Friday June 8 2018. I got up at 5 AM in Fort Casey with strong winds (Oh no the cyclists worst enemy) and decided it was best to catch the earliest Ferry at 7:15 AM. This would leave me some time to tour Port Townsend and have plenty of time (I thought) to get to Port Angeles. It was a quick 40 minute Ferry ride over to Port Townsend. The seas were rough. I got over so early nothing was open! I was not expecting the strong winds in this town. I think today was going to be a challenge.
I did have a quick oatmeal breakfast at camp in Fort Casey but I needed something more for the big bike ride ahead. I eventually found a local coffee shop open on the pier and had my requisite latte and a quiche.
I decided to visit Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend. It was quite an uphill to get there but worth it. Fort Worden Historical State Park is a 432-acre multi-use park with more than 2 miles of saltwater shoreline and a variety of services. I went down to Wilson Point Lighthouse which was very photogenic and also explored the shoreline. The structures on the ground are lovely as are the grounds. Time slipped away and I suddenly realized I needed to get going!
The Olympic Discovery Trail is a designated non-motorized, multi-use trail spanning the north end of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. The route spans around 140 miles between Port Townsend, Washington and La Push, Washington. As of August 2017, 80 miles of this trail are complete and additional miles under construction. The remainder of the route can be ridden using a combination of public roads. I was going to use these trails for the North stretch of my Olympic Peninsula bike tour.
The start in Port Townsend was the Larry Scott Memorial Trail. I was thankful to be off the main highway. The Larry Scott Trail starts in Port Townsend and travels 7.3 miles South and West towards Four Corners where it ends at Milo Curry Trailhead. The Larry Scott Trail is part of the Olympic Discovery Trail and the Pacific Northwest Trail. The Larry Scott Trails is beautifully constructed and is available for non-motorized transportation and recreational purposes including walking, bicycling, wheeling, and horseback riding.
So far, so good. The wind, however, was howling so my pace was tortoise- like. There is not much you can do but gear down and push through. As the trail took me in further inland the wind settled somewhat. Overall, the trail markings were good but lacking at some intersections. I loved the verdant green forest canopy hanging over sections of the trail.
I happily rode along but the wind came back and at times almost stopped me on steep road downhills. Psychologically this is the hardest thing to deal with on a bike. I was off the Olympic Discovery Trail and would only join it again in Sequim WA. Around Discovery Bay I noticed that some dark clouds were approaching and felt the first raindrops. I stopped and got on my rain gear and put the pannier covers on. No sooner had I done this then the deluge started. It was not cold but boy did it rain! Worse yet, I was on sections of major highways so as semi-trailers shot by I was showered with spray and road dirt.
It was very hard riding and it seemed like forever before I got to Sequim. I had to eat something as I was famished and most of looked a site as I walked into the pub. They did not serve hot drinks so a local ale was ordered- purely for therapeutic reasons you understand. I inhaled the meal and got back on my bike.
There are no pictures here as I did not have a weather-sealed camera and honestly I did not want to stop. The late start from Port Townsend, the wind and now the rain all contributed to slowing me down. It was overcast and rain clouds hung low contributing to a darkness and I did not want to be on the highway too late. The Olympic Discovery Trail from Sequim to Port Angeles was stunning. Lovely forest and bridges to cross and so quiet. Despite the conditions I felt strong in terms of peddling but I was getting psychologically tired. It was really quite a long way to get to Port Angeles. I noted marathon mile marker signs along the route (I believe it was run the previous weekend- a challenging but lovely run) so I knew exactly how long I had to go. I got into Port Angeles much later than I expected. I had ridden about 120 km. A long, tough day!
My next task was to get to my campground. I was not exactly sure where it was but is was NOT in town (note to self, do not do this in the future)! After a quick scan of my map I had a reasonable idea where it was. It was a tough slog up some steep hills. I admit it, I cursed some. When I got up above town my heart sank when it appeared to be another 7.5 miles along a major highway. Yes, it’s still raining. I was ready to get off my bike and have a good cry. I thought this is when the tough get going and I went. I pushed hard but made a major error when I missed the intersection for my turn thinking my campsite was further along. It was really starting to get dark and a bit of fear crept in. I was running out of day. I preceded down a steep 2 mile hill only to get to the wrong campground which was closed. I realized my error and started back up the long steep hill. More cursing ensued. When I got back up the hill I noted an obvious sign to my correct campground down a different highway. I eventually arrived in rain but the main office was closed. Thankfully, they left instructions and directions to my campsite on the office door. I looked with envy at all the RV’s as I wandered over and did have second thoughts about this camping nonsense. I set up my tent quickly and stripped out of my wet clothes and literally collapsed into my sleeping bag. The raindrops fell on my tent fly in a syncopated rhythm. It was 10 PM. No food just sleep!
I wondered as I drifted off, would this rain persist for my remaining journey?