Circuit of San Juan Island - Plan B in Action - CycleBlaze

July 8, 2014

Circuit of San Juan Island

Our campsite at Lakedale Resort in the morning light
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Campsite from the lake side
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Crossing the border (no fruit and veggies, remember), arriving late in the day and zipping straight to the campground in order to set up before dark meant we were going out for breakfast in Friday Harbor. Al loves going out for breakfast and I'm getting better at it. The first place we came to had a lineup so we walked around to see if there were other candidates, but ended up back at the Rocky Bay Cafe. Breakfast was good, though only worth waiting since there didn't seem to be anywhere else that offered more than coffee and muffins.

We stopped at Island Bicycles to get a new tube, Al having used his spare in Sidney, and at a grocery store for lunch supplies. Then it was off to circle the island clockwise, continuing in the direction we'd started from when we left Lakedale Resort. Conveniently there was a bakery on the way out of town and Al bought some cookies. We learned later that this bakery sells out early so we were lucky!

The bakery on the edge of Friday Harbor offered really good giant cookies
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We hadn't gone all that far when I heard a metallic clink on the road. Had one of my fender bolts worked loose again? I'd had to tighten it after the all the bumpy trestles on the Lochside Trail. Nope. Another clink and I saw it this time. It was a Canadian quarter. Al had put his Canadian coins in the pocket under the lid of his MEC pannier and not closed the zipper all the way. Talk about tourists throwing their money around!

Cattle Point Road was scenic and the traffic wasn't too bad. We were passed by a funny little red two-person scooter and when we got to the Interpretive Center in American Camp National Historic Park, we saw a whole group of them. Scoot Coupes, from a rental operation in Friday Harbor. I didn't take a picture so if you're curious, try google.

We learned a few things at the Interpretive Centre and then continued to the lighthouse at the end of the road. Hilly but scenic, hot but there was a cooling breeze. Note from Al: keep your jersey zipped up or a wasp could fly in and sting you several times in its panic to escape.

We returned north on Cattle Point Road to the appropriately-named Bailer Hill Road, which continued as the almost-as-hilly West Side Road. At the top of one of the hills we met Kathleen and Keith and their boating friends doing a counterclockwise loop. We carried on to Lime Kiln Point State Park and our picnic lunch. We sat on a bench in the shade looking out over Haro Strait and saw dolphins? porpoises? in the distance. Note to self: bring binoculars next time you come to the San Juans.

More hills and heat but at the top of a hill there was a local teenager with a very fancy cold drinks stand. He had lemonade, limeade, and iced tea, in a perfect location. Chatting with him as we enjoyed our "ades", we were surprised to learn that he knew nothing about Vancouver, Victoria, or British Columbia, even though both cities are closer to his home than Seattle. Island boy, I guess.

Next stop was English Camp, another relic of the Pig War. Only a few buildings are still standing but the site is lovely. Pig War, you ask? In the 1850s there was a dispute between the Americans and the British over the location of the boundary between their jurisdictions. The Oregon Treaty was somewhat ambiguous and San Juan Island was claimed by both sides. Discussions were peaceful, until an American farmer shot a pig belonging to a Hudson Bay Company employee. The situation escalated and both sides established military camps on the island. However, both sides were also aware that a squabble over a pig shouldn't lead to a war. Local commanders were both under orders to defend themselves, but not fire the first shot. No shots were fired and in 1872 an arbitrator decided that San Juan Island should be American territory. The British marines packed up and left.

Our final stop was Roche Harbor, the chi-chi resort at the north end of the island. It had a small grocery store so we could get dinner and breakfast supplies without having to ride past the campground to Friday Harbor and back.

It seemed like a very long day, 72 hilly kilometres on unloaded (but not light) bikes. I'll blame it on the heat. Cold beer at the campsite was welcome and refreshing, especially since we didn't have to carry it except from the store to our campsite.

Typical San Juan Island road view
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Today's ride: 72 km (45 miles)
Total: 146 km (91 miles)

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