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09 August 2008 @ 11:38 pm

A very wet Friday Harbor.

Okay, so we spend a lot of time in Friday Harbor. One particular coffee house has seen a lot of our business, though we try to spread the wealth around a little. We slept in this morning and met David at the dock around 11:00. He was willing to take us wherever we asked today and we chose... Friday Harbor. Again. This time we had plans for a different route on San Juan Island though. By the time we got to the town and had some breakfast the rain was coming down in sheets. We sat and read to see if we could wait it out. I took a little side-trip to yet another bookstore and by the time I came out the rain had stopped! So we hopped on our wet bikes and took off to see the southern part of the island. We went to the very tip, going out Cattle Point Road (to Cattle Point) past the American Camp and to another point, which I've already forgotten the name of. Once again, it was a beautiful ride. There were hills but either they've gotten smaller or we're getting really good biking legs because it seemed at least as easy a ride as Lopez did. It went very quickly, or seemed to. When we got back to Friday Harbor we were going to take a short break and go back out for 10 or 15 miles more. But, guess what. It started pouring again. So we sat under an umbrella for a while with something to drink and playing with a crow. He had his own umbrella under a nearby small tree overhanging a railing. We'd throw a nut for him on the floor near us and he would hop down, eat it and go back to his umbrella. When we'd all had enough of that and the rain and cold, the crow flew off and Nick and I made our way back to the familiar coffee shop to nurse hot drinks, read and wait for David to pick us up.
The rain stopped again just before it was time and we headed down to the dock. We walked the dock and watched the activity for some time without a sign of David. Finally, a completely different boat pulled in and asked if we were the bicyclists going to Waldron. David had had a slight electrical breakdown on the boat so he sent someone else after us.
We made it back to the house where a nice warm fire was going in the kitchen cookstove so we got to eat and be warm. Two nice things to put together.
Julie and I practiced the songs to be done for the cabaret and now I'm going off to read however many pages I can get in before collapsing into sleep. Perhaps tomorrow, if you can bear the excitement, there will be a photo of the impending cabaret!
 
 
08 August 2008 @ 11:44 pm



And it's also not advisable to take bicycles in a boat on rough seas. We showed up at the dock with our bikes this morning but left them on Waldron in the end since there were several people being ferried and the water was indeed rough. We ended up going to Friday Harbor anyway with our laptops and books. I left my things with Nick and went for a long walk. Then back to the coffeehouse where I'd left him but it was closed. It wasn't hard to find him in one nearby. He did programming work and I did a little writing revision work and then read. Eventually Charlie caught up with us--the whole Loyd clan had come over for a kind of mini-family reunion. Grocery shopped to get the ingredients for a big spaghetti dinner I planned to make. We ended up waiting on Orcas Island for a spell for another passenger whose ferry was late, so got more reading in. Got back to Waldron about 9:00 and everyone was hungry so we had a late but lovely meal together.
Then a little music rehearsal--we're staying through Sunday now because I've been asked to help perform 3 of Julie's compositions for their annual "Cabaret" that night. Now that might seem to make sense since I'm a musician but... she's asked me to sing them with her. That'll be interesting. And probably it would be good to get out of town, or rather, off the island soon after that.
So, right now, the plan is to head back out on the road on Monday. It'll be kind of sad to leave here. It's been peaceful and fun. We're not sure where we're riding tomorrow. I think we'll just get up and see where David's headed and where he could pick us up at the end of the day.
Oh--the photo above: an entrance to an art museum in Friday Harbor. It just seemed like a wonderful little outdoor room. Very cozy.
 
 
07 August 2008 @ 10:30 pm

Not much for photos today--this little place had good food and the best smoothie I've ever had: orange, lemon, peach, coconut, banana and yogurt. Yum!

We got up very early today and took the 7:00 boat from Waldron to catch the 8:10 ferry in Friday Harbor to Lopez Island. Bikes and pedestrians ride free on the inter-island ferries, so that was nice. We made it to the ferry just as it was loading. Also getting on was a rather intimidating woman bicyclist and her less intimidating male riding partners. Even if she hadn't had a shirt with "Iron Man" written all over it I would have known she was a heavy-duty bicyclist. She had leg muscles that could easily kick the crap out of her co-riders. And she looked slightly disgusted as she had to park her bajillion dollar racing bike next to my sweet little Diamondback that is decidedly not a racing bike. (Though, remember, it is upscale for Waldron.)
Lopez was absolutely beautiful and a somewhat easier ride than San Juan. There are certainly uphills but there're also lots of flat spaces. I kept thinking maybe I wasn't getting enough exercise. But then each time I thought that another hill would pop up. Saw many eagles and dragonflies. Lopez Village is tiny and very touristy, but it was nice to sit there and read for a few minutes while we ate and drank. Lots of farms all over the island. The roads again had mostly no shoulders but drivers are very friendly. In fact, today more of the car drivers waved to us than other bicyclists did.
When we got back to the village, the Iron Woman was there with her friends, talking about how they'd just ridden 42 miles. I thought "Huh, they started out when we did and only rode a couple miles more than we did." Then, they took off to ride the 3 miles back to the ferry and we started out a little after. We nearly caught up with them and pulled into the ferry line just after them. Perhaps she was just slumming it today. I did notice that she parked her bike on the other side of the ferry from mine this time. Too bad. I'm sure she would have been really interested in hearing about my sprint triathlons and 1,000 mile bike ride. Just not how long it takes me to do those things.
I'm rambling now because I'm very tired. Played some more music with Julie and several of her neighbors after getting back and scarfing some food. I didn't let myself get bullied into losing at scrabble again though. We're getting a later start tomorrow so we can get some sleep in.
And I'll sign off for the night with a "Hi Larissa."
 
 
06 August 2008 @ 09:28 pm

What I like to think of as a little cavelet on Disney Mountain




The Loyd Manor

We stayed on Waldron today. I slept in a shamefully long time--until 9:30--but definitely needed to sleep. Nick too, though he was up later and slept in longer. I went for a long walk and practically ate my weight in thimbleberries along the way. I came back for lunch and then Julie and I hiked up Disney Mountain. It's not a big mountain by any means, but it's a lovely walk and incredible view. The little cavelet in the picture was nearby where we stopped to veg out in the sun for a bit. Then Julie went down the hill a way to work on some composing and I couldn't resist the little cave in the shade. I sat and read some Jane Austen while the only sounds I heard were a bird rustling here and there and Julie's recorder notes floating up from below. It was pretty idyllic.
The weather is starting to change. I have no idea what will happen tomorrow weather-wise but we'll bike no matter what. I have a nice route mapped out for Lopez Island so we'll go there if we can work out the logistics boatwise.
We've been gone from home over a week!
 
 

There are orcas in there, really! And if you can't see them...




...you'll have no trouble spotting the lovely (and I mean that with no sarcasm) little outhouse that goes to the Waldron Post Office.

First, let me report that the cut-throat game of Scrabble I was forced into last night ended badly, for me that is. Julie bullied me into it and then proceeded to beat the crap out of me by some unseemly 400 points. At least her friend Isa had the decency to only trounce me by a couple of hundred. It was a late night game too and then we all got up early. Julie was off to a lab on Friday Harbor to count plankton. Nick and Charlie got to go spend time in the bio-lab and geek to their hearts' content. There were too many others on the boat this morning so I stayed back to bring the bikes later. The other guests of the Loyds left when I did at 9:00.
I met Nick at the lab and we took off on yet another gorgeous ride on San Juan Island. This time we went farther out and up more hills, often following along by the water. Still no shoulders to the roads but people in the islands are obviously used to bicyclists and it wasn't a problem. The countryside was splendid. There was one hill that I'm sure was more than a mile--up. That wasn't so bad, but there was another hill through the woods in Lime Kiln Park that I would very likely have wussed out on and walked except for two things: 1. Since there are no shoulders you're not supposed to stop anywhere along the route except for designated bike turnouts and 2. Nick didn't wuss out so I had no choice but to keep going. I'd have never heard the end of it.
Other than that I'm quite pleased to find the hills have been no problem for me at all.
We got back to Friday Harbor with a little time to spare so we drank several juice drinks and perused a lovely little used bookstore called Serendipity. We both bought books. Then we met the boat at 4:00 and, after a lovely ride where we stopped to watch a few Orcas frolicking, we arrived back at the house of Loyd and ate, cleaned up and buried ourselves in our computers. There's no phone service here but there is plenty of wonderful wireless. I love it.
No biking tomorrow. Nick and Charlie are going to be working and I'm going hiking. We'll probably bike Lopez Island the next day and then start to think about going onward in the trek.
Now to bed. And actually sleeping in tomorrow.
 
 
 
04 August 2008 @ 09:50 pm

Nick and David at the end of the day in Friday Harbor

A beautiful boat ride this morning--the weather is wonderful. We packed our bikes onto David's boat along with several people, including a poor Waldron resident on his way to get a tetanus shot after smashing his finger yesterday hauling rocks. He was quite cheerful about it.
We decided where to go by where David was headed first. So we got off at Friday Harbor and did a lovely loop of countryside out West Beaverton Road to Roche Harbor Road and back. Several miles of West Beaverton Road had no shoulder but the traffic was light, slow and very, very polite. There was no sense of danger at all and it was really pretty. The only problem was it was fewer miles than we thought so.... we rode it twice. Got back to meet David at 6:30 and then waited a little bit for the Anacortes ferry to come in as David had another passenger coming in on that.
Rode up the hill to the Loyd house to hear wonderful music coming through the meadow. Julie's klezmer group was holding its Monday night rehearsal at her house. We were starved and ate the delicious dinner left for us while listening to klezmer music.
Not sure yet when we're heading north--Waldron and the Loyds are so hospitable and there are miles and fun things to do yet in the San Juan Islands. It's kind of magical here.
I was going to go to bed because we have to get up very early tomorrow, but I've just been bullied into playing a game of scrabble. I'll just sleep on the boat, right?
 
 
03 August 2008 @ 10:49 pm

Biking on Waldron

Kind of a lazy laid-back day today. We started biking, with Charlie, Julie, Kaia and Java the dog accompanying. We got about 5 miles before coming across a garage sale. A garage sale on Waldron is kind of a party. And it appeared a good deal of the merchandise was actually free. Many books, but the deal was that you had to take at least 5. Not having any more room on my bike when it's loaded I refrained from getting anything.
Nick and I only ended up getting 11 miles in in all today on the bikes because the roads on Waldron aren't really meant for road bikes. Or, as one islander said when she saw our bikes, "They're kind of upscale for Waldron."
The Loyds had more guests arrive today and we all had a lovely dinner together and then a little more music making. Now to bed and off to Friday Harbor tomorrow to bike around San Juan Island and then back to Waldron at the end of the day.
Goodnight.
 
 
...because that Ryder truck driver sure wasn't interested in how many pieces I arrived in. More in a moment, but first...




We're on Waldron! Lovely, lovely Waldron.




And here's the boat we arrived in. David's "Waldron ferry." He managed to get us in along with our bikes and gear, cargo of wood, groceries etc. and 5 other passengers.

So back to the narrative. After leaving Coupeville and the nice little cafe we pedaled quickly to Oak Harbor where Nick proceeded to have another tire go flat. Fortunately we were near a bike shop when it happened. After the repair work (and getting, we hope, the final glass shard out) we zoomed onward to try to make the 3:10 ferry in Anacortes to Friday Harbor. David was going to meet us there at 4:15 or thereabouts.
I had read another bicyclist's report of the scariness of the Deception Pass bridge and scoffed at his fear. I humbly apologize for the scoffing. I thought I could walk my bike across the sidewalk. Hah! There is no room whatsoever. So, I had to get on the bike and ride across the narrow, little bridgeway with no shoulder. The first span of it I did what came naturally--I stayed mostly to the right side of the lane. Bad move. Nick waited for me between the two spans and he watched and I heard (and saw from my mirror) a Ryder truck attempt to pass me. Fortunately for all concerned he realized at some point that wasn't going to work. When I stopped where Nick was he explained to me what should have been obviously the safest way to ride--right up the middle of the lane as fast as I could thus making it impossible for a motor vehicle driver to even think about passing. That worked much better. Sheesh.
We took a side road to Anacortes. Lots of uphill but pretty. We were pumping pretty hard because it wasn't at all a sure thing that we'd get there on time. But, we did it with 10 minutes to spare! Charlie met us as we were getting off the ferry and led the way to his dad's boat. And now we're at the wonderful Loyd family home and plan to bike around the island tomorrow to get some of our mileage in. We had a great dinner, which everyone under the age of 29 prepared while Charlie's mother, Julie, and I played music. And we'll play more music tomorrow.
Now I'm going to collapse into bed. And see what other adventures happen tomorrow.
 
 
02 August 2008 @ 08:46 am

Photo by Jesse while watching us sit on that boat for 45 minutes before we got to dock. Pretty picture though.




Nick, me, Ann, Jesse


Two photos for the price of one today, since I didn't get to post last night. No wireless where we ended up. We had such a great time at Ann & Jesse's and got out of there late. Took the Mukilteo ferry (happily working once again) back to Whidbey and pedaled the 30 miles to Coupeville. Now that might not seem very far but... the wind was strong and we were riding into it. The whole way. Plus, we did the 30 miles without ever stopping. We decided we probably shouldn't do that again. We were tired, but still felt very good. Got into Coupeville about 6:15 and spent a bit of time looking for a place to eat. That had priority over finding where to stay. We tethered our bikes at a place called "Christopher's" and realized when we got through the door that it was a little more elegant than we were dressed for. Also, we had no reservation. They were very nice to us anyway. And the food was delicious and pretty and plentiful.
Then we thought about sleeping accommodations. We'd seen a campground about 3 miles out of town, but by this time we were tired and decided, though we probably couldn't afford one of the nice B&Bs we could put up at the quaint (read: seedy) Tyee Motel. It was warm and had a shower. Worked for us. No wireless though.
But--this morning I went for a walk about town (Coupeville is nicer than I thought it was) and found a lovely little spot: Miriam's Espresso & Cafe. So here we are.
I enjoyed the ride yesterday despite the wind. No glass incidents and no ferry interruptions. We made good time--at the restaurant a couple stopped me who had recognized us from seeing us on the ferry. They were impressed with how quickly we'd gotten here. I was maybe a tad slow on the uphills as illustrated by Nick's remark upon passing me yet again on the umpteenth uphill: "We're going to have to get you a seatbelt to hang down and a left-hand blinker to leave on." But notice, he kept passing me on the uphills because I kept passing him on the flats! Not that we're competing.
Today we're off to the San Juan Islands. We'll either end up staying somewhere near Friday Harbor or possibly actually getting to Waldron if things work right. Either way is good. It's interesting to just "go with the flow" instead of having my calendar scheduled like I usually do. I quite like it.
 
 
01 August 2008 @ 12:10 am

My view from where I slept last night and get to tonight.

Another fine day of adventures. It just goes to show how hardcore I've become that I thoroughly enjoyed the day. Except maybe the last 3 miles or so.
It started like this: Nick worked all night until 10 this morning without any sleep after yesterday's ride. Then he finally got some sleep and got up at 2:00. I had a lovely morning running and walking around the Mukilteo waterfront and then visiting with Jesse and eating. (Eating is always good!) Then Nick and I took off in the rain to find the Interurban Trail and get 30 miles in. We did it, but, oh my, it wasn't exactly smooth.
It was raining rather heavily, but we didn't care. Until the end. Then we cared. A lot. Secondly, we rode through an unfortunate pile of glass. It wasn't until some miles later that my tire went flat. But, Nick deftly changed the tube while I searched for and found the offending shard embedded in my tire. That taken care of we travelled on. The trail was quite fun and we headed back a little later than we expected but still planned to be back at Ann & Jesse's long before dark. Best laid plans and all that... About 3 or 4 miles from our destination, Nick's tire went flat. It was pouring, getting dark and we hadn't eaten since lunch so we decided to walk the bikes the rest of the way and change the tire tomorrow morning. I day-dreamed of the lovely, warm shower as we hoofed the last of the city streets, bike lights flashing merrily through the rain and dark. And the shower was as wonderful as I'd day-dreamed. And the food we inhaled was very good too.
But--I have no pictures for you from the day's ride. We were both afaid to take our cameras out in the pouring rain. So you get to see the lovely view from Ann & Jesse's house.
Tomorrow, we get up late, go to breakfast with our friends, change Nick's tire and pack up slowly while the rain stops and the sun comes out around noon. Which it is totally supposed to do. Then off to Whidbey Island again and new (very, very nice) adventures.