Seattle to Port Townsend – Stage 1
After 5 days of travel, acclimatisation, sightseeing & final preparation, today marked our first day of cycling on our big adventure. The plan was to get to breakfast for 8am, so we had plenty of time to load the bikes & ride the 2 miles to the Washington State Ferry Terminal for the 9.35am departure. However, we hadn’t factored in that the short order cook would choose today to have a lie-in!!! The outcome was breakfast took more than an hour & it quickly became clear we wouldn’t be catching our planned ferry.
By the time we were fully loaded (the panniers, plus tent, sleeping bag, air mattress & rucksack weigh a touch over 20 kg -about 44 lbs in old money) & ready to leave the Holiday Inn (our base for the last 4 nights) it was almost 9.45am & light rain had started to fall. Not the start we planned, but in the grand scheme of things, this wasn’t going to define the trip, the day or the morning. We made our way across town & joined the queue (or a line as was pointed out to me) for the 10.40am ferry crossing to Bainbridge Island.
The 35 minute crossing offered up great views of the Seattle skyline & as I was lining up my photo the Bainbridge Island to Seattle ferry chose that moment to cross behind us.
We were planning to take the main routes across Bainbridge Island on our way to Port Townsend, but in a strange twist of fate, the delay to our departure resulted in us meeting a fellow cycling aficionado by the name of Bob at our coffee stop. He’s a local & he shared his advice on how to avoid the busy roads for the next 15 miles – he’s a keen long distance rider who spent 6 weeks or so earlier this year cycling part of the Southern Tier route across the USA. He also kindly shared his phone number & offered to help us if we get stuck.
Bob’s route was an absolute gem as it started off taking us through the Norwegian settler town of Poulsbo – as we left town, we had the road almost to ourselves & we also kept being rewarded with huge views of the coastline. Partway along Bob’s detour an approaching cyclist waved to us & the next thing we knew he spun around & started riding with us. We had a very pleasant chat for about 20 minutes or so before he needed to go his own way – before he left us, he shared another detour to the beautifully named Paradise Bay Road.
These encounters are events we’d hoped to have at some point along our adventure – to experience 2 such meetings on the first day was amazing! As we carried on along Paradise Bay Road, we were teased with views of the Puget Sound, as well as passing fields of horses, cattle & llamas!!! We passed through the idyllic town of Port Ludlow where once again we could see across to mainland USA – by now the light rain & slate grey skies of this morning were a long distant memory.
As we reached Port Hadlock, we returned to the busy main road that we’d been fortunate to avoid for the last 30 miles. However, after a long drag up to the airfield we picked up a nice tailwind & descended into Glen Cove. From here we picked up a delightful gravel bike trail that hugged the coast, then cut across what looked like a boat graveyard – further research shows that the Aleutian Express is undergoing repairs. Before we knew it, we’d been delivered us to our hotel for the evening – the Aladdin Inn is situated right on the shoreline & the third photo below is from our hotel room!
In the excitement of the late start & our detours, we didn’t stop for lunch, however The Bayview Restaurant ensured that we received a feast fit for kings! The salad, 12 ounce rib & coconut cream pie didn’t stand a chance!!! I washed it down with a Port Townsend IPA while Sean chose a red ale as we relaxed from our sea view! Should you ever visit, I would absolutely recommend the Bayview Restaurant – top quality food & a really friendly welcome.
I made a last minute decision to write up today’s adventure, as it was the first day of us riding & because it ended up being so different (in a very good way) to what we had expected! While tomorrow looks set fair for a glorious day in the saddle (with another ferry crossing), it looks like our planned route across the Cascades may not yet be open. However, that’s a problem to sort out another day – tomorrow actually!!!
I’m hoping to do another update next weekend. but will try & post a few photos on Inst & Facebook.