Day 15 – Aug 3rd – Eugene – Rest Day
I spent a good while today wandering around Eugene and playing the proverbial tourist. I’d swear that all the world’s hippies have congregated there – young and old! And talk about bikes, it seems as if most of the population there travel around town by bicycle – I see that as a positive thing though! Eugene is definitely very bike friendly, with lots of bike lanes and generally flat terrain. So I discovered quite the eclectic mix of people and two-wheeled transportation devices. All in all, a very enjoyable and vibrant city to spend a day off in and see the sights. No more monkeys, but I did find a South American/Latino festival on the go, so I sampled some of the wares there and rubbernecked through the booths of the vendors – interesting stuff!
I have to be at the Amtrak train station by 5:15 a.m. tomorrow, so it will have to be an early night tonight and hope that the alarm wakes me up in time! Luckily it is just a five-minute ride from my motel to the station.
Day 16 – Aug 4th – Eugene to Seattle to
Kitsap Memorial State Park, Washington – 39 kms
A short ride, but a long day. I was up at 4:30 a.m. to get to the train station on time. The train trip was marvellous, and Basil enjoyed it too – he didn’t like the dark tunnels though! Nevertheless, it was 12:30 p.m. when I arrived in Seattle and I still had to catch a ferry over to Bainbridge Island, then ride some more to get to the park on the Olympic Peninsula. So it would be a tiring day nonetheless.
After repacking my panniers onto the bike, I rushed out of the train station and managed to catch a ferry that was just about to leave – I was the last one to go aboard! After the short ferry trip, I stopped in the small town of Winslow on Bainbridge Island and found a nice cafe for a leisurely lunch.
Road-wise, for the short period that I rode, the route from Winslow was quite busy, so I left Highway 305 as soon as possible, which was after a quick stop in Poulsbo, then I rode on back roads to connect with Big Valley Road which took me all the way to the park. Tomorrow, I’ll be heading up to Port Townsend and then over to Whidbey Island. I know that the main highways will be very busy, so I’ll be checking out the back roads again.
Kitsap Memorial State Park is one of the better kept parks that I’ve visited – nice and clean, both in appearance and facilities, even though the showers are in the main campsite away from the hiker/biker area, and although I’m camped in a fairly treed/bushy area – my site is devoid of mozzies it seems! The resident ranger can be very proud of his charge here, and he seems ever-present, tidying up and fussing around picking up small pieces of debris here and there – very conscientious! The hiker/biker area has a washroom very close by, but the showers are a short distance away in another washroom in the main campsite – not to worry though, at least there are showers!
There are some heritage buildings on the property that I speculate are rentable, as there’s an open air wedding in progress – in fact, very close to the hiker/biker area where I’m camped – I’m hoping that they’ll take pity on my one pot meal and throw me some scraps later! – “Hey Baz, ever had wedding cake?”
Later… The ceremony took place in a covered shelter next to a big log hall where the reception continued for a little while. The wedding couple then took a ride around the park in a horse and carriage – very quaint! As things wrapped up, the happy couple vacated to a small log cabin, that’s very close to my campsite, to spend the night – I’d better wear those ear plugs tonight!
Day 17 – Aug 5th – Kitsap Memorial State Park to Washington Park – 122 kms
What a great day of riding for my last full day on the road…
After crossing the Hood Canal – always a challenge on a bike, I followed as many back roads as my map would allow, which gave me many quiet country roads with some beautiful ocean vistas. I passed through Port Ludlow, Penn Cove and Port Hadlock on my way to the quaint town of Port Townsend, where a second breaky was found without too much trouble. I might add that I didn’t score any left over grub from the wedding yesterday – I even made a point of washing my little pot under a tap that was close to some of the guests, trying to garner some sympathy, but alas, they didn’t take pity on my meagre ration and carried the remains off in many coolers just within sniffing distance – cruel devils!
Anyhow, back to my ride today – at Port Townsend, I took a short ferry ride over to Keystone on Whidbey Island and then rode some back roads through to Coupeville then on to Oak Harbour. I was going to camp there, but there was a huge festival going on in the town park where I was planning to stay. So I picked up some supplies and carried on to Deception Pass, over the high bridge there and on to Anacortes – which is the location of Washington Park!
I’m camped about a 15 minute ride to the Anacortes/Sidney ferry from here, so this is really the end of this trip and this is also my final camp. I believe that this is a county park, and it looks as if it would a busy place in high season. At least it has showers, so I won’t smell too bad on the ferry tomorrow! Today is fairly cool by the water resulting in little activity on the waterfront, although there are lots of empty boat trailers in the parking lot, which indicates that this is a good spot for the local sports fishermen to start from.
In reflection, I’ve been very lucky, first with the weather, yes I did have some hot days, but no rain, apart from some overnight stuff in Eugene where I was in a motel anyway. And secondly, no breakdowns – not even a flat! – Can’t complain there. I did expect to meet more of my ilk, but that didn’t happen.
What a special day of nice cycling to finish off the tour though, I’m glad that the main highways are as busy as they are – it made my decision to take some different routes very worthwhile and rewarding.
Day 18 – Aug 6th – Washington Park to Sidney, BC – 7 kms
Well I did have to mention that “rain” word in yesterday’s report, so wouldn’t you know, it rained last night! I was already tucked into my nice warm sleeping bag when it started though, so it wasn’t a real hardship. It had almost stopped by this morning, but I did have to put my tent away wet – not a big problem though as I would be home by lunchtime anyway and could dry my gear out then.
It was a short, early morning ride to the ferry terminal just outside Anacortes, and the coffee shop there was already serving some fresh brew – a nice treat first thing in the morning for a change! The two-hour ferry ride was uneventful, but as normal, a very scenic trip through the San Juan Islands to Sidney. Once in Sidney, I had to brave the Canada Customs inspectors, but there was no problem, the customs guy just asked me how long I’d been away and where I’d been, eye-balled Basil – then all I got was, “Welcome back to Canada!”