we both would have wanted to stay longer, but it was getting late and out tummies would soon be screaming.

After getting lost on a 4 mile wrong turn, we made out way back, very hungry. Carey even had to pull up with a 1/2 mile to go to eat some trail mix. Being on the bikes all day makes you hungry! Tomorrow is more of Lopez Island and we'll probably stay a 2nd night.

Day 2:
47.43 Miles
11.13 AVS
4:15:34 STP
36.1 Max Speed
Total: 96 Miles

Sunday, June 29, 2008

San Juan Island Bicycle Trip - Day 1

We get out of Seattle to our take off point (Campanno Island) at about 10 AM. As we pakced up and donned our tight fitting bike clothes, the neighbor lady chatted us up. Even offering to give us a ride to where we needed to catch the ferry. This token offer happened quite a bit on the trek across county, which is funny because it is the last thing we want. Although, it would have been nice. I was feeling the affects of what a body feels like that has done little training for this type of ride. I could feel it on those first five miles. Doesn't help that we didn't eat right. Always, always eat a good meal before riding. I guess I was so eager to get going that I thought a granola bar in 90+ heat would get me by.

Our adventure started and was halted in the first block. Only took a few pedals to realize something is wrong. This being Carey's panniers, hooked a little close to his seat, causing him to hit them on each pump of the legs. Quick fix and were were on our way.

Another good advice is to bring a map of where you are going. Just because it looks easy when you are in Google Maps doesn't mean all those roads are going to be marked. So, we did what most gujys don't like...asked directions. More than once. "Which way to Anacortes?" "Where can we camp?" It is nice that we asked because one guy led us to a nice bike path that led us clear into Anacortes. NOt a direct route, but it was cool over an old railroad bridge that has been converted into a bicycle path.

Once nice thing about walking bikes onto the San Juan Ferries is that you pay one price (~$15) and than the inter island cost is free. We could just hop back and forth on the ferries to our hearts content. Makes a trip like this affordable.

Our first island, Shaw, is jacked. Hardly anyone lives here, so as we left the ferry terminal not a single car passed us. We did cross a cat. There are people at the campground, but you get the sense that you have most of this island to yourself. We cooked up some dinner (old fav I cooked across country) and took our food out to the gorgeous beach to eat. No one else around. Nice island. Tomorrow it is probably Lopez, but we might just play it by ear depending on what time we make it to the ferry terminal.

Day 1:
47.96 Miles
12.25 AVS
3:55:14 STP
34.9 Max Speed
Total: 48 Miles