RA4: Team RA Connects

Port Townsend WA to Rasar State Park WA

We both thoroughly enjoyed a nice warm and comfortable night in the motel in Port Townsend, although both of us stayed up too late blogging.    Breakfast at the Lighthouse Café downtown, then a quick trip to the post office where I’d had a helmet visor sent general delivery.   It was there!  It’s always great when a plan works.

We jumped on the ferry, something I’d been looking forward to.  This ferry was a nice one,  taking about 30 minutes for passage to Coupeville, wth great views of the town and surrounding islands.  Jack and I eventually landed in the front guest area, dozing in a couple of seats watching the world go by.  A simple pleasure.

Harley riders and tractor-trailers waiting for ferry
The bow

Out of Coupeville, it really felt great to finally be pedalling in the sunshine.  In fact, temperatures rose into the high 60s with clear blue skies – glorious riding weather.   I found it amazing to consider that only 36 hours ago we were shivering in the 30s.

What we like to see

Our route took us north through Oak Harbor, around the Whidbey Island Naval Air Base, and finally to the Deception Point State Park.  There was no room for bike passage across the busy Deception Point bridge, so we took to the footways alongside.  They were so narrow that our panniered bikes could barely fit through.  The walkways took us out across a span bridge hundreds of feet above the water seething in eddies and whirlpools beneath us – absolutely breathtaking views.  When pedestrians crossed our paths going the opposite direction, it sure was a tight squeeze.

Crossing the super narrow pedestrian lane at Deception Point
This going to work?

North to the Anacortes area, then east on SR20.  This point marked our joining with the Adventure Cycling Northern Tier route, which we plan to follow all the way into North Dakota.  Our RA friends had cycled this very stretch probably this morning.

Up over one rise, Jack and I finally spied the snow capped peaks of the Cascades dead ahead.   We knew that in just a couple of days, we’d be there trying to make our way through.

First glimpse of the Cascade Mountains

The AC (Adventure Cycling) route led us off SR20 and onto a Bay View Shore Trail, a winding gravel path adjacent to an expansive tidal mud flat.  Today the winds were really scremaing and we made a slow go of it.  Finally off the path, I followed the AC route dutifully, rode a mile, sensed something was wrong, rode another mile, and soon found myself back at the entrance of the Shore Trail.  Dangit.  Jack, behind me but out of my earshot, already knew I’d made an error but followed anyway so I wouldn’t get lost.  We backtracked and I saw that I’d missed a 0.2 mile turn in the route, causing a 5 mile penalty.  Devil in the details.

After a few more squirrely AC turns, Jack and I decided to take a beeline for Sedro-Woolley, which turned into a superb decision.  We found a festival market in full swing there and stopped to mill around the stalls filled with crafts.  Everyone seemed to be smiling – today was apparently the first warm day with sunshine they’d seen in quite a while.  We hit up a Mexican place for an excellent (very) late lunch – it was already 5PM.

Finally east on SR20, another 90 minutes took us to our camp for the night at Rasar State Park.  All our buddies were already there and had secured a campsite for us ($12 for 7 tents – not bad).   The park is in a beautiful old pine forest and has good services (showers, etc.)  We yakked it up for another couple hours, comparing camping gear, sharing travel stories, and talking cycling.   We all hit the tents when daylight ended.

Rasar State Park - the RA team connects! Clockwise from left: Frank, Bill, Roger (in maroon), Jesse, Gary

Having the seven of us finally here at Rasar State Park on the designated day is the result of much thinking and planning and conditioning and anticipation on everyone’s part.  It’s really cool that it’s all coming together like this.

76 miles today, with around 2000 feet of climbing.  In the last four days Jack and I have racked up 307 miles.  Three centuries in four days!  All four of our legs are sore, my two hands are tender, and Jack’s one butt is unhappy.  We’ll pay close attention to these things, but it is all part of ramping up into this steady touring gig.  I think we are doing well so far.