Monday, February 10, 2014

Whidbey Island, Kitsap Peninsula, and Snow (2014-02-09)

I was hoping for a normal ride, but I instead got bicycle issues and snow.

Part 1: To Mukilteo

I had gotten out of my building to start at about 05:00, only to find that I had forgotten to load the route onto my GPS. I usually do so after pulling the GPX tracks, but didn't remember to do it this time.

After doing so, I headed north up the normal route up to Lynnwood. I heard some odd rubbing the whole time and thought it was one of my brakes. After closer inspection, I found it to be my front fender: one of the struts was on the wrong face of a nut and the fender itself was rubbing against a tire side wall. I fixed it well enough.

My route through Lynnwood involved riding along a gravel road for a couple of blocks, which seemed out of place in such an area.

It was pretty cold out there. Something like 23°F, with frozen puddles all over the place. I had put on some hand warmers after leaving shoreline, but they only lasted until southern Mukilteo before they didn't help at all.

I also had a ski mask on, which was very helpful.

I found it odd how part of my route involved going through small streets in sparse, forested neighborhoods and coming down this hill.

I started recognizing an earlier ride's route as I approached Mukilteo, especially as I entered the big speed run down to the waterfront. (That hill was a slog on that ride as I was headed up it that time.)

Part 2: Whidbey Island

The ferry ride was shorter than I had expected, so I didn't get a chance to both eat and use the restroom. For the latter, I just used the one in the ferry terminal after disembarking.

As always, leaving the shoreline involves a good deal of climbing. This time was no different. While climbing, I helped a guy out.

My route took me off the highway on a short deviation because Google Maps is silly.

I did come across a nice little nature area on the way, though.

I came across some bike lanes in Freeland (its name is from its origins as a socialist commune) which I used while getting back to the highway.

I also saw the same guy from earlier while heading through Freeland.

After returning to the highway (SR-525), I had weird feelings of deja vu. They were weird specifically because it all reminded me of that that earlier ride again, except I felt as though I was headed in the same direction. I wasn't.

As I continued along the highway, I rode past a fenced property where dogs started barking at me. I was a little annoyed as usual, but was then freaked out after they escaped the property and started chasing me along said highway.

I then passed through the small community of Greenbank.

It overlooks the water.

I then continued along the familiar route in reverse, turning left onto SR-20 and barreling down the big hill.

I had to be quick to get to the ferry terminal, as I had seen it dock in the distance while heading toward said terminal.

I got some photos of Port Townsend while on the ferry.

Part 3: Quimby & Kitsap

While climbing up the big hill out of lower Port Townsend, I started hearing and feeling a sort of hollow clicking sound. It felt like it was coming from my rear hub, which recently had its cone replaced as a part of regular maintenance. It didn't make the sound without a great deal of weight bearing down on it.

When I tweeted that, my mother and father quickly got in touch with me to ask if I needed I ride.

During the second stop to attempt to analyze it, I called by local bike shop, which had done the replacement.

The guy on the phone located a bike shop in Silverdale (my data service is rather spotty out there, so it would've taken a long time to locate it myself), so I established that as my next destination. I told my father that so he knew I had a game plan.

I rode the familiar SR-19 through Chimacum and its associated valley through the south.

I've been along this road many times, so everything along it, including the big hill up to SR-104, was very familiar. I also knew to avoid Google Maps's silly deviations: one through private property and the other along some random road. It only makes sense to stick to the highways in this area.

Across the Hood Canal Bridge I went, to get to SR-3 and start heading directly south. Rather than sticking to SR-3, however, my route took me through the tiny community of Lofall (too small for even a Wikipedia page!). The roads here were very hilly and I was becoming discouraged, as I had to get to that bike shop before it closed at 18:00.

When I got to the eastern edge of Bangor, the road became wider and more level. I was also assisted by a prevailing tailwind, so the ride was rather fast all the way to Silverdale.

The roads around the SR-3 interchange over there confused me: I made a left when I should've made a right and ended up having to walk down an onramp to the road I had been targeting. My route had a left there in order to get on SR-3, but I was headed to bike shop instead.

After passing through the wide road through all the shopping complexes (which had started undergoing some sort of construction since my previous time here), I made it to the bike shop at about 16:20; plenty of time for them to look at it.

The guys really knew their stuff there: everything from common bikes, specialty bikes, various parts, and different types of riding. The guy who looked at it was able to figure it out: my local bike shop had put the wrong kind of cone in my rear hub.

They had the right kind in stock, thankfully, and it was a fairly quick repair. He also noticed that my rear shifter cable housing seemed to be contaminated and should also be replaced, but that was a bit too time-consuming for the time. (I plan to get that replaced, and raised the issue about the cone with my local bike shop a couple days later).

With that done, I started again, heading to SR-3. I had established it as a reasonable cycling route previously, but I used it to bypass Bremerton entirely. Thanks to the car traffic's drafting, even the uphill bits were fast. Unfortunately, I noticed that something was rubbing the whole time, but I couldn't hear anything when off my bike. (I plan to bring that up when I get more repairs done on my bike.)

I never really liked the bit around Gorst, where the SR-3×SR-16 interchange is kind of low-capacity for the traffic it carries, and a left exit is necessary to get from SR-16 to SR-166. It was rather dark at this time, however, and car headlights thankfully provide a good advance warning on their presence.

I started seeing some dusting of snow while riding from the latter interchange to Port Orchard, but I didn't pay too much mind to it until it started getting in my mouth.

The snow became worse when I hit downtown Port Orchard. I still continued on my way up to Mile Hill Road, but I couldn't use the shoulder since it was covered in snow. Shortly after the roundabout, I noticed that the snow was starting to pile up on the roadway. That's when I said "S'NOPE" and made my way to the bowling alley nearby (open until late). (I had actually planned to turn back if I saw snow, but I wasn't referring to getting a ride when I said that.)

While there, I called my father to phone for a ride home, as I wasn't going to risk ending up in the ER.

Part 4: Snow

I would normally have coffee around this time on a ride, but I had a beer instead since I had to buy something in order to stay out of the snow. I also had a small salad.

My route plan would've been the red line below, but that didn't happen because of said snow.

I spent a lot of the time looking out, watching for him. I saw cars spinning out in the roundabout, police cars here and there, and a few snowplows come through.

My father spent hours slogging through the dangerous conditions, going via Tacoma instead of taking the ferry to Southworth due to the ferry schedule. Since the conditions were slowing him down so much, I was worried that I would have to book a room at the nearby motel for at least part of the night. The bowling alley/bar was going to close early due to the weather, too.

I took my bike apart, loaded it in the back of his Prius, and we were on our way. Both the lady at the bar and I said it was a better idea to go down the big hill, then take the low, water-level route all the way to Bremerton. The flatter roads would lessen the hill-related issues, and the longer Bremerton ferry would keep us off the roads (and out of hilly West Seattle) for longer. (I've become familiar with the area thanks to all of my riding through it.)

During the ride, I rested my eyes whenever I could, as I was very tired at that point.

We slid out once on SR-166, but he managed to get us going again.

Some folks out there did dangerous things like following closely or taking turns too fast. He was smart enough to turn on his hazard lights when folks got too close.

It was the last ferry of the day, at 23:40.

During the ferry wait and ride, I mostly tried to sleep, largely failing at doing so.

On the Seattle side, the roads were a lot more forgiving: they were a bit clearer, with lots of sand aiding with traction. We didn't have much trouble getting back to my building (01:13).

I really appreciate all of my father's hard work in getting me home. I don't know what I would've done otherwise.

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