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Cycling Whidbey Island

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It was one of those cold, gray, rainy Pacific Northwest days we get so often in early June. Work was slow and I'd spent most of the morning gazing out the window at couple of Canadian Geese who had lost their bearings, made an emergency landing and were holed up in my back yard waiting out the storm. So when the phone rang and my buddy, Michael, suggested we load up the touring bikes and get out of town for the weekend, I cheap jerseys king told him I was in.We parked my Jetta at the Mukelteo ferry terminal and rolled our bikes on board. The crossing to Clinton was sketchy. Looking out the rain streaked porthole, I could see the wind was kicking up the water; cat's paws and white caps 2 and 3 feet high jostled the usually steady as a rock boat.We disembarked in a howling maelstrom and ran for cover beneath an overhanging eve. "Maybe we should just get back on the boat," I shouted over the wind scream.Michael shielded his eyes and gazed up into the clouds. "Naw, I don't think the heavy stuff is gonna be coming down for quite some fake real madrid jersey time yet."The Clinton ferry terminal is one of the bigger facilities in Washington State. There's a dozen car lanes and a good sized terminal building. Clustered around the terminal are a mish mash of businesses; a walk up burger joint, a Wells Fargo branch and some jerseys shop vending machines. The hill climbing out of the dock is one of the steeper ones, too, and riding up it, even in the squall, got us overheated so we stopped at a Chevron station at the top and took off a couple of Bianchi and my old Trek. Our goal for the day was Deception Pass State Park, a 50 mile ride. When I did this trip I was still something of a bicycle touring novice. I'd my touring bike a few short months and I didn't have it quite dialed in. I didn't have a front rack and my rear panniers were some 40 year old REI jobs I used back when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. The wheels were beaters and the brakes were mostly for show.My longest day of touring had been a bit more than 40 miles so this 50 mile jaunt would be a real test of my endurance.With a nice tail wind, we headed north on Highway 525. The road along this stretch makes for good cycling. It's seahawks jerseys cheap busy, there's lots of traffic, but the shoulder is wide and in good shape. It's almost like having a dedicated bike lane. Until you get past the small town of Freeland at 10 miles, the scenery isn't that great. It's not bad, lots of fields and forests but there's also a plethora of rural businesses that break up the view and are kind of a downer.Once past Freeland, the landscape starts to change. You see fewer signs of humanity until at Greenbank when you finally feel like you're truly into a nature trip.As the day wore on, the weather improved. At 30 miles we stopped in Coupville and had lunch at a waterside bar. After, we took a detour off the main road along NE Parker Road; a nice, wooded lane that hugs Penn Cove, affording fantastic views of Puget Sound.In Oak Harbor, at 40 miles, we pulled into a grocery store and bought a salmon fillet for dinner and cheap rajon rondo jersey a bottle of Cab Sav. I had planned our route carefully to eliminate unnecessary mileage and had discovered cheap nfl jerseys what appeared to be a little used shortcut. Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island.As we approached the heavily fortified gate, we could see the guards tense up. They stood directly in our way, one of them held his hand up signaling us to stop. His other hand rested on the .45 holstered at his hip."Hi!" I said in my friendliest voice, "how you doing?""Where do you think you're going?" the guard demanded. He was a young kid, not more than 20, but the look on his face told me he took his job seriously."We're headed to Deception Pass," I said. My voice broke, "yup, just out for a nice ride, no problems here, no siree! Just good patriotic Americans like yourselves!"The guard took a few steps back. He made what looked like a hand signal to his partner.For some reason, I felt the need to keep talking. Explain the situation to this young man, make him understand that we are relatively harmless. "Yup, came up from Seattle this morninggonna go campingsaw this." I smiled weakly, "well. what appeared on the map to be a shortcut through your camp here." I cleared my throat. "We mean no harm."The shore patrolman regarded me suspiciously. The other guard had walked around behind us and soccer cheap jerseys out of the corner of my eye I could see him giving Michael the once over. Extremely tense vibes surrounded us; cheap youth nhl hockey jerseys there was a charge in the air that raised the hairs on our necks like in the moment of judgement before a lightning strike. The guard poked carefully at Michael pannier with his night stick. you not gonna look in our bags are you?" I blurted out nervously.It was dead quiet. Something, I sensed, was about to happen. What now, I thought, what comes next? Then, there was a fantastic roar and the ground trembled beneath our feet. The window glass in the guard shack rattled. We all jumped and shot our eyes skyward as two angry looking jet fighters streaked low above our heads. Then it was over. My guard looked back at me. The shriek of the jets had broken the tension and he seemed calmer now. I breathed a sigh of relief. It had almost been a showdown. We all scared the hell out of each other but now the moment had know, this is a restricted government property. Do you have military ID?" My guard said. He seemed almost friendly.The guards traded glances. I thought I saw one of them nod. "Okay," my guard said, then he broke into a broad grin and shook his head, "Make it quick and please, don't try this shortcut again."They made no effort to hide their rude laughter as we made an awkward U turn and pedalled back up the way we come.

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