What a lovely day for an 18 mile bike ride. Seven MBC riders hopped on the Anacortes ferry and rode off at Friday Harbor, headed to American Camp. Although it was windier than expected we braved that wind, riding into it as we left Friday Harbor. With just two ebikes in the group we seven did a loop through downtown to be introduced to San Juan Brewing for future reference…just in case. The day was sunny and slightly cool so after a quick coffee break for some Fidalgo brew we rode to American Camp Visitor Center. Built just two months ago after having to use a small “temporary” building for 60 years, the new visitors center is quite nice. The park rangers are very proud. From there we hit gravel and rode the trail down to South Beach. It was beautiful but the 12 mph winds kept the group from riding the hills up to the Vista point or the lighthouse. After lunch we headed back to the main road and went left down to 4th of July Beach, one of Janet Boyhan’s favorites. It is now a favorite of the Island Girls as well. The beach stretches quite a ways and the view is completely different on that side; easterly versus the ocean view at South Beach. The water was clear and gorgeous; what a delightful spot. Next trip we will have lunch at 4th of July Beach without the hard wind we experienced at S. beach. We got a bit of a push from the wind as we rode back to Friday Harbor taking a detour onto Argyle Way which led us back down to the ferry. Of course some of us managed an ice cream stop, enjoying Lopez Islands treat, while two others had beer and wine to finish the trip. What a joy it is to get together again, riding, chatting, getting to know a couple of newer members. A grand time was had by all.
Photos posted to MBC Flickr Album.
Ten happy riders jumped aboard the Guemes Island pedestrian ferry and in minutes began their adventure. The weather was beautiful for a bike ride, a balmy 66 when we landed. We took South Shore Road, which is counterclockwise, and ended up at the Guemes Mountain trailhead in no time. This two and a half mile hike is worth a trip to the island every time. The locals have left hiking poles and a dog leash or two for those who’d like to use them. The views at the top are 360 and spectacular and we strolled and played amongst the dragonflies and birds. After a leisurely break we mounted our steeds and rode on. This hilly little island has lots of beautiful gardens and artwork around neighborhood homes. The detour down to Guemes Island Resort for lunch on the beach was an added attraction. While it’s not a long ride, we did get in about 15 miles. It was a wonderful way to spend a beautiful day.
A group of nine riders joined together at the Bow Fire Department parking lot and did a 23 mile ride to celebrate Earth Day. Through the Bow Cemetery, down Worline past the sculpture garden yard, through some peaceful, beautiful country, then around Samish Island we went. Although somewhat cloudy the ride was quite lovely. There were a handful of eagle sightings, and birdsong floated along with us on Samish Island. There was also a crazy chicken lady photo session or two. A few took a food and beer break before heading home but all returned to our cars with smiles on our faces and joy in our hearts.
Photos on the MBC Flickr account.
It was grand to finally get out riding together today and National Pie Weekend was a great excuse to do so. We had mild sunny weather for March 13 and no wind to speak of in the valley. A very happy group of riders mostly in cheerful bicycle yellow jackets were raring to go. We had the pleasure of 4 new members come out today. After a welcome back to all and a review of bicycle safety rules for group rides, it was noted everyone had signed the new on-line sign up and co-vid waiver.
A ride together is fun but riding in small groups is even better and my personal preference. We broke into 2 small groups and timed ourselves about 3 minutes apart which worked very well. We presented as 2 separate parties the entire ride. Small groups are much more flexible, it is easier to stay together and our sweep – the last rider in each group – could quickly catch up with their pack. Cars appreciated small because they could pass us in quick and safe order. I think many of us remained masked while riding and all remembered masking at Schuh’s when not eating.
Schuh Farms was bright and cheerful this first weekend of the season (open and serving pie until December holidays) and not too busy when our groups arrived. Everyone enjoyed their many choices for a slice of pie and the coffee was delicious. Weekend traffic is always greater than on a weekday but it was worth the increased activity to enjoy this special day together.
I thank everyone for coming out and I am very pleased to say a few people agreed to lead bike rides this year. There won’t be more bike rides unless folks step up. I will not be posting Bike Thursday rides this year. I will on occasion offer rides for some weekdays and am happy to assist any new leader needing a little encouragement. Tom and I would really like to join someone else’s ride. Remember – lead five rides and you get a $50. REI certificate! And that’s a good thing.
Whitehorse Trail has so much to offer, far more than what we all rode on Thursday.
I want to share to share a few notes with you to expand your future riding opportunities. All of the ride photos have finally been posted just now on our MBC Flickr page.My map is also posted on the MBC Calendar page – click on Thur Oct 29 link.
This is not my usual BB# route map showing what we did. This is the entire Whitehorse Trail from Arlington to Darrington, the overall length is about 27 miles. The first 3 or so miles from the Centennail Trail are closed due to a very significant blow out by the Stilliguamish River to it’s embankment and damage to the trail plus the final train bridge needs to be modified for people access. Someday this will be repaired and opened but damage is very big dollars and that takes time to arrange.
Meanwhile we have about 23-24 miles of continuous riding to enjoy from the Trafton Park Trailhead out to Darrington. My map shows you how to get to Trafton trailhead, just before mile marker 25. There are a handful of roads that cross the trail providing room for a few cars, so you can ride different increments of the trail at a time. Whitman Rd around mile marker 35 and Swede Heaven Rd between markers 43 and 44 are easy choices. Darrington is approximately 48-49 mile marker. Google Maps can find these road points. The trail itself is in the Google Maps system but Google can not provide mileage on the trail from point to point. SP&R says this can be difficult to accomplish but they are aware.
I’ve shown some mile markers on my map, attempting to correlate trail points of interest to where along highway 530 they might be. Without signage on the highway or trail, it’s my best guess but it’s good enough to help you target your parking positions as you discover more of this trail.
The wonderful wide hard packed gravel surface runs out at Swede Heaven Rd. The remaining length of trail is very beautiful landscape on flat trail with some generous single track and all about single car width. You will pass along the famous Bluegrass and Rodeo Grounds with stunning mountain scape views. The trail ends in Darrington about 2 blocks from the grocery store.
There is a river embankment blow out immediately west of 435th Ave NE and my map is wrong showing the damage east of 435th. I recommend walking your bike on the very short footpath behind the barricades. Scope out the situation before proceeding, bad weather is coming.
Snohomish Parks & Recreation web site for this trail is very helpful and they’ve updated their information plus their map shows 4 future trailheads. These are not open yet and there is no trail signage or services on the trail. There are also plans for a short connection trail to an existing and very nice county campground. There’s more camping available around Darrington.
Have a great time exploring this new and amazingly beautiful trail on bike or by foot. Please drop me a line with any updates for my map and photos to share. Stay well.
Bike Because #14 – Centennial Trail North (with Sink Hole) – 27.4 miles round trip
That’s right, a sink hole has opened up on Centennial Wed the 17 so 1 mile of the trail is closed for repairs through the summer, the damage is right about in the middle. Today, Jenn and I rode from Nakashima Farm’s Red Barn down the trail intending to do over half of the overall length.
We were thwarted with a full fence across the trail and no getting around it. When home, I mapped the details and have posted an alternative route around using nearby roads. This road detour is only 1.1 miles and parallels the trail so it barely adds anything to the overall length of Centennial and it’s basically flat. Be advised, your southbound 67th Ave NE is a country road and has no shoulder, it does carry some but not heavy traffic. Our fence was at Wade Rd. You can jog onto 67th Ave NE, turn left and head down to Hilltop Rd to turn left and get back onto Centennial to continue southbound. Note – we did not bike this detour but opted instead to turn around for a cold coffee in Arlington.
The folks at Snohomish County Parks and Recreation have a sense of humor, so check out Jenn’s photo of their warning sign, they have bicyclists falling into the sink hole. Are they trying to say something about bicyclists not obeying safety considerations?
As always, a ride along Centennial is a joy. The lush and peaceful countryside, stopping to enjoy the Sillaguamish River, folks sharing smiles and greetings as we passed each other. We got a late start and could feel the heat on our backs as we returned to the car.
Jen’s 2 photos are posted on Flick’r, and my map is on our Member’s Only Calendar page, all password required. Janet email@example.com
Bike Because #12 The Hills of Birch Bay. 31 miles or less, options to shorten and ride fewer hills are noted on the map.
This is a fabulous ride both up and down. Basically quiet roads and terrific views all the way. Co-vid makes for far less traffic in Birch Bay, an area I have always avoided most of the year.
There are various places to park your car but we like the north end of Gulf Rd out on the wooded refinery properties. Details on the map.
The gated paved roads through all of the refineries out there provide excellent riding, dog walking and solitude – if you’ve never been there, check it out. It can be difficult to see where these road gates are on Google Maps. Please don’t block the gates when you park.
Almost every hill is do-able for anyone who’s been biking and knows how to hit a hill and when to shift gears. There is no shame in walking a bike up so almost anyone will enjoy this ride. The one big up as you approach the turn off for Semihamoo Spit can be avoided by using Shintaffer Rd over to Birch Bay plus you’ll shorten your miles. The trade off is not circling the very beautiful Semihamoo Drive – woods, water, ladeda homes, little traffic and almost flat.
Riding your bike through the 2 big camping circles in the State Park is a wonderful side trip – the extensive canopy of very old fir and cedar trees has a special deep woods feeling you won’t find in many places these days. You can exit through the park or continue past the park. All 3 choices on the map have an uphill but the last one has the least effort.
Side trip to Pt White Horn Park or continue onto refinery land through the first yellow gate off Grandview.
A few photos are on our Flick’r page from both sunny and gray days. The map as always is on our club members only page> calendar> Thursday Bike Because> click to see list of all club BB rides.
BB #10 – Berthusen Half & Half. 22 or 28 miles.
Half hilly and half flat. Great to ride in either direction.
A perfect day to be biking and we opted to hit the hills first in the cool morning air. Berthusen Park is a great place to start from, deep tree shade, picnic tables and bathrooms. We rode counter-clockwise up onto the glacial ridge and turned west towards Blaine. Fabulous views, wonderful farms and homes along the rolling hills.
We intended to ride the longer 28 mile loop using Valley View Rd and take a break at that shopping area on the Birch Bay Lynden Rd exit off I-5 with Woods Coffee plus The Market grocery has a very good deli service. If you do the 28 miles, I’d recommend clockwise to enjoy the downhill on Valley View Rd to The Market.
I wanted to visit the charming but little known Whatcom County Park: The Jensen Family Forest Park. This is not the Jansen family famous for Lynden’s Art Center and LTI – Lynden Transport trucking service. From Haynie Rd you can ride down Stein Rd directly to the park. This a beautiful stand of older trees with a fine hard pack trail winding among them. There are two wood benches along the loop and a picnic table before you finish. This shortened our ride to just over 22 miles and was worth it. We are grateful this family preserved these woods for so long and were generous enough to make them a county park for all of us to enjoy.
It’s fun to have rides around both 20 and 30 miles. Most Bike Because rides can be done in either direction.
BB #9 Jim’s Therapy Hills 17 miles. Jim liked to ride this loop during his lunch hour, he must have been a blur to any bystanders. It’s a great ride, yes it is hilly but not wicked, and you’re rewarded with wonderful downhills and interesting variety of views all along the way. You probably haven’t been on some of these roads.
Best ridden counter-clockwise, it begins flat until you leave Anacortes. Note that, after you pass under Mt Erie, you ride hwy 20’s great shoulder briefly until the first right turn onto Lunz Rd. When Lunz brings you back to 20, you can stop for excellent fish eats at The Shrimp Shack. Co-Vid means you must carry away your food. We continued on our route maybe a quarter mile and just beyond our left turn was a broad shoulder pull with an excellent water view above a beach, perfect for lunch. A few hundred feet back tracked and we took a right back onto our route.
My map shows you 3 similar ways back to your car in the METRO parking lot by Moka Joes. You can add 6 more miles with a beautiful, flat ride around March Point.
As always, Map # 9 is on the Members Page Calendar and all Bike Because photos are in one album on our Flickr page. Password required.
BB #8 – Everson to Berthusen Park Loop 26 miles.
It was a splendid spring day for a ride and we were not disappointed. We took off from Everson’s Riverside Park riding clockwise towards Lynden. Farmers were taking their first cutting of grass so the air was sweet. All of the mountains framing north county were out and shining white.
We crossed town through neighborhoods working our way over to Main Street, then onto Berthusen Park. I never tire of this long standing beautiful grove of old trees. There are an easy 2 miles of long trail loops in the park but if you use all of the connectors you can walk 4 or 5 miles.
Then it was north towards the border before we headed back east, all on quiet, flat farm roads. The slight rise at Pangborn and Trapline has a very splendid vista in all directions and is worth a pause. It was downhill all the way back to Everson and our car.
Thanks Jennifer for your moody Mt Baker photo from your BB#8 ride.