BikeNielsen 2019: Day 4

Fidalgo to Port Townsend, Washington

40 miles today (155 so far on this trip)

                At Fidalgo, there are two highways that meet at a big traffic circle. Berta loves traffic circles, but has to admit that a huge roundabout, lots of vehicles, and a serious lack of familiarity with the area all combine to be too much. It was lucky, then, that the Fidalgo Country Inn was visible to us from one side of the circle. We found a good break in the traffic and pedaled like lunatics. Our accommodations set a reference point for just how shabby a room can be for a hundred bucks. We had our witty repartee to entertain us for an otherwise uneventful stay and the next morning we slathered on the sunscreen for another day in the saddle.   But wait, there’s more.  Across from the motel was an establishment with a sign that proclaimed 10,000 square feet of treasure. You know what they say about treasure and junk? We kept looking for some treasure.  If you want rusty toothless files, it was your place.  A number of times John held something up and asked “Have you seen one of these?” to which Berta replied “I think I remember one of those in my grandfather’s garage”. The proprietor’s daughter was at the cash register.  She was overseeing the potential purchase of a family heirloom.  Across the parking lot was a marijuana shop of about 400 square feet. Judging from the number of cars outside each building, we figured the income of the pot shop was exponentially larger than the flea market. Of course, it is possible the pot shop and the flea market are owned by the same people. In that case, it is the best performing flea market in the West.

                The road South from Fidalgo climbs one good hill and then up and down, up and down a lot of little hills. On that first good hill, there is Deception Pass. It is called Deception Pass because when Mr. Vancouver was exploring these parts, he thought Whidbey Island was a peninsula because this little pass was so difficult to find. We call it Deception Pass because a person who doesn’t like heights is deceived until the very last minutes to think that she doesn’t have to pedal over a dizzying bridge. On this winding road, there is only a glimpse of the bridge until you are just about on it. We have pedaled this route before, so Berta knew what she was getting into this time. The construction in the area added some uncertainty though. When we got to it, we recalled that last time we were on this bridge, we inched along the slim sidewalk at the edge because there was a sign that said cyclists should use the sidewalk. This year, either the sign was gone or the construction obscured it. So, we entered the deck of the bridge in the roadway. There was very little traffic coming at us on this two-lane bridge. There was a foolish couple on the sidewalk looking over the edge. Behind us in the lane was a small SUV and one other car behind it. That SUV hung way back and just let us use the road. Berta attained at least 19.8 miles per hour on her cycle computer, which is testament to the motivation of fear of holding people up (FOHPU). At the far end of the bridge, there was a parking lot for sightseers. We dove into that lot and swung around, panting, to see the SUV driving by with at least two people waving with enthusiasm at us. Berta made an exaggerated blowing of a kiss motion and a big thumbs up to those people. It is just priceless to have someone give us room on a bridge!  One of us has a fear of heights, can you guess who?

                Whidbey Island is a lot of Naval Base and farm. There is quite a bit of local controversy about a plane the Navy flies called a Growler.  It is the Boeing EA-18G and it is LOUD.  The controversial part is that there seems to be many more test flights lately. John grew up on Naval Air Stations and he never heard that much noise coming from such a small plane. Of course, they were all propeller planes when he was a youngster.

                We saw four deer on the day. One hopped out of the wildland at the right edge of the road and clomped across the pavement ahead of us. It continued down a gravel driveway towards a house. The people in the house probably see the deer as a nuisance. Since we do not have deer near our house, we think deer are exotic. The other three deer we saw today, including a little Bambi deer, were traffic hazards as we neared the ferry terminal. The driver of a minivan stopped in the middle of the road so somebody could get the perfect video for social media. We pedaled around the tail end of the deer and avoided any mishaps.

                There was a line of recreational vehicles waiting on the shoulder of the road for the ferry. Nearer to the dock were some cars, but not a lot because it is late in the season. At the ticket booth, John discussed with the attendant whether his wife thinks he qualifies as an adult. We boarded the ferry first, with the pedestrians, and tied our bikes up like horses to a rail at the bow for the 35-minute crossing. On the ferry one of the vehicle owners was so security minded that their car alarm sounded at least ten different times. The first series of honks took the owner about sixty seconds to stop.  They got better each time the alarm sounded until the final series of honks was quite short. We wonder if car theft on a ferry is a significant problem. During our crossing, the water was calm and the skies were clear. Upon arrival at Port Townsend, we were the very first people off the ramp. Away we went, ahead of the traffic effluent from the ferry, and through town to our friends’ house.