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Seattle Bicycle Tour

Seattle Bicycle Tour

September 18th, 2007  · stk

Introduction

 

With Rachel's first vacation break of 2007, in early June, we backpacked the rugged West Coast Trail, dropping Alex off with maternal grandparents, in Vancouver. The second vacation break, in early August, was a 'working holiday', as there is lots of work to be done on our new 5-acre property. For Rachel's third (and last) extended vacation in 2007, we wanted to do an adventure in which Alex could participate. Hiking is out of the question for a three and a half year-old, so we planned a bicycle trip, instead. We formulated a loose plan to cycle from our Yellow Point home, to Seattle, via Gulf and San Juan Islands (and back).

This is Alex's third bicycle trip. Her first was in 2004, when she was a 10-month-old infant. On that trip, we cycled from Banff to Jasper along the Icefields Parkway. The Oop loved camping, cycle touring and getting dirty! Her second touring adventure was in 2005, when she was a 22-month-old toddler. We did a cycle-tour through Glacier & Waterton Lakes. Now walking, Alex enjoyed herself even more - meeting new people, hanging out with our Big Ride buddy, Dave Fitton and of course, getting dirty whilst camping.

At the ripe old age of three and a half, Alex is no stranger to cycle touring and she was ready for more. She's now talking (coherantly), she eagerly told anyone that would listen, of her upcoming cycle trip. This trip will likely be her last in the towable buggy. She weighs nearly 40 pounds and has nearly outgrown the trailer.

On the next trip, she's gonna have to pedal! No more 'free rides'.

We had some concerns about the trip. Dad wondered if he was up to the task of pulling Alex, as he's put on weight too and hasn't cycled much since the last tour, two years ago. Mom is in the same boat in the weight department. Now that Alex is an active kid, how would she tolerate sitting in the buggy for an extended time?

The Route

We never really researched our intended route, though as it came closer to our departure date, we honed the plans a bit more, based on information gleaned from the Internet.

We scrapped our original idea of including a number of (Canadian) Gulf islands and (U.S.) San Juan islands, because most have only a single ferry terminal. This would mean that arrival and departure would be from the same point, which isn't ideal for thru-cycling adventure (though it still might make for an interesting future, island-only, cycling adventure).

With our desire to visit with friend and 10-day time limit, we opted for a route that included only one Gulf island (Salt Spring Island - which has both a north and south ferry terminal). Our modified plan was to cycle from home to Victoria (via Salt Spring Island), hop a ferry boat to the United States, cycle to Seattle (visit friends in West Seattle and Redmond) and then cycle up the Washington coast (visit with friends in Bellingham) to Canada, pedaling to the Tswwassen ferry, which would take us Vancouver Island (Duke Point) and then cycle home.

It sounded like a reasonable plan, but we had no idea what sort of mileages were involved, the avaialability of campgrounds, or the quality of cycling routes. We tend to be an optimistic lot and figure that things like 'routes' and 'camping' will sort themselves out. (We'll touch a bit more on routes and such, at the end of the journal, as we learned some things that might be of use to anyone planning on a cycle trip through this area).

Damn the torpedoes -- we're off the couch and onto our bikes -- here we go!


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