Chuckacamano Views 400k Pre-Ride Report

By Mitch Ishihara and Adam Glass

Continuing our islands and views theme from the past two years, we bring you more views from Camano Island, Chuckanut Drive, Bellingham, as well as other sensory infused opportunities from the northern interior of the Pacific Northwest.

Parking & Start

Ample parking at the start location awaits those wishing to get in a 400K.  Be advised though that there are no bathroom facilities.

Bear Creek Park & Ride
7760 178th Pl NE
Redmond, WA

The Pre-ride begins

Three opportunistic fair weather Randonneurs (Adam, Bill, and Mitch) set out to pre-ride the 5/20 Chuckacamano Views 400k route on an overcast and chilly 41°F morning.  All were bright eyed and bushy tails with smiles.  

Note: The start time on 5/20 will be 05:00 to make use of the increasing summer daylight hours.

The first 94K

After leaving the start at Bear Creek Park & Ride in Redmond, we headed north toward Paradise Lake.  Unfortunately, dense underbrush and trees block any views of the lake.  Apparently an artist decided carving wood sculptures from downed trees along Paradise Lake Road would do.

From Paradise Lake Road, we followed a common permanent route to Snohomish on Broadway Ave.  For the unfamiliar, lookout for the bad railroad track angle at the start of Broadway Ave.  After crossing the Snohomish River, the route headed west (left) on 1st Street to follow the river.  If you detour right on 1st, you find Snohomish downtown and a public bathroom on the right.

From Snohomish we took the same gently rolling hills and flatish route as last year’s Island Views 300K out to Marysville. By now, the dense marine cloud layer began to clear to blue skies for our randonneuring enjoyment. This year by popular request, we will take a slightly less traveled (slightly more hilly) route from Forty Five Road to McRae Road NW and Freestad Road south of Lake Ki before joining onto Lakewood Road for a glimpse of Lake Goodwin. As Lakewood Road begins to descend, stay alert for the right turn up onto Frank Waters Road.

In Stanwood there are numerous services, including an AM/PM before making the climb up the Stillaguamish River overpass.

Onto Camano Island

Once on the island, we left the busy HWY 532 on Good Road to take a scenic route along Utsalady Road.  This was recommended to us by our agents on the Island and well worth it.   Stunning views to the north (Skagit Bay).

Quiet roads…and more stunning views to the north (Skagit Bay and Whidbey Island).

A view from the Utsalady Point Park Info Control.

The views continued along Sunset Drive facing west as it dips down into the Sunset Beach neighborhood.  The terrain on Camano Island dips and climbs and repeats but lacks the duration of Whidbey.  At the south end of the Island(122.5 km), Elger Bay Grocery awaits to serve up some much needed calories and a control signature.

Continuing on with a few more dips and climbs, the route dips down with a view to the south (Triangle Cove).

Back on the flats

We eventually made our way off Camano Island to continue north along the flat farm lands with minimal trees.  As per usual there was a steady headwind from the North — use your energy wisely.

There’s an info control at the Shell station in Whitney before crossing HWY 20.  After finding the control answer however, we kept moving along capturing the scenery.

Barns, horses, farm land, …

More views along Bayview-Edison Road with abundant blue skies.  However, the sun was getting low now.

We parked our bikes with the others at Longhorn Saloon & Grill in Edison.  Longhorn allowed us to fill our bottles with water but wouldn’t do it for us.  Breadfarm (baked goods) is next door.

Note: that the Fairhaven control is only about +22.5 km from Edison — some more farmland and then Chuckanut Dr.

Let the Chuckanut adventure begin!

Of course paragliders were out and about enjoying the clear skies (and wind).

For those who desire a respite from possible car traffic on Chuckanut Drive, a stretch of compact dirt on the Whatcom County and Bellingham Interurban Trail parallels the road for 6.6 km.  Bill rode this on a recumbent highlighting the hard packed gravel and grade.  He did report two instances of sharp descents with loose gravel.

A bit beyond half way

We arrived in Fairhaven for the 215 km open control in time for a much needed dinner in hopes of surviving the second half through the cool night hours with enough energy reserves.

Fairhaven offers ample eating opportunities ranging from a Mambo Italiano, a pile of sandwich places, pizza, breweries, etc. You pass a grocery on the way in if you feel you can’t linger.  We strongly encourage you to stock up here on calories as the options beyond this point are limited and mostly of the gas station variety.

Into the night

As the sun set for the evening, so too did the photographers.  The temperature began to drop as the heat escaped into the clear night sky. We did manage to capture Jupiter next to the moon.  Other than this, there really isn’t much to see at night!  But brrr!

The Dodson’s IGA Market info control (243 km) in south Everson, WA marks the approximate northern most location on the route with services.  The folks at the Saloon next door seemed friendly enough as well.

The next services are at a Chevron in Deming at 249 km which lit up the dark sky off to the left of the route like the yard light in Poltergeist.

You know how there isn’t much to see at night?  Proceed with caution between 270 km and 280 km as HWY 9 has some pinch flat inducing potholes.  You can guess how we know.

Next services are at a friendly AM/PM in Sedro-Woolley at 286 km. They have some tasty hot chocolate out of a machine there.

The Safeway Arlington timed control is at 334 km.  Services in Snohomish begin at 368 km.  Woodinville AM/PM is at 389 km.  

The finish is at 407 km at the Redmond Inn.

Summary:

So that’s 407 km that you have to traverse in the 400K ACP Brevet maximum time of 27 hours along with 8000 feet of climbing.

The route can be thought of as four parts: 94 km of relative flatness out to Stanwood, 47 km of beautiful Camano Island views and a bunch of climbs and dips, 100 km of relative flatness north, and a cold return down the HWY 9 corridor.

Challenges:

  • It’s a 400k
  • It’ll be a cold night.  It’s also typically damp and foggy by the time you get to the Centennial.   Plan for mid-30°F at night.

Weather Forecast

The weather forecast for 5/20 is absolutely fantastic!  It is looking to be better than the pre-ride.

Pre-registrations

Help the organizers by pre-registering for this brevet here:
http://brevets.seattlerando.org/register_for_event/397

 

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