Monday, May 28, 2012

Another Almost Century or...

Good Thing We Didn't Take the Ferry Today!

In our continuing quest to prepare ourselves for the STP in one day, I planned a route that would give Lorraine her first century ride, and me about 78 miles (having just done 97.5 on Saturday, I didn't really need to do another century so soon). Due to weather, Lorraine ended up driving to my house. From there we headed to Gig Harbor. Yes, I just was up that way on Saturday, but I have ridden north far fewer times than any other direction, so I'm okay going again. Besides, Saturday was to Vashon, today was Gig Harbor (totally different...rrriiiiggghhhttt!).

We did the Steilacoom, then up Chambers Creek Canyon route. The ride across the Narrows Bridge was windy, but beautiful as always. We rode past the Gig Harbor Subway as it was a little early for lunch. We rode to the end of the Cushman trail (yes, up and down all the 8 and even 10% hills!). At the end, instead of coming back on the trail like I had done before, we came down to the road and rode into Historic Gig Harbor along the water. The plan was to come back up Pioneer Way and go to Subway for lunch. I mistakenly thought I had ridden up Pioneer before (back in December 2011). Not only was I mistaken, but it was a mistake to go up Pioneer. That was one extremely steep hill! I was out of the saddle for about 1/3 of it! It was just plain nasty!!! But, I made it without walking (barely).

We got to Subway (checked another one off the list!) and had lunch. As we were doing pretty good on time, I suggested we add the ride to Point Defiance (and the 5 mile loop) to increase Lorraine's mileage for the day (did I not realize it would increase mine too???).

We came back across the bridge and rode down to Point Defiance. This time there was alot more people driving the 5 Mile Drive (semi-sunny Memorial Day so not surprising). As we were nearing the last couple of miles of the loop, we rode past a raccoon having a snack of crackers someone had dropped on the ground by the side of the road. He (or maybe she) didn't even budge from the crackers as we rode by. So, of course, I had to turn around and get a couple of photos. As I got closer, he acted like he was going to take off. I would just stop moving and he would go back to his snacking. Then I would move closer until he noticed me again. Then, I'd stop again. I finally got as close as I wanted and snapped a couple of photos. About that time a gal was walking up with two big dogs. The raccoon wisely gave up on the crackers and waddled into the bushes.

Later on down the road, another raccoon went strolling across the street in no great hurry. Did I mention there we're alot of cars on the 5 Mile Drive? The masked bandit managed to make it to the other side safely.

Lorraine and I finished the 5 Mile Loop and headed back up Pearl. We returned the same way we had come through Chambers Creek Canyon and Steilacoom. We found a little rain in Steilacoom; enough for me to put the sleeves back on my jacket and put my leg warmers back on.

As we returned to Lacey, I, again, offered a longer option to get home so she could get closer to 100 miles. By the time we finally pulled into my driveway, we had gone 92.5 miles--so much for my 78 mile day!

When I got home there was an interesting text from my friend Carol (who I rode with to Vashon on Saturday). She rode to Vashon again today. While Lorraine and I were enjoying the 5 Mile Loop around Point Defiance, Carol was stuck over on Vashon waiting for a ferry that never came. Apparently, the ferry she and I had taken Saturday was having problems. She waited at the ferry dock on Vashon for 5 hours before they finally said there would be no ferry tonight. She was on her Bike Friday and had panniers, but all she had in them was weights to simulate a load. She didn't even have any food (she had planned to buy some lunch in town, but had instead decided to catch the 1:00 ferry home). When the ferry dock worker told everyone there would be no ferry, a kind gentleman offered to give her and her bike a ride to a motel where Carol managed to get a discounted room for $100. She dropped off her weighted panniers and the gentleman then gave her a ride to the grocery store so she could get some food and at least a toothbrush and toothpaste. She rode her bike back to the motel and will spend the night, hoping there will be a ferry tomorrow. I told her to keep her receipts and send a copy to the Washington State Ferry System for reimbursement. During the loading of her bike into the guy's car, somehow the front derailleur got messed up (wouldn't shift into the smallest ring--quite necessary on hilly Vashon). I was able to talk her through finding the problem (the cable was hung up) and fixing it over the phone. She was very grateful.

I guess I'm glad the ferry debacle didn't happen Saturday. However, it would have been an adventure!

Here's a couple photos of the raccoon and another one of the crazy hilly Cushman trail signs.

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