Brittney and I on the Edmonds-Kingston ferry.
My daughter, Brittney, is a dyed-in-the-wool cyclist. She’s done the 205-mile Seattle To Portland trip and rides more than she drives. But she’d never done an overnight tour…that is until a few weeks ago when she, my friend Mike and I did a trip from my house in Shoreline, Washington to Old Fort Townsend State Park near Port Townsend, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula.
It’s not a long ride, only about 40 miles. But the route we took was challenging. There’s the crossing of the Hood Canal floating bridge for one. The span is a mile or so long with a couple of dicey sections of grated bridge deck, plus there’s usually a nasty cold wind blowing. The traffic is heavy and boy is it ever loud. There’s tons of debris on the shoulder you have to dodge, too, just to make it interesting.
But Brittney negotiated it without a whimper.
Once across the bridge we headed north along a winding, hilly road that skirts the Hood Canal. The traffic is light, though, and the scenery’s fantastic so it tends to take your mind off those steep climbs.
We stopped a lot to rest up and to make sure Brittney was doing OK. “How do you feel?” I would ask.
“No problem, Dad,” came the inevitable reply, “this is really fun!”
Since her bicycle is an all-rounder and not specifically set up for touring, we kept her load light. Still, she managed to fill her rear panniers to overflowing.
It was early October and the temperature hovered around the low 60’s — perfect for bicycle touring — but Brittney found it a little cool and she rode bundled up.
We stopped at a roadside fruit stand and bought some berries for breakfast in the morning and an apple to share but as we stood talking a light rain began to fall. We were still a couple of miles from camp so we jumped on our bikes and made a run for it. Riding in the rain would be a real test for Brittney and I kept a close eye on her.
Mike and Brittney at a roadside fruit stand.
We pedaled into camp at Old Fort Townsend State Park an hour before dark, set up camp and made dinner. The rain had stopped and we sat around and played a few hands of poker before turning in. Brittney and I shared my REI Halfdome tent. As we settled into our sleeping bags, she turned to me and said, “I don’t think I can make it back tomorrow. I didn’t want to say anything, but I’m really tired. Hauling all that gear really wore me out. I might have to call and get a ride.”
“Well,” I replied, “lets see what morning brings.”
To be continued. Tomorrow: Cycling home?