Vashon Island on a Foggy Morning

The roads of Vashon Island beckon to cyclists, offering up lovely, wooded lanes, climbs, scenic views, etc. We headed out early on Sunday morning and enjoyed a veiled experience on very quiet roads. Our highlights were the Southern ferry landing and an overlook at a park atop Maury Island, as well as some simply delightful twisty-turny country lanes—the sort that make any cyclist’s heart go pitter-pat

We followed the “Vashon Classic Loop,” providing 3,600-plus feet of climbing in about 42 miles. Short and sweet!

As for all those old exercise bikes lined up on the shoreline: Apparently they were gone for awhile but now they’re back. We didn’t want to stop mid-ride (for once) to take pictures, but returned later to test them out. Good way to add a bit more to the workout …

This day was unusually foggy, so we missed the vaunted views of Mount Rainier and the Cascades and Olympics. We will have to return!

But we did have a great time at the Strawberry Festival. For photos of that cool event, see the Off The Bike section above.

Chelan Century

For our third century of June we headed to Lake Chelan and the Chelan Century — promoted by some of our Cascade friends as the most beautiful in the state and featuring a challenging climb up McNeil Canyon Road. It more than lived up to our expectations, with 103-plus miles, 8,600 feet of climbing and some drop-dead gorgeous views (not to mention that drop-dead climb).

The route is a cloverleaf design consisting of  three loops (one, two and three), each starting and ending at Don Morse Park — right across the street from our Airbnb place and, most importantly, the condo’s pool.

McNeil Canyon offers itself up in the second loop: a 7-mile chug, average 6.4 percent grade with some notable 12 percent stretches. And no shade, to speak of. Totally manageable, even for the climbing-challenged among us, but also totally exhausting.  And: totally worth it, especially when it comes to the descent back down again. Plus you can get a special KOM-like jersey commemorating the achievement, which Paula of course had to do.

The rest of the ride was as spectacular as promised — vista after vista of mountains and water, all manner of color and texture, wide open roads, happy-making descents.

And at the end, a terrific festival with local wine and beer and we made friends with a great group from the Mount Baker Bicycle Club of Bellingham — whose president, coincidentally, is the star of one of Paula’s photos from mid-ride.

Like Walla Walla, Chelan is a prime winery area so of course we made plenty of time for a few tastings on Sunday.  Recovery drinks, redux.

Orcas Island – Trying Mount Constitution Again

So, we’d made it up Mount Constitution (and more significantly given the weather, made it back down again).  But while climbing perhaps should be a noble end unto itself, we did still wish to savor the view from the top.

So we did it all again.

This time around the skies threatened as we headed out, and got downright ominous by the time we reached Moran State Park. Would the drizzle once again turn to snow? Descending a second time in nasty weather was not appealing.  But neither was missing a chance at the view. So we took our chances and pedaled onward.

Great decision!

After some maddening indecision, the weather gods opted to come over to our side (maybe they just wanted to give us some moody photo opps first). By the time we made our way back to the top, the skies were clear and the view spectacular.  And we could claim credit for that climb not once, but twice.

Here’s our route.