Day 5: May 13th; Fort Ebey State Park – Silverdale WA; 52 miles

Happy Mother’s Day! Especially to my mother. She is the prime example of selflessness, unwavering support, and demonstrates without fault dedication to family. Should I ever bless this earth with my own offspring, I hope to be 1/2 the mother she is… then I know I did well. Love you mom and miss you!

Despite all the trash I talked about last night’s campsite, I had the best nights sleep in the belly of the forest. Which is perfect, cause we woke up at 4:45am to catch a ferry into Port Townsend. The morning ride wasn’t bad and got to the ferry just in time. On the ferry, we got coffee and saw they had Marionberry yogurt, so we just had to have it. Sheena and I both heard of this berry, apparently it only grows in the PNW, from different avenues. If you ever seen Portlandia (again demonstrating my glorious taste in Tv) then you understand why I needed to try it. Decent stuff, nothing special. We spent some time in Port Ludlow for lunch and debated whether or not to have a “shorter day” or a longer one. Due to where we decided we’re going tomorrow, we planned on going the shorter route and stay in Silverdale.

Silverdale doesn’t have any campgrounds, nor does the town up the road Bremerton. Due to this, we decided to resort to warm showers to see if we could stay with anyone on that app. If you’re not familiar with warm showers, it’s an app where people (usually cyclists) advertise that they’re willing to host fellow cyclists at their home free of charge. They usually provide a bed, shower, and especially generous folks will cook you dinner. While practicing good caution, it can be very a useful and cheap alternative in a pinch. We were so lucky and got a few people willing to host us!

The ride into Silverdale just wasn’t fun. It was hot, the sun was super intense, and there were hill after hills. We rode on a lot of no shoulder roads, yet motorists weren’t the worst. Except one guy. I was taking a breather a top a hill (I admit, it wasn’t the smartest place to stop) but I was pretty far off the road. I heard a truck coming full Speed up the hill and saw him before he saw me. He was literally swerving onto the shoulder so I stepped back to avoid getting hit, not realizing I was stepping into a ditch. I fell backwards and Ol’ Bessie fell right on top of me. Super embarrassed (and mad at the truck driving idiot who nearly killed me), I found superhuman strength and lifted the bike off me and jumped out of the ditch. Which I realized after I got up was full of thorns that cut up my entire right leg. I had blood pouring down making for a grisly scene. I’ll spare you the picture cause it even makes me queasy. It’s all cleaned up now, so it just looks like I got into a nasty fight with a cat. And the cat won.

We did ride on what is called an engineering masterpiece, a floating bridge. Apparently it’s made of floating concrete and was a huge development in engineering cause it rises and sinks with the tide. Or something like that. I’m not really sure, cause I fell asleep after the short explanation…. it’s just a bridge.

We eventually rolled into Silverdale around 4:30pm and hauled up a huge hill to our host’s Janice and Gary house. It is a beautiful home with a gorgeous view of the water and is directly west of Seattle. On a clear night you can see the city. They were just wrapping up a huge Mother’s Day party and had lots of leftover food they offered us. We. Ate. Like. Kings. It was unbelievable – salmon, lobster tail, beet salad, asparagus, chips and dip, and the crown jewel – German chocolate cake with ice cream. It was spectacular. They offered us their shower, laundry, and Gary even helped properly fit Sheena’s bike seat. He is a fellow physical therapist who took a CEU course on biking and is a super smart guy. Janice owns a Pilate studio and is retiring this week. Lucky! The MacFarlands are super nice and an extremely interesting couple. As a family, they took a year off in 2003 to cycle the entire globe. At the time, their daughter was 18 and son was 14. Kudos to them for dealing with teenagers on a trip like that… I know at that age I would’ve been a total brat! Since then they have done a lot of other tours, including the Eerie Canal, but nothing to the globe magnitude. They even offered us advice for tomorrow’s ride and the best way to avoid traffic, hills, and heat. Western WA is experiencing a heat wave right now and we’re not loving it. No matter how much sunscreen we apply, we’re getting burnt. The sun is just super intense over here.

In order to avoid the heat, we’re waking up early again tomorrow to get most of the miles in before the heat really hits and fries us to even more of a crisp. We both have our own rooms, so we’re looking forward to what we hope is a good night’s sleep.

Little Addie even got me a Mother’s Day card… gosh I miss her.

Day 4: May 12th; San Juan State Park – Fort Ebey State Park; 40 miles

Ah, I had finally fallen into a deep sleep when I was abruptly awoken by a terrifyingly loud noise and bright lights. In a sleepy stupor, I thought it was a farmer’s tractor headed right for my tent! Ready to bolt out, my ears and brain harmonized and I recognized almost immediately the all too familiar unmistakable low gurgling sound of a Volkswagen Vanagon engine running right next to where I was laying. I am very accustomed to this noise, as that is the vehicle of choice my family used for road trips growing up. I looked at my watch and realized it was midnight and that a good night’s sleep was likely impossible at this point. After attempting to park for 15 minutes (I was about to go out there and park it myself), they killed the engine and my guess that it was a Vanagon was solidified. I recognized the sliding door slam immediately (I’m pretty sure I heard it slam more last night than I ever did in the almost 30 years I’ve known our Keane Mobile) and the sing song notes of the driver’s door opening with the keys still in the ignition. The owners were talking loudly (I guess they missed that quiet hours had started 2 hours prior to their arrival…..) so I decided to make my presence known by popping my head out of my tent in an aggressive manner, which looking back on it, was probably more comical than aggressive. Sure enough there was the van not 10 feet from my head! All my suspicions were true! Not really sure if they noted my presence, as they continued to talk loudly AND BUILD A FIRE. Ugh. But what I did notice were all the stars in the sky. It was overwhelming almost. I decided to stare at them for a while and caught 2 shooting stars and a satellite. Reason #48284 why I’m happy I got LASIK.

Well, enough about me complaining about the Vanagon people. I did eventually fall asleep and woke up a few hours later. As we were breaking down camp, we got an “ahem!” from the van folks – can you believe it?! It was almost 7am, when quiet hours ended. Apparently us talking between ourselves was more offensive than their obnoxious engine running right next to our heads. But I digress, for real this time.

We rode the 10 miles of more Appalachian type hills back to the ferry terminal. We made good time and had a delicious breakfast in town and walked around, making a stop at the farmers market. While waiting for the ferry we talked with a young man from Germany who moved here with his wife 6 months ago “just cause”. He was really sweet and really interesting to talk to. He has worked as a paramedic and a zookeeper and currently works on one of the islands as an internet technician.

During the ferry we did some planning for the next couple of days. We’re kinda itching to get out of Washington, so longer days are in our near future.

After the ferry we decided to bypass our original plan of just 10 miles to Deception Pass to add on 18 additional miles to Fort Ebey State Park. Before the ferry, we were fiddling with this plan and asked The German for his opinion. He said, “us Germans are very efficient. It’s a nice day out so you should take advantage go to the farther park.” Ah, perfect advice so we took it.

We passed through Deception Point quickly. It was insanely packed and traffic was a nightmare. It was seriously as busy as Yellowstone in mid July. We snapped some pictures and got out as quickly as possible.

The rest of the ride was not so great. We decided to follow google maps and not the ACA maps. We now know why ACA chose the roads they did. We were stuck on a pretty busy road without a shoulder for entirely too long. We rode on the sidewalk and eventually detoured to get ourselves off it.

The roads into Fort Ebey were nothing but hill after hill. The ranger who checked us in was super sweet and took us up a massive hill to the hiker biker campsite. Thanks Corey! We got to camp around 6pm, giving us plenty of time to shower and cook dinner. The sun doesn’t set around here till close to 9, so there’s lots of sunlight till pretty late.

Now let me tell you about this campsite. I don’t like it. It freaks me out. They stuck us in the middle of a Black Forrest type of unnerving setting with mossy trees all around us. Gives me the creeps. Especially when 100 meters up a trail is a beautiful open vista view area similar to where we stayed last night. And the bathrooms are 1/4 miles up the road after a huge hill. Guess I’ll be practicing getting ready for the JMT around here! But it’s only one night, right? Here’s to hoping Bigfoot doesn’t come trudging through our campsite in the middle of the night!

Day 3, May 11; Bay View State Park – San Juan County Park; 40 miles

Today we woke up early and broke down camp quickly knowing we had to catch a 9:30 am ferry to San Juan Islands. We rode the 17 miles to the ferry in good time, making it with 30 min to spare. I think our legs might be getting used to this whole ride for 12 hours type deal. We’re happy about that.

The ride to the ferry was pretty. Mornings in the PNW tend to be gray and dreary, but like I said, it adds a magical undertone to the whole experience.

When we got to the ferry, we thought we had plenty of time to relax before boarding. Guess again. As I was grabbing some warm clothes from my pannier while Sheena was waiting for a breakfast sandwich, I had who I thought was a stranger ask if I wanted a water. I turned around ready to decline the offer and realized it was Tom from yesterday! As an aside, yesterday when he talked with us he gave us seltzer water in exchange for conversation, so he gave us more today. He explained that he was picking up his aunt from Bellingham and saw us this morning riding and followed us to the ferry. We talked briefly about the San Juan Islands and I met his Aunt Biddy, a super sweet woman, but the conversation took a lot of time and we had to get our bikes on the ferry. I said goodbye and he reassured me he wouldn’t be following us again, and ran to meet up with Sheena, who was still waiting for her breakfast sandwich. We rushed the kitchen staff and got the sandwich and ran to get our bikes on board. We almost missed it, but we got our bikes on right in the Knick of time. We tied our bikes on rather precariously and got to sit down and relax for the hour ride. The ferry was a gorgeous trip, although a bit cold. Didn’t get to see any whales just yet! However, on the ferry was a woman on a show I consider to be a guilty pleasure. Dr Pepper (yes that is her real name) from Married at First Sight (like I said – it’s a guilty pleasure show, I have trash taste in TV) was on there with her husband. I spoke with her briefly. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who recognized her, but cool sighting none the less!

After the ferry we deboarded and spent some time in town. We had to grocery shop, where I finally got a hold of the pack supply folks for the JMT (phew, one less thing to worry about), and started our ride to Lime Kiln. Along the way, we were told by multiple people to beware – the roads are narrow and there are lots of hills. Reassuring! As we were headed down one such hill, Sheena lost a riding glove. We were debating in a driveway whether or not to dump our gear and go back up the hill to retrieve it when the owner of the driveway talked to us – again, warning about the hills. We explained that Sheena lost her glove and that we were just gonna forget it and move on. We did just that and after almost forgetting about it, that same guy stopped next to us and gave her her glove! Really made our day!

San Juan is a pretty big island off route, but a very gorgeous place to explore. Nicknamed the Orca watching capital of the world, we came in hopes of seeing a whale. No such luck, as the ranger told us it was too early in the season for whale watching. Darn.

But regardless, it was a gorgeous ride. We pulled off at one particularly breathtaking view labeled private property. Before stopping, we were planning on trespassing and take a few quick pictures before going on our way. We didn’t realize there were people standing looking at the empty lot, and I quickly assumed they were going to buy it to build on it. “Geeze,” I thought, “these people sure are loaded. Wonder what they do.” After looking them over for a little, I realized it was Dr Pepper from the boat! We got on our bikes ASAP cause I didn’t want her to think we were mega creep stalkers and file a restraining order. Thus, dashing all my hopes of being on the show and any hope I have of finding my future husband! (Sarcasm).

We were told that the road we took around the island was the most beautiful road in the world. Though amazingly scenic, the jury is still out on this rather obtuse statement.

We arrived at Lime Kiln at 2:45, giving us plenty of time to relax and look for whales. Guess again! This particular state park does not allow camping. So, we had to move on. Luckily, there is a county park 2 miles down (or should I say up…) the road. Because google maps said those 2 miles would take 20 minutes, we knew we were in for a rough ride. And we weren’t wrong. We haven’t seen hills like that since the Appalachian days of the Transam. We weren’t thrilled, but we made it to San Juan County Park in one piece with still plenty of time to relax.

The campground we’re staying in is seriously amazingly beautiful. We’re close to the water and even have our own private beach. Definitely worth the 2 extra miles to get here.

Although we didn’t see whales, I did see an otter! He was adorable and I wish I could’ve snatched him up so Addie could have a brother. Unfortunately, my shrieking at how cute he was scared him off (as it would any normal creature with working ears) and he sprinted as fast as he could back to the safety of the water. Darn, sorry Addie!

Tomorrow we’re riding around the other half of the island and taking the ferry back to Anacortes where we’ll meet back up with the official route. After tomorrow (and all these San Juan hills) we’re hoping our biking legs will be ready to go so we can start tacking on more miles!