Friday, September 25, 2009

An Itty Bitty Trip Report - Adventure Cycling's "Washington Parks" Section 1 route (more or less)

I don't really have time to do a real trip report right now. At some point this will become a full-fledged article. But, for now, a brief synopsis with a few photos.

Day 1 - Saturday September 12, 2009 - Shelton, WA to Brinnon, WA - 41-ish Miles

-Sparkling waters of the Hood Canal
-Sliced/blew out my rear tire at mile 20 and had to switch to spare resulting in dirty state champion kit
-No major climbs
-The Bayshore Inn (aka "Motel 1.5") with mottled shag carpet, Naugahyde chairs and stale tobacco scent
-The Halfway House Restaurant with giant Hood Canal Oysters and Marionberry "Crumble" pie
-Very sore back, which led me to "nose up" the Brooks saddle a bit more

Day 2 - Sunday September 13, 2009 - Brinnon, WA to Port Townsend/Diamond Point, WA - 38-ish miles

-Breakfast with the locals at the Halfway House Restaurant
-First "climb" up Walker Grade - about 3 miles of 5% average
-First espresso stop in the middle of nowhere in Quinlene
-Blackberry eatin' on the side of the road
-Dinner with Cousin Cathy, husband Kent and daughter Holly at the casino in Sequim
-Lodging at the Diamond Point B&B

Day 3 - Monday September 14, 2009 - Port Townsend/Diamond Point, WA to Port Angeles, WA - 33-ish miles

-Breakfast at the Diamond Point B&B
-Riding the Discovery Trail most of the day
-Bike shop stop for new tire in Sequim
-Meeting Astrid, a mid-40s Brittish woman who was almost done riding around the world longitudinally
-Mom's 60h birthday!

Day 4 - Tuesday September 15, 2009 - Rest day in Port Angeles, WA

-Internet access
-Laundry (but in the bathtub, since the fancy hotel did not have facilities)
-Getting an ad-hoc "Twilight" tour of Port Angeles from the local bus driver lady

Day 5 - Wednesday September 16, 2009 - Port Angeles, WA to Lake Crescent, WA - 28-ish miles

-Downpour of Biblical proportions around 11 am
-Diving into Granny's Cafe during the downpour for some of the best food of the trip
-Pushing the button as we headed into Lake Crescent to alert motorists to our presence
-Having one way traffic controls to give us a peaceful ride around the lake
-Hiking to Marymere Falls
-Dinner at one of the prettiest lodges I've stayed at

Day 6 - Thursday September 17, 2009 - Lake Crescent, WA to Forks, WA - 38-ish miles

-Biggest climb of the trip from the end of Lake Crescent through Fairholm
-More one-way traffic controls giving us breaks all day
-The slowest short-order lunch ever at the Hungry Bear Cafe
-Real laundry at the Pacific Inn in Forks
-Dinner at the Chicago-style pizza place in Forks

Day 7 - Friday September 18, 2009 - Forks, WA to Kalaloch, WA - 42-ish miles

-Cheapest breakfast of the trip in Forks
-Narrowest road of the trip, but quietest traffic, which helped
-First view of the ocean
-Kalaloch Lodge, which must be the best-kept secret of the area
-The beach at Kalaloch, strewn with driftwood and very scenic

Day 8 - Saturday September 19, 2009 - Kalaloch, WA to Amanda Park/Lake Quinault, WA - 37-ish miles

-The storm that came through overnight cleared for us to make it out for an early start
-Quiet roads with no logging trucks (good because the shoulder was still small)
-Changing my parents crappy/bumped tires for the 5th time
-The worst hotel/eating arrangements of the trip at the Quinault Rainforest Resort

Day 9 - Sunday September 20, 2009 - Amanda Park/Lake Quinault, WA to Montesano, WA - 51-ish miles

-A very scenic and memorable ride on the backroads through Wiskah and Winochee Valleys
-Lunch stop where we saw a cougar in the road
-A very gravely, dirt descent near mile 45
-The cute town of Montesano
-A satisfying dinner at the Bee Hive cafe

Day 10 - Monday September 21, 2009 - Montesano, WA - Shelton, WA - 42-ish miles

-The quiet Cloquallam back road we were on most of the day
-Seeing a clear cut in action :(
-Bumping into Astrid again during our lunch stop
-A hairy last few miles crossing the town of Shelton
-Arriving safely back at the start

Friday, September 11, 2009

Growing Up and Reversing Roles

I sit here on the eve of the long-awaited 60th birthday bike tour that we planned for my mom. We are also celebrating my dad's 65th this year. Originally, the plan was for Rick, me and my mom to ride and my dad to drive SAG. That was about 4 years ago when we first cooked up this whole thing. Then, my mom got a recumbent trike, and my dad followed a few months later. Pretty soon, we were thinking of a bike tour where we all would ride.

We started planning over the Christmas holiday last year and eventually ended up with a route around the Olympic peninsula in Washington that met all our criteria - ability to drive to the start, not too hilly, hotels/restaurants every 40ish miles, and around 300 miles in distance for a loop. As we got down to it, job situations changed. Now, it's a tour for me, my mom and my dad. Rick is staying home. He took a wonderfully exciting new job during the summer - the only drawback being that a fall vacation would be impossible for him.

Now I find myself in a new position. I, the child, am now the one responsible for the safe delivery of this motley crew around the loop. I am the one who will mentor, navigate, and do roadside repairs, if necessary. Normally, I have my handsome prince to escort me on these little adventures. He is the one who does all the navigating and mentoring and protecting. I feel suddenly inadequate, vulnerable. I guess this is all part of the growing up process. And, yet, I feel totally out of sorts in this new role.

Maybe it's because I realize that I am not ultimately able to deliver that protection that I crave - that we are all at the whim of fate and must rely on the great Protector, but I cannot rely on myself. Maybe it's because I realize that the time of life is bounding quickly toward us where I will find myself more and more in this role as my parents age. I find myself screaming inside "I don't want to grow up! Who put me in charge? I have no idea what I am doing!" Maybe that's a part of growing up, too. The more you learn and the more capable you become, the more you realize how truly inadequate you are.

But, I'm sure all this discomfort is part of my process of becoming who I am meant to be. It's like fitness for the character. If you do not overreach beyond your comfort zone, you never grow and improve. So, I am stepping out of my comfort zone. I'm going to face my fears. We're going to have a wonderful adventure and all grow together in the process. Here's to a joyous, safe, and wonderful Birthday Tour 2009!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Well, I've been just chilling since the end of the season. I've been running and swimming and hiking and generally having a break from the bike. Last week I got back on the bike and started doing some weight training. I have only a short time to get my sit bones adjusted to sitting on the seat again, since I'll soon be escorting my parents soon on their grand tour of the Olympic peninsula in Washington state.

I'm looking forward to the trip and just doing some fun riding - no goals, no technique drills, no speed drills, no intervals - just get from one point to the next each day (and encourage the parents along in the process). It should be a grand 60th birthday celebration for my mom. I'll also be the official photographer for the trip, since cyclistrick will be home working on a product launch at his new job. I'll be doing my best to capture the trip in photos and writing to submit a follow-up article to "Adventure Cyclist".

My first story idea was accepted, now I'm just waiting to see if they take my manuscript (keep your fingers crossed). That is the first part of our adventure - the mini-tour we did in December as preparation for this upcoming tour.

Other than cycling, I've been up to my eyeballs in work. I decided over the summer that the librarian thing just didn't suit me as well as I'd hoped. So, I'm now back to being a software engineer - on the same team I left in December. I've been busily working on a big software release. I've also had a fair bit of freelance and volunteer work going lately. So, all of my bike hours have transitioned to desk hours. But, it's all good. It's a season of work. Now, a season of rest is coming soon. And, then a return to the bike will be soon to follow - with technique drills and speed drills and intervals. But, for now, I'm just along for the ride - following life where it takes me.