For the Labor Day weekend, G and I decided to take a trip up to Whidbey Island and camp out at South Whidbey State Park. I normally don't like camping on holiday weekends, as it usually means that things are crowded, noisy, etc, but my last few attempts to plan a camping trip had been thwarted by other weekend plans, so I figured it was Labor Day Weekend, or no weekend at all.
We headed out Friday morning under gorgeous weather, perfect for riding.
(view along Lake Washington Blvd.)
(View from somewhere along the route)
The ride to the Mukilteo ferry was a pleasant one, winding through North Seattle, Shoreline, Woodway (??), and Edmonds, before meeting up with the noisy, strip-mall-laden crap road known as the Mukilteo Speedway. As far as I can tell, taking the Speedway is the only way to get all the way to the ferry from the south, without taking some ridiculous detours.
The ferry ride was nice, as always, but I did notice some Coast Guard boat escorting the ferry across, complete with helmeted, machine-gun wielding soldier guy:
We detoured through the town of Langley for some giant slices of pizza at Village Pizzeria, before powering out the last 15 miles or so to the campground.
People say that Seattle is hilly, which it is, but Seattle has nothing on Whidbey Island. Seriously. Taking the side roads, and avoiding the main highway across the island led us to some amazing country roads, but oh! the hills!! Add to that the weight of the gear we were carrying, and you start to get the idea. It was completely worth it though, as this was our view right behind our tent site:
We walked down to the beach and saw tons of fishermen pulling in salmon left and right, just fishing off shore. Every 20-30 seconds, we'd see a salmon jump out of the water, and splash back down, just feet from the beach. Apparently, there's a record-breaking run of pink salmon that are making their way through the Puget Sound right now, and we were there to witness the madness. I'd never seen a fishing scene quite like it, but then again, I've never fished for salmon during a record-breaking run either.
The camping itself over the next 2 days and nights was great. It rained, but only at night (apparently it had been raining a ton back in Seattle), and we took advantage of the completely empty hiker-biker campsites that were on the edge of the park. On a weekend when every single campsite on Whidbey Island was reserved via the Internet, the non-motorized spots (which you can't reserve ahead of time) were desolate. This alleviated any concerns I had about being in a packed, noisy campground with generators, screaming kids, and the like. South Whidbey State Park is lodged in some really nice old-growth forest, and has a quick trail that leads to the beach.
We took a day trip up to Coupeville for some Penn Cove mussels (you can't seafood that's more local than that!) and a beer.
(Coupeville wharf, shot in B+W to enhance its ol-timeyness)
We headed for home Sunday morning, after a breakfast of bread and foraged blackberries (delicious!). JUST as we were pulling out of our site, the rain started. And it rained. and rained. and the wind blew. and it rained. I have no pictures from the ride home, since it was a wet, cold, muddy affair. Suffice it to say that we had a headwind the entire 50 or so miles home, and were wet head to toe. The kicker is, just as we were heading down the long hill to the ferry terminal on the Whidbey side, G got a wicked flat. Whatever she arn over left a huge gash in the tire, but luckily I was able to boot the tire with a chunk of old tire that I always carry with me for just such an occasion. Once we finally made it to the ferry, a fellow passenger saw our bedraggled selves and offered us directions to the nearest pho restaurant, since he said we looked cold. We were.
The trip was amazing overall, and I really enjoyed my time on Whidbey. I felt like it was the last bike camping trip I'd be able to fit in before summer ended. Actually, I feel like summer officially ended that last night, as I laid in the tent and listened to the wind and the rain roll in at the end of a beautiful day.