Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sequim IV (2015-02-27)

A long ride to Sequim on one of the hottest weekends so far. I had to endure significant crotch pain thanks to my worn-out saddle.

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More after the break…

Part 1: To Ferry

I started at about 05:00 like usual and headed down to the ferry terminal. I was a bit dismayed at how I had lost my ORCA card the previous day and would have to pay the full ferry fare instead of the discounted one. Waiting in that line is never fun, either.

There was one guy from Hawaii who talked about the rides over there, and how it's much more humid there than in Seattle that morning. It was still rather humid for Seattle.

The ferry itself was pretty crowded.

The cyclists' bikes were all over the place on one end of the ferry, even though they had boarded after the cars. Ferry staff I've talked to don't like it when cyclists do that.

That message was new since I last was frequently taking the ferry.

Part 2: Outbound

I was among the first out of the terminal, and despite my heavy gear, I beat them across Bainbridge Island. They only caught up because I was still tweaking the saddle position on the bike.

Rather than going through Poulsbo, I headed north through Suquamish, then over the ridge on the eastern side of Kitsap to get to Port Gamble Road. I took this extremely quiet road all the way to SR-104 and stopped in Port Gamble for a bit.

From there, I went across the Hood Canal Bridge. I saw another cyclist on a fully-loaded bike in the parking lot on the bridge and pulled over for a quick chat. He was headed out to camp somewhere on the top of a ridge on the Olympic Peninsula.

Passing him up the first hill, I continued on SR-104 until taking a right onto SR-19, then eventually hung a left on Larson Lake Road to escape the traffic.

It was both quiet and quite scenic.

I eventually made my way to SR-20, then flew down the hill to US 101, then started heading north along it to Old Gardiner Road. My saddle had been bothering me all day, but it was coming to a head then.

When I got to the center of Gardiner (whatever that means), I was feeling sick in a way I knew meant dehydration, so I stopped to get water at a shop.

And then I took to US 101 again, leaving it at the Old Blyn Highway to take the Olympic Discovery Trail for a little while. Of course, I knew to avoid the gravel switchback section I absolutely detest, and stuck to US 101 there.

Stuff like that really doesn't deserve the label "bicycle infrastructure"; it's pretty much only meant for hikers. If I wanted to go hiking, I wouldn't have brought a bike!

I finally left US 101 in this direction for good, heading down along the Sequim Bay shore.

I ended up climbing and descending more than I had expected, including one quite arduous climb up a parched hill. It was one of the steepest grades I'd encountered in a long time!

From there, I saw some familiar scenery that meant I was approaching downtown Sequim. Rather than stopping there, however, I stopped at Hardy's Market for something to drink.

I also called the local shops to see if I could get a B-17 before heading back so I could end my suffering, but they could only order Brooks stuff and didn't stock it.

Part 3: Inbound

Once done in Sequim, I began my trek back. The wind was at my back this time, so it was pretty sprightly. I also stuck to US 101 instead of using back roads here and there, as is my custom when riding to Sequim.

I did stop in Blyn for something sugary to eat, but that was it as far as real stops on the Olympic Peninsula. Well, other than this substation I didn't remember.

Just past Discovery Bay on my way back, I ran across another bicycle tourist who was headed to Crater Lake. He was hopeful of making it to Potlatch before dark, but I discovered a minor problem to both our surprise:

He just continued on, and we parted ways as I started my climb up SR-104 and he continued on US 101.

The climbs were pretty hard on my knees due to fit issues, but I knew to pace myself.

After crossing the Hood Canal Bridge and heading south along SR-3 for a bit, I saw a couple of older women on touring bikes heading up the hill. We chatted for a minute, and as it turned out they were headed straight for the espresso stand for which I was also headed. We agreed to meet there.

One of them was pretty burned out, but the other was still talkative (with a decaf mocha shake). She had a second-hand custom touring bike (which was also what my touring mentor had, though his was a different brand). They were headed to a campground very nearby (probably Kitsap Memorial State Park).

I headed off after I was done with coffee and conversation, then continued along SR-3. It was pretty quick due to the gentle grades and fast cars on the freeway section. I did pull off an exit in Silverdale to eat something, which was doubly nice because I always detested dealing with the offramps and onramps there on the freeway mainline.

Continuing on SR-3 to Bremerton, I took my typical route to the ferry terminal.

Part 4: Return Home

From Seattle, I just took my typical route home. I was really fast, though, because of the rest and caffeine.

And, of course, I did get that B-17 the following day.

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