My girlfriend and I are touring the Pacific Coast and leave in a month. We're in Vancouver but want to start in Seattle to save time, so we're going to drive there with our bikes on the back of the car. I have a friend in Issaquah who has room to take the car. My question is, what's the best way out of Issaquah on a bike.
We're not experienced tourers and are expecting to start slow, maybe 30 to 40 miles per day. We're headed for Portland first. I was planning on following the adventure cycling route by taking a ferry from downtown Seattle to Bremerton, and heading south from there (I have a friend downtown I can stay with so we can leave early in the morning). Alternatively, we could head due south out of Issaquah and maybe follow the Seattle-to-Portland route.
We're concerned mainly about traffic and finding places to camp (either legit or stealth camping). We want to get to Portland within about a week, so no time pressure. It seems if we go south out of Issaquah it will take us forever to get out of the suburbs, is this true? I'm thinking it might be better to get over to Bremerton -- but if so, we need to get downtown on our bikes. Is there a good way to do that? Neither of us know our way around the city, it seems like it would be a challenge to make it there without getting lost. Any advice is helpful, thanks.
2009 Chris Boedeker custom, 1988 Tommasini Prestige, 2007 Bill Davidson custom, 1985 Univega Gran Turismo; 1988 Specialized Stumpjumper
There are several ways out of Issaquah on a bike.
If you want to catch the ferry to Bremerton, you follow the I-90 bike trail all the way from Issaquah, to Bellevue, across Mercer Island, then along the bike trail to downtown. It dumps you out very close to the ferry.
That connects you with the Adventure Cycling route, as you say.
If you want to take an inland route to Portland, you can look up the route of the annual Seattle-to-Portland ride. That will get you there faster, but is not as nice as the Adventure Cycling route. You can catch it from the I-90 trail, or you can head straight south out of Issaquah and catch it in southern King County.
All of these routes are laid out on bikely.com if you look around, or get a King County bike map from King County. There are links to local bike maps at www.cascade.org. The King County bike map is very good and shows all the major bike routes and recommended streets around the county.
A more adventurous route south to Portland is the mountainous route through Mt. Rainier National Park. The route would roughly be Issaquah - Maple Valley - Enumclaw - Greenwater - Mt. Rainier - Randall - then south from there past Windy Ridge. That route would be much hillier, much more scenic, but with fewer services.
If this is not clear I can stop by later with more detail...
Seems pretty reasonable. I'm looking forward to crossing the Lake -- it looks like it will be beautiful. If there is anything peculiar to this route that I should be aware of (as an out of towner), please let me know.