Final Thoughts

Can’t get the song ‘Ventura Highway’ out of my head . . . as usual in life there is always more to the story. Ends up the group America’s member Dewey Bunnell had the inspiration for the song when he was on a road trip, as a child, with his family and as they traveled through Vandenberg Air Force Base they had a flat tire on their car . . . guess who else had a flat on the highway in Vandenberg Air force base????

. . . and there really is no Ventura Hwy, only in one’s mind. The name may have been in reference to Hwy 101, which runs through Ventura. We spent most of our trip on Hwy 101 and Hwy 1.

. . . and it ends up one of the more colorful governors from my home state of MN liked the song too. As Dewey tells it, “The song won many fans, including the pro wrestler-turned-politician, Jesse Ventura. Bunnell recalled, “We went and played at Governor Jesse Ventura’s inaugural out in Minneapolis. He asked us to — his wife is a horse lady, and she’d always loved ‘A Horse with No Name‘, and he had adopted this name Ventura. So when he put together his cast of characters for his big inaugural celebration, he wanted us to come and play two songs, which we did”

But I digress. It was a great trip . . . they always are!!!!

I tend to consider four components of a trip: the scenery and culture; the accommodations; the environment and the food. Two A+’s, a  B and a C-.

A+ The scenery and culture was just as you would expect it WA, OR and CA giving us plenty to see from the deep forests of WA state,  to the redwoods, to the urban area of LA, to the desert of southern California. Sleet, freezing temps, rain, mild headwinds and BEAUTIFUL sun on your face . . .,we had it all!! The people of CA were the kindest, never honking at us, giving us the finger, trying to squeeze you out of the lane or coal rolling us. They have embraced the bicycle culture!!!

A+ the food on this trip was GREAT . . . No one pot meals like when you are traveling self supported. Everybody pitched in, took their cooking seriously and turned out some wonderful meals. What a difference van-support and three BIG coolers can make!!!!

B  The weather was an issue. Touring so late in the years the temps were routinely dipping into the 30’s at night with our lowest 25, waking to frozen water and ice on the tents. LOTS of rain in the first two weeks, but it is the Pacific NW, you know. A bigger issue to me was the short daylight. Usually we were eating breakfast in the dark. Most would get into camp between 2 and 4pm, with dinner at 6:00pm. When we had our map meeting at 7:00pm we were losing daylight and it usually ended in the dark. No ‘sunlight time’ to dry anything out. I would not recommend traveling like this so late in the year . . . the yang to that thought is, there were probably fewer tourists on the roads!!!

C- Many of the accommodations were, as our past British riding partner David would say, ‘Unacceptable’. The parks we stayed in rarely had all the facilities working, something was ALWAYS broke. It became an issue of how many ‘Out of Order, Sorry for the Inconvenience’ signs one would see. It was the tail end of the camping season, most the of parks had laid off their seasonal staff, and I think a lot of repairs were going to wait until winter. No power, sometimes no water you could drink and no hot water for showers happened far too often. If you like to camp, most of the campgrounds were in picturesque setting, it’s just the ‘creature comforts’ were lacking’. At sixty-six I’m getting too old to wander around in the dark looking for the bathroom (no lights in most toilet shower buildings, inside or outside’ . . . bring your headlamp!!!).

Of course the real plus of these trips is traveling with the gang that quickly becomes ‘family’. We were all in it together and shared the good times, and the bad. This group was about half women so it was a lot more FUN than just a bunch of old guys (the norm on these types of trips I have ridden).

I returned home to MSN on a Thursday, to 4 inches of snow and airline delays, but made it home for emJay’s last day of work on Friday. I missed her official going away party but made it, on Friday, to the ‘taco bar luncheon’ held at her office with her immediate ‘TNC family’ It was truly a happy time with lots of laughs and a few tears.  GREAT send off. She turned in her key and credit card and walked out the door unemployed, after 38 years with TNC!!! (Although she does have one more meeting on Monday!!!).

Now . . . it’s time for continuous FUN together as we travel together down our own Ventura Hwy, ‘in the sunshine, where the days are longer, the nights are stronger than moonshine ‘ beginning with a bike trip for a month in Thailand.

Stay tuned, if you are interested . . .

 

 

Lets ride!!

It’s only September and it seems like there must be time to get at least one more extended ride in this year . . .

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Lets see . . . Trans Am, no did that in 2008. Southern Tier, nope 2015 . . . there is the Northern Tier, ugh-ugh rode it in 2017.


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Still on the bucket list . . . the Pacific Coast ride from Canada to Mexico. LETS RIDE!!!


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I broke Traci TREK, one of my carbon bikes, last year in Ireland when I crashed. I bought a new TREK Checkpoint (shown above) as a travel bike replacement . . .  but I could hear my old steed Connie Cannondale whinnying from out in the stable that she had at LEAST one more big ride left in her and didn’t want to be put out to pasture just yet.

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Having ridden her on the Big Bend and Northern Tier rides, she needed a little ‘tune up’ before she was ready for another romp . . .

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. . . and after everything went back together, with no extra parts left over, a test ride proved she was ready to run!!! She is really the perfect mount for this type of ride. 32mm tires this trip, her built in electric generating front hub that during the day keeps a front and rear light illuminated AS WELL as charging my phone, gps or camera battery, has fenders to help shed the rain were are bound to ride through, has a large handlebar bag to carry my lunch (VERY important and already has racks on for an extra pannier or two and last but not least a kickstand. Turns out that is a big deal when touring. If you don’t have one every time you stop, and there are many stops, one is constantly looking for a safe place to lay your bike down without damaging it. Not so easy to find a place some times. Wouldn’t leave home without one!!


On the Road . . .

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The plan was, as on our 2017 Northern Tier ride, Denise would take the ferry from MI to WI, I’d pick her up, she would stay with emJay and me and the next day Mary Jean would take us to Columbus the next day where we would board the Amtrak  Empire Builder and head west!!! The ferry arrived right on time , , ,

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. . . and soon we were seated at the Milwaukee Public market having a nice lunchy and catching up on the last two years.

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After a dinner at Beuenveutos, we all slept great. Our train did not leave Columbus the next day until 5:02pm so we I had the day to show off Madison to her during a biking around the city on the Cap City Tr. A stop at Budget Bike and Machinery Row , so I could buy some booties and a helmet cover (wet weather predicted ahead) and a ride around the Capital rounded out the morning and early afternoon.  Ms. Forward in the top circle and Lady D, as Ron coined Denise, in the lower circle.

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We got to the Columbus station an hour early and had a nice time catching up with our train buddy, Bob. He works for a contactor that supplies station services to Amtrak. His day job had ben a prison guard for 33 years at one of Wisconsin’s prisons. AMTRAK pulled their employees out of the Columbus station 5 years a go when they stopped selling tickets there.

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Bob explaining the finer points of the Empire Builder line line.

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The trained arrived 1 hour 45 minutes late because of ‘mechanical problems’. One of which the two locomotives pulling the train were put in place in the wrong order and the seconded engine kept ‘rebooting’. It took a half hour to switch the engines and there were other ‘issues’ along the way.

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Soon the three of us took one last photo, I kissed Smoochie goodbye, and Denise and I boarded the train, heading west!!

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After riding in a coach car two tears ago, Denise and I decided to ‘upgrade’ to a couchette (sleeper) this trip. 10 roomettes, 5 deluxe rooms, 4 bathrooms and a shower ANSD all meals, with premier seating times, included. Your choice of anything on the menu and dessert included. Alcohol is EXTRA!!!!. Our car attendant, Kenny, appeared and introduced himself. He will be attending to us for the next 53 hours. He is stationed in the cabin right behind us so we told him we would bang on the wall if we needed anything!!!

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The couchette is cozy, about the size of a closet with two bunks.

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But it is big enough to have it’s own closet!!!

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Some people don’t do to well with claustrophobic conditions!!!!

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. . . but can certainly mellow out later in the day!!!

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We were soon in the prairie pot hole area of North Dakota . . . ‘land spreading out so far an wide, skip Manhattan and give me that countryside’!!!

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Mid afternoon our dinning room hostess, Amanda, stopped by to take our dinner orders . . .nice!!!

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The meals are included with the roomette and you have new seatmates at every meal. Here was Kathy and Earl from a small town in southern Illinois heading to Seattle and then down the coast to San Francisco and back to Chicago. All on the Amtrak!!!

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With the meal plan you can order anything off the menu, including salads, soups, entrees and dessert. Here was Denise’s ‘surf and turf’ which included an Angus steak and large lump crab cake, $38 if you were in coach and had to order it off the menu (not worth it!!.) I had the Norwegian Salmon with a special sauce rice pilaf and double chocolate torte, two nights in a row. Veggie burgers for lunch. Vino was extra!!!

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After finally arriving in Seattle we had an hour wait for the next Amtrak Cascade train that would take us the final leg to Bellingham . . . .

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. . .  and of course at this point, about 56 hours into the trip, we MADE SURE our luggage and bikes were transferred to our new train!!!!

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Arriving in Bellingham it started to drizzle. We schlepped our stuff about 1/2 mile to the Fairhaven Inn (Denise carried most of it!!!) where we left our bikes for the night with Rich and Ubered to our home for the night the Comfort Inn.

This train trip was quite the experience compared to other rail trips. Although we had the roomette which was nice for sleeping’s, the train ended up being seven hours late into Seattle which meant we missed the bus service transfer from Seattle to Bellingham and had to take another train instead. The seven hour delay was caused by a number of ‘keystone cop’ type mishaps, like starting out from Chicago with the wrong engine, of the two, in the lead. It took them a half hour to change that and round and, after several more issues, arrived in Columbus 1.5 hours late. Along the way a tree had fallen across the track during the middle of the night and it took another 1.5 hours to clear that. Various other mechanical problems developed, including air conditioning problems, that went into accumulating to the seven hour arrival delay into Seattle

No plans set yet on how I am going to get back to MSN from San Diego in seven weeks, but I think I might fly!!!

Day 2, Bellingham, WA

A great night of and deep sleep and we both felt refreshed and had already begun to forget about the LONGGGGG journey we had to get to Bellingham. We tied up with the van Rich had arranged for the seven of us who were interested in transport to the park and after a 12 mile ride south to LaBrasse State Park, we were dropped off at Sites 31 and 32.

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Joe and Ryan, our two ACA trip leaders, were already there with the Adventure Cycling Association van and trailer and had things well organized.

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I’ve got too much stuff!!! Before I left I had to decide which of many tents to take. I set these two up to compare sizes. and the Marmot won. Although it say it sleeps three you can always subtract one camper from the number (tent companies ALWAYS exaggerate). To get a more realistic volume measurement, and since this trip is van supported and I don’t have to carry the extra weight on my bicycle I chose the bigger one.

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As more of our group of 15 arrived the tents popped up like mushrooms. Not the greatest of sites. Lots of tree roots and slopes.

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A van supported tour allows lots of luxuries like coolers, food prep tables  . . .

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. . . and more importantly a nice three burner, elevated, propane stove. No cooking on this trip with one burner Coleman stoves sitting on the ground.

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As is tradition, the tour leaders, Joe on he left and Ryan on the right, prepare dinner on he first bight. Chicken burritos with lots of fixin’s.

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Meet and greet time . . . .

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Guacamole and sour cream too . . . lots of beer and fizzy water

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After dinner Ryan introduced everyone on the proper ACA method of washing dishes. A three step process. Sanitation on this trips is vital to prevent any colds or bad germs from being passed around. LOTS of hand sanitizer used.

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Every first night included some type of ice breaker and this time it was to go around the circle, introduce yourself, describe your biking experience and state what type of bike you are riding. But you also had to repeat the names of all those who introduced themselves before you and what type of bike they ride.Because of the train and highway noise I didn’t get much of it and being the second from the last to report I flunked the test!!! I’ll have seven weeks to find out all the details I may have missed.

Day 3, Larrabbe State Park to Canada!

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Great nights sleep in spite of the traffic and trains going by. Here’s Joe and Ryan explain the morning breakfast procedures. Coffee at 6:00am with breakfast and lunch fixin’s out at 6:55am . . .  not a minute sooner!!!

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. . . the food table at 6:68am !!!!

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Denise has a funny diet. Hard boiled eggs, cheesecake from the night before and blueberries . . . actually sounded pretty good and you have all the major food groups included!

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Jennie, from Vancouver, CA, presented each of us with a maple lollypop, Canada produces 77% of the maple syrup in the world, and a small Canadian lapel flag pin. Mike had his lollypop for his morning dessert!!

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. . . and of course don’t forget to fill your water bottles for the days journey ahead.

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Now that is quite a name!!!!

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In other words, ride defensively.  . . note the two deer’s rear ends to the left of the sign.

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Nice train tunnel and track connecting the islands with the mainland.

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OK . . . .

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I guess these were put up by the local Chamber of Commerce????

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Today were are biking 35 miles up to the Canadian border and back again. A loop from our campground. Coffee is HUGE up here in the NW part of the country is HUGE with Seattle being the home of Starbuck’s. But there is still room for the independent coffee entrepreneurs’ like this drive-by shaped like a tugboat. Cute!!

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35 miles down the road we arrived at the US/Canadian border where the Peace Arch stands in no-mans land between the two counties. On the left you can see cars lined up to get into Canada and on the right are cars waiting to get back into the US. Under the arch there was a protest going on regarding pipelines and global warming.

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Your scribe, still on the US side . . .

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. . . much of our group arrived at the same time so there was chance to take a photo on the Canadian side too, with the maple leaf flower planting in the back ground.

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Yikes . . .we re not in Kansas anymore, toto!!!!

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Connie had a weird noise coming from her rear hoof that produced a loud squeal, so irritating that I couldn’t ride within 100 feet of the gang. They could hear the high pitch and I couldn’t. The answer was a quick stop at the TREK store in Bellingham on the way back to the campground. Ryan, who is from Madison and lived in the Shorewood area, diagnosed Connie’s issue as dry parts. A little oil and I was on my way. Another employee, Clay, was also from Madison. They moved out here for the mountain biking!!!

Day 4, Larrabbee State Park to Deception Pass State Park

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The forecast last night was for rain today, starting at about 1:15am. I got up to go peepee at about 1:30am and it was just starting. At 5:30am, when I packed up my tent, it was still raining. BUT one must still eat breakfast and here is Ryan and Rich chowing down. Dark until about 8:00am!

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Dave was getting ready to leave as was the rest of the gang by 8:00am . . .

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. . . still considering rain gear of not . . . the answer was yes. Rain forecasted for all day.

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Out on the road we followed along the coastline, riding up and down gentle rollers . . .very scenic

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. . as you can see, this highway has been a main connector from Vancouver, BC to San Diego, for a LONGGGGGG time!!

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A lot of trails cross the roads here . . . how someone could loose a shoe and not notice it is beyond me!!!

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Around the corner was another great view . . . but wait, what is that out in the water????

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Why, the saltwater cousin of the Loch Ness Monster (probably dropped of by an alien spaceship!!!)

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As we hugged the coast on the way to Deception Pass State campground, our home for the night, it was clear the tide was OUT!!!!

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Oh . . . . with all the moisture out here in the NW they can grow some BIGG pumpkins. An 826 pounder with her little brother weighing in at 405. Lot of potential pies there.

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A Washington State version of a ‘tiny house’. Looked quite comfy on this rainy day.

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We stopped at  a local bakery in Edison, WA but the place was full and they had run out of coffee . . .but they did have some nice looking bread!!!

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Denise and Liz had found a place to settle in for a while.

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The tide was coming up as we exited Edison . . .

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. . . and he river was full of fisherman seeking the King salmon. The season closes today for white folks while tribe members can continue to harvest . . .

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. . . a couple of fisherman with their quota . . .

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. . . most were 15 to 20 pounds . . .good eatin’!!

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Oh . . . people in Edison have opinions!!!

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I tied up with Jenny and we rode the rest of the way to Deception Pass together, in the rain. She has a forestry degree too and had a 32 year career with the Ministry of Natural Resources  in Environment Canada.

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Waiting for the drizzle to stop . . .

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. . .then the rain started again during our final 10 miles up to Deception Pass . . .  LOTS of traffic with all the campers and tourists heading home early because of the rain.

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The lookout at the pass is under construction but we stopped to get a quick photo from the road . . .

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. . . no shoulder so you need to ‘take your lane’ when crossing.

Day 5, Deception Pass to Port Townsend

After 10:00pm things settled down from the Navy jet station at a naval base right next to us . . .

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and they were flying low , as you can see from this photo from our campsite!!!!

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But a good nights sleep and my new usual breakfast . . . oatmeal and fresh fruit. Good way to start the day!!

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Oliver wraps up his Brompton bike every night in it’s own wrapper . . .

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The bikes are made for commuting. Many sailors use them to explore local towns when they sail into a harbor. Never seen one on a  long road trip!!!

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One thing we have learned to look for when entering one of the Washington State Parks is how they run the shower system. Some showers use quarters, some use tokens . . . but it’s best to get the correct currency BEFORE you enter the park. Sometimes it’s along way back to the entrance!!!

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Exiting the park and heading south, we passed this house with a sod roof!!! As you can see, it hadn’t been watered for a while . . .the rain must just run rid off, along with the soil!!

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Lots pf produce produced in the area we biked through today. This proud mother has LOTS of prodigy to take care of!!!!

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We also saw our first oyster farming operation . . .

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We were on a popular riding route, as you can see from the four color route markings from prior rides . . .

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Soon we biked by the Navy base, the source of all the aerial commotion last night . . .

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. . . BIG fence surround the base. No patrol dogs at this one.

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Today we needed to ferry from  Coupeville to Port Townsend, crossing Puget Sound. We all got the Senior rate!!!

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Bikers are the first ones on the ferry!!!!

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We met a mountain biker from Dallas, who was also crossing over, while vacationing in the Washington state area.

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First on . . . and first off, AND it was still raining!!!!

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Soon we were in Coupeville, a cutesy little seaside town . . .

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. . . where if the population changes by single digits, you can see they change the sign!!!

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Local art in Coupeville, in both human . . .

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. . . and animal form!!!

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Hey there’s Gina’s friend, Debbie having a chat with Pam!!!

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Downtown Coupeville . . . cutesy,

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But they had a great bakery and with the rain pouring down, it was a no brainer . . . in we all went!!

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Oh yeah . . . with a strong cup of hot coffee, we were all VERY HAPPY!!!!

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. . . and with the rain still falling, nobody was in a hurry to leave.

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. . . but Connie was outside waiting to run, so away we went.

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Gina said goodbye to Debbie, who was traveling with us for four days and now heading back to Seattle. Gina has yet to camp!!!

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Denise was having back problems and our local physician/pharmacist, Liz, dispensed some appropriate drugs!!!

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Before we arrived at our home for the night, Ft Worton State Park, Jenny had a flat on her Surly Orge, which has a horizontal dropout and is VERY hard to change a tire out on the road and in the rain!! We hauled her bike the final mile into Ft Worton.

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Rain has been an issue in this area for years. Here is shot of a tourist waiting for a farmer to come with his team to pull him out!!!

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As we biked along the coast there were some interesting architecture, including this house that was tsunami proof. Storm urge just flows right through the middle of the basement!!!

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Lots of hills on the route, up and down along the coast. Here was a big climb. Climbs are always hard to show in a photo . . .

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. . . but the Garmin shows a pretty good representation of the climb!! The dot on the slope was our current location.

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At Fort Worton, because of the rain, although it was supposed to stop at 4:00pm, some folks decided to stay inside housing that was available to rent. Some of us decided to take a change on the rain stopping at 4:00pm and camped out.  Seeking shelter from the storm . . .

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. . . and the temp had been dropping during the day and now was 52 degrees. Time to start up the stove for some hot chocolate . . .

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. . . and to keep our hands warm!!!

Mike and I were cooking tonight and decided to make vegetarian and chicken versions of curry over rice . . .

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. . . Ryan was so excited about the whole thing, he pitched in to help make the sauce . . .

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Mike had bought a bottle of wine. Here’s Gina ‘measuring’ it out so everyone got a sample. Several didn’t want vino so there was plenty for those who wanted more.

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. . . after a hard night in the kitchen, both Mike and I did imbibe!!!

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Pam and Oliver ready to eat!!!

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The final presentation . . .

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Chocolate cream cake for dessert, too.

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And of course, the evening was closed with a map meeting. By the time those of us who were camping got back to camp, the rain had been stopped for several hours, there was a gentle breeze and everything had dried. We all fell asleep in our tents to sound of ocean waves crashing on shore!!!

Day 6, Port Townsend to Belfare State Park

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Although we had dinner in the building that ‘Officer and A Gentleman’ was filmed in, we assembled at our campsite for breakfast and to make lunches . . .

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Oliver began assembling the Brompton. Just a couple flicks of the wrist and it is ready to ride!!!

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Yesterday, when we came into the campground, I stopped to see if the seasonal canteen was open. The rain was four or five inches deep in the gutter and unfortunately had covered the curb. This was the point of impact and over I went. Luckily . . .  only a mere flesh wound.

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We had a 1.5 mile bridge to cross today but first had to cross the off coming traffic to get to our lane. If that didn’t kill ya, the metal grated deck would . . . .

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Nice of  WA DOT to cover a five foot swath with another surface to prevent bikers from falling over on the slick metal, into the path of traffic!!

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. . . we passed the house of many storks.

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. . . oh, there are some rural WA landowners with opinions!!!

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There seem to many military bases in WA, mostly Navy. Here was another base we passed that had BIG jets . . .

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. . .and evidently VERY secure boundaries protected by working dogs, no retired fido’s need apply!!

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Denise, Jenny and I stopped about 10 miles shy of our campground for a little snack. Jenny is a vegetarian, but eats chicken . . .

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. . . which was evident when she emptied the deli’s fresh chicken counter!!!

Day 7, Belfare State Park to Elma

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I’m pretty much back on schedule getting up at my usual  5:00 – 5:30am . about 5;45am the tents start lighting up like mushrroms as the other awake, too.

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The sun FINALLY comes up about 7:15am . . . and the temps are usually in the lower 50’s . . . not too bad if it is not raining!!!

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Most start breakfast with their headlights on and by the time they are done it’s light enough to start taking down tents . . . most are on the road by 8:00am.

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Oh, our chefs are taking care us veggie types, usually leaving the meat out till the end and then adding in either the meat or tofu/soy products. types

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Gina is now 0 for 5 camping nights, having spent last night with her friend Robyn, who ended up only living about 3 miles down the road from our campsite. We are beginning to think she has friends along the coast all the way to San Diego and may never spend a night in a tent.

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Today’s ride started with a tour past Lake Mason which reminded me a lot of riding in northern Wisconsin. Beautiful lake, heavy forest and nice cabins along the way . . . .

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. . .  and they are looking out for bikers too!!!

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. . . this gang may not like their neighbors!!!

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We stopped about half way to Elma for a little break along the road. Fall colors are starting to pop in the hardwoods.

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. . . and we got to this little oasis in the middle of a 25 mile stretch, with nothing else around, we pulled in for an ice cream . . .

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. . .  and had a nice discussion with MaKayla who was only in her third day of employment at the store. I asked her about her cliental and she said there was a bunch of ‘old people’ who stopped by every morning and spent about an hour drinking coffee and telling stories. I asked her what she meant by ‘old’ ??? With a coy smile on her face, she said  . . .”older than me”!!!

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A wide selection of goodies , . . we all had something different.

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More political signage. WA must be a red state, haven’t seen and Dem supporters.

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We are getting into some heavily timbered areas and clear cuts are starting to show up.  Most of the areas have been replanted . . . nice!!!

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Sure hope whoever had the little party along the road here was not driving near us . . . actually, I hope they were not driving at all!!!

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This small engine shop had a FUN mailbox!!!!

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The Elma Campground & RV Park was SUBERB. Had the best grass I have ever slept on during a bike trip. No weeds, no rocks, no brown spots, 3 inch long grass . . . felt GREAT walking around with bare feet.

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. . . and Milt, the campground host, met us when we arrived giving us the code for the bathrooms and we EACH got a plastic bag with four newly baked chocolate chip cookies. Still warm!!!

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One of the daily routines for most folks riders is to do their wash either in the shower or hand sink. Most state campgrounds do not have laundry facilities. Time to hang them up. Problem in the Pacific NW, during the fall is, here there has been cool temps, rain and a short window before the sun goes down. But they do dry some . . .

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. . . unless you are busy working on a journal when Denise’s Laundry Service will hand deliver your clean, folded wash, right to your tent!!!

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Dave and Joe were supposed to cook tonight but Joe needed to head into town, so Anne and Liz jumped in to help Dave. Dave is ‘GREAT’ at taking instructions!

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Great pasta, bread and chicken salad, served inside and with real tablecloths . . . and the heat was on in the building!!!

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We had a rider joins us late last night, Sewartha, rolled in about 9:30pm . . .

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. . . and in the morning popped up like a mushroom from her bivy bag. Here is a ‘re-enactment’. She just graduated with a degree in environment micro biology.  Just missing the deadline to apply for graduate school, she decided to bike from Vancouver, where she is from, to Mexico. We’ll probably bump into her again as we all bike along.

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The best campground grass, EVER!!!

Day 8, Elma to Lewis and Clark State Park

It was supposed to start raining about 3:00am but waited until 5:00am to start. The rain was supposed to last until mid morning and with the inside, heated kitchen many of the riders waited for awhile to get going. I started out at 8:00am and by about 9:00 the rain had stopped.,

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Passed these guys who looked like they were milling cabin logs . . .

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. . . then came upon this nursery that had their arborvitae stock layed out by year they would be for sale. 2014 was yet to be planted!!!

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Lots of Christmas tree farms along the way too , , , very nicely pruned.

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I felt I might be related to this guy!!!!

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Had to stop and visit with some of the locals . . . very friendly and curious

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. . . as were some of the others just down the road.

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The Oakville Fire Department had their own submarine!!!! The lettering on the front said ‘Launched 2016’

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I stopped into Willie’s Sports Shop, located in Centralia, to get some chain lube and had a nice discussion with Willie and his Sales Manager, Madison. Ends up Willie played minor league baseball for the Cedar Rapids Rickets and his team frequently came to play the Madison Muskies. Small World!!!

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On the outskirts of town was this VERY secure prison and interestingly it had no name and was only a block or two from a school!!!

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One of the first roadside auto death memorials I have seen on this trip . . . Jesse James must have been very popular  . . .

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. . . because on the other side of the street was another memorial to him!!!

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This guy had a memorial built around the flag you can see in his front yard.

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It was a 60 mile day and we had only climbed 350 feet of the 1,500 feet we needed to climb and this is where the rest of it  started . . . .

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. . . fall colors are starting to show up in them there hills . . .

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. . . and of course what goes up must come down . . . yippee. Hold on!!!!

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We are staying at a conference center located on the grounds of the Lewis and Clark State Park, but first I had to get by Randy, the flagman. Said they have been busy building roads all summer but as the fall approaches, things were slowing down.

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Connie was happy to be home for the night . . .

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. . .  and there is plenty of room for her and the other steeds to stay inside with us.

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I got into camp about 10 minutes after the van arrived and here is Ryan going through our rental agreement particulars with Ranger Emily . . .

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. . . while Oliver readied the FULLY EQUIPPED kitchen.

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The main house . . .

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. . . and the lounge. There was a joint bathroom with four stalls and two showers.

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There also were two single rooms, one at each end of the house and one had a bathroom and shower. We decided on a lottery system for the bedrooms and Pam drew the lucky winners. Glen won the bedroom without the private bath and shower . . .and guess who won the other???? Yours truly!!! I’ll sleep good tonight, no earplugs needed!!!

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The kitchen crew in action . . .

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. . . chefs Denise and Gina whipped up  a great apple raisin salad and black bean and sweet potato soup. YUM!!!!

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. . . and it was still warm enough that most of us ate dinner outside!!!

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. . . home sweet home!!!

. . . we are on the road again!

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