Semiahmoo - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

July 10, 2020



Another marginal weather day where no biking occurred.  As before, Rachael honored herself with a vigorous 12 mile hike along Whatcom Creek, and Scott earned no glory by sitting out the day.  she brought back an enticing photo of the falls to encourage me to do better the next time.

Whatcom Falls does look attractive, alright. I’ll add it to my to do list.
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About Croatia

In Scott’s defense, he  wasn’t exactly idle yesterday.  Hard at work on behalf of the Team, he spent a fair amount of the day laboring on one of his favorite time-fillers: planning out bicycle tours that may or may not ever come to fruition.

Today he’s focused on detailing out our proposed autumn tour of Croatia.  We’ve done a bit more research since this idea first came up, and feel as guardedly optimistic as one could in this mad time.  The relevant Croatian website that addresses terms of entry into their country states pretty clearly that entry for tourism purposes is permitted to non-EU nationals, as long as confirmation  of accommodation while in country is provided.  It is not unambiguous, but it suggests that the entire in-country stay must be identified at point of entry.  The Croatian government helpfully provides a form you may complete and submit in advance detailing your plan.

We’d prefer to have more travel flexibility of course, but we do have years of experience in preplanning entire tours so we’re not discouraged by the constraint.  Assuming nothing goes wrong (and what could, really?), here’s the plan:

  1. We’ll develop a detailed itinerary for the proposed tour of Croatia, arriving in early September and staying for two months.  Actually, this step is done already (Thanks, Scott!).  
  2. We’ll book reservations for every place we intend to stay.  All reservations will be cancellable, to prepare for the unlikely contingency that the tour is called off.  We’re in the process of selecting lodgings and plan to complete all of our reservations by the end of the weekend.
  3. Once reservations are complete, we’ll complete and submit the Croatian entry travel announcement.  After that, we’ll wait for a response.
  4. Assuming we receive a favorable response, we’ll book a flight sometime before the end of the month.  We’ll book with Air Canada, taking advantage of their flexible flight change policy and using the credit from our cancelled flight to Copenhagen.  
  5. We’ll start working on our language skills, and see if we can’t master 10-20 useful Croatian words and phrases before we leave.

And, assuming that all of this comes through, the optimistic Team Anderson will also book a follow-up flight from Zagreb to Athens, and a return flight from Athens back to PDX for early January.  By early November it’s easy to imagine that Greece will allow us in, especially if we’ve been in Croatia for the preceding two months.  If this doesn’t work out though, we’ll just head home from Zagreb and find a safe spot to shelter during the election and the possible breakout of the Second Civil War.

Today’s ride

So high on today’s task list is to start identifying bookings for our sure-to-come tour of Croatia.  The weather is fine again today though, so first we need to fit a ride in.  We squeeze in a pretty robust loop, beginning and ending in Ferndale and extending to Semiahmoo to the west and Lynden to the east.  We plan a 56 mile ride that includes a ride on the Plover, a seasonal ferry that crosses the tiny gap between Semiahmoo and Blaine.  The ferry only runs in summer months, and only on Friday through Sunday.  As near as I can tell from their website they’re running now, so today’s the ideal time.

Although it’s not running after all.  We bike out to the end of Semiahmoo spit, find the ferry dock, but find no evidence that the ferry is running.  No matter - Semiahmoo spit itself is a great destination and we thoroughly enjoy hanging out there for awhile, eating lunch and staring wistfully across the bay at unwelcoming Canada and then exploring the spit.  Afterwards, since the ferry isn’t running we bike around the perimeter of the bay instead, adding another five miles - with the result that we cover 61 miles today and Rachael can finally claim that she’s biked her age in miles for the year!

The whole ride is fine, but a lot of it is along roads we’ve already seen and shown you before.  Semiahmoo is the real standout of the day so nearly all of the photos as well as the day’s video are from those few miles along the spit.

Video sound track: Secret Love, by Ry Cooder and Manuel Galban

Looking across Birch Bay to Cherry Point. Behind is Orcas Island, so that highest point must be Mount Constitution.
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Looking north up the inland side of Semiahmoo Spit.
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There’s a nice bayside cycle path along the spit, and as you saw in the video it carries some traffic even on such a quiet day. Best to protect and be protected.
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At the north end of the spit is a colorful collection of piers and rotting structures.
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It’s not what you might think - the white flecks are broken shells.
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On the pier, Semiahmoo spit.
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Well, it says the ferry should be running today. I didn’t care about the ride itself - I’d have been pretty happy to just see the boat out on the water. Not today though.
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Another decrepit pier. To Rachael’s right is the ramp down to the ferry landing. I’m sorry the ferry isn’t here, but it was well worth the trip out to just poke around.
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An attractive eave decoration.
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On the waterfront, Semiahmoo.
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Ruffled purple martins, Semiahmoo.
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No ferry today, but an awfully attractive picnic spot.
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Jen GrumbyLooks perfect!
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4 weeks ago
White Rock, across Semiahmoo Bay.
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Peace Arch Park and the international border.
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We aren’t quite alone out here. These three are screwing up their courage for a chilly dip.
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Taking the plunge.
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Semiahmoo is the perfect lunch spot, complete with pet-a-potato.
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Well-whiskered harbor seal, Semiahmoo. Makes me think of Ho Chi Minh for no very good reason.
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OK. We’re finally done with Semiahmoo. We’ve rounded the bay and are eastbound on lumpy, rippled H Street Road, just a half a mile south of the international border. What an odd name though! Why not simply H Street, or H Road?
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A long, lazy descent on H Street Road. Not our favorite bit of pavement, really. I doubt we’ll be back this way.
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In Lynden, making a quick stop to support the local ag industry.
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Scott AndersonTo Suzanne GibsonThanks for the prompt, Suzanne. That’s why I took this photo, but then forgot to follow up.
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4 weeks ago
Looking east from Bylama Road, south of Lynden. The mountains are finally starting to peek through the clouds. I’m not sure, but I think this must be Mount Shuksan. Baker must be just to the south, and still hidden.
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Ride stats today: 61 miles, 1,800’

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Jen GrumbyInteresting process for the Croatia tour!

Can't wait to read what happens next.
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4 weeks ago