August 3, 2011
I’m flat on my back on the ground.
“Are you OK?”
“Yeah, I’m OK…….are you OK?”
For all of the trees around here, most of them are massive cedars and they are too big to tie the hammock straps. Earlier, I had tied one end of each hammock to what turned out to be a rotten stump of a tree, with the other ends going to separate trees. The weight of both of us in our hammocks was too much for the remaining roots and the whole thing pulled out at ground level and fell neatly in between us. Sky King had retired before I did and I tried not to think about what might have happened if her weight alone had been enough to pull the tree over, because I imagine it would have fallen on top of her. A rude awakening to say the least.
We scuttled around with the headlamps on to retrieve our sleeping bags from the wreckage and we spent the rest of the night under the stars. I felt dumb, but I don’t think that will happen again!
It’s less than 20 miles to the Clinton ferry from South Whidbey Island state Park, and US 525 has a nice shoulder. A short diversion on Newman Road from Freeland provided a quite ride until the junction with 525.
A few miles outside of Clinton a parking lane appears which is meant for vehicles waiting for the ferry and we coast past a long line of cars which, according to the signs, will still not be on the ferry for another hour. And when we get in line to buy our passes the woman in the car behind us tells us it is free for bicycles going back to the mainland. So we roll right to the front, rejoicing in one of the very few moments when a bicycle has more rights than a car.
I would give directions to the multi use path, or MUP, system from Mukilteo, but I’m still not sure how we found it. I had directions printed off of Google Maps but after talking to a driver at the fruit stand where we stopped who said, “I’ve been delivering here for 15 years and I’ve never heard of Natures Path Road” we abandoned those and used the Droid to find another route. But after getting well and truly lost again we stopped at a fishing tackle store where we were told how to get to the Burke-Gilman trail. We got a few miles closer using his directions but still had to rely on the Droid for the last few miles.
We finally crossed Bothell Drive and were on the trail. A chatty Seattle cyclist lady gave us directions to the Sammamish Trail, but by thus time I was having none of it and decided to trust the Droid from here to Bellevue.
I have to give kudos to Seattle for their MUP system but I wonder if they could scrounge a few dollars more for some signage. Once we got on the Burke-Gilman we still were confused and took a number of wrong turns before we got to the Sammamish Trail and ultimately to the 520 Trail. But not before a detour over the Bridal Crest Trail, which is dirt and very steep. And then we literally were ejected onto a suburban neighborhood street with no idea where the trail went until we saw a bike rider appear from a barricaded abandoned road which was the access to the 520 Trail continuing toward Bellevue.
Once back to our starting point in Bellevue we both had to agree that this tour was a success. No mechanical failures and no major physical problems presented themselves. This is a spectacular part of the country. I really didn’t realize the extent of the rugged mountains and wilderness which exist so close to Seattle and which we could see in the distance every day of our ride. We plan to do some more bike touring here in the near future.