Sedro-Woolley - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

July 6, 2020

Sedro-Woolley

We’re heading south again today, through the low corridor east of Chuckanut Mountain.  It’s surprising that this narrow depression has so many biking options, and we’re going to test them all.  Yesterday, we followed Samish Way south along the east side of Lake Padden, crossed a saddle before dropping to Lake Samish, and then followed the western shore of that lake before continuing south.

Today’s route south is similar but more or less a mirror image.  We’re taking Old Samish Road over the saddle, following the western side of Lake Padden, and then crossing over to follow the eastern shore of Lake Samish.  For those that like a visual aid, by merging the two routes we get a raggedy double helix, Rather like a twenty mile long strand of DNA:

The options for biking south from Bellingham by way of Lake Samish.
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Having ridden both strands now, we can report that each has its pluses and minuses compared against the other.  Samish Way is busier than Old Samish Road and climbs about a hundred feet higher, but has a good shoulder the whole way to the top.  From the evidence though, Old Samish Road is the preferred route of local cyclists - we saw many more on this road than the higher route in spite of its lack of shoulder and rougher chip seal surface.

The two sides of Lake Samish are both an appealing ride but have a different quality.  The west side is more open, with the shoreline lined with private residences.  The east side is greener and denser, offering only occasional views across the water; and it comes with the tree-muffled background noise of the freeway.  It does offer the enormous plus of restroom facilities at the public boat ramp though, which in the minds of some trumps aesthetic considerations.

Today we took a short cut south from town on 30th Street, which was a mistake. Narrow, winding, too much traffic. Better to take one of the longer options.
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30th is very scenic though, as it plows straight at the north face of Chuckanut Mountain before dead ending at Chuckanut Drive.
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Skirting the eastern edge of Lake Samish, threading the gap between the lake and the freeway.
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Looking across Lake Samish from the east.
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Bill ShaneyfeltNice "artsy" shot with the fireweed, trees, hills, clouds and lake!
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4 weeks ago
Lake Samish.
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Leaving Lake Samish  behind, we follow the course of Friday Creek south as we work our way out of the highlands into the more open country beyond.  We keep a better pace than usual, hardly stopping until reaching Sedro-Woolley.  Not a lot of drama beyond the odd bunny or deer sighting, so we’ll leave you today with just a few notes about Sedro-Woolley, which we didn’t actually bike into.

Like most towns with hyphenated names, Sedro-Woolley got its name from the merger of two smaller communities.  Oddly though, the towns were Bug and Woolley, not Sedro and Woolley.  Bug was given its name by early settler Mortimer Cook, who was disenchanted by the number of mosquitos he found in his new home.  His wife didn’t care much for it though, so he dug deeper and came up with Sedro, a varient on the spanish word cedro (cedar) which he apparently altered to make it unique.  Or perhaps he was just a weak speller.

In any case, it’s a shame he renamed his little town, and eliminated the possibility of a town of Woolley-Bug.  Think of the possibilities there!  The town could have a killer Instagram presence with a name like that and would really draw in the crowds.

Sedro-Woolley doesn’t appear to have had the most exciting history, but there is this event listed in the town’s Wikipedia article:

On May 15, 1922, a large circus elephant known as Tusks escaped from the Al G Barnes Circus, which was making one of its stops in Sedro-Woolley, at that time. The elephant stomped his way through the little logging town and right into local history, demolishing fences, knocking over laundry lines and trees, telephone poles, and a Model T along the way.

We’re mostly cycling through a tunnel of green here, with an occasional bunny hopping around to add excitement.
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Image not found :(
Rachael is intent on the ride though and bikes on by, scaring off the bunny before I can get a decent shot.
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Northwest Washington is a fine area to explore if you like old, rotting wooden structures slowly returning to the forest, as I do. Rachael though, intent on her ride, bikes on by.
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If it’s not a bunny, it’s a deer or fawn or two. Rachael though, intent on her ride, bikes on by. She should look around more!
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Plenty of deer here, and I imagine seeing them will be a daily occurrence that we’ll feel blasé about in time. Not quite yet though.
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Gregory GarceauLittle deer with spots might be about the cutest things on earth--even cuter than bunnies and puppies. Maybe I forgot about little human babies. They're pretty cute too.
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4 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Gregory GarceauThey’re pretty high on my list too; and of course they’re so graceful. I always feel lucky to see one, and this makes two days running. We saw a pair that looked even younger than these the day before, but they melted into the trees before I could get the camera out.
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4 weeks ago
Kathleen ClassenJust come visit us again. We regularly have so many deer in our yard that this year’s project was to fence the back yard so we could actually grow something. The fawns are so cute, but they grow to be voracious eaters. As a result the municipality paid thousands of dollars to try a contraceptive program this year. Seriously, they did. The results aren’t in, but there are lots of fawns around.
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4 weeks ago
Southbound on Friday Creek Road, perfect for cycling.
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Friday Creek is the outlet for Lake Samish. We’ll cross it repeatedly on Friday Creek Road, eight times if I counted correctly. In each direction, since we’ll be returning this way also.
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South of Friday Creek, the country opens up as we work past Chuckanut Mountain. There’s a bit more to see than just the same old forest. Like these adorable little goats. The one in the middle reminds me of the Uncle Sam look-alike waiting for the parade back in Lynden.
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Looking up the Samish River valley. At about the far extent of the meadow we’ll cross the river and double back the other side.
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From the Samish River we cross a low rise and drop into the Skagit basin. I think the view here is my favorite of the day.
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Jen GrumbyThat would be a nice spot for a bench. Or a sitting rock.
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4 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyYou’re right. The perfect spot, and I had my eye out. Nope.
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4 weeks ago
Looking across the Skagit basin. Our destination for today, Sedro-Woolley, is on the river just about at the tree line.
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Our lunch stop on the way back, in pretty Pomona Grange County Park. Pleasant, but a bit buggy. We’re going to have to start packing protection.
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Back in Bellingham, we pass this amazing mansion on Chuckanut Drive. Bellingham really does have some wonderful architecture scattered around.
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Ride stats today: 54 miles, 2,400’

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