Archive for the ‘Planning’ Category

P8020554Bike trails and paths allow safer riding away from cars, and as a parent, I breathe easier when we get to use them. This tour allowed us time on a number of different trails, so here they are in photo form.

This first one is the Padilla Bay Shore Trail. Just a couple miles, but great meandering next to the water. And an interesting gateway to keep motorized vehicles out.

P8050598The Discovery Trail starts pre-Sequim and goes to Port Angeles, winding mostly through woods and farmlands. We appreciated learning about it from our Warmshowers stay in the area (thanks Heidi and Dick!). There are amazing bridges built by volunteers to span what was once railroad trestles, and some odd detours, such as around a superfund site outside Port Angeles.


And the Gun Club.


Then after camping at Fairholm on Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park, we decided not to brave Highway 101 back to Port Angeles. Instead we used the mountain bike path on the north side on the lake, marked as the Spruce Railroad Trail on our Bicycling the Olympic Peninsula map. Yes, we had to push our bikes a couple times, but it was awesome to circle the lake far away from the car traffic.


On Vancouver Island, we got to ride from Victoria to Sydney on the 30km Lochside Trail. It also goes on to the ferries at Swartz Bay as well. This section was special because we got to ride partway with our cycling pals Mark and Jade.

Our final trail was from Anacortes to Bayview on our last day. It was raining, so I didn’t snap any photos, but the converted trestle across Fidalgo Bay was impressive. I’m definitely a fan of rail-trails now.

You can find them by googling a town or area with “bike trail” or check with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.


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P7240482We’re heading out on our 10-day family bicycling trip towards Olympic National Park, returning home via Vancouver Island and Lopez Island to visit friends. We may name it the Bike & Ferry tour. Or the Stay Near Water Because It Has Been Incredibly Hot tour. Or the Tour de Changes, because our 13-year-old is, well, a teenager, and that changes things.

He’s going to ride his own bike instead of tandem with a parent this tour. So we’ve scaled our mileage back to 30 miles a day, figuring we can adjust from there, depending on how it goes. This puts mom on a single bike and one tandem as the dad-daughter team. Dad wants to haul most of the weight, but we’ll have to see how that goes too. It is also possible Noah will be so speedy we’ll have to weight him down a little to keep up with him.

I like the adjust-as-you-go flexibility that seems to happen while bicycle touring. So we’ll pedal on into the changes, and see what we notice as we travel.

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P7190478With a kayak overnight in Puget Sound an easy possibility from where we live, our yellow triple kayak got in the water for the first time this year. A paddle with friends to Saddlebag Island introduced new folks to the fun of kayaking.

Our boat hasn’t been in use much in the last year because our family has outgrown the big banana kayak. We can no longer fit both kids or a kid and an adult comfortably into the center, allowing the whole family to paddle in one boat.

For a family trip, we’ll now need to borrow a double or a single kayak to accompany our triple. But we don’t have a way to carry two boats on our car. That suggests we’ll need to experiment with trips from the local dock that we can access easily. Another lesson in considering adventuring close to home. We’re lucky to have paddle possibilities that can begin just a mile from our house, so here’s to not overlooking them.

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P7120430My annual gal’s trip into the mountains got weathered out. After a glorious hike in, we spent an exciting evening in a fire lookout with an electrical storm flashing all around us. Then it rained. And stayed gray for two days.

We hiked on anyway, but the traverse and the glacier travel we had planned wasn’t such a good idea in such low visibility. Eventually, we elected to head home early and I tried not to be disappointed. It just works out that way sometimes. So now, I’m studying maps, watching the weather, and trying to get out again.

Meanwhile, we’re also looking at maps and weather for the next family trip. We’ll plan as best we can, but have to stay flexible and know we can change our itinerary if the weather, terrain, or people dictate. It is good practice to balance our plans and what develops. And to remember that the weather is beyond our control, and that’s a good thing.

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P6270326Our bicycle adventures have had the benefit of using the train to support the trip plan. Last summer, we got on our bikes at our house and rolled to our train station, then hopped on and rode to Eugene, Oregon, where we then started our 1500-mile west coast trip to San Diego.

This summer, with Tom cycling 2500-miles to Michigan, the rest of the family used Amtrak as the support vehicle. We followed his route along Highway 2 across Montana and North Dakota, and got to see places he had called us from just a couple weeks before. The train was a fun mix of people and places, very economical, and we even managed to sleep in our coach seats.

I was worried about feeling trapped and sedentary, but we got out when we could (like in Minot, North Dakota above), each read a couple books, and followed our progress on the train schedule. Amtraking was rather fun, and a great way to support the bicycling.  So if you want to do a one-way trip, consider adding a train section to loop yourself back home. Or use the train to get to your destination and ride home. The possibilities…

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100_2315_1 With both parents educators, you would think we would have a wide expanse of  summer in which to plan backpacking, bicycling and kayaking trips. And while we do, already it feels like not enough as I draw lines through sections of the calendar for events and trips.

There’s two weeks penciled out for a bicycle trip with our Canadian tandem pals, a five-day stretch for my gals’ backpacking trip, Tom’s Dadventure, and two 3-4 day trips we plan to do with folks new to family adventuring. They’ve never done a bike or backpacking trip before. We get to introduce them to it, which will be double the fun.

And we haven’t even planned anything involving our kayak yet.

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p8140741Since meeting our Victoria, British Columbia friends on the Kettle Valley Rail Trail in 2002, we have been trip buddies almost every summer. Back then, Mark was intrepid on his single bike complete with a bear-scaring air horn mounted on his handlebar, and on the tag-along behind him was his six-year-old daughter. She was our son’s age and glad to see another girl on the trail, so hit it off with our then four-year-old daughter as well. We liked them immediately, camped one night together, and exchanged contact information.

In the years since then, we have shared backpacking overnights in the North Cascade Mountains and skiing overnights in the Mountaineers’ lodge at Mt. Baker. They joined us in the adult-kid tandem bike world and we’ve done bicycle trips in the San Juan Islands, Europe, and last summer on the California coast. Sometimes finding trip partners can be difficult; we feel very lucky to find have found another family interested in adventuring and so compatible with us.

We’re off to visit them in Victoria this weekend, to bicycle their city and perhaps play some rousing games of Quiddler. I’m also excited to be bringing maps and a calendar to see if we can determine some more adventures to have together. Lots of ideas are floating about within our family, time to see what might interest our trip buddies.

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