Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Seattle (Puget Sound) Tour - Day 2 & 3

I started riding at 9 am to ensure I had enough time to make today's section since I didn't know exactly how hilly the route is and how exhausting it will be riding the folding bike.  Neither the route nor the bike gave me trouble and I made good time.  I even added a small detour past South Whidbey Island State Park to ride a quieter road.  The total mileage for that day ended up 71 miles which included the ferry ride since I didn't turn of my GPS.  This certainly shows that the folding bike is up for the task.  In the beginning I was still hesitant riding on the shoulder.  Having fatter tires would certainly help improve my confidence and make the ride more comfortable.  I'm not sure if the NWT can handle fatties but the BikeFriday I was riding couldn't handle bigger tires.  I was also reminded the need of fenders.  While I was lucky and didn't had any rain, part of the day I was riding wet roads from recent heavy localized rain.  Water from the tires was spraying me and the panniers.  I tried to rig a mud flap but it was to difficult to keep it from swaying sideways.

Mud flap experiment

Since we are talking about the bike, I also learned that grip shifters are not for me.  At the end of the day my right thumb had a nasty tear on the inside fold of the lower joint which was caused from the constant shifting that was required with the hills (+/- ~300ft).  Due to that shifting hurt extremely on the next day and made the ride somewhat difficult.  Otherwise climbing the hills was not an issue and the gearing was overall great.  I did notice that I miss the top bar for quick stops to take photos.  Without the top bar you constantly have to hold the bike with one hand.

In the morning I passed through Port Gamble where there was a large civil war reenactment.  I watched a troop practicing marching and took a brief glance at their tents.

Civil war troop drill

Civil war camp

At the floating concrete bridge I saw a couple of see lions swimming in the water.  Apparently this is the longest floating bridge in salt water and third longest overall. The longest permanent one in the world is across Lake Washington in Seattle.

Hood Canal Bridge

The vegetation (black berries, burning nettles, flowers and slugs) reminded me of southern Germany although the trees are a bit taller.

One of many slugs

Creeping Buttercup

Half a house

One of the roads I rode

Airfield with yellow bushes

Colorful flowers

Just before Ports Townsend a nice packed-gravel trail started which, aside passed nicely along the shore.  Port Townsend is a quaint little town that I had to ride through before crossing on the ferry to Whidbey Island.  

Paper Mill near Port Townsend

Trail to Port Townsend

The folding bike on a pier in Port Townsend

On the ferry I overheard a youth talking to his mom about the three forts that are located here.  I inquired about them and he proudly told me about the forts and what a waste of money they were.  The fort were build to protect Puget Sound but were obsolete as soon as construction was done.  The invention of airplanes made the forts vulnerable to air attacks.  This conversation caused me to make a short detour and visit Fort Casey.  I was especially excited because all forts in the Midwest are civil war forts.  So it was exciting to see one form a different time area.  The structure can't been seen from the see but on land it reminded me of some first person shooter games.  My kids would have loved the fort with all its little nooks and ladders.  Of course it would be a nightmare for their mom who would worry their child might fall off a wall.

Fort Casey as seen from the water

Fort Casey

Heavy gun at Fort Casey

Since I was doing quite well with time I spend about an hour on a quiet lonely pebble beach that had some beautiful drift wood. I also did a detour past South Whidbey Island State Park to in order to ride a nicer smaller road.

Beach on Whidbey Island

Not much else one can say. ;)

After eating a late lunch / early supper in Freeland I made my way to my overnight destination, an avid cycling couple that hosts cyclists through Warmshowers.  They have a quite nice and rustic cabin in the woods for their guest.  On the way I meet the couple as they were biking to a celebration at their local bike shop.  Later in the evening we sat together around the fire, had a small meal and were exchanging stories.

Guest cabin

The coolest outhouse with a view.

I said my goodbyes already in the evening as I got started to ride at 7 am the next morning.  After crossing the ferry from Clinton to Mukilteo it was payback time for the cool ride to the ferry on day one as I had to climb the longest hill on my ride.  Somehow my route planning to the Burke Gilman Trail wasn't the best as I road the 44th Avenue, a major four lane road that isn't setup for bikes.  Luckily it was Sunday morning so I had really little traffic.  Another bummer was that the north part of Burke Gilman Trail was closed due to construction but the southern part was a pleasure to ride.  The trail got me nearly to the Montlake bicycle shop, where I dropped off the bike and ended my trip.

Last view of Puget Sound from the Clinton-Mukilteo ferry

Me and the Bike Friday folding bike I was riding

Now some random photos from Seattle but not the bike ride itself:

Seattle and Mt. Rainer from the Space Needle

Monorail and Space Needle

Fremont Troll

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