I've been doing plenty of miles this year, but no really long rides -- bad weather, bad schedule, etc. I'm getting nervous because I have some "event" rides planned for later in the summer; I really needed to do a longer ride. so -- spotting a quiet week at work -- I took a vacation day today and explored some new roads. I had a 75-mile loop to do on the other side of the Puget Sound, and I figured if I rode from my house to the ferry in downtown Seattle I'd be close enough to a century that I could wander around a bit and make sure I made it a triple-digit ride.
I hadn't done 100 miles on my own since my 20's, so I figured it was time to try it again. This turned out to be a great ride -- it's a route that I was going to do 18 months ago with a local club, but I had to cancel. Very light traffic, and a little bit of an adventure for me because I'd never been to this area either in a car or on a bike.
I left home at 6 a.m. to catch the 7:30 a.m. ferry across the Puget Sound to Bremerton. Here's the bike headed to the ferry, overlooking downtown Seattle:
I always think it's cute that the Washington State Ferry signs directly address the bikes; glad I taught mine how to read.
The ferry arriving from across the Sound was just in time for bike commuters to get to work - they let the bikes off first.
My bike always enjoys the ferry. It gets a rest; I get breakfast. The ferry was just under an hour.
Destination: Bremerton. Population peaked at 80,000 in WWII when the Navy Port and shipyard were going strong; now population is less than 40,000. In addition to the decline of the shipbuilding business, the Navy moved someof its facilities, most critically the Trident submarine base, up the road to Bangor. A mall opened up outside of town, and businesses started to leave. From Wikipedia: "Numerous failed proposals were made at redevelopment beginning in the early 1970s... Meanwhile, most of the city's office and retail space remained in the hands of Edward Bremer, son of William Bremer and the sole remaining heir to his wealth....Bremer began to neglect his properties, never increasing decades-old lease rates and failing to make necessary maintenance upgrades. In 1978, the Bremerton City Council passed an ordinance declaring the entire downtown a "blighted area."
Those nice-looking condominiums you can see from the water were a government-sponsored redevelopment project that went bust a couple of years ago. They're trying to attract weekend boaters from Seattle looking for less expensive waterfront properties...still not going well.
Here's the main attraction -- after riding from my house to the ferry (about 27 miles), I was out to do this loop, clockwise, starting at Bremerton. For most of this route there are no stores, no services, and not many people. (Downtown Seattle is across the sound, about a dozen or so miles off to the right of this map)