Ride the Hurricane (Hurricane Ridge)

Some 4,500 to 5,000 feet of vertical gain in an 18-mile continuous climb — and then a thrilling swoop back down again. Surrounded every foot of the way by stunning scenery — and on this day, no cars for most of the journey. Such is the glory of the official Ride the Hurricane up Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park. Plus, they served chocolate milk at the top!

This was a great follow to the Tour de Lavender the day before. A fantastic cycling weekend in yet another stunning area of Washington.

Needless to say, the two of us did not climb this little hill together — Timothy being a strong climber who had fun reeling people in, and Paula being more than a bit climbing-challenged. Still, it was a fantastic trek for both of us.

Paula went into it more than a bit intimidated. But it actually wasn’t all that hard. Just long. There were no pitches above 9 percent and even those were few. So it was just a matter of grinding it out. And grinding it out some more. And more. For 18 miles. While taking pictures.

Timothy employed his usual methodical approach, being careful not to blow up early on, then breezing past those who pushed too much too soon.

And then, the descent! With no cars! (Just for this ride; usually there’s car traffic, but not all that much).  Being able to blast down amid all that beauty with no worries of cars was simply unforgettable. As one rider said at the gathering afterward: “That descent was the best thing EVER.”

Eagles in Sequim

After the Tour de Lavender, we stayed overnight near the Dungeness Bay in Sequim and took a little stroll by the water that night. Here we discovered that the old adage about “the best camera is the one you have with you” doesn’t really apply when you have a DSLR and good lens back in the room, and just a smartphone and a point-and-shoot with you.

We just hadn’t expected to see eagles when we set out that night. But there they were, our official Sequim Welcoming Committee. Fortunately the Lumix DMC-TS5 has a little zoom lens, which was better than nothing. But oh for that longer lens!

Our VRBO host later told us the neighborhood hosts two pair — the East Eagles and the West Eagles. These are the West Eagles. They don’t have any kids this year, but some years they do.

Tour de Lavender – Kingston/Sequim

Last weekend took us for the first time to the Olympic Peninsula for a two-day ridefest: The inaugural Tour de Lavender on Saturday, and the Ride the Hurricane up Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park on Sunday.

We’d initially planned to do the longer version of the Lavender ride, starting in Kingston after taking the ferry over from Edmonds (leaving the car in Edmonds), then riding the bikes to Sequim and then to the lavender farms in the area. But since we were staying over for two nights and wanted to explore a wide swath of the area, the logistical challenges of going car-free or even renting a car were massive. So, we chose to drive to Sequim, then do a 40-mile lavender ride. Short, sweet, scenic — and very nicely scented!

We saw a lot of animals admiring us along the roads,  and of course had to take their pictures. They included four kittens at some old traincars that a guy was converting into a restaurant; he’d acquired and hired them to be mousers. Very friendly. Very cute. And we very nearly took them home with us …