Friday, July 3, 2015

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.

Craig & Sarah, in front of the Mukilteo Lighthouse.

[Sarah: While we explored the lighthouse, two women walked around the area with their phones firmly planted in front of their faces. It was clear to us that they were geocaching and that they weren't finding their cache. Craig and I helped with the search for awhile. Alas, we were unsuccessful.]

The ferry was quite a novelty for this Florida boy. The boat ride to Whidbey Island lasted only a few minutes, but it was enjoyable.

We continued to ride across Whidbey Island over rolling hills and with only moderate traffic. The weather was amazing and we hammered along and made good progress.

Craig makes friends with a Whidbey cowboy.

Somewhere in the middle of Whidbey Island, we overtook another touring cyclist. Gabbi [Instagram: gabbikorrowwas from Whidbey Island and was doing a short three or four day ride from her home over to the Olympic Peninsula and back. She is very young and full of energy and a very good cyclist.

[Sarah: Gabbi had just finished up school for the year. She was headed to Port Townsend to camp for a few nights before heading up to Alaska to work on fishing vessels for the summer. Every other sentence out of Gabbi's mouth was "Hell yeah." Everytime she said this, Craig and I giggled.]

After riding off from Gabbi, I let Sarah ride ahead so that she would not get sick of me breathing over her shoulder. But just as my partner topped a large hill one of my pedals decided to fall out of the crank arm. Within six pedal strokes, the pedal cocked over at a strange angle and then dropped to the ground.

The bike I was riding was one I put together with spare parts in my garage. The crankset was ten years old and had been well used on a mountain bike that served me well over many a race course. When I assembled the bike at the airport, this pedal did feel a little strange during installation. I must have cross-threaded it a bit.

I took a deep breath and used my multi-tool to rethread the pedal into the crank arm. At first the buggered-up dirty threads caused me some concern, but eventually the pedal threaded back on straight and tight. Five miles later the same thing happened again. And again it threaded back on tight and straight. At this point I'm hoping that a good bike shop exists in Port Townsend. I pedaled on toward the ferry, putting very little pressure on the bad pedal, fully aware that I'm probably not making a very good impression on Sarah.

[Sarah: It wasn't just Craig who had bike problems on the first day of our ride; the day was plagued with a multitude of mechanical issues. The first happened less than a mile outside of Seattle, where one of the fasteners on my rear panniers came undone, causing my pannier to dangle at an awkward angle from my rack. Craig's laser eyes were able to spot the missing screw not too far from where we pulled over on the roadside. It took a mere minute or two to fix the pannier, and then we were off again. I wish I could have helped Craig with his bike issues as easily as he was able to help with mine.]

We eventually reached the Port Townsend-Coupeville Ferry just minutes before the 6PM sailing. This sailing of the ferry was important, as one of the bike shops in Port Townsend closed at 6PM. I was in a hurry.

At the ferry terminal, we met up again with Gabbi and also met another long tour rider. Steve [Instagram: steveleedesignis from England and has been working in Portland for the last few years. He is now taking a sabbatical and touring from Vancouver to San Francisco. We all agreed to share a campsite at Fort Worden State Park. Steve even volunteered to reserve the site while Sarah and I visited the bike shop and Gabbi went to go shopping for food.

The Port Townsend Biking Gang.
[Left to right: Steve, Craig, Gabi, & Sarah]

Sarah called the bike shop and asked if they might stay open for us and they agreed. We pulled into the bike shop at exactly 6:30 and they greeted us kindly and with much talking and very little fixing. They suggested we come back in the morning. Argh! Waste of Time!

[Sarah: We were grateful that the shop stayed open late to accommodate Craig's needs. But after an hour or so of shooting-the-shit with the bike shop owner, we were miffed that we were told to come back at 10am the next morning for the repair. Heck, the pedal could have been fixed (four times over!) in the time we were talking.

Frustrated and hungry, we rode on to Fort Warden State Park to meet up with Gabbi and Steve.

We chose spots for our tents. As the winds off the water were quite chilly, we threw on more layers. And then we fed our hungry tummies.

Craig, making dinner.

Sarah, at camp.

After dinner, we explored the beach and old fort bunkers for a bit, crawled into our sleeping bags, and then called it a night.]

Here is today's route:


  1. WAIT!! the Interurban goes all the way to Mukliteo?? I need a map stat! Figuring out how to get to that terminal was the only thing I hadn't figured out (but then i hadnt spent a lot of time looking either!) Love Port Townsend. But yes they ARE chatty!

    how did you have 4 posts and I didnt see them?

    1. The Interurban won't take you all the way to the Mukilteo Ferry, but it will get you close enough; you'll eventually need to get off the trail and head west. We used the bicycle directions suggested by Google Maps.

      Dunno how the posts escaped you. I do know, however, that I have a backlog of *your* posts that I'm looking forward to catching up sometime soon.

    2. Google directions it is! Will make that happen. And you have abeen a bit busy :)

      PS never heard of cookie butter either


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