May 282018
Day Four: Port Angeles to Lake Crescent

Today’s ride: More sweating ups and coasting downs heading from Port Angeles to Lake Crescent for some quiet time off the bike. I planned this short day to follow the long day, which was a Very Good Idea.

We ran a few errands in Port Angeles — chain lube, dextrose for the water bottles, snacks for our cabin time — before tanking up at New Day Eatery. This little spot on Front Street had great French toast and coffee and an old man playing guitar in a corner, singing songs I remember hearing on my parents’ record player like “King of the Road”. Their menu includes vegan and gluten-free options and we could lean the bikes against the wall right outside the window to keep an eye on them, which made up for the lack of a bike rack.

Shoutout to Port Angeles for the green paint and bike lanes, and considerate drivers who stopped to wave us across a few intersections.

We took the most direct route getting to the Log Cabin Resort on the north shore of the lake, skipping the Olympic Discovery Trail and just jumping onto State Route 101 out of Port Angeles. With this being Monday of Memorial Day weekend more traffic went by us going the opposite direction than overtaking, although there were a few busy stretches.

Almost the entire way we had what I dubbed (in very NON-engineering lingo) a “sweetheart shoulder” at least six feet wide. This gave us plenty of room to ride side by side except in a couple of places (and whenever I chose to take cover from the wind behind Hubs). I also appreciated the spot by a casino that had a bike lane striped to the left of the right turn only lane, as a cue to drivers that bicyclists use this route and a safer lane positioning than the shoulder at that point.

We did have to pedal over two very short bridges that had less than six inches of space between the edge line and guardrail. We watched for traffic behind and lucked out in finding a hole on both, helped out by one considerate driver who hung back a bit and didn’t crowd us on the bridge, then overtook once we were safely back on a full shoulder.

More than once along the way I enjoyed a downhill coast, then reminded myself I would have to pedal back up this hill on the way back. That’s one key difference in today’s route — unlike other days that keep us moving forward on mileage we won’t see again, this piece of the route is an out and back. The scenery is jaw-droppingly gorgeous the whole way so it could be much, much worse– we could be revisiting some concrete jungle mileage. Those hills, though…. I am going to be so glad the shoulders are wide in case I need a break now and then.

We started out pretty layered up against the ocean wind blowing off the water in Port Angeles. Up a couple of hills, though, and the outer layers came off.

Not long after turning to the section of highway that hugs the lakeshore we got onto absolute silk: freshly laid road surface (thanks again, WSDOT colleagues!). This, and the very low traffic volume with most people heading away from rather than toward our destination, more than made up for the absolute lack of shoulders.

And I do mean zero shoulder here — maybe two inches of pavement past the outer edge of the paint. Signage instructed drivers “Caution Bicycle Riders” and the speed limit on this stretch is 25mph (not that I think we have ever encountered any drivers actually obeying the speed limit).

We found one small patch to stop on — definitely a bike-only spot, not a car space — to check our mileage to the resort. The wind had been blowing pretty briskly coming downhill and we put sleeves back on, glancing with concern at a dark gray cloud overhead.

That cloud started to drop just a few little spits as we unloaded the bikes at Log Cabin Resort. The mist has settled over the mountains and we may not end up renting the paddle boats waiting at the end of the dock.

On the other hand, choosing a pedaling activity for a recovery day may never have been on the list. I did buy wine during the errands this morning, remembering a sign we saw at the Greenbank Farm wine shop on Whidbey Island a couple of days ago–WINOS: Women In Need Of Sanity. A real vacation is an investment in mental health, after all.

Distance: 22.3 miles

Total mileage to date:

Bike: 155.55 miles

Ferry: 9.7 miles

Wildlife: Didn’t see any but not surprised given our route.

Yesterday: Port Townsend to Port Angeles

Tomorrow: Chillaxing.

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