Sunday, September 28, 2008

San Juan Islands Bike Trip

We had quite an experience out in San Juans.

First, a big THANK-YOU to those who donated for this amazing event! You've helped the American Lung Association in their quest to help kids breathe better, and you helped our team have the craziest bike trip we ever thought we could have. Now I'll tell you the whole story.

Next, the team:

The Studly Hubby is in red and I'm in green with the bike helmet on. This was taken at Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, where we camped at the fairgrounds on Sat and Sun night.

But let me start with Day 1.

DAY 1: The crazy departure

We arrived at the ferry departure site, in Anacortes, late Friday night (after dark), and set up tent in the soccer field of a middle school with about twenty other tents that were all lit up from the inside with flashlights. I'm sorry to say I didn't get a picture.

We awoke at 5 am because it had started raining. At first, the rain was kind of pleasant. But at 6 am, we had to take down the tent, and it started to suck - everything was wet, and it was dark, and we had to get on our bikes at 7 am and bike out to the ferry terminal and stand around in the freezing rain and cold for about an hour while we waited for the ferry to come in. That really sucked. Plus it was cold. I'm glad I didn't get any pictures of that. If we weren't so excited we probably all would have given up and headed back home before we even got out there.

DAY 2: The First Crazy Adventure (aka San Juan Island in the Freezing Rain)

San Juan Island was a mess of freezing cold and rain. We biked off the ferry and headed out on our 40-mile trek around the island with the rain beating down on us mercilessly. This was not good ole' Northwest drizzle (which I can handle), this was what one would call a Midwest Downpour. And it was relentless. And cold. None of us remember much from that day, except the rest stop where we stopped and huddled together for warmth and drank hot water and ate wet apples slices.

But I think I can find a positive spin. We had many new and unique experiences that day, such as: getting dirtier than I've been since I was five, getting windburn (on my face! it hurts!), biking in soaking wet underwear for four hours, slipping off the handlebars and falling on top of the bike (this was the Studly Hubby's great misadventure), and coming around a corner to see a beautiful view and five guys standing in the pouring rain in their bike gear enjoying it and somehow having a good time... they will be my new role models.

DAY 3: The crazy hills of horror (aka Walking Our Bikes Around Orcas Island)

Day 3 we headed out to Orcas Island, and it started out a lot better, because it wasn't raining.

The ferry right before we loaded:

It turns out that Orcas Island was sculpted by some vengeant God who was angry with all the bike riders and sought to put an end to their misery. The center of the island is a mountain (Mount Constitution). The rest of the island is a series of mini-mountains (what they told us were 'rolling hills') compounded by constantly rough pavement.

Our team suffered both a flat tire and a lost bike-rack bolt on this island, and several riders got bruises and blisters on their palms. After we made our way to the other end of the island (Doe Bay) we could hardly feel our legs (it took 3 hrs to get there). On the way back, we were walking our bikes up the hills and dreaming of a taxi ride. As we departed the last rest stop, we were worried we wouldn't even make the ferry. But the sun was out, the island was beautiful, and we successfully made it back - then went straight to the bar to celebrate.

After the ride on Orcas island, the team gathered to wait for the ferry.

Derek's expression says it all about Orcas Island's crazy hills.

DAY 4: The crazy last day (aka Recovery on Lopez Island)

Oh, Lopez Island was so beautiful! It was quiet, flat, very rural, and had astounding views of the water and the other islands. We stopped many times to take it all in (and rest our weary legs).

The Studly Hubby and I taking in the view - so pretty!

In all, it was an amazing experience. But alas, it will probably remain a one-time experience. Next time we go to the San Juan Islands, it will be from the comfort of our car!

1 comment:

Mom & Dad A said...

Why to Go! The memory of the pain will fade and you may do it again.
It sounds and looks like you had an amazing ride. Keep the rubber side down.