2014 Coastal Ride: Days 1, 2, 3, 4 Peace Arch Border Crossing to Butte Creek, Raymond

On Sunday, June 1st, my husband gave me the best anniversary present ever--he agreed to accompany me on a 36 day long adventure from border to border down the coast. This is what we covered the past four days of riding.

Day 1: Peace Arch, Blaine WA to Bay View State Park, Mount Vernon WA

average speed--10.46
total climb--4050 ft
calories burned--2006
start time--10:30 am

Our first day of riding we were fortunate for two reasons, we did it without gear AND my dad joined us on the ride. We spent 13 miles on Chuckanut Dr. that were gorgeous, thick with trees and ocean to our right. As beautiful as Chuckanut Dr was, it was equally hilly, and pretty tough at times. We rode through Bellingham, ("a cleaner version of Olympia") which instantly made me question why I ever chose Ellensburg for college. We ate lunch sitting on a swinging bench outside a little community bike shop along the bike trail called The Hub. Bliss.

Back at camp we had to say goodbye to my dad AND our car. This was kind of emotional because my dad loves this shit and it was difficult knowing we would continue and he had to return to work. It was also an emotional moment given the fact that we were saying goodbye to the convenience of the car--no more food holding, no running down the road for wood, no hiding from whatever we might encounter. It was liberating and scary. As a side-note, our camp did clear out substantially after my dad left with all of his one-night-of-camping-gear.

Also, Stacia wins our friend award. Stacia was kind enough to pick us up from Bay View campground and drop us at the border early on Sunday. She later rejoined us that evening with dinner!! Even though we were pretty tired, it was nice to spend some time visiting.

We were using Tyler's shirt to light the picture!

Cutie-pie board hanging outside The Hub bike-shop.

Day 2: Bay View State Park, Mt. Vernon WA to Old Fort Townsend State Park, Port Townsend WA

average speed--7.92
total climb--4386 ft
calories burned--2285
start time--7:00 am

Our first day on our own. Would you like to know how many hills we had to walk our bikes up in the first twenty minutes? Three. Shhh...Don't tell no one. Would you also like to know how many times I questioned what we were doing, what madness I had created for us? Too many times to count. Having done the first four days, and with the subsequent two rides forcing us to climb much more, I now feel way more confident in what we're doing. But on this day, when we were pedaling in our "easiest" gear and making no forward momentum, when it seemed we had rode right into a perpendicular wall, and when we had to unclip for fear of simply tipping over, I was cursing myself. My self-loathing did not diminish when I sucked up my pride and got off the bike to push it upward. Pushing a bike with at least thirty pounds is not easy, especially up these hills. I spent much of this time contemplating what I could remove from my bags to lessen the weight.

Panorama in Oak Harbor
After that portion, the rest was pretty cool. We rode a ferry into Port Townsend and crossed over Deception Pass, a ridiculously high bridge linking Whidbey Island to Fidalgo Island. The bridge is 976 ft long and 180 ft up from the water. It was high and while there was the safety of a pedestrian walkway, its width was limited given our back panniers. We probably should have walked the bikes. Instead we pin-balled our way down the shoot while I imagined being knocked over the guard rail and plummeting to my death. I mantra'd "this is terrifying" the entire time which was actually oddly calming. Having said that, it was beautiful. I'd never been to this portion of Whidbey before. I was equally surprised at all the farmland that existed on these islands. Crazy.
The start of Deception Pass--Check out the kayakers!
Port Townsend is beautiful too! Right where the ferry arrives are buildings from the late 1800's that gave the feeling of a ferry time warp. Old Fort Townsend SP had some great hiker/biker spots. Actually, there was one big nook for everyone, but we were the only people there. Therefore, this campsite receives our top award so far.
It's all ours!!
Beach at Fort Townsend.

Day 3: Fort Townsend SP, Port Townsend WA to Potlatch State Park, Shelton WA

average speed--9.29
total climb--8250 ft
calories burned--2660
start time--6:30 am

When we weren't going up, we were going down. Hills, mother f'ing hills, starting with a one hour climb up Mt. Walker. This was definitely a pretty ride with huge trees enveloping the roadway, but it was tough for sure. Even just sitting here, my quads are feeling our last two days. Also, the shoulder was completely non-existent in quite a few spots. Add in some trucks and you have yourself some pretty uncomfortable situations.

We pulled into Hoodsport WA with three miles left to go to reach our campground. We thought we'd stop and warm up with a little clam chowder, but apparently they like don't sell chowder during the week. Disappointing, but the stop was needed. My hands were cramped from gripping my handlebars and my focus needed to be realigned. The eatery was full of kind, inquisitive retirees drinking and playing pool at 2:00 in the afternoon.

Most of Potlatch's campsites were unimpressive, but after setting up camp in a mosquito heaven hiker/biker spot we said screw it, picked up our tent and carried it the 1/4 mile to a way cooler spot complete with an ocean breeze. (This would have been much easier with a vehicle.)
Mossy Trees
Creek next to our campsite.
From Potlatch SP

Day 4: Potlatch SP, Shelton WA to Butte Creek Picnic Area, Raymond WA

average speed--9.00
total climb--6331 ft
calories burned--2924 
start time--6:30 am

We rode most of this portion feeling pretty damn good. It wasn't until the last 12 miles that we were pushed pretty much to breaking. The hills were not expected and the sheer number and height were ridiculous. (If you check out our Runkeeper profiles you can see what I mean.) We knew we had to get to mile marker 61 to reach the picnic area for pick up, but it took sooooo long. I genuinely was unsure if we'd make it before my dad. However, this ride and day 3 really make me feel like we can do this.
snack break

Most of the ride was smooth, quick miles in typical WA fog and dampness. We rode most of the morning in the 50's and decided a stop for some hot soup in Elma would be glorious. Prior to actually riding, I had been looking forward to pie or ice cream from this homestyle cooking restaurant, but on the actual day, I was pretty damn cold and all that sounded good was some hot soup. Again. This time, I was lucky with some tomato macaroni that was pretty awesome.

Butte Creek picnic area was not as I'd imagined. It wasn't open in the typical sense. And there were people shooting guns seemingly right next to us. I wondered about our fates. However, while we waited for my dad, I pretty much ate the entire time which is always good.
Our pick up spot.

The ride so far has really been great. I'm excited to keep moving and to get out onto the ocean. Thanks for all the support!!


  1. Awesome! Will follow you all the way :-) Paula

  2. AMAZING!!! We will be following you both on this incredible journey...♡ Doug and Barbara :-)

  3. How exciting! So happy to hear how you guys are doing! Great pictures and story telling. Wish you another great day tomorrow!

    You will have the ocean mist and breeze in no time :)

    Oh... Plus, You better have more friend awards to hand out (even though our IOU list is insurmountable)... :)

    Go ANDERSONS Go!!!



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