On October 18 & 19 Jerry and Odette biked to Port Townsend and back:
This was our second visit to Port Townsend this year – the first was a day in the car with relatives. Here’s the post about our Port Townsend ride in 2013.
We rode the Ibis after I installed fenders, a rear rack and a headlight mount. (I was happy with with the way the fenders worked – they were hammered aluminum from Orange Velo that I bought for the Rodriguez tandem and then moved over to Will’s bike for a couple of seasons, adding leather mud flaps. I bought new, narrower, fenders for Will and put the wide ones on the Ibis and really all I had to do was shorten the rear mud flap. The headlight mount lets me use a handlebar bag together with a headlight. The rack was one I got for mountain bikes about fifteen years ago with sort of rail clips that fit a Topeak trunk bag and an integrated carrier for a U-lock. The rack is silver and the right vintage, so even though it is big and clunky it looks good on the Ibis.)
We rode the route suggested by Google up to Mukilteo. I’ve tried to ride that route southbound a couple of times and haven’t ever been able to find the turn onto 68th from Olympic View. Turns out that 68th at that point is a steep hill and looks more like a driveway. We didn’t have to wait long for the ferry and then rode up Whidby toward Coupville. Unlike the Port Townsend ride we did in 2013 we didn’t cut through people’s back yards and we didn’t go to Langley. I cobbled together segments from three or four rides in guide books (Woods & Thorness, mainly) to plan a route that went south of SR 525 until Greenbank when we switched sides of the island and rode North Bluff road. Here’s that route – we stuck pretty close to it. We only got rained on once – a little squall just after leaving the ferry. We could see the ferry arriving at Coupeville and pushed really hard to get there in time – I was worried because I had seen that they were back on a one-boat schedule and that all spots were reserved for the weekend, but walk-on passengers don’t have to make reservations. Here’s the GPS track from the ride – 58 miles in 4 and a quarter hrs. for an average speed of 13.6 mph, even with 3,800 feet of elevation gain.
In Port Townsend we checked in early at the Tides where nobody blinked an eye at us wanting to park our tandem in the room. Here’s what the motel looks like from the street:
We were on the first floor and the windows looked out to the water – from the bed all you could see were waves. No deer on the beach this year (hunting season, maybe?) We had a big jacuzzi in the room and a soak after the ride felt really good. When that was done we remembered that we’d skipped lunch and went out for a walk of the town and an early dinner. We ended up checking out the menu at Alchemy (the place we’d gone to in 2013) and they were able to seat us right away without reservations so that sealed it for us. We had appetizers and great entrées (with a good stout from Anderson in California for me) and desert with a flight of ports – all without guilt about calories. Here’s what the corner we sat in looks like:
The next morning we got up early and were at the door of the Bayview Restaurant (a couple of doors up from our motel) at 6:30. Unfortunately, the waitress there informed us that they now opened at 7:00. Fortunately, she let us in and gave us coffee while they got themselves organized. We ate big breakfasts. No deer on display here this year, either. Here’s what the place looks like from the water:
We went back to the room, packed up and checked out, and were on the road by 8:00. The last time we’d done this ride we were scared of the unpaved trail leaving town and we rode the road instead. This time we were on the Ibis (and they make mountain bikes) so we felt equipped to take on gravel. In fact it is a much better route that entirely avoids climbing the bluff and the surface was totally rideable. Instead of just following SR 19 out to the main road we followed the coast and went through Port Hadlock, Port Ludlow and Paradise Bay – also as described in various guide books. The scenery was really great and justified the additional distance and whatever extra climbing there was. After crossing the Hood Canal Floating Bridge we headed for Bainbridge instead of going for the Kingston ferry. That put us on a longer route, but gave us an alternative to the traffic on SR 104. It also let us ride Big Valley road, which we’d done once before on an ETC ride and which I remembered fondly. Here’s the planned route – which we again followed pretty closely. We also again forgot about lunch, and by the time we got to Bainbridge we were having second thoughts about extra mileage and almost opted to just ride SR 305 back to the ferry. The views on the route we took were worth it, I think, and we didn’t have to deal with traffic until we got all the way back to Winslow. We just missed the 12:20 ferry and had to wait fourty-five minutes for the next one. I wasn’t sure which ramp they would use and didn’t know where to wait, so we just leaned the bike against the fence at the end of the marked bike lane and sat on the pavement. Eventually a ferry employee came and pointed us to the waiting area and a bench.
On the Seattle side of the ferry we rode through the mess on Alaska Way due to the seawall construction. We took the oncoming lane by Pier 69 (but it was safe because a train had the road blocked west of Elliott.) We rode through throngs of pedestrians and Pronto bike riders in Myrtle Edwards park. We were surprised by construction in the rail yard trail with an unpaved section to navigate. We sprinted across the Fremont bridge in the car lane after they lowered the barrier on the pedestrian walkway in preparation for opening the bridge. We sweated up the Fremont hill at the end of a long ride. We were home by 3:00 on a Sunday afternoon with time to shower and read the NY Times and deal with weekend chores! Here’s the GPS track of the ride – 61 miles in 5 hours for an average speed of 12 mph with 4,000 feet of climbing. We had an early dinner with large steaks and more stout. Life is good.
This was a good ride that we’ll do again. We need to follow-up on our discussions about similar weekend trips to other towns – the next goal is La Conner, and certainly Olympia is within our range, maybe Roslyn or Leavenworth, too, (at least for summer rides?) We need to do a better job of building lunch stops into our routes. We need to bring fewer pairs of shoes and generally we need to travel with less stuff. (We have a pair of black Serratus panniers that match my black Serratus handlebar bag and then we have that black Topeak trunk bag that fits on the rack – and it all looks great on the silver/grey Ibis. We tend to fill up the available space, though, and people who saw us thought we were on a long tour, not just a weekend in Port Townsend.)