The day started at the Kingston Ferry, which is familiar territory for my mom, Chauncey, and myself. The sky was overcast not with smoke, but a cool PNW mist that made the air feel extra refreshing to breathe. Joining us today for the ride to the Hood Canal Bridge was the West Sound Cycling Club, who not only greatly increased our numbers but added a lot of visibility with all of their blinking lights and bright clothing. Among the crowd of new faces were some very familiar ones: my dad, brother Adam, and close friend Matt were riding with me all the way today, and my uncle and cousin were providing extra vehicle support. It means so much to me to have the support of my friends and family.
We all rode on the busy street out of Kingston to Port Gamble, car drivers passing us by with supportive honks and cheers. I chatted with members of the cycling club, and learned how active they were in advocating for inclusive road infrastructure. I'm not sure the Hood Canal Bridge would have been doable for me if it hadn't been for their voices. Thank you West Sound Cycling Club for the work you do!
We made it to the bridge, which was the stopping point for the club, and continued across with a slimmed-down group. You might remember Matt from the 2016 ride. He's thinking about signing up for a triathalon, so he decided to run with Jimmy. My brother rode my mom's downhill mountain bike, which isn't ideal for riding up hills on the roads, but he barely complained at all riding over the rolling terrain of the 104. I'm probably the most proud of my dad, who rode the whole day.
On the other side of the bridge, I really felt home. We took a picture with the Nelson Boyd sign, as they were the sponsor of the day. There's no way I can thank them enough.
I added a layer, and before we took off a beautiful great blue heron flew overhead. They are such majestic creatures, gracefully floating their giant bodies in the air overhead. Then the GBH blessed the van and Adam with a giant splatter of poop. The GBH is now Adam's spirit animal.
Along the way we added another rider to our group: Wallace Teal. He has a fascinating cycling history, not only having ridden across the US but also started an ocean-to-ocean race in Panama that continues to this day. I'm honored to ride with him!
We stopped for a generously long lunch at 20 miles. Once everyone had eaten, Jimmy and Matt hopped on bicycles for the rest of the way. Less than a half mile from the finish, we stopped at the Discovery Bay Village Store for a beer and to chat with other cycling tourists who had parked their bikes outside.
After hitting our finish line for the day, we piled our stuff in all the vehicles and headed to one of my favorite watering holes, The Taproom in Sequim. An anonymous patron paid for our first round! The rest of the tab was picked up by Steve, who is not only a close family friend, but is responsible for setting my chair up with the lithium battery. His name is prominent on the list of people without whom this ride would not have been possible. Thanks Steve!
I can't believe the 2018 ride is almost over. One more day, then I can relax a bit. Or start planning for 2019.
For those of you wishing to join me on the last leg of our trip, here is our planned itinerary (please allow some wiggle-room for unexpected delays):
9:30 - 10:00 - we leave Discovery Bay
11:15 - Diamond Point
1:00 - Carrie Blake Park
2:00 - Railroad Bridge Park
3:30 - Robin Hill Farm Park
5:00 - HOME!