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Pedal-powered weekend getaways

Last weekend, my partner Kelli and I took advantage of a temporary change in ferry schedules to bike to Whidbey Island for a getaway. Usually, the ferry to Clinton on Whidbey Island leaves from Mukilteo for a 15-minute jaunt. But due to dock work in Mukilteo, the ferry to Clinton is temporarily leaving from Edmonds, which is about 15 miles closer to Seattle (depending on your route).

Most of the ride to Edmonds follows the Interurban North route, which makes for a quick and easy ride. For $5 you get a 45-minute ferry ride that lets you off into some truly wonderful island roads with loud frog croaking at night and very little wi-fi access. An excellent vacation for a blogger.

Our first night, we rode to gorge ourselves at La Casita Mexican Restaurant. We were seated next to a couple who said they met on a cross-country bike ride. They were happy to see we rode to the restaurant in the chilly rain, so they gave us their coupon for a free desert. Totally awesome! They said they were going spend the next day (which was forecasted to be much nicer) riding around the island on the tandem bike they built. In fact, for their wedding registry, they asked for tandem bike parts. Too cute.

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For the rest of the trip, I basically rode around the island, ate good food and drank beer by the beach. If you’ have never biked to a vacation before, I can’t recommend it enough.

Some other thoughts:

  • Whidbey island drivers sure drive fast (but they give a lot of room and are courteous to bikers)
  • Why is there a bike surcharge on ferries (even if it’s only $1)?
  • Shoreline’s still-in-process extension of the Interurban Trail is interesting. It should be very nice one they finish construction of the crossings and curbs. However, the pavement design of one section had me a little baffled:
    There are ten times as many small “bumps” when riding in the center portion of the trail than on the edges. Riding in the center is not bad or anything, but it provides an incentive to ride on the very edge of the wide path. I found myself doing it, then I noticed that many other riders we encountered were doing the same thing. One even rode himself off the path on accident. He didn’t fall or anything, but you can see how someone could. It just struck me as an odd pavement choice. However, the trail seems like it will be very nice. Any regular Interurban riders have thoughts on it?

Anyone know other good (mostly) bike-powered getaways in the area? Share them below.

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6 responses to “Pedal-powered weekend getaways”

  1. theRustyHinge.wordpress.com

    Port Townsend can seem pretty far away tucked in the NE corner of the Olympic Peninsula. In reality, it is only 50 miles and a 30 minute ferry ride from Seattle (15 miles or so to the ferry at Edmunds and around 35 miles from Kingston to PT) . After you cross the Hood Canal bridge (which is much safer feeling these days) there are even 3 different routes to take with varying degrees of traffic and/or difficulty. I’ve often done a round-trip in a day for a long training ride. (100 miles seems easy when broken up with two ferry rides and a satisfying lunch half way.) If you’d like to make a weekend of it there are plenty of B&Bs to bed down in for the night. You can also camp at Fort Worden, which is an absolutely beautiful State Park. Plenty of options, just make sure to eat lunch there. So many great little places.

  2. I did a one-night solo trip on Whidbey a few summers ago: biked to Mukilteo, took the ferry to Whidbey, camped at Deception Pass, then went across the bridge and back to Seattle via the mainland. I’ve never seen so much of Whidbey island than when I biked through it!

  3. Rodney Dwyer

    I recommend Lopez Island in the San Juan’s. There is a great first class campsite site about a mile from the ferry terminal. Another great trip is to take the blackball ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria BC.

  4. Great idea. I was all excited to rally the family and do this next week – until I found they finished the dock work *early*! It looks like the schedule is back to normal (and the ride to Mukilteo is just too far with kids.).

    By the way, I’ve ranted about the way the ferry charges bikes and peds before. It’s almost like they *want* you to drive. On a trip the San Juan islands a couple years ago, we were charged ~$55 or so for two adults, two kids and three bike surcharges. Piling all of us into a 5000 lb For Expedition, with kayak, picnic coolers, scooters, volleyball nets, camp chairs, big screen TV the and dining shelters (some of the “essential” camping paraphernalia we saw other people using) would have only cost $8 more. So wrong!

    Anyway, if you get wind of any more of these bike-friendly schedule changes please spread the word!

  5. Hi, thx for sharing your exeprience. I like riding bike and myself and take pictures every day. Lopez Island in the San Juan’s is my favour.

  6. I love riding Vashon Island. You can take the bus over to West Seattle with your bike, ride there, or drive with your bike and park up the hill in the unlimited parking zone. Then take the ferry across and ride the island. The hostel has good camping for those that want to stay overnight on a budget. The town has some good restaurants and a good book store to check out and there are interesting sights all over Vashon.

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