First I had to get there!
I've ridden Vashon Island twice. Both times I've driven to the ferry dock with the bike on the bike rack. The first time was a supported ride called the Ride for US (Ultrasound) a number of years ago. The second was the fateful December ride when I crashed on the way back (not while on Vashon). Both of those rides were not the best weather. The Ride for US was a very foggy morning in September. The December ride was, well...December. Today's weather was perfect!
But, as I said, first I had to get there. I mapped the shortest route which was basically the hop-on-hop-off the freeway route to Gravelly Lake, then to Bridgeport Way. I rode Bridgeport/ Jackson to 6th, then over to Pearl St. where I met Carol (she rode from her house. It was 31 miles from my house to 6th and Pearl. It only took me 2 hours--even with all the traffic lights.
Carol and I made it to the ferry dock at Pt. Defiance with plenty of time before the 10:55 ferry. Nice friend that Carol is, she brought me a banana which I happily scarfed down while waiting for the ferry.
They have a new ferry on this route. It's called the Chetzemoka. There are the usual ties for bikes on the vehicle deck, but on the second level, there is indoor space for about 30 more bikes! There is even a ramp along the stairs to wheel the bikes up! The ferry personnel seem to think it is a waste of space. I think it beats stacking the bikes umpteen deep on the vehicle deck!
On Vashon, we rode some of the many hills, past beautiful views of the sound, past sweet farms, and to the heart of "Downtown Vashon". The downtown area was bustling with people enjoying the nice weather and holiday weekend. There were bikes parked everywhere and cyclists sampling the goods of the various shops. Carol and I pulled in for tea (for Carol) and lavender lemonade (for me) and huge delicious brownies (so much for my "no sugar" plan) at Luna Café. After that, we literally went around the corner to Thriftway and had panini sandwiches (I have no problem with eating dessert first!).
After lunch, Carol went into the Ace Hardware store next to Thriftway to buy electrician's tape. She got a roll of black and a roll of yellow. I only mention this because we were both on our road bikes, thus, not alot of space to carry things (like rolls of tape!). She managed to tuck them in somewhere.
As we were working our way back to the ferry, we pulled into the seemingly one and only camping place on Vashon. It is part of YHA (Youth Hostel Assoc.). They have cute little cabins, tepees, and plenty of tent space. There is a remodeled barn with a full kitchen, restroom/shower facilities, TV lounge, and pool table. We decided we should do a bike overnight there. For me it was 50 miles from home--totally doable for a touring day.
Back at the ferry dock we watched some good size crabs scuttling along in the water near the beach. There were also a couple of huge purple sea stars attached to the pilings of the ferry dock. We boarded the ferry and had a very nice, but short sailing back to Point Defiance. At that point, Carol and I parted--she for the 20 minute or so ride to her home and me for the 35 mile or so ride back to my house.
Since I didn't feel like going the freeway route again, I went down Chambers Canyon (soooo much more fun to go down than up) and along the water to Steilacoom. Of course, I had to climb the hill up from Steilacoom, but I just put it in granny gear and listened to music from the Rock It.
I made it back home by 6:30. It was 97.5 miles and a whole lot of beautiful scenery! Here's some photos. Saw three bald eagles today! Not that you can really see, but in the photo of the flag pole, there are two bald eagles sitting on top!