This week I've ditched the bus portion of my daily commute. My daily commute generally starts out with about a 1/4 mile walk, a 1 1/2 mile bus ride, and then a ferry ride across Sinclair Inlet. I've eliminated the bus portion of my commute. I leave a bit earlier in the morning and I get home a bit later in the evening. The time is not a big deal and I get some fresh air. Today I made arrangements with security to bring my bike inside the gates and onto the shipyard. I'm not looking for a time saver so much as I'll be dressed and ready to extend my commute home to include a nice roadie type bike ride. We're starting to come out of the monsoon season here. I'm looking for every angle to spend more time outside and less time, well, not. A co-worker has briefed me on which roads are the least car traveled and the most bike friendly.
The weather never did fully cooperate this past weekend. But, the Green Mountain trails are pretty resistant to water. There were a few puddles here and there, but very little "mud." Though the bike, and I, did manage to get covered with trail.
It was a nice day riding despite the somewhat moist conditions. I'm liking the increase amount of daylight. My next project is to rebuild the wheels on the commuter bike. Right now it's setup as a single speed. It's more hilly around here than Thee Olde Country. My game plan is to take the wheels apart. I'm thinking internally geared hub on the back and a dyno hub on the front. The theory is I can take the scenic route home from work each day. There's still many areas to explore and there's no better way than on a bike.
So, today (Saturday) I was planning on riding the Grand Ridge Trail to Duthie Hill, play there, and take Grand Ridge Trail back to Issaquah. The weather is not cooperating. It rained a bunch yesterday and the Issaquah forecast was for rain again today. Changes needed to be made. Today I'll be doing a bunch of crap (exactly the correct word for it) around my place. Later, I'll try to sneak in a roadie ride in and around Port Orchard, early this evening I'm off to the greater Seattle area. I've a few home furnishings that would be useful so I'm aiming for IKEA. Tomorrow, on the other hand, will be mountain biking day. Since the trails at Green Mountain take rain well and don't get (very) muddy, I plan to ride there. I've been there before but did not explore too much of the area. Tomorrow I'll have plenty of time to summit Green Mountain proper and see some trails I've not yet explored. Chores ultimately need to be done. It's all good. I'll be outside soon. The lure of outside is making me get after the inside stuff hard. The upcoming week is supposed to be sunny and temperatures rising into the mid 70's by Thursday. As Stevil says, "Rock out with your socks up!"
In my last post I'd hinted I might go do the Tulip Pedal ride near Mt. Vernon, WA this coming weekend. I'm leaning toward a mind change. I'm not sure I can do two roadie type bike rides on consecutive weekends. Instead, I'm thinking a short drive to Issaquah, getting on the Grand Ridge Trail, and ending up and playing at Duthie Hill.
Duthie is much more than just jump lines and gap jumps that's sort of depicted in the above video. The weather is supposed to be good this weekend and I'm looking to get back to Grand Ridge and Duthie. It should make for pretty much a several hour excursion. I am planning on taking many more pictures this time around. I'm slowly getting my ass into shape and I won't be riding with the dudes who've been riding all winter.
This past Sunday a co-worker and I made our way North to ride on the Olympic Discovery Trail. The Olympic Discovery Trail looks like a rails-to-trails trail, though, I'm not sure if it is or isn't. I took some pictures along the way (click on them to make them bigger). They are in no particular order and I'm going to continue this rambling post in between pictures.
We got on the trail about ten miles East of Sequim. Let me digress - municipality names around here can be tricky for the uninitiated. Example, Sequim. So, how do you think you pronounce it? Sec-quee-em? Wrong. It's pronounced Squim.
As much as it rains around here, Sequim is the exception to the rule. It lies in the rain shadow. It receives only 16 inches of rain per year on average. That's the same as Los Angeles, CA. Crazy.
Anyway, the ride.... We started our ride on the trail near Sequim Bay (and an Indian Casino) and then heads into the woods, sort of. We also rode through some farmland. And the last few miles before we reached Port Angeles, WA was along the Straight of Juan de Fuca.
The picture above is an old railroad bridge (I think).
Cool old barn type building.
At the corner of Kitchen-Dick and Woodcock. Yes, we laughed. And yes, we are easily amused.
The above picture was taken at Port Angeles. If you look past the boat to the hills on the other side of the water, that's Canada. There's a ferry that runs from Port Angeles to Victoria, B.C. (approximately in the vicinity of the picture). Once my passport is renewed, I'll be taking that ferry. I hear Victoria is a great place to visit and ride.
Cool mural right outside where we ate lunch.
Port Angeles from the observation tower near the water.
Port Angeles local.
I ended up with approximately 58 miles for the day. It was obviously raining about five to ten miles South of where we were in the direction of Olympic National Park. It was also raining just over in Canada. However, we were mostly in sunshine all day in the rain shadow. We didn't get rained on at all. We only rode a small portion of the Olympic Discovery Trail. The game plan is to go back sometime this summer and ride more of it. Maybe even take some camping gear. It is very scenic and what hills there are, are quite slight. Next up - tulips! Evidently there's a tulip festival next weekend in and around Mt. Vernon, WA. There are massive fields where the tulips are grown. I'm told there's a bike ride next Saturday amongst the tulips. I'm also told there's several good brew pubs up there. Tour de Tulip Beers! Weather permitting, it looks like that's next weekend's deal.
Sorry, but I don't have any new pictures to post or new places I've been. I been sort of busy with non exciting stuff. So, instead, I'll give you three of my favorite Ze Frank YouTube video things. The first one, a random one, and another random one. They're short and different and good. Trust me on this and watch them all. Don't despair. This coming weekend is one of my three day weekends. I'm searching for something and somewhere. Wandering might be A-OK.....
Yesterday I walked from work to the foot ferry. I was just hanging out waiting for the ferry to show up. Looking at the pilings, I noticed it was low tide. I was looking out over Sinclair Inlet when I overheard a conversation behind me. "What is that pink thing on the piling? An octopus?" "That thing with five legs? It's a starfish" "That pink thing - right there....." "It's a starfish!" A person can frequently see starfish attached to the pilings at low tide. Being able to count appendages and know marine species - that's another story.
Sunday I was up early getting ready for some mountain biking at the Port Gamble (Tree Farm) / Stottlemeyer trails. The trails meander through 7000 acres of tree farm area. More on this later.
Co-worker A picked me up at my place and we made our way to a medical center to rendezvous with co-worker B. We loaded the bikes in the back of co-worker A's truck and we were off. How ironical - three dudes who work for the same place all riding Ellsworth Evolve mountain bikes. Mine's in the middle.
Upon arrival the three of us unloaded the bikes and pedaled around a bit to get warmed up. Co-worker C was to join us and act as our tour guide. After he arrived we were into the woods to ride. Port Gamble has some nice, but tight, singletrack. A few of the trails were a bit muddy but most were well drained. My regret for this day was doing 44 miles the day before in and around Seattle. I had a hard time keep up during the climbs. Oh well - it's early season and I'm trying to work my sorry ass into shape. I did notice progress.
Generally speaking the trails are in good shape and go interesting places without being too easy or too hard. There are a handful of trails that go a bit too much down the fall line. The result is a deep groove (about 8 to 12 inches) to ride in. Too often there are stumps right on the trail. The trail builders did not remove trees properly. The root ball needs to come out. Toward the end of our day in the woods, co-worker A found a stump with his front tire, endo-ed, and collided with a tree in mid flight. He suffered a bruise on his left side that prompted him to visit the clinic later that day to make sure everything was OK.
Later this summer IMBA will be conducting a trail building school at this venue. I'm hopeful many of the locals will attend and learn proper tree removal methods. But, my personal overall impression of these trails is they are lots of fun. I'll be back to ride them more.
In a few weeks there will be a trail maintenance session. The purpose will be to install trail marker signs. The rockers who are keeping up this area have an awesome map. Trail markers to compliment the map will make this sweet!
Lastly, co-worker C, our guide, mentioned this 7000 acre parcel of land is up for sale. The land owner is very cool in letting trails exist here and letting anyone have access. The co-worker indicated if this is sold it will probably be divided up into 20 acre plots. The dream is to raise enough money through donations and grants to have a mountain biker organization buy it and keep it as is. However, the price tag is $30,000,000.00 (that's thirty MILLION dollars). Unfortunately, developers can float this kind of deal too easily. We'll see what goes down in the end. I'm sort of hoping the housing market stays depressed such that this cool system of trails remains.
Saturday a co-worker and I decided an urban ride in Seattle would be a great way to celebrate the great weather.
We congregated in Bremerton and put our bikes on the Seattle Ferry.
The crossing takes about an hour, but there's great scenery to look at so it seems much shorter.
Once off the ferry we rode a few city streets and then found paved bike paths. There are a LOT in and around Seattle.
We made our way to the boat locks. Also there is a "fish ladder." It is a way for the salmon to get up stream where the locks are. The little fellow below is the only fish we saw as it is not prime salmon run time. There's a nifty place to go into to see into the fish ladder. There are several windows, about 5 foot by 5 foot, to get a good view of the salmon running.
We did see this floating crane thing taking a boat in the direction of the rail draw bridge you can see going up.
We made our way through Seattle past the University of Washington.
We ended up going way up North. I am wishing I had one of those handy-dandy GPS things that records where you go so you can then download the data to a map things.
With the unseasonably dry weather and the temperatures close to 70 degrees, EVERYONE was outside doing stuff.
Eventually we ended up as far north as we were going to go. We stopped at a local bakery for lunch. We dined outside with a couple of locals.
After lunch we decide to point to bikes back toward downtown and the ferry. We did make a point to stop by the Public Market area.
We arrived at the ferry terminal 10 minutes before the next sailing. This was not planned but a great stroke of good luck. We loaded and were on our way back to Bremerton.
Whenever it gets nice out, the clouds are gone, and the fog lifts, the locals talk about "the mountain being out." What this means is you can get a good view of Mt. Rainier. The mountain (and all of the Cascades and Olympics for that matter) was out in all its glory on Saturday.
Somehow I managed to intersect my leg with a fender bracket. It bled pretty good. However, it attracted neither vampires nor zombies. We were golden.
If you click on any or all of the pictures you'll get a bigger version. And, if you want to see the whole set, go HERE.
Sunday was spent in the Port Gamble area mountain biking. I'll have that recap probably on Wednesday.