Archive for June, 2016

Bike Shop Rescue


Photo from the Loop Road on Anacortes at Washington Park where we are camped

June 8

The parts came in overnight and as promised, Andy the mechanic at Skagit Bike Shop called and said he could get me right in.  The technical details are that my entire bottom end needed replaced.  No, my saddle is fine, MY bottom end is as well – this is for my bike.  New bottom bracket, crank, and chainrings please. 

Lacking a Phil Wood bottom bracket tool, I was rescued by Nick, the mechanic down the street at Bikespot Bicycle Repair.  They got me right in as well and the fix was done within an hour or so.  There are certain advantages when cyclists say they are on the Northern Tier.  There is an understoof urgency to all things needing repair.

We take off east-bound tomorrow and the real riding begins.

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Touring for All Ages

June 7th


Meet Ingrid with her parents Michael and Kim.  These three are launching from Anacortes on a shakedown tour of Salt Spring Island, Canada.  This is in preparation for them to do the Northern Tier starting in July.  Michael has secured a job back home in New Hampshire and will be leaving Seattle after eight years.
Ingrid is an enthusiastic one year old.  Anyone can do this!

Having returned to Anacortes, we are tied up a day or two with some bike parts shipping overnight from my fabulous bike shop at home in Fernandina Beach.  Andrew (Drew) Carver is taking good care of our needs from his new shop, Supercorsa Cycles on Amelia Island.

I am having some difficulty with my app for WordPress and this Android tablet loading things offline.  I intend to post smaller samples to see if things go smoother.  Please be patient as these bugs work out (or ship me a iPad please, I just don’t relate to Android I guess).

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Islands of Beauty

Back in the Day, Planes Were Waterproof

Arriving in Seattle finds us about eight to nine hours later than scheduled due to the graces of American Airlines cancelling flights.  Apparently there was some rain in Dallas, heavy rain as it turns out, but having lived there ten years I know the habits of DFW Airport and our chosen airlines.  The bottom line is we get to sleep in Seattle about the same time we wake up in Florida and we have a shuttle to catch to get us to Anacortes in just a very few hours.  This places us in a state of fatigue that will tax us fairly significantly for several days.

Back in the day, planes flew in the rain and for our part, I confess we were significantly less impaired by schedule interruptions, jet lag and time shifts of three time zones.

Finding our equipment successfully shipped to Skagit Bicycle Shop, we avail ourselves of a couple of parking places out back and I somehow in my fatigue succesfully put two bicycles together without exchanging parts.



Sunset on San Juan Island


A real treat. Orcas making an appearance off of San Juan Island for us. They had not yet been spotted this summer, and we saw two pods coming through.



Meet Olivia from New York and Emma from Berkley. They are on their way to the U.S. Mexico border from Vancouver.




Looking west toward Victoria and Vancouver Island



The Olympic Mountains on the horizon barely visible through the mist




Mt. Baker and the Twin Sisters covered in snow on the horizon

Obviously the weather was fabulous and visibility about as perfect as one sees from Mt. Constitution

For our cycling friends: Not uncharacteristically, we encountered some poorly chosen advice from folks. Unfortunately, many of the sources of poor advice were cyclists. Pretty much everyone said Lopez Island was “flat”, San Juan was “hilly” and Orcas Island was some sort of killer of cyclists and their bodies pile up in the forests as they topple from their bikes from exhaustion trying to scale the grades and climbs. Nonesense. All of these islands have significant climbs and were taxing to two folks from Florida, but come on. Lopez was not flat and Orcas was not any worse than any other.

Most importantly, we were told over and over by everyone that the last two miles of the climb up Mt. Constitution was some sort of death match with gravity. I suspect this is an uban legend that gets passed on from cyclist to cyclist, scares people off the attempt, and folks take their rented car up there instead. The truth is the last two miles of Mt. Constitution were the easiest part of the entire climb.

Finally, for those who want to explore the islands, I recommend using Lopez Island as your base camp. The campground on Lopez has the fastest, shortest ride to the inter-island ferry and will serve you well to take day-trips to any other island from there.

P.S. A tip of the hat to the Washington State Ferry System. Cyclist pay a fee to leave Anacortes, but from there on the inter-island ferry system is free to all hikers and bikers. The ferries run on time and they are a jewel to treasure.

I’ll be back next week with more. In the meantime we are back in Anacortes awaiting a Fed Ex shipment of some needed bike parts to help with a problem I developed. It’s not a big deal, and we’ll start our trip east very soon from this, the starting point of the Northern Tier.

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