I don't remember what year it happened exactly, I think it was 1981, 82, or 83 (hey, it was a while ago). My friends Darrell, Tia, and Judy decided to do a bit of a bike trip.
The plan was for three of us (Me, Tia, Darrell) to ride and Judy would be our chase car. We would leave our homes and proceed on a circuit of the islands around Puget Sound, staying each night either camping or at a pre-selected location.
I just mapped the route, 120 miles total.
We were young, right? I was in relatively decent shape at that point and I neglected one major point - to train.
I don't remember how we met up, but I think Darrell and Tia rode to my house in Bothell and we went from there. Judy would follow later, after she got off work.
Now, to get to the various islands and the peninsula around Puget Sound, there are two ways to cross the water - either by bridge or Ferry. Our first goal was the Edmonds Ferry to Kingston. The ferry fleet in Washington is pretty weathered nowadays, it seemed that way back then too. I took those rides for granted back then, the Sound is truly one of the most picturesque places in the world. Our ride had just started, so we weren't feeling too bad and besides, we were on an ADVENTURE.
After arriving at Kingston, I got a glimmer of a fatal flaw in my understanding of the trip.
If you arrive at an island, everything starts out up hill.
Darrell's tire was apparently cursed as soon as we hit the peninsula. He used up his spare tubes pretty quickly and patching didn't seem to hold for too long. I was starting to feel like I was in pretty bad shape and we hadn't seen Judy yet (pre cell phone era).
It was getting pretty late in the day by the time we got to our first stop, Fort Flagler. The Fort was originally
built in the 1890's as part of 3 strategically placed battlements that could theoretically stop an invasion of the Sound by sea. Those of you not from Washington might recognize the sister Fort, Ft. Worden as the set for 'Officer and a Gentleman'. All the Forts were converted to state parks and one of these was our destination for camping the first night.
Judy finally caught up (with food and the huge tent) and we crashed for the night.
Walking the next day was a challenge.
The original plan was to go to the next Fort to camp for the next evening. Our inability to move very well altered our plans somewhat. We made it to Port Townsend in relatively one piece the next day, purchased all the bike tubes we could find for Darrell and took the Port Townsend Ferry over to Keystone Landing on Whidbey Island.
So, why if we were in so much pain did we decide to add 10 miles (the ever present 'just got to the island so it is uphill' problem did not go away) to our trip?
Strategy, my friend. Strategy.
Five miles after Keystone Harbor, we had an oasis. My family had a cabin on Whidbey Island. It was right on the water with a wonderful view of the Olympic Mountains and, most importantly, plumbing and beds. Originally, we planned the cabin for our final night but the amenities called to us - demanding that we make use of them.
Our legs held out (as well as Darrell's tire) and we made it to the cabin.
We stayed two nights, played board games and had a thoroughly relaxing time.
The final day seemed more like the last leg of a quest. I think we all just wanted to get home. There was one more Ferry ride (Clinton to Mukilteo) and about 15 miles to get home (for me anyway). Towards the end, we each split up to head to our respective homes.
Is there a lesson from this trip? Sure there are probably a few:
- Adventures with friends are priceless
- When you get to an island, it is always up hill.
- Don't be stupid - train!