Saturday, July 31, 2010

Finishing the trip in Everett, Washington

7-30-10 Day 55: Gold Bar, Washington to Everett, Washington: 39 miles in 2:23. Rt 2 west to Everett Ave to Broadway Ave to Mukilteo Blvd to Mukilteo Speedway Rd.

The journey is complete – Houlton, Maine to Everett, Washington, 4012 miles across the United States, crossing Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho and Washington. I’m feeling a great sense of accomplishment and finality to the journey. More on that later.

First to bring you up to speed on the rest of last evening. Now I’d be fibbing if I were to tell you that I didn’t get “shnookered” last evening drinking five bottles of Black Butte Porter prior to going downstairs to eat, that after devouring about 2 pounds of cherries. Barney had some Hop Czar beers and the both of us watched this crazy show on the tube about knuckleheads doing crazy stunts on bikes and skateboards and such as I was finishing up the blog. Then it was downstairs to this little restaurant for dinner. And let me tell you, this was just the best. Now I’m not taking like 5-star restaurant thing, being all fancy and posh. Nope, just the opposite. This was a mom and pop place with a hometown atmosphere and a friendly, jovial waitress slinging grub!

Menu looked really interesting, but it ended up the we both got the very same dinner – Chicken Fried Steak. Yea, you’ll all probably rolling your eyes at that. But I’m telling you, there was just something about the restaurant and the atmosphere that told us to order the Chicken Fried Steak – like a voice from God or something…..”Order the Chicken Fried Steak with all the delicious, fattening gravy, and the scrumptious home made mashed potatoes …..order it and you will be happy cyclists.” Well, we must have both heard that voice because that’s indeed what we did. I also threw in an order of onion rings. And when those plates arrived and we dug into that thick, rich gravy – ahhhhh we were in another dimension! That was sooooooo good that I literally spooned up every last spackle of gravy from the plate. Barney enjoyed a glass of wine while we just talked life, our bucket lists and anything else that kind of flickered through our minds on the end of such a marvelous day.

Then I convinced Barney to walk over to the grocery to quench our – MY – sugar Jones. Got inside and right in the entry isle was a display of sugary treats – Eclairs! “Got to have those,” I thought to myself. So with that treat ingrained in my mind I wandered over to the ice cream isle and picked up a Ben & Jerry’s New York Style Fudge. Barney meanwhile was eyeing these “dessert wines.” Now I’d never heard of a dessert wine, my being more of a suds-aholic, so this stuff was like totally foreign to me. Well, he snagged it, and it was just this thin little bottle in like a paper casing. And on the way out I snagged the éclairs to go with the ice cream. Well, we got back, Barney opened that wine and I’ll BD, that stuff was sweet and alchoholly, really good! Perfect with the ice cream and the éclairs. And those éclairs were SUPER for being bought in a grocery – A-1.

I ate way more than Barney, finishing probably ¾ of the ice cream. And that bottle of wine was gone in like a flash. We finally settled down to watching the 2010 Giro De Italia on Versus – and we both literally ended up being knocked out on the beds snoring by 11 PM. I woke up all grogged out and Barney was just sawing logs like a lumberjack in the adjacent bed. Off went the TV and lights and that was a wrap for the day – a most memorable day indeed!

Got up at a casual 6 AM on this, the finial ride of the trip, and tapped out some blog while Barney was still sawing logs – and yes the man is a human chain saw when it comes to snoring. Once he rousted we went downstairs for a breakfast, and be damned if they didn’t have the chicken fried steak of the breakfast menu. DONE! Barney just was amazed that I went for the same freaking thing for breakfast as I had just had for dinner the previous night. But to me, that dish was just gastronomic heaven! Got two eggs and toast with it and life was good. We packed up and were on the road by about 9:15 AM, probably the latest start I’ve had in over a month – but who cares, I just had to ride 39 miles. The morning was cool, and fog enshrouded and off we went down Rt 2 west to the town of Monroe to dump my yak and panniers in Barney’s SUV. That ride took us exactly an hour. We checked into the Monroe Visitor’s Center for some route information to Everett, to kind of find a good end point for this trip, because hell, this was no “Cape Spear” like the last trip. On the Canada trip that was THE absolute end game. Here, I had no real designated place to call the end – I just wanted to make it to the Washington coast.

So we got a good map of the city of Everett and picked out a nice section of the coast where there were several parks and beaches. Picked a spot along a road called Mukilteo where there was a lighthouse and beach, and bingo bango, done. Then took off all the junk off mand stowed it in Barney’s vehicle and off I went to meet up with Barney in Everett at the intersection of Everett Ave and Broadway Ave. Ten min in I had to strip off my long sleeve Underarmor and leg warmers as the sun had finally broken through the thick fog. The ride was another pretty easy section that, now naked, I could just zing down at nearly 20 mph. The traffic was just thick as hell, but luckily I had this bomber berm to ride where there was no hassles from the vehicles.

Barney stopped a couple times along the way to take some pics and sag behind me. Round about an hour in I could see the downtown of Everett – and feel the crisp, refreshing scent of the ocean. The end was near. But I had one more obstacle, and it was like a carbon copy of our last day or riding in Newfoundland, where we had to get on a section of “restricted” highway, meaning no bikes allowed, to get to our destination. Yup, Rt 2 had a sign posted about 2 miles outside of the city that said: Motor Vehicles only! And it was there that the road really turned into freeway entrance ramps for I-5, which goes into Seattle and Vancouver. My berm narrowed down to about 2 feet wide and it was like this massive stretch of elevated interstate leading right into downtown Everett. And there was no getting around any other way, I mean I had to traverse this intercoastal marsh and a river up on the elevated highway.

It was just so close that I said to myself, *&^&^$# it, I’m going for it. What’s an officer going to do, tell me to throw my bike in his car?” “It’s just two miles.” So I just clicked down three gears and hammered it on this thin, crappy section of berm into Everett, on the very final two miles of Route 2, a road I’d been on since Ignace, Michigan up in the UP. I rode like my life depended on it hoping to make it through there without a policeman spotting me. And I did, right past the I-5 entrance ramps and into the city of Everett. I rode over to Everett Ave and that’s when Barney caught up to me. Then it was on to Broadway Ave, and finally Mukilteo Blvd, which was to snake it’s way down to and then along the coastline of the Sound. We had a bit of trouble finding that road due to recent construction, but finally got situated.

This pup was not easy, as it had some pretty stiff little ups and downs. Thankfully they felt pretty easy with me not having a yak to drag. Made it to two parks, but both had no, or very limited access to the water. As we were in one of these little community parks I asked a lady parked in a car where the parks were where we could go to a beach area. She gave me directions for a place three miles down the blvd, and off we went again, with my climbing and descending these rollers. The road finally dropped right down to the water at a ferry crossing for Whidby Island where there was a lighthouse and beach area. THAT was the endpoint – looked good, had all the elements for taking some finish pics. DONE.

The beach by that time, just after 11 AM was just packed with people. Was as if it were a Sunday afternoon down there on a Friday morning. The parking areas were darned near full. We got Barney parked and then I rode to the beach gravel, and then walked the bike down to the water, putting a front wheel in the Sound. And that was it – trip complete! We shook hands and then …….time for a beer and lunch. Ended up going to this awesome little micro brew pub that makes their sandwiches by bring you out this hot slab of rock, supposedly at a temp of 700 degrees, where you cook your sandwich meat on the rock, yourself, at the table. Pretty cool little gig actually. We each ordered our beer and then got the same sandwich – the sliced prime rib with beer dipping sauce – awesome!

Next up – on to Seattle to the REI store for a bike case and a duffle bag. And let me tell you, you think that traffic is bad back in little old Ohio…..hell, from Everett to Seattle it must have taken us 1 hour in bumper to bumper on I-5 south, around noon time to boot! And the distance is only like 20-22 miles. Got to REI and I was going to buy a Thule bike case, but coming back on Amtrak, they have weight stipulations on luggage – 50 pounds max – and the weight of that case and my 29’er was way over 50 pounds. So I talked it over with the folks at REI’s bike dept, and they suggest that I just use a regular cardboard bike box. And these were awesome people, as they gave me the box, the tape, the bubble wrap, and directed up to drive Barney’s car into their shipped dept bay where we could tear down the bike and gear and pack at our leisure. Between tearing apart the bike, yak, and all the gear, that took us 3 hours. But we got it done, even with the help of REI’s mechanics having to use a 2-foot long pedal wrench to break loose my clipless pedals. Great folks there. I bought a duffle for the broken down yak and even more gear and we got everything loaded in Barney’s SUV, and next up – finding my sister’s friend Duane in Seattle for our place to stay.

That was a breeze as he lives just 6-9 blocks from REI. Duane was kind enough to let Barney sack out for the night on the floor, and let me hang for a couple of days as I get my Amtrak stuff taken care of. He has this breathtaking view of the city from his living room window – I mean it’s like spectacular. So got all our gear up in Duane’s appt, and then we all went to a local restaurant just a block or two away for dinner and drinks. Had some great meals and just kind of relaxed. Couldn’t help but get the guys in the mood ……by taking them into going to a grocery for some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for our night cap. We each got our own pint and then went back to Duane’s place, and up to the rooftop to eat ice cream, drink a beer, and look up on this fantastic night cityscape.

The day was done. Mission accomplished. Man, it feels Soooooooooo good to be finished! I just love doing stuff like this, but there always has to be an end point, something to think about once in a while, a goal, a place, the final destination after all the effort. That’s what makes these journey’s so satisfying – the end. Well, this is it. I’m going to sign off for the day, but tomorrow I’ll put up my …….kind of post trip synopsis. And I’ll blog for my journey back to Ohio on Amtrak. But once I reach Cleveland, that’s it for another season. So anyway, talk to you tomorrow from beautiful Seattle, Washington…..cheers…….pete

1 comment:

  1. Inspiring Pete. Wish I coulda been there with you and Barney. That guy is just a world class dude