Wednesday, 22 August 2012

On going against the flow

There were a few gaps in my preparations for this trip. One of these was not finding an bike path app for Seattle. This has made finding my way around that much trickier. To compound the issue, I am coming into Seattle against the "expected" flow. From the layout and content of the tourism information centres, the ISO 2001 tourist is going from Seattle rather than vice-versa. Maps of bike routes and the like aren't easy to come by.

There was one element going in my direction. Rather unexpectedly, there is no charge to take a bike on the ferry from Kingston to Edmonds. I spoke with some more local cyclists who said the company charges cyclists going the other direction. I would have expected the reverse in order to lure tourists into the Olympic Peninsula from Seattle much like P.E.I. does.

Another error in preparation was overestimating the distance between Sequim and Edmonds. As a result, I got there at around 3 in the afternoon. Instead of staying in Edmonds, I decided to push closer to Everett and the Boeing Tour in order. This got me on the comparatively dreary State Route 99 (endless "strip") with no real idea where I would spend the night. The traffic was more draining than I was conscious of. I did find a crazy overstocked bike shop which provided me with a bike map. As I neared my revised goal and not seeing any motels with vacancies, I "borrowed" wi-fi from a MacDonald's to locate a motel. (My iPhone has U.S. voice roaming but no data plan.) I rang up the Motel 6 to see if they had a room available. They did but reserving a room took a bit too much data and I got a bit ratty with the clerk when he tried to inform me of the cancellation policy.

Anyway, I am now housed and fed.

The landscape East of Sequim was majestic and beautiful. Also a mite damper, judging by the vegetation. I passed near the John Wayne Marina. It is so named as he donated the land it was built on.

I crossed the Hood Canal (actually a channel) by a long and slightly nerve-racking bridge. It wasn't too bad and did feature generous bike shoulders but it was long enough to make me feel uneasy. Consequently, I was glad to see the end of it.

Shortly thereafter, I stopped for lunch in the picture postcard town village of Port Gamble. (Think an uptight and commercial version of Georgeville.) Lunch was a mildly unholy combination of New England clam chowder and bleu cheese fries.

The waitress was interested in how far I had come today. As she was new to the area, she didn't know how far Sequim was. I had to check my odometer to see how far and then make a rough conversion from kms (62) to miles (40). She was impressed even though I said it wasn't that much.

The restaurant had been a general store but was now mostly gift shop and restaurant. A fellow cyclist in MEC bike shorts and a white beard asked me if they had chocolate milk as they didn't in have any in the drinks cooler. I shrugged and suggested with humour that if he was truly desperate for his "recovery drink", he should have some mocha almond fudge ice cream which I knew they had as we were in front of their ice cream counter! I was amused when he accepted my proposal!

At the motel office, an older African American janitor was distinctly impressed with my laden bike. He said he wanted to cross the country by bike. I might have given him pointers, except that I was tired and he seemed a mite simple. He was also unduly impressed at me having ridden from Vancouver to here. (It has been only been three easy days of riding broken by two days off.)  I did tell him about biking from Calgary to Winnipeg earlier this summer. Unfortunately, there was a cultural translation problem as neither city was in his American mental geography and I couldn't think of the appropriate equivalent cities in the U.S. northern tier.

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