Monday, June 3, 2013

Gear Up Expo 2013

Saturday morning I was up early to depart the domicile by 5:00 AM in order to make the 6:20 AM ferry crossing from Bremerton to Seattle allowing at little Starbucks time before boarding.  I met co-worker Dan down at the corner and we made our way.  The sun was coming up as we rounded the horn of Sinclair inlet bound for Bremerton.

There's not much traffic at 5:00 AM and the ride was pleasant.  We arrived with ample time to coffee up at Starbucks before boarding the ferry.

Once off the boat, we pointed the bikes north.  We didn't get 1/4 mile before we noticed the shrimp-like looking bike rack.

The purpose of the journey as to attend the Gear Up Expo in Everett.  Since the distinct possibility I wasn't going to walk out of the Expo without purchasing some gear, I opted to ride a bike built for carrying.

I didn't know what we were going to find along the way.  Certainly, Excellence was hoped for but not necessarily counted on.  However, we did manage to find Excellence.

Rolling north through Seattle we passed through a zoo parking lot.  Baboons were aplenty.


Shortly after leaving the zoo, we found what we were looking for - Thee Interurban Trail.  Thee Interurban Trail is a bike trail that runs for Seattle north to at least Everett.  It's paved and mostly off streets.  I believe most (some?) of it is rails to trails type.  The trail proved to be frustratingly wonderfully quirky.  It was sometimes well marked, sometimes marked in somewhat hidden places, and other times not marked at all.  Route finding skills were needed.  Once we missed a turn or two and needed to back-track, we were on to their system.

It was a 38 mile journey from the ferry terminal to Comcast Arena.  With stopping for pictures, drinks/snacks, and back tracking, it was about a three hour cruise.

There were gear vendors including paddle boards, clothing, climbing gear, SCUBA gear, bikes, camping (including tents) and some other stuff I'm forgetting to list.  There were tour companies, food companies, trail associations, and more(!).

The highlight of the Expo (at least for me) was Jim Whittaker.  First, I met him at the booth where he was selling and signing his book.  Then he spoke about his life outdoors from being the first American to summit Mt. Everest in 1963, to help launch and CEO REI, to sailing around the South Pacific for four years with his wife and two sons, to meeting and interacting with the Kennedys (yes, THEE Kennedys, like John  and Bobby).

Due to a technical computer glitch at the beginning of his talk, he held everyone's interest by telling some stories not in his book and were not going to be part of his talk.  Though I didn't get a picture of it, an interesting part of his clothing was his black and white checked Vans shoes.

Right after Jim Whittaker spoke, we saddled up and began our trek south to Seattle and the ferry.  Along the Interurban Trail, there were several signs placed very close to each other and with the same, though slightly modified, picture.  If you rode by fast and were in a good lane position, it was like a flip book cartoon.

Hungry and thirsty for good beer we made a stop in the Fremont neighborhood for some food and beverages.  Though both the food and beer were grand, now we were in danger of missing the 7:55 PM ferry departure.  The next one wasn't going to be until 9:05 PM.

As we pulled into the waterfront trail portion of our ride, it was five minutes to ferry departure and we were too far away to make it even sprinting.  We decided to accept our fate and began to take our time.  We stopped to pee and lazily rode in the direction of the ferry terminal.

We pulled in to discover the ferry was late getting in.  Apparently, a kayaker was in peril and the incoming ferry stopped to assist and bring him in.  We paid our fares and made the 7:55 PM ferry even though it departed at 8:25 PM.

Back in Bremerton, we unloaded and took a last picture as the ferry was pulling out heading back to Seattle.  We had a short wait for the foot ferry to take us across Sinclair Inlet and back to Port Orchard.

It was a fun, albeit long, day.  I ended up with just over 80 miles of riding.  After arriving home a quick shower cleaned me off but did nothing to reinvigorate me.  I was asleep soon after head hit pillow.

This coming weekend is my three-day weekend.  The longer term forecast is for sunny weather all week and into the weekend.  I'm thinking a return to Mt. Rainier National park with adequate gear for over-nighting.  I'd like to explore some hiking trails I've not been on yet and get some camping out in the woods.

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