We woke up to the sounds of various fog horns out in the Sound. It got cold last night, but I was snug as a bug in a rug. Sue has a lighter weight sleeping bag and she wakes up cold in the middle of the night. I think she may be getting close to investing in a colder rated bag. We slept in since the ferry wasn’t leaving until 10:00. But…we also knew that it wasn’t going to be easy pushing our loaded bikes through the forest trails from the beach to the main roads, so we allowed extra time for that. A breakfast of oatmeal and peanut butter along with coffee (all made with the quick ease of the Jet Boil) and we were off for the ferry.
As we were waiting, a large group of boys were standing nearby and we soon learned they were boy scouts on the island to get their bicycling merit badges. The young boys didn’t show much interest in Sue and I and our gear, but the leaders sure did. A group of three dads came over wondering where we had been and where we were going and how long we were going to be riding. It was fun to share our story.
A 40 minute ferry ride took us to Orcas Island. It is hard to compare the two islands. Orcas is bigger, more densely populated and SO SO hilly. In fact, it even has its own mountain called Constitution Mountain. The brochures advise that only fit and well experienced bicyclists should come to Orcas Island to ride. They really were NOT exaggerating! We had a very tough day riding fully loaded. Once we finally got to our campground, we were in agreement that we would not try to ride the mountain even though Sue says it is a breathtaking view (she has been there by car about 30 years ago). The description of it says it is five miles of switchbacks with the middle third at 10% grade.
We stopped for a picture of a Madrone Tree at the small village of Westsound. The trunk and branches are a bright red. We’ve been passing them regularly but today we purposely stopped for a picture. We could hear children laughing in the distance and spotted small sailboats called Optimists or Opti’s for short. They are designed to teach young children how to sail. The kids were definitely having a blast in the calm waters of the Sound.
In addition to a much more populated island, Orcas seems to be more affluent. The traffic is dangerous and there is just a dang lot of it! We stopped for lunch in the village of Eastsound which is a cute touristy town. We found a great little place called The Island Skillet and had a leisurely lunch before heading to the library to see if I could post to my blog. The Orcas Island Public Library was fairly new and had everything a blogger could possibly need.
We are at the Moran State Park in a nice campground called The North End and have had our MRE supper and even more importantly, we’ve had a much needed shower. We’re going to camp here two nights to take in the sights of Cascade Lake. Sue is excited to show it to me tomorrow.
Another morning of sleeping in. I could get used to this! Sleeping in means to 6:30 or so since Sue and I are both early risers. We are just the right distance from the bathrooms and to the water faucets. Life is good except for the Yellow Jacket bees who seem to have the run of this island. There is a bee trap on our campsite full of them. I have grown to not freak out at the sight or sound of a bee, thank heavens otherwise I’d be hiding in my tent constantly. However, they are bad and Sue even trapped one with her water glass inside the cafe as it was helping itself to the little bit of orange marmalade left in its packet. We originally asked to be seated outside but the host warned us the bees were busy on the deck and once we were seated then he wouldn’t be able to move us inside. So we decided to have breakfast inside and here they were anyway.
We took a walk to the lake early and spotted a pay phone. Sue needs to confirm our “water taxi” for tomorrow but we don’t have cell service. Turns out we don’t have a pay phone either as it took $1.00 in quarters before she gave up. The lake is crystal clear and Sue says “refreshing” as she swam this evening.
We rode to the tiny village of Olga today. The cafe and store are closed permanently, but there seems to be quite a few residential streets. We sat on the edge of the island at a picnic table and I brought out some wanna-be pop-tarts that I bought at Sue’s favorite co-op the other day. One taste and I was SO disappointed. Let that be a lesson to you…never eat “healthy” pop-tarts. When we got back to the tent, I promptly threw the remaining two packets across our campsite at Sue. In full disclosure, I did go pick them up later and take them to the dumpster. Ukk!
We rode back down the big hill to Eastsound and I took this iPad to the library and plugged it in to get it charged up. The battery lasts about 10 hours, but it also takes a very long time to charge. After a couple of hours, it was only charged up to about 80%. We had a great cup of coffee at a bookstore/coffee shop and visited with the locals. The woman’s dog kept licking my toes and so that is what started the conversation. They live in Washington DC during the winter and here during the summer months. Their summer home is in Olga where we were at earlier today.
A stop at the IGA for something to have for supper in camp. Last year, Sue had encouraged me to add a pan to my Jet Boil setup. I didn’t really think I needed a pan and I REALLY didn’t want the bulk and weight, but she convinced me that we could really do some creative cooking if we had a pan. So, this winter I bought the smallest Jet Boil pan the company makes. I showed it to Sue when she was in Kansas for BAK and she was quite surprised at how big it was. We laughed and laughed and began referring to it as the “humongous pan”. Anyway, I found a place for it in my panniers and have been carrying it around with me in all my loaded training rides and up every hill and for every mile on this trip to the islands. Sue had agreed that since she was responsible for me buying the humongous pan that she would cook the first meal in it. So…today at the IGA, what does she pick to cook? A packaged rice side dish that I ate about once a week last summer and that didn’t even require a pan at all! But I want you to know that while I cut up fruit for a salad, she cooked the rice in the humongous pan and which I might add, now had to be washed.
As a special note to my Aunt Judi, thank you for the cherry tomatoes. They traveled well and were very tasty! A special note to my Aunt Glenda, since I left my $5.00 reading glasses on the end table, I had to buy a $20.00 replacement. But, they are blue and match Mabeline so all is well, but my oh my things are expensive on these islands. We rode by a gas station today and I took a picture of the gas prices here.
Tomorrow we head to another island. I am so excited!