by Bill Gobie, ride organizer
Pre-riders: Peg Winczewski, Mitch Ishihara, and Adam Glass
— Important Notes —
The finish has been moved to the 24-hour AM/PM convenience store in Kingston. The AM/PM is virtually as convenient to the ferry as the previously planned finish at the Filling Station. The finish will not be SIR-staffed. Riders will be given a stamped, addressed envelope to mail their cards to the organizer (Bill).
Mitch & Adam discovered the Filling Station was in the process of shutting down at midnight. Peg found it was entirely closed up at 1:30 AM. Without an attractive finish venue that will definitely be open, it is too much to ask a volunteer to hang out for hours waiting for riders. We regret this departure from SIR tradition. Early finishers will probably find the Filling Station a nice place to wait for the ferry.
Potential delay at the Hood Canal Bridge when returning
WSDOT is conducting work on the bridge that can only be accomplished at slack water (minimum tidal flow). The bridge is closed to all traffic during this period. A slack will occur at approximately 11:30 PM Saturday night. WSDOT is vague as to whether work will actually occur on a given night. While WSDOT has posted a standing warning about the work, the pre-riders did not encounter a delay. You should be prepared for a delay of up to one hour in the window from 10 PM to midnight. A closure like this is part of the unpredictable conditions randonneurs are expected to overcome; no extra time will be given if the bridge is closed. You may want to pack some warm clothes in case you are forced to wait.
The weather forecast for the weekend calls for significantly cooler temperatures than we have recently endured. The pre-riders noted a cooling marine effect near the water, and much warmer temperatures after leaving Crescent Lake. Generally high humidity may make nighttime temperatures feel chilly.
There is ample parking in the Park & Ride lot on Hansville Rd NE, just north of the start location, if you elect to drive your car to the start. The SIR ride page discusses the issues of overnighting or catching the last ferries either to Edmonds or Seattle and why you may want your car.
The Olympic Discovery Trail
The route uses the ODT extensively. While the ODT is a marvelous facility, it is not a bicycle superhighway. It has poor sightlines preceeding sudden 90-degree turns and 15% pitches that can take you by surprise. Some road crossings are a little vague – the trail may resume a bit to the left or right vs straight across a crossroad. It is popular with walkers and families with small children; please ride cautiously and be respectful of all users. Portions are paved with rough, slow chip seal.
There will be vanishingly little support. A volunteer might be available to assist with an emergency DNF until early evening. Phone coverage is spotty; do not count on assistance being available. Bus service is available on the Olympic Peninsula.
Bill’s cell phone connected to a Canadian network in the vicinity of Crescent Beach. If you do not want to be hit with surprise roaming charges you might want to put your phone in airplane mode in this area.
— The Pre-Ride —
Our day began with a surprise rain shower in Edmonds. Dawn broke as the ferry reached Kingston. The pre-riders departed on schedule in pleasantly cool conditions.
The route begins with a ramble over to Big Valley Rd, then heads north on WA-3 and across the Hood Canal Bridge. We leave the main highway for the quieter, and steeper, parallel route on Larson Lake and Eaglemount Rds.
The first resupply opportunity comes at the Discovery Bay Village Store at 54 km. The store opens at 9 AM, 2 hours 15 min after the ride starts. Fast riders may arrive before the store opens. They should plan to resupply in Sequim, at 87 km. Water is available sooner, at 77 km in Sequim Bay State Park. The Longhouse Deli in Blyn is not recommended because reaching it requires crossing busy US-101.
After Discovery Bay the route uses Old Gardiner Rd. Old Gardiner Rd is remarkably tranquil for being so close to US-101.
In Blyn the route sheet directs your attention to the pedestrian tunnel under US-101. Riders navigating by route sheet should take note of the tunnel’s location. The return route uses the tunnel. Its entrance is difficult to see in the return direction.
In Blyn the route picks up the Olympic Discovery Trail. The pre-riders discovered a wee problem with the trail. Fortunately detouring around the collapsed bridge is easy. The detour has been added to the route.
A few miles after passing through Sequim Bay State Park, the route leaves the trail to approach Sequim on Brownfield Rd, avoiding the strip mall congestion that the trail would lead you into. It is important to stop when turning off the trail because the road to the left is an uncontrolled exit ramp from 101. Traffic does not stop! An information control at this spot reinforces the need to stop.
In Sequim the route passes by the Safeway. Other food options are available off-route on Washington St.
Leaving Sequim you visit the salacious intersection of Woodcock and Kitchen Dick Rds. Proceeding west, the route eventually returns to the Olympic Discovery Trail, remaining on the trail all the way to Port Angeles. If the waves are high you may literally get a taste of salt water!
Port Angeles offers resupply opportunities. The route returns to the trail after leaving Port Angeles. At the Elwha River you cross the cool bike bridge suspended beneath the highway bridge.
The route follows WA-112 for a few miles before turning for Crescent Beach. At Salt Creek Campground military history geeks can take a short off-route detour to see the casemates built shortly before World War II for two 16″ naval guns. Uniquely, the park road goes right through both emplacements.
Scenic Crescent Beach marks the westernmost point of the ride. After passing by the beach, the route climbs and turns inland on a narrow, forest-hemmed road heading for Crescent Lake. At the WA-112 crossing you can go a short distance off route left to the Blackberry Cafe in Joyce for a milkshake, pie, or something more substantial. But don’t get too stuffed; you still have to climb over the hill to Crescent Lake.
Alongside Crescent Lake, Beach Rd offers pretty views of the east end of the lake. After climbing out of the lake’s basin, the pre-riders suddenly encountered much hotter conditions on US-101. The control at Shadow Mountain General Store is a good place to prepare yourself for the challenge of Little River Rd. Be sure to leave with full bottles and good energy. The store’s ice cream is highly recommended!
After some noisy miles on US-101, you turn onto Olympic Hot Springs Rd then onto Little River Rd. Little River has the longest and steepest climbing on the route. The grade reaches 15% in places. About 4 km of this road is dirt. There is not much large gravel. Mitch & Adam rode 25 & 28 mm tires with no trouble, although there are places where you may have trouble resuming riding if you stop. The road heads uphill through a mix of forest and clearcuts. If the day is warm the clearcuts will be exposed and hot.
The route turns downhill on Hurricane Ridge Rd. The road is newly resurfaced and very smooth. However, it has some odd divots, so stay alert on this fast descent.
After passing through Port Angeles, with its resupply opportunities, the route largely retraces itself on the Olympic Discovery Trail. The Sequim Safeway or another restaurant is a good place for a substantial meal. For many riders this will be the last, best resupply opportunity. The 24-hour Longhouse Market at Blyn is a final option but requires crossing 101. The deli in the market may not be open much later than 6 PM.
In Blyn use the tunnel mentioned previously to cross safely under US-101. The route stays on 101 to Discovery Bay; using Old Gardiner Rd in this direction would require multiple left turns across 101.
Fast riders will be able to resupply at the Discovery Bay Village Store. The store closes at 8 PM.
The route leaves 101 at Discovery Bay to again take the parallel route on Eaglemount and Larson Lake Rds. The final information control is at Center Cemetery Rd, just before the turn onto Larson Lake. The control asks a question about the stop sign on Center Cemetery Rd, not Larson Lake. Don’t mix them up.
With some luck you will not be delayed at the Hood Canal Bridge, and can cruise the last miles to Kingston.
As a special consideration for riders overnighting at The Point Casino Hotel, you may ride directly to the hotel and have your card signed there. This is a harder finish than going to Kingston! Mitch and Adam report that the food at the casino is better than a convenience store.