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Old 06-25-10, 08:46 PM   #1
BengeBoy 
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My 1st solo century in 30+ years: 102 miles in the boonies (ride report w/pics)

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)


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Old 06-25-10, 08:49 PM   #2
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There were 3 decommissioned aircraft carriers in the port. One was the famous Kitty Hawk, which you can see poking over the top of this ship; this one has the name painted out, I think. I found a website that says the Independence and the Constellation also are tied up in Bremerton - don't know which this might be.

In this photo, I'm leaving town on a four-lane divided highway. Not pleasant, but pretty good shoulders, so it felt safe. That only lasted about 5 miles before I got onto much quieter roads.



One of my hobbies is collecting useless quotation marks -- got some here, at Belfair State Park.



Most of the first 30 miles or so were like this -- gentle highway, close to flat, along the Hood Canal. Not many people around -- once I got 15 miles or so outside of Bremerton, I think a lot of these are 2nd homes and vacation cottages.



"You're not from around here, are you?"

This was mounted on a house:




At the tip of the peninsula, one arrives at Tahuya. This is the mouth of the Tahuya River -- big flat marshes and mudflats.




I then headed inland, on really, really quiet roads climbing up the interior of the peninsula. A lot of chipseal roads, but blissfully free of traffic.



Got into some rolling hills -- some were pretty steep. The interesting thing about riding in the "lowlands" around Puget Sound -- the islands and peninsula -- is that there are no really big mountains to climb but frequently lots of rollers, some of which can be quite steep. This ride had a couple of climbs that were a few miles long, and a few steep hills, but overall it wasn't a killer.



After some climbing, and wicked-fast descent, I ended up on the north side of the peninsula, at a place called Dewatto Bay.



There was an old concrete building (abandoned restaurant?), where evidently kids hang out and party. Got this apocalyptic shot of my bike:



Most of the peninsula was second-growth forest (all the old growth timber was cut down years ago), interspersed with new clear-cut areas. From what I understand, when hillsides like this are clear-cut to this extent, the mud, silt and dirt runs off an clogs the nearby stream, putting a real dent in the wild salmon population. I recently read the the classic book on the decline of wild salmon in the Pacific Northwest, called "Mountain in the Clouds:" http://www.amazon.com/Mountain-Cloud...7521697&sr=8-1



(edit: I read after I got home that wild salmon are now extinct in the Tahuya River; there's a group trying to restore salmon to the habitat by transplanting eggs from the nearby Union River: http://www.hcseg.org/x103.xml )

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Old 06-25-10, 08:53 PM   #3
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Stopped at about mile 72 for lunch, little town of Seabeck. Not much there except a conference center.

I would like to say I found a quaint little cafe and had a great home-cooked meal; but I had a pretty wretched ham sandwich. The Hammer Perpetuem in my water bottle tasted better.



Back on the ferry to Seattle, pulling into the dock:



Office buildings full of people who *didn't* take the day off --



Home: 102.35 miles




The elevation map of the loop looks like this -- lots of flat (along the Hood Canal), and then several steep climbs as you move inland and go from one river valley to the next, or descend back to the shore.





Fantastic day! I love exploring places I've never been on a bike, and I felt really good when the ride was over. My right foot, which has been giving me problems for a year, felt pretty good. I was using an old Brooks Professional saddle I hadn't ridden much in years, and it was fantastic. The Hammer Perpetuem kept me fueled up; I really didn't feel the need to take any other food with me. My neck got a little sorer than I'm used to, but I finished strong -- I went a bit out of my way to ride up a pretty steep hill on the way home.

Very fun to do an unsupported century again...

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Old 06-25-10, 09:01 PM   #4
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Great report and pictures Look's like a great ride.
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Old 06-25-10, 09:29 PM   #5
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You da man.
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Old 06-26-10, 05:05 AM   #6
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Looks like a good ride. That bike is a real beauty.
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Old 06-26-10, 05:59 AM   #7
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Looks like a great way to spend the day. Also looks like typical PNW weather -- cloudy and overcast. I remember it well. I went to high school in Olympia.
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Old 06-26-10, 06:10 AM   #8
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Enjoyed the travelogue with pics -- they're my favorite posts on line. Sorry to hear about the decline of Bremerton. My family and I lived there about fifty years ago when my father worked in Alaska.
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Old 06-26-10, 06:27 AM   #9
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Thanks. Looks like a great ride!
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Old 06-26-10, 10:13 AM   #10
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Thanks for a most enjoyable tour.
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Old 06-26-10, 10:41 AM   #11
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That wasn't just a century, it was a 102.35 mile excursion.
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Old 06-26-10, 10:59 AM   #12
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Nice ride. My brother lives in Silverdale. He rides his bike to work using I imagine, that ferry.

I have a friend who also did a solo century this week. It had also been decades since he did one. His ride included running with a wolf for a period of time.

I am heading up that same route as I begin a tour of northern WI and the UP of MI. Unlike him, I have no interest in experiencing wolves.
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Old 06-26-10, 12:44 PM   #13
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Good job and nice commentary.
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Old 06-26-10, 01:30 PM   #14
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Congratulations. Thanks for posting. I really enjoyed reading about your ride. It gives me hope of doing the HH 100 Century on my 61st birthday. I have never done one yet.
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Old 06-26-10, 01:37 PM   #15
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Incredible 50+ Epic ride type stuff. Very nice.
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Old 06-26-10, 02:55 PM   #16
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Nice... thank you! Love that coolish gray weather.
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Old 06-26-10, 06:20 PM   #17
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Looks like a great ride. The sojourn is good for clearing your head, too.
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Old 06-26-10, 06:32 PM   #18
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Thanks I really enjoyed it. Great pics of your century ride.
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Old 06-26-10, 06:44 PM   #19
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Nice post, thanks for sharing and way to go on the solo century. Solo century is the only kind I have done. I am gearing up for another pretty soon.
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Old 06-26-10, 07:17 PM   #20
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I was just up there last year and stayed an extra 2 days. It sure is some beautiful country. Nice ride report and pictures.
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Old 06-27-10, 06:42 AM   #21
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Very enjoyable article, I would say. Not an easy ride
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Old 06-27-10, 06:53 AM   #22
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Excellent post and great ride. This is what the over 50 forum should be: more picture postin' and less speed boastin'.
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Old 06-27-10, 10:33 AM   #23
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Excellent post and great ride. This is what the over 50 forum should be: more picture postin' and less speed boastin'.
Thanks all for your comments. Believe me, though, if I *could* boast about my speed, I would.

BTW, I've picked up lots of good tips about long distance riding on this forum that have really helped.
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Old 06-27-10, 07:10 PM   #24
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Very nice - I really like that area, although it has been a few few years since works has deposited me there.
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Old 06-27-10, 08:06 PM   #25
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It is great to read about my own neck of the woods. The southwestern part of the Kitsap Peninsula is amazingly remote for being so close to a major city.

I was surprised to hear that your lunch in Seabeck was so poor - it normally has excellent food. Next time be sure to head up through Poulsbo for lunch (there are quite a few great new restaurants) and explore the north end of the county. You can then to catch the Bainbridge Island ferry back to downtown Seattle.
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