Evening the score

A few weeks ago I drove to Easton, Maryland on the Eastern Shore to do a clockwise ride from Easton to Oxford to Saint Michaels to Easton, using a ferry to get from Oxford to Saint Michaels across the Tred Avon River. As luck would have it the ferry was not operating so I had to back track and take a land route.

The weather forecast for yesterday was promising so I decided to give it a second shot. This time I checked online to make sure the ferry was running. Not wanting to do things exactly the same I decided to ride the loop counterclockwise. This resulted in me riding all kinds of extra miles trying to get out of Easton.

Once on route the way to Saint Michaels was pretty straightforward. Highway 33 is a two-lane, 50-mph affair. The road lacks shade which turned out to be a bit of a problem as the day wore on. The road has huge shoulders with very little debris and the cars kept close to the speed limit.

After checking out St. Michaels, a very cool town with many old residences along narrow lanes, I decided to head further along US 33 to Tilghman Island. After passing a few golf courses there wasn’t much to see. Farms and estates lined the highway. Each had a long straight, tree lined driveway to a posh house. One exception to this style of homestead was a geodesic dome house next to the road.

Geodesic home sweet home

The only hill of any sort was the ten-foot rise on a drawbridge to get to the island itself. Not exactly Alpe D’Huez.

Waiting for the drawbridge. The woman in front of me was very fast.

Once on the island I kept riding until I reached a gate blocking the road near a U. S. Navy installation. The trip from St. Michaels turned out to be 16 miles. I took a few minutes to check out the Chesapeake Bay and have a snack before heading back the way I came.

The Chesapeake Bay south of Kent Island

After passing back through St Michaels, I turned toward the Bellevue-Oxford Ferry. The ride to the ferry was along a sleepy, windy, mercifully shaded country road. When I arrived at the ferry pier I saw no cars in line, indicating that I had just missed the eastbound ferry. No worries, with no cars in line, bicyclists and pedestrians are supposed to pull a rope to activate a simple signal to tell the ferry that you’re waiting. The signal is a hinged board painted yellow on one side. It opens when you pull the rope. (How they see this signal in fog is beyond me.) As soon as I pulled the rope, a car pulled up. It’s a bit like lighting a cigarette to bring a bus to your stop on a cold winter day.

Call signal deployed

The ride across the river was pleasant. The breeze off the water felt great. It grew stronger as we went. I looked over my shoulder back west toward the bay and saw why. As late afternoon approached a summer storm was building over the bay. No time to dawdle.

Crossing the Tred Avon River

As soon as I disembarked in Oxford, I hopped on the CrossCheck and rode as fast as I could directly toward Easton. This mean I was lopping off some of the route through farmland east of town, but the notion of being out on the road for a fierce summer storm did not float my boat.

Normally, I cruise along at 11 to 12 miles per hour. My ride from Oxford to Easton was more in the 18 to 20 mph range. As luck would have it the road I was on went directly back to where I had parked my car. After getting the bike and my gear configured, I drove a mile to a gas station convenience store. I was inside about five minutes. When I came out the skies opened with cold, hard rain.

The whole ride ended up being 65 miles, considerably longer than my previous ride here. Now that I’ve evened the score with the ferryman, I want to come back and explore some of the side roads in this area.

Any Road Tour: Day 55 – The deception and the sting

Tim and Michele fed me mass quantities of food and treated me to an Idris Elba movie (Molly’s Game) last night.

This morning I loaded up on carbs and rolled base my friends farewell. I really didn’t want to leave but they’d never get rid of me if I didn’t cut the cord today.

If you think I look like I lost weight, you are wrong. The compression sleeve on my leg is do tight that I grew four inches.

The ride out of Camano Island was much easier than the ride in. I ignored The Google and took the main road all the way. There were no impossibly steep hills.

I reversed course from yesterday riding north to Fidalgo Island and turning south, away from Anacortes.

It was a hilly and trafficy road. My body was not having fun. Then I came to Deception Pass and I remembered why I like this bike touring stuff so much.

The bridge connects Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands. The views from the bridge deck were amazing. Fortunately, for me the winds were calm.

After the pass I followed my maps which took me away from the main road. This is not a very good deal for the weary. The back roads are hilly and offer nice views. The main highway has more gradual slopes without the pretty visuals.

Whidbey Island is home to a naval air station. The Mule challenged some jets to a race. They wouldn’t play with him.

After riding around the base and down to the beach and up from the beach, we finally came to Coupeville where I stopped for late lunch (2 pm).

A few miles after that we reached the ferry terminal. I had only a short wait before my trip.

The trip took about 30 minutes. Passengers looked for interesting sea life but only saw a couple of seals. (I really wanted to see an Or a.)

A few minutes after leaving the ferry terminal in Port Townsend, a black wasp tried to fly into my mouth. I spit it out with a raspberry. Before he left, he stung me on the lower lip.

Ow!!!!!

After about 30 minutes it calmed down. I felt like I had had a shot of novacaine. An hour later my lower front teeth ached.

I rode to Fort Hadlock and checked into a motel. I plan to treat my sore, swollen lip with cold alcohol.

When I checked into the motel I told the clerk that my last name was like Pickett in Pickett’s charge. She said she didn’t know what that was because she had been in a polygamist cult.

Hokay.

I miscalculated my planned mileage for today. It was supposed to be 72 miles but ended up being 81.

Tour Miles: 3,877

Tour Update – UP and Ferry!

The tour is on. The begining and end are not going to be a lot of fun but I worked it out.  Here’s the plan:

Day 1: Drive 12 hours from Alexandria VA to Ludington MI. This is midway up the eastern side of Lake Michigan. Park the car (for free!) at the ferry parking lot. Stay in hotel in Ludington. Celebrate end of hellish car ride.

Day 2: Ride one mile to ferry. Take SS Badger ferry to Manitowoc Wisconsin. Try really hard not to puke for four hours. Begin bike tour (about 50miles the first day).

Days 3 – 13: Ride to and across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (between Lakes Michigan and Superior). This will mostly involve Adventure Cycling’s North Lakes route. Take ferry to car-free Mackinac Island. Ride around island. Take ferry to Mackinac City on the lower peninsula. Ride the eastern shore of Lake Michigan back to Ludington. It should be a total distance about 850 miles. Crash in hotel. Eat all foods. Drink all drinks.

Day 14: Drive 12 hours home. Celebrate end of hellish car ride.

Anybody want to come with?