Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Few More Thoughts About Craig

The reporting on the test ride around the Olympic Peninsula with Craig is now complete. I hope you enjoyed reading Craig's guest posts about the trip.

"So," you ask, "what did ya' think about this Craig guy as a compatible riding companion?"

Before I answer, you should know, if you don't already, that I am one helluva picky person. I'm picky when it comes to food. I'm picky when it comes to how I spend my time. And I'm particularly picky when it comes to relationships. Although some have suggested that life might be a little easier if I were to be a little less picky, I'm unwilling to compromise. I'm a firm believer that my unwavering steadfastness is vital at holding me true to my principles and enabling me to live the life I want to live.

Days 11-13: Manchester State Park to Seattle

Written by guest blogger, Craig Skiles. (Posts 12-14 of 14)
Originally posted here, here, and here.
Commentary [in green] provided by yours truly.

Day 11: Manchester State Park to Seattle
Wednesday June 17, 2015, 32 miles (51 km) - Total so far: 582 miles (937 km)

Another beautiful morning in a beautiful city. Just a dream-like ride along the water.

[Sarah: And with that, we are back in Seattle!]

Sarah is an amazing woman. When she has made up her mind to do something, there is no stopping her. I mentioned that I might like to ship my bike home instead of checking it as luggage. She immediately started calling bike shops and found a shop just a few blocks from our Warmshowers host that would pack and ship my bike for $45 plus the Fedex shipping of $70. Deal!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Days 9-10: Humptulips to Manchester State Park

Written by guest blogger, Craig Skiles. (Posts 10-11 of 14)
Originally posted here and here.
Commentary [in green] provided by yours truly.

Day 9: Humptulips to Schafer State Park
Monday June 15, 2015, 61 miles (98 km) - Total so far: 478 miles (769 km)

We escaped our mosquito infested camp at about 7AM. Another nice cool morning and the miles flew by. We turned off of Hwy 101 south of Humptulips and turned on to Youmans Road.

We're leaving Highway 101.
Though the highway treated us well, we're anxious to ride on quieter roads.

Getting off of 101 was a genius idea. Thank you, Sarah, for being prepared to get us off the big road south of the Olympic Mountains.

Day 8: Bogaschiel State Park to Humptulips

Written by guest blogger, Craig Skiles. (Post 9 of 14)
Originally posted here.
Commentary [in green] provided by yours truly.

Sunday June 14, 2015, 68 miles (109 km) - Total so far: 417 miles (671 km)

Once again, we had a beautifully clear and cool morning of riding. However, we did actually see some of the famous Pacific Sea fog as we approached Ruby beach.

Our view at Ruby Beach.

[Sarah: Craig and I experienced unseasonably perfect weather on our trip down the Pacific Coast. The photo above is far more representative of a typical June morning along the coast of the Olympic Peninsula. We only experienced thick fog for a few short miles on our ride. Not once did we need to don our raingear.]

Day 7: Lake Ozette to Bogaschiel State Park

Written by guest blogger, Craig Skiles. (Post 8 of 14)
Originally posted here.
Commentary [in green] provided by yours truly.

Saturday June 13, 2015, 77 miles (124 km) - Total so far: 349 miles (562 km)

We started on time today (6:30) because I am now aware of Sarah's little trick of popping out of her tent fully ready to ride. I seem to muck around with coffee and breakfast and toilet duties for an hour, all while clanging pots and crinkling plastic wrappers. Sarah just silently pops out fully formed and ready to ride.

Today we are going to camp at Bogachiel State Park. But first we must backtrack the 25 miles to Clallam Bay and then head towards the city of Forks on Hwy 101.

Riding the Ozette-Hoko road during the cool of the morning was a delight. We even had a chance to see a herd of Elk peacefully grazing in a clear cut.

Although it's sad to see clear-cutting,
it's helpful to know that there's a plan for reharvesting.

Once in Clallam Bay we again stopped at the Sunsets West Co-op store, where I had to buy more sunglasses to replace the ones lost at Lake Ozette. Amazingly they had a serviceable pair for the incredible price of $2.50 (Chinese imports at their best).

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Day 6: Hiking the Ozette Loop

Written by guest blogger, Craig Skiles. (Post 7 of 14)
Originally posted here.
Commentary [in green] provided by yours truly.

Friday June 12, 2015

We took a leisurely morning and slowly got ready to go hike the Lake Ozette Loop hiking trail. This trail is about nine miles long -- three miles to Cape Alava on a trail made of cedar planks, three miles on the beach to Sand Point, then another three miles of cedar from Sand Point back to the Lake Ozette Campground.

When I volunteered here so many years ago, I had hiked this loop dozens of times and was surprised to see that the trail had changed but little. Some of the planks looked to be old enough to have been installed by me in the 1980s.

Sarah hikes through the dry rain forest.

Day 5: Port Angeles to Ozette

Written by guest blogger, Craig Skiles. (Post 6 of 14)
Originally posted here.
Commentary [in green] provided by yours truly.

Thursday June 11, 2015, 81 miles (130 km) - Total so far: 272 miles (438 km)

I'm used to being the first person up and ready to ride. But Sarah would consistently be ready before me. I'm not sure how she was doing it because I wouldn't hear any movement in her tent. She would just pop out with her panniers packed, hook them to the bike, take down her tent, and wonder why I wasn't ready at the agreed upon time.

Craig has a stressful morning routine,
drugging up on coffee and PopTarts.

But I eventually did get ready, and we headed off to cross the northern leg of our Olympic Peninsula Loop.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Day 4: Hurricane Ridge

Written by guest blogger, Craig Skiles. (Post 5 of 14)
Originally posted here.
Commentary [in green] provided by yours truly.

Tuesday June 10, 2015, 41 miles (66 km) - Total so far: 191 miles (307 km)

Today's plan was to ride the Hurricane Ridge road. Hurricane Ridge road is eighteen miles of paved road with a steady 6-7% grade that shows off some of the best Olympic National Park vistas. The elevation change is 5300 feet, but when spread out over the eighteen miles, the climbing wasn't too bad. Most tourists drive up to the Visitors Center at the top of the ridge to take in the scenery and day hike.

Since we planned to stay with the same Warmshowers host tonight, we left our bags with them and climbed Hurricane Ridge with just a picnic lunch and some warm clothes.

Craig, Sheikh of Hurricane Ridge.

Sarah kept up a steady climbing pace, and I did my best to stay with her.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Day 3: Port Townsend to Port Angeles

Written by guest blogger, Craig Skiles. (Post 4 of 14)
Originally posted here.
Commentary [in green] provided by yours truly.

Monday June 9, 2015, 58 miles (93 km) - Total so far: 150 miles (241 km)

Fortunately, the other bike shop in Port Townsend opened at 9AM in the morning so the plan was to be waiting on their doorstep when they unlocked the door. The Broken Spoke, the other bike shop, was truly amazing. Pete let me into his store ten minutes before he opened, had a heli-coil to insert into the old crank arm, straightened my disc rotors, tightened my hubs, and adjusted my derailleurs. Fair prices and great service. I was back on the road in less than an hour. If in Port Townsend, don't hesitate to visit The Broken Spoke.

Sarah and I had found a helmet earlier in the morning at Fort Warden State Park and wondered if it was Gabbi's or maybe just one that was dropped by a kid at the park. We decided to bring it with us, and after finding Gabbi having a snack at a local coffee shop, we were able to reunite her with it.

Celebrating the recovery of Gabbi's helmet.

Day 2: Seattle to Port Townsend

Written by guest blogger, Craig Skiles. (Post 3 of 14)
Originally posted here.
Commentary [in green] provided by yours truly.

Monday June 8, 2015, 61 miles (98 km) - Total so far: 92 miles (148 km)

We left our host's house later than planned (9AM) and headed for the closest Trader Joe's and Safeway to do our shopping for the food needed for the next few days. Sarah and I have similar eating habits. She calls it "The 4Ps": Pringles, Poptarts, Peanut Butter, and Pancakes. So shopping was an easy task. The only difference in our diets is that I make coffee each morning and eat my tortilla and beans with sandwich meat added. Sarah is a vegetarian.

[Sarah: Though a few blocks out of the way, our stop at Trader Joe's was a necessity. It was imperative that Craig be initiated into the world of Cookie Butter, first introduced here. While it seemed that Craig enjoyed the Cookie Butter, he wasn't crazy about it. That was fine by me, as that meant more for me!]

Sarah is crazy about this stuff!

We wiggled and wagged our way north via the Interurban Trail, all the way up to Mukilteo, where we bought tickets for the ferry to Whidbey Island. While waiting for the ferry, we visited the Mukilteo Lighthouse Park. This is a nice place to eat lunch and explore the old lighthouse and surrounding buildings.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Day 1: Travel to Seattle

Written by guest blogger, Craig Skiles. (Post 2 of 14)
Originally posted here.
Commentary [in green] provided by yours truly.

Sunday June 7, 2015, 31 miles (50 km) - Total so far: 31 miles (50 km)

I unpacked and assembled my bike in the bicycle assembly area that can be found in SeaTac's baggage claim area. This area has a bike rack to which you can lock completed bikes, a tool rack, a bike assembly rack, and a floor pump. The tools provided are minimal and in most cases not useful since the thick stiff cables to which each tool is attached prevents you from being able to turn the tool during use. Make sure you have your own tools available. But having the designated area makes for a relaxing time during assembly.

Craig's bike box in SeaTac Airport's bike assembly area.

Once complete, I rolled the bike and my bags to the light rail station at the airport and took the train to the stadium stop.

Introduction and Finding a Young Single Female

Written by guest blogger, Craig Skiles. (Post 1 of 14)
Originally posted here.
Commentary [in green] provided by yours truly.

I usually lurk on the CrazyGuy forums at least a couple days per week.

[Sarah: As you may have noticed, Craig is masterfully setting the tone here, as the word "lurk" is reserved exclusively for creeps.]

I even read all the companion ads, hoping to find someone who might be planning the same trip as mine in about the same time frame. It has been a couple years since my last tour, and I'm getting a bit antsy. So with this mood in mind, I read a Companion Ad from Sarah (aka "Young Single Female"). [Sarah: See The Happily Married Man Rides the Olympic Peninsula for the ad.] Her ad was for a 3+ month trip to Argentina and Chile to ride the Atlantic coast of Argentina to Ushuaia and then back up north via the Carretera Austral. I had planned to do a similar trip in 2016, but she was looking to do it in 2015. Oh well, one year early isn't too bad, so I responded to her ad in a fashion such as this:

I saw your ad looking for partners for a bike tour in Argentina and Chile. I've started planning a similar trip but wasn't expecting to execute it until 2016 or 2017. But you seem to be a very organised and driven person and that entices me to maybe up my schedule and try to ride with you. 

The Happily Married Man Rides the Olympic Peninsula

You may have recently heard me mention some..."going ons"...with a married man.

<Raise eyebrows, hold hands to mouth in surprise, and insert gasp here.>

Well, my friends, I owe you the story.

The story begins with an advertisement I recently placed in the "Companions Wanted" section of three online touring websites, including Adventure Cycling, Warm Showers, and Crazy Guy on A Bike.

The ad looked like this:
Argentina & Chile: Fall 2015 - Spring 2016
I would like to explore Argentina and Chile by bicycle, and I'm interested in seeing if there are any compatible companions who are interested in joining me.