Day 138 Somewhere in Montana to Kitsap Memorial State Park, Washington: We sneak onto the coast under Stevens Pass - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

September 15, 2011

Day 138 Somewhere in Montana to Kitsap Memorial State Park, Washington: We sneak onto the coast under Stevens Pass

Morning finds us about to re-enter our "home" ecosystem along the coast. But first there is that same darn barrier of the Cascades mountains. The train follows the first route we planned, before the painful decision to bail out and head South.

Cascade tunnel under Stevens Pass. The Cascades were our first big barrier, an we ducked them by heading to the Columbia River. The Empire Builder now took us under the Pass. The tunnel is over seven miles long and 500 or more feet beneath the surface!
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Suddenly we are back among the mountains, trees, and streams. We are used to this transition from our many drives to Montana and back, but we have been gone this time for over 130 days!
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Highway 2 beside the track. Had we taken it, there would have been precious little shoulder.
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This ecosystem will be quite a change for the young man in the seat ahead of us.

Jackson Hamilton from Charleston, South Carolina. Jackson dressed up in Empire Builder style for the trip. He will be starting studies in Olympia at Evergreen State College.
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As the train passed through Mukilteo we looked up the hill and of course remembered the great Mukilteo mail back of Day 3. "No, no" we chanted, "Not Mukilteo!"

So luckily we continued on into Seattle, where things are flatter.

We have arrived in Seattle!
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A last look at our train
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While not Union Station, and with no Superman in sight, the King Street Station is quite nice.

The station interior is a bit fancy, and parts are being restored now
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It was a great ride!
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Our bikes came off the train, and were eagerly anticipated.

Ours were not the only bikes riding the Empire Builder
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There was a bit of damage to some boxes, but all contents were fine
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Our bikes, safe and sound!
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Reconstruction begins
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One done, one to go.
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The Grampies are ready to Go again!
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The train station is near to the ferry dock, and we had no trouble getting in line for the Bainbridge Island ferry.

We joined a small crowd of cyclists waiting for the ferry.
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Like other Washington State ferries, the boat is huge, and this one had an on board restaurant and scads of space for bikes and for people to sit. There was also a great view of Seattle from the stern:

Seattle from the Bainbridge Island ferry
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More Seattle
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The ferry delivered us to the Island, and we were off cycling again. For the first 5 minutes it felt strange (and tiring) but we quickly regained our rhythm.

Yes, there was paved shoulder the whole way for us on the Island
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The blackberries waited for us to get here!
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As long as we don't push the bikes, we are OK - right?
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Hurray, we found a place to camp.
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It's a west coast paradise, beside the Hood Canal.
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Primitive hiker/biker site - yeah!
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The price is right.
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Sitting here now by the fire, with the tent up, and a $5.99 Albertson's chicken already devoured, we feel great. Even better, when we crawl into our tent we will be able to stretch out full length. Now that's luxury!

This could be our last campfire, but we are content.
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Today's ride: 45 km (28 miles)
Total: 7,468 km (4,638 miles)

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