Friday, June 29, 2012

The Ridge They Call Hurricane

Super Biker Woman and her trusty sidekick (Christian needs his own super hero name) conquered the ridge they call Hurricane on their trusty bicycle steeds! Carol conquered Port Angeles. SBW and her sidekick climbed over 2000 feet. Carol ate at two DIFFERENT restaurants!

Christian and I left Casey and Brigid's at 9:00am. We stopped at the Olympic National Park Headquarters first. Then, it was 5 miles to the Entrance Station where we paid $5 each to enter on our bikes. Thankfully, those first 5 miles were definitely the steepest. I was glad we stayed with Casey and Brigid because if we had stayed at Heart O' the Hills, we would have had that 5 mile climb at the END of yesterday. That would not have been good.

The park ranger at the entrance warned us to dress warmly when we came down. Apparently, hypothermia can be a problem on an 17 mile descent. We had packed appropriately for the descent.

After a photo op at the Heart o' the Hills campground sign, we started the remaining 12 miles to the top. We pulled off at most of the view points for photos and breaks. I was listening to music on my Rock It, so the climb was fairly enjoyable.

At the first view point, we walked a little trail to another look-out. In a tree near the look-out was a big raptor bird of some sort that was making a low pitched whoop whoop sound.

Just after the viewpoint, we went through 3 tunnels. Christian has a generator hub headlight so he was in front going through the tunnels. I turned my rear flasher on.

We continued to climb...and climb... and climb some more. Sometimes I was not in super granny gear, but for lengthy sections I was. But, like I said, I was listening to music, so it was all good.

Finally, the top was in view! Well, we could see it anyway. We still had a couple of miles to go. However, the views were spectacular! We stopped to to take photos, including some of a couple of bucks with velvety antlers. Finally, one turned and faced me for a decent photo.

We made it to the top after 4 1/2 hours. There is a nice Visitor's Center at the top. Christian and I had a lovely lunch at the cafe. I had an artichoke, tomato, and spinach panini sandwich. Christian had fish and chips. After lunch, we walked around and up a short paved trail. From the trail, we could see Port Angeles.

For our descent, we put on warmer clothes. I put my arm warmers back on along with a long sleeve wool shirt. Then I put my high-vis jacket on with my rain jacket over that. I pulled on my rain pants, my possum/Marino gloves with my rain gloves over the top. I topped off the whole ensemble with an extra buff around my neck that I pulled up over my nose. Needless to say, there was no chance of hypothermia for me! Actually, it was a good ensemble because I was also not too warm.

We came down the 17 miles, that had taken us 4 1/2 hours to climb, in 45 minutes. We made it back to the house at 4:15.

It was a great day and Christian agreed it was worth the ride--even with all the climbing.

Here are some photos...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kayaking Thwarted No More!

I woke up in a nice comfy bed at the early hour of 5:00am. I had to pee. As I was going back to bed, I noticed the sun was coming up behind Mt. Baker. So, instead of going back to bed, I pulled out my camera and started taking photos (see the earlier post). I ended up not going back to sleep.

After a delicious breakfast of steel-cut oats with fruit and walnuts, we pulled out the kayaks to go out for a paddle in the Dungeness Bay. Yay! I was finally getting to go kayaking (on my Coast bike tour I tried twice to kayak without success--one day it was too windy and he other time no one showed up)!

The water was like glass. No wind and the tide gently coming in. My weather karma was in full force! I was in a single kayak (a nice red one). We paddled toward the old pier and where the Dungeness River empties into the Bay. We tried paddling up the river and we did make it far enough to see four juvenile eagles sitting on a branch. I think their names were John, Paul, George, and Ringo. We let the river push us back out to the Bay. We paddled back, stopping for various photo-ops. The mountains (both High Cascades and Olympics) were beautiful. It was a great paddle! The wind was just starting to ripple the water when we got back.

We brought the boats back to the boat house where they could be rinsed off.

We got all our bike stuff put together. Carol was letting Sue carry her stuff to Casey's in Port Angeles in her car. We had some lunch, then hit the road.

We rode back to the Olympic Discovery Trail which we took all the way to Port Angeles. It was very cool. We rode to Railroad Park. The railroad bridge over the Dungeness River was very nice.

There were some steep downhills and uphills, but we were warned ahead of time of a spot where we could get off to avoid a really steep gratuitous section. Which is not to say we didn't go up some pretty steep hills. In fact, one was so steep that both Christian and Carol had to walk. I only made it up because I refuse to walk. Of course I was wheezing like mad by the time I got to the top!

We came along the water and saw an otter come out of the water with something in its mouth. We tried to see where it went, but it disappeared.

We made it to Casey and Brigid's house where we are camped in the backyard. We've had a delicious dinner of leftover pork loin (brought to Port Angeles by Sue--along with Carol's stuff).

Brigid is playing guitar and singing. A great day! Tomorrow Christian and I are planning to ride up to Hurricane Ridge. Carol will take a rest day.

Here's some great photos. The Discovery Trail is so awesome that even the benches have squeegees to clean off any water!

Sunrise in Sequim

It's gonna be a beautiful day!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

All for One and One for All!

The C Musketeers (Christian, Carol, and Colleen) are together at last!

Carol and I got up earlier than we have so far so we could make it to the ferry dock in Port Townsend to meet Christian's ferry at 9:15. It was a little over 5 miles from the park to the ferry dock.

We rode to the ferry via the Larry Scott Memorial Trail. It was paved for a short bit, then crushed limestone. It was dry enough to be okay riding.

As we pulled up to the ferry terminal, there was a doe and two fawns walking along the water on the beach. It must be a good year for twins because every doe I've seen this year has had two fawns. After we parked the bikes, I took a couple of photos. Then, the doe and fawns came up to the road and proceeded to walk to town!

Christian came in on the ferry. It was hugs all around, then we headed back to the trail so we could ride to Hwy 20 and head toward Sequim.

We had a few good ups and some pretty decent downs. Awhile after we got on to Hwy 101, we stopped at a a nice little garden and espresso stand. I had a lavender lemonade. We had a snack and Christian gave me the walnut cake he made. It is very tasty! The garden was sweet with a little Koi pond. It was a nice rest break.

A short way further down the road we picked up the Discovery Trail. This trail goes for several miles through Sequim and Port Angeles. On the trail there is the Johnson Creek Bridge. It's the largest trestle on the Olympic Peninsula. The trail has some steep places, especially where we rode through a park.

We rode the trail to Sequim where we are staying tonight with Carol's friends Sue and Lee. Prior to getting to their house we stopped at Subway #2 in Sequim.

Lee and Sue have a beautiful home on the water looking across to Dungeness Spit. There are herons, terns, seals, and a number of ships (including what appears to be an oil platform being towed, perhaps, to Alaska). We sat out on the beach for awhile enjoying the sun. Oh, I forgot to mention, it was sunny today! No rain like yesterday! I even put sunscreen on!

Our wonderful hosts fixed us a delicious dinner of pork loin, bread, potatoes, salad, broccoli, and a fresh strawberry shortcake for dessert!

Laundry has been done, we've gone for a walk on the beach, and now it's about time to retire. I have my own room with a comfy bed and a window looking over the water. HEAVEN!!!

Rainy Day Food Fest

It seems all we did today was ride awhile, eat alot, ride awhile, eat alot.

When we got up this morning, it wasn't raining, but it looked pretty ominous. I made sure my rain gear was on the top in the pannier. That was a good plan! We weren't but a mile down the road when it started misting. You know the kind of rain that slowly but surely soaks you to the bone. Right away we pulled over at a gas station, under cover, and put on full rain gear-even the waterproof gloves. As we pulled back out onto the road, it started raining more. HA! Go ahead and rain! We are prepared! That superior feeling didn't last too long as it rained more AND we were climbing Mt. Walker.

We reached the top of Mt. Walker and started the descent. It wasn't really too bad, just a wee bit on the chilly side. We were meeting Carol's friend Brian in Quilcene. He had planned to ride with us but said he wouldn't in the rain. Still we would meet up with him. When we met up with Brian, it was time for Carol's morning tea so we went to the cafe to visit. Even though it was 11:25, I decided to have second breakfast. I had hot chocolate, French toast, and hash browns. As we were sitting in the cafe, we saw Rita and Bob go by. Pretty soon we saw them come back. They had seen our bikes, so they came in to join us and have something hot to drink too.

After we finished, even though it was still raining, Brian decided to ride with us to Chimicum. Rita and Bob weren't quite finished so we said goodbye to them.

We rode up Center Rd (almost as much as Walker Mt.). Where Center turns into Chimicum Rd, Brian turned around and headed back home. We were now on a quest for pie at the cafe in Chimicum (just another 6 or so miles down the road).

As we were getting closer to Chimicum, I noticed the road wasn't very wet. It was still raining, but not as much. We kept looking, with hope, to the sky in the direction we were heading. It was definitely getting lighter!

We made the miles to Chimicum where we first stopped at a fruit and veggie stand for some zucchini and avocado for dinner. Then we rolled down and across the street to the cafe for pie! As we were getting ready to go into the restaurant, Rita and Bob pulled in too. By then it was about 3:00--time for lunch (and pie!).

I had a hot turkey sandwich (it was pretty good, but still didn't beat Berry Fields Cafe in Centralia). Then I had a piece of pecan pie. It was delicious! And, I was VERY full!

While we were gorging ourselves on sandwiches and PIE, 6 other cyclists came in (5 guys, one gal). They had come from Vancouver BC and were going to San Diego. I asked them if they had met a German guy. They did and had talked to Christian!

When we came out of the cafe, there were all the bikes loaded with panniers parked all over! The rain had officially stopped and I swapped jackets and took off my rain pants (finally!--I hate riding for a long time in them). The four of us took off for Port Townsend.

Carol and I said a final goodbye (unless they get to the ferry dock by 9:15 tomorrow when we meet Christian) to Rita and Bob at the turnoff for Old Fort Townsend State Park, our destination for the night. It's been great spending he last couple days with them! I definitely hope to see them again and perhaps even tour!

We were still so full from our late lunch, that we just had strawberries and pistachios for dinner (and Carol had a cuppa tea--of course!). We walked down to the beach and that was about it.

Two other cyclists have joined us. Also from BC headed to San Diego--Christopher and Tatianna.

Tomorrow is an early morning to make it to the ferry by 9:15 to meet Christian!!! Also, weather is supposed to be good. Fingers are crossed!

For Christ's Sake Have a Cuppa Tea!

Today was an even shorter day than yesterday, but we took a long time to get from Potlatch to Dosewallips. We left Potlatch at about 10:00. Our first stop was in Hoodsport as we were on the lookout for an insulated mug of some sort for Carol. She left hers at home and has been burning her lips trying to drink tea from an aluminum pot. First we stopped at a IGA grocery store. No cups, but Carol got some broccoli to add to our dinner. Well, actually Carol did get a styrofoam cup, but I didn't see how that would last long. Then we went next door to a Shell station mini-mart. Still no cups, but Carol BOUGHT another styrofoam cup. I had an ice cream cone. Finally, we went across the road to a gift shop and they had insulated cups. Whew! Carol could now have her cup of tea! Of course, throughout all this, I have the Great Big Sea song "Have a Cuppa Tea" stuck in my head! I keep hearing in my head the part that goes, "Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah Rosalie! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! For Christ's sake have a cuppa tea!"

Satisfied that Carol can now have her "cuppa tea", we continued down the road. Well, really I should say UP and DOWN the road! From Hoodsport on, it is pretty roller coaster-like.

At about 12:30, we pulled into an oyster farm place that had a nice picnic table so we could have a little lunch. Bob and Rita from last night at Potlatch were there too. We chatted for awhile then they took off. As we were eating our lunch a young man named Justin rode in. He is riding from Seattle to New York! He is a third year student at a school on Long Island that specializes in Marine Architecture and Engineering. He is riding back to school. He'll pick up the Trans Am route in Florence.

We got back on the road with not too far to go. More ups and downs until a good downhill to Dosewallips State Park. When we pulled in, the ranger told us the other couple on bikes were over in the field. We knew that was Bob and Rita, so we headed over. There is a nice picnic shelter here. When we arrived it had started to rain. We got the tents up before it started raining heavily. After our showers, the showers had stopped! We were able to get the rest of the stuff set up in the tents. Bob and Rita went off to dine at the Geoduck Tavern. We had Gnocchi in a mushroom sauce with steamed broccoli and whole grain tortillas. It was quite tasty. Afterward, we walked back over to the restroom building to brush our teeth. Coming back we saw a raccoon climbing up a tree. I took a picture, but it is hard to see him.

Back at the campsite, the four of us were chatting when we heard some branches snapping in the woods behind us. We looked and it was a herd of 5 elk. The cow was coming down to the meadow where we are camped. There was a bull with a medium set of antlers, but he didn't come down close enough to get a photo.

We had a nice evening chatting about our bike tour and camping experiences. Carol enjoyed her "cuppa tea" and all is well at the end of Day 2! The rain did not come back and there was even some bits of blue sky!

Here's some photos from the day. The one of Carol's tent is from this morning. It looked as if her tent was oozing stuff out from under the rain fly!

Found Money and Subway Number 1

On the road again! Carol and I departed this morning at the oh-not-so-early time of 9:45. We really didn't have to get going any earlier because we weren't going all that far. In fact, we probably could have left after lunch and still arrived in plenty of time!

It lightly rained until we were out of Olympia. It wasn't enough to bother putting rain gear on. As we pulled on to Hwy 101 at Steamboat Island, there were even small patches of blue sky! I removed my sleeves from my jacket and switched to my sunglasses lenses.

As we pedaled along Hwy 101, Carol stopped for something (I can't remember what it was). As I pulled up, I happened to look down and there on the ground was a cute little pink coin purse. I picked it up noticing one side had Tweety Bird and the other had a couple of stickers. Clearly, this was the purse of a young girl. What it was doing on the side of the highway is anyone's guess. I opened it up and inside there was $9.28! I had a brief moment of sadness for the little girl who lost it, then stuck it in my handlebar bag and thought, "Woo Hoo! Free lunch for me today at Subway!".

We continued on and exited off 101 for lunch at the Shelton Subway. I don't know if I have mentioned this before, but I have found, in Carol, someone who likes Subway as much as me! So, I am going to keep track of all the Subways we eat at on this trip. Today was number 1.

Our next stop after lunch was at the Lucky Dog Casino. Carol got a players' card and a free $5.00 ticket. I got one last year so I couldn't take advantage of the new card/$5.00 deal. We played the penny machine (I put in $5) until our 5 dollars were gone, then we left. It was too smoky in there anyway.

Potlatch State Park, our intended destination, was just a mile or so down the road. When we got to the park we took photos at the park sign, then rode to the Hiker/Biker site. Julie and I stayed in this very same site last year before I left for Sierra Cascades.

We payed for our site, then set up camp. I went first to the one and only shower. It takes quarters. I had quarters, but, lucky me, found a quarter someone had left sitting up on the top of the wall. More found money!

Earlier as we were walking down to pay, we met a couple who are doing the Washington Parks Loop that Kyle and I did. They are from Vashon and this is their second or third day on the road. Very nice couple. They camped down by the water.

Carol and I did a redo on the dinner we had fixed on our Millersylvania shakedown ride. Penne pasta with zucchini, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, and marinara sauce. We decided it was even better than before. As we were fixing dinner, a big fat pesky raccoon trundled into our campsite. I used to think raccoons were cute until one tore a whole in one of my panniers. I chased him off not once, but twice! We will be leaving no food out tonight!

One other thing, Carol's Bike Friday does not have a name. In fact, up until today she wasn't sure if it was male or female! As we were riding along today, Carol remarked that she is in love with her bike. I said, "Well, at least we know now it's male!"

Here's some photos:
The first is my new found coin purse.
Next is Potlatch State Park
Hood Canal
Subway number 1
Our departure this morning
"We're headed that way!"