Monday, September 15, 2014

RAW Days 2 and 3 - Coupeville to Port Angeles

Here is the itinerary for our Africa trip.

Coupeville to Port Angeles

Near the ferry landing. The cabins are for rent.
Today we rode from Coupeville to Port Angeles. Because the ride included a ferry trip, we had a very early start. I got things as ready as I could so I could get my clothes bag on the truck at 4:45 am on the way to breakfast and then have time to strike the tent and be on the road by 6:00 for the flat four miles to the ferry landing. We awoke to a heavy fog which made me glad I had made the decision to bring everything other than my bike inside the tent. Everything was so damp, we could just as easily had a rainstorm overnight things we so wet.

Everyone made it to the ferry on time including Governor Inslee who joined us for the day. Inslee made an official declaration about the ride and named the director as the person of the day. No one knew he was coming until he called the night before to say he would take the place of an aide who was unable to ride for the day. An avid cyclist, Inslee was one of the early finishers for the day.
Discovery Bay
The highlight of the ride was the amount of time we got to ride on the Olympic Discovery Trail. This multi-use trail will eventually extend 126 miles from Port Townsend to the Pacific Ocean at LaPush. By skirting the north side of Lake Crescent it will avoid what is not a difficult choice between a narrow section of Highway 101 or a long ride on Highway 112 where riders must compete with logging trucks who are none too happy about sharing the road. For now we have about 40 miles available and can see what a great job they have done to create this trail. We traveled through heavily wooded sections and spent time right along the coast enjoying the views of the water. For today, the few miles we actually we enjoyed lightly traveled roads usually with wide shoulders. The only difficult part of the ride was the last few miles into Port Angeles as we faced a good headwind once we left the forest.

One of the beautiful Madrona trees seen along the coast from BC to California

The bark peels naturally leaving this great beauty

One unfinished section of the trail. Fortunately, only about 100 feet of gravel.

Today was a good bird day with a bald eagle in the trees above the ferry landing, marbled murrelets as we rode the ferry and a pair of kingfishers flashing in front of me along Discovery Bay. Of course, we also saw a number of gulls along the coast line. The S’Kallam tribe drum band played a welcome song and a blanket song for our evening entertainment as they passed the blanket raising money for a Hawaii trip to a PowWow in Hawaii honoring one of their elders. Several pre-school age children soloed during the performance.
S'Klallam Dancers
Following the performance, the tribal chair talked about effort to remove the two dams on the Elwah River. So far, this is the largest dam removal project in the US. They will finish the removal of the second dam this year opening the rivers to salmon for the first time in nearly 100 years. The Elwah was once famous for the 100 pound chinook salmon that were regularly caught. While about 1/3 of the sediment is yet to make its way down the river, they are already seeing salmon return to some of the tributaries and birds returning to the recreated sandbars at the mouth of the river.

Port Angeles Rest Day

Today is the rest day which means there are optional rides for those who want to further punish their bodies. Ride alternatives include the 12 mile climb up Hurricane Ridge and an easier 40-mile loop. Other options included taking the Black Ball Ferry to Victoria or just hanging out in Port Angeles. The local bicycle club arranged for us to get a free beer at one of the local breweries where it set up a bike corral to protect the bikes while we wandered around downtown.
Free beer and bicycle parking at the Barhop.

Port Angeles waterfront art
 I thought I would try the 40-mile loop but after about 12 miles, I decided I would just head back to town to find a bookstore and lunch before heading back to camp. Since I had already finished two of the three books I brought on the ride and was nearly done with the third, I knew I would need a couple more. Fortunately, PA has two nice bookstores downtown where I was able to find a couple of books already on my reading list. I had a great burger and beer at the Next Door Gastropub where I met a couple from Dallas, Texas who were on their way to Vancouver, Washington so I was able to give them some advice about things to do and see in my home town.
After a shower back at camp, I hopped on the bus to take a tour of the Arthur D. Feiro Marine Life Center. Fiero was a high school biology teacher who pretty much single-handedly brought the center to life and played a major role in the creation and development of Peninsula Community College.  The center is a research facility with several live tanks filled with local sea life. Our guide had been a metal engineer in Minnesota before deciding on a second career as a marine biologist. Somehow he made it to PA where he earned at AA degree and Peninsula Community College and now spends most of his time volunteering at the Marine Center. Among other things he told us about how the octopus injects a paralyzing element into its crab captives. The paralyzer softens the crab meat so that the octopus can suck it out of the crab without crushing the shell. After the tour, I headed over to the Bar Hop for my free beer before the bus ride back to camp and dinner.

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