After catching a few winks at the hotel, it was morning again way too soon and time to resume our journey and my longest distance effort ever: forty miles. We got started only a few minutes behind schedule on the beautiful and well-used Tommy Thompson Trail in Anacortes, where within less then a quarter-mile one of my cycling companion's (Josh Blaustein) tire tube popped! I and my other cyclist (Josh Sutcliffe) continued on, leaving Blaustein behind to change out his tube and catch up. The Tommy Thompson Trail was beautiful! Nice and flat, with great views of the water and a flock of Great Blue Herons. Dodging the occasional broken shell dropped by gulls, we reached the end of the trail and were ready to start using the umbrella since I got a little more sun than I wanted yesterday. That lasted for about half a mile before a giant gust of wind turned the umbrella inside out while crossing a busy intersection, because episodes like that require an audience. The road ahead was in the shade, fortunately, so we put the umbrella away and rolled on.
This stretch of road-rolling lasted twenty-eight miles. I must say the conditions were less than ideal: many miles on highways with little to no shoulder and steep drop-offs. I'm very happy to report that the drivers were polite and passed us with plenty of room.
As the day wore on and got warmer, we thought we'd give the umbrella another try. Thanks to Blaustein's ingenuity, we managed to make it work which really increased my level of comfort. We pulled over in someone's driveway for adjustments (and a few mouthfuls of chips and salsa, as one does), and the person who lived there came out to check out what was going on. We chatted for a while before continuing, finding out later that she's now following our journey!
We found a great place for lunch, recommended by a few local cyclists and our new driveway salsa friend, called The Rexville Grocery. The sandwich (and beer) was very tasty, but I was really impressed with how accommodating the owner was. I continue to be blown away by how friendly those we meet are; perhaps it's the wonky umbrella?
After miles through farmland and winding forested roads, crossing the green Skagit River twice, it was time to swap chairs before I used up my battery. The transition takes a little getting used to, but like a NASCAR pit crew my team got me back on the road in no time.
Not too far past my previous distance record (thirty miles), we found The Centennial Trail for the last nine miles of the day. What a treat, especially after so much time in car traffic! We cruised along, tired but happy to be in such a lovely environment. It was so much quieter than the road, which was very convenient for my 6:30 call-in to KSQM FM, when I give listeners my daily live updates. Just as we were wrapping up the conversation, I looked up and saw what could only be interpreted as an omen: a big flag with the words "Craft Beer" written on it. Not one to argue with fate, we rolled into the Whiskey Ridge Brewing pub for some delicious libations. Bonus: new shirts for the crew to wear tomorrow!
Tonight I'm staying at my good friend's house (also named Ian) and am really looking forward to getting some rest. So would my mom, who put a little over two-hundred miles on the odometer of the van (with one minor run-in with The Law) taxiing our stuff to-and-fro. So with that, good night and see you on the trail!