Sunday, August 2, 2015

Pedaling up through Whidbey Island

Sunday, August 2   Day 1   Everett to Sedro Woolley, WA   98 miles, 4800' of climbing

A highlight for me today was crossing Deception Pass. I don't think I even knew about this spectacular spot on Whidbey Isalnd, but WOW.

The day started early with a 5:30 breakfast and 6:15 departure so that we would all be on the 7 am ferry to the island.
Here we are waiting for the ferry. We all made it on time, despite one rider having a flat tire during those first 7 miles.
Bikes got to go first onto the ferry, and later we got to depart first. What a shock.
All those bikes look pretty funny there, and that's only about a quarter of them. We were strewn all over the front of the ferry like that. It was only a 2.5-mile trip to the south end of the island. The weather was nice and brisk, which was quite a change from the triple-digit weather I'd been riding in for about three weeks since the end of the Blue Ridge Parkway tour.

During the first half of the day, the route was in rolling, woodsy areas that were just...NICE. Trees, flowers, not much traffic, but also no views of the ocean.
There's our first rest stop of the day, at 24 miles. I'm still getting used to having so many riders and so many bikes on this tour.
Here's my roommate, Bob Lewis, of Mesa, AZ (suburb of Phoenix). We're matching up great so far. He hasn't broken his bones as seriously as I have, but he sure has stories about breaking bikes and bike parts.
And this is Bill, with whom I rode across the country in 2007. (He lives near Tuscon, AZ.) He has been on many of these PAC Tours, and so has Bob. Actually, about 20 of the 31 riders have, so with the 12 staff who know them, it's one big happy family out there.
After about 30 miles, we got a few glimpses of the ocean, but it wasn't until about 45 miles that we started riding along the coastline more frequently. It was a beautiful day, and remained brisk for the entire morning. It never got hot until late in the day.
A change of scenery and landscape farther up the island.
Saw quite a few deer today, including these on the front lawn of this rental cottage. At the identical cottage next to this one, the visitors were all out on those porch rocking chairs.
Quaint little village of Courtville, where we had a brief rest stop at Mile 45. There were several Victorian B&Bs like the Anchorage Inn that's in this photo. The road is blocked ahead because they were having an annual street fair. We had to ride around it because our route called for riding right through it.
 This red-bark tree and picturesque bay came right after we departed Courtville. I learned that the tree is called a Bear Berry, or Madrona. Anyone have a guess as to what all the floating platforms are out there? Oysters?
 After riding through more wooded areas for a bit, we descended into this attractive bay.
I loved this sign on the road through the bay, but darn, I didn't see any.
And suddenly we came to Deception Pass! I knew from our map that we were going to go over a Deception Pass, but after riding over the Continental Divide 10 times in June, a "pass" to me meant the summit of a mountain climb. This passage was named by Captain George Vancouver in 1792 because he thought it led to more exciting places than it actually did.
I too was deceived, because I thought the first bridge we crossed over -- from where I took the photo above this one and the one at the top of this posting -- was the only bridge. It turned out, once I got back on my bike to proceed north, I went over this second bridge. That first spot I stopped for photos was a big rock right in the middle of the passage. You can see the first bridge in the background of this photo. It was all an amazing spot to see. The bridges are WAY up high over the water.

A few miles after Deception Pass, at our Mile 74, we had our lunch stop. Lots of good food and service by the helpful staff. We use plastic plates and utensils, and the staff wash them for the next food stop. They were always busy stocking the food and keeping us riders happy.
Several miles after the lunch stop, we crossed this inlet from the more open ocean to the north. There were many trawlers cruising south. I turned around and to the northeast was the top of Mt Baker:
We got to see this peak many times today, but the only time I took a photo of it was so I could get all these attractive electrical lines in it. haha (This was on SR 20 and it was busy, so I could not just walk across the bridge to avoid those wires in my shot.)

Soon I crossed over I-5 and was headed to our destination town, about 10 more miles. When I reached our motel, the riders who had already arrived (most of them) were busy cleaning, lubing, and adjusting their bikes while waiting for 3 pm when the rooms would be ready. Everyone here seems to know all about maintaining their expensive bikes! 
On this tour, one of the staff, Barb, from Lincoln, NB, is a massage therapist. I have already signed up for five during this tour, and my first was today. Fabulous. My second is tomorrow, after our 126-mile day crossing over the Cascades to the eastern side. While our route sheet today took four 8.5x11 sheets of paper with all the turns we had, tomorrow's is one sentence: "Depart eastward on SR 20 and 126 miles later, turn into our motel."
Here's the profile for tomorrow's ride. Up for 98 miles to Washington Pass (the kind of "pass" I'm accustomed to), and down for 28.

On this tour we are on our own for dinners. There weren't too many choices withing walking distance, so Bob and I went to a Subway and found most others there too. No 6"ers for us...after 98 miles, we all ordered the foot-longs!
P.S. I love to see all the various jerseys that cyclists wear. Gretta's here is a classic!


  1. Glad you've been having a good time and good weather! Seems as if you all could have had at least 2 foot-longs at Subway. Love all the pix & captions - keep 'em coming. May fave was Deception Pass. Such grand spans & heights!

  2. PS - Remember that I saw otters crossing a road that morning on Mackinac Island? There were 2 or 3 of them. Your sign of course reminded me of that. Hope you get to see some before your trip is over.