Seattle, Washington, Day 1: August 3, 2013

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Rolling Along

Our Northwest rails-to-trails bike trip is actually a combined trip with visiting scenic spots in Washington and Oregon. The trip began with our arrival in Seattle on Saturday via Alaska Airlines. Upon our arrival, we picked up the rental car and then our rental bicycles and rode 20 miles on the Burke-Gilman Trail, our 9th Hall of Fame Trail, I think. I don’t know the exact number right off. Ron, Martha, and Joyce made this trip, while Ed drove into Seattle to do some shopping and wandering.

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Ron on the “Burke”

Lots of flowers along the trail, and for most of our 10 miles down and 10 miles back (the trail is actually 17 miles long) we were able to ride in tree-lined areas and overlooking a large lake in Seattle. It was a good start for the trip.

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Seattle Skyline

Then we took the ferry over to Bainbridge Island (windy but scenic going across the lower end of Puget Sound) and from there drove on the Olympic Peninsula to the John Wayne Marina restaurant and the Sequim Bay Lodge. We were rather exhausted because it was after midnight then for EDT.

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The “Burke” – Day 1

Today was the first day of our Northwest Bike Trek! We (Joyce and I) plan to ride four Hall of Fame trails this week. Our husbands (Ron and Ed) decided to join us on this trip so we planned a variety of activities that would be more appealing to them, including a one-day tour of Olympic National Park and a drive down the Columbia River Gorge.

On Saturday morning, we flew on Alaska Airlines from Atlanta to Seattle and then caught a shuttle bus to the new rental car facility. Besides taking the wrong escalator to pick up our car, the rental process went smoothly. We were quickly on our way to downtown Seattle, or so we thought. None of us anticipated bumper to bumper traffic in Seattle on a Saturday! Fortunately, we didn’t have far to ride on the expressway before exiting near the University of Washington (Go Huskies). We grabbed a quick lunch at the Burger Master – a local hamburger joint near the campus.

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Counterbalance Bikes

After lunch, we picked up our rental bikes at Counterbalance (great service) and started riding west on the Burke-Gilman Trail, which is commonly called the “Burke.”

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View of Lake Herman

Within a mile or two, we were riding along Lake Herman. The paved trail was somewhat crowded with road bikes, cruisers, tandems, joggers, skateboarders, and walkers. However, the crowd thinned out as we rode further away from downtown. I thoroughly enjoyed the tree canopied trail and the picturesque lake dotted with sailboats and paddle surfers. We could not have asked for a more perfect day – mostly sunny with temps in the upper 60s.
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White Mallows

I found it difficult to focus on riding because my attention was drawn to the variety of flowers (white mallows, sunflowers, purple butterfly bushes, etc.) on one side of the trail and the exquisitely maintained homes overlooking the lake on the other. I imagined living in one of the lake cottages but reminded myself that today’s weather was rare for Seattle, which typically has more than its share of wind and rain.

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Bainbridge Ferry

We rode 20 miles roundtrip in a minute or two less than two hours, returned our bikes, and headed for the ferry. Our goal was to take the 4:40 ferry to Bainbridge Island. Although we arrived at the dock in time, the ferry was already full. However, we were able to get on the 5:30 ferry, and the ride across the Puget Sound was well worth the wait.

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Seattle Skyline

With Seattle’s space needle behind us and the Olympic Mountain range before us, we crossed the channel to Bainbridge Island. It took a little more than an hour to reach Sequim Bay, our destination for the night. Since it was after 10 PM EST, we decided to eat dinner before checking into our hotel.

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John Wayne Marina

We ate dinner at the Dockside Grill located in John Wayne (yes, the “Duke”) Marina. Apparently, John Wayne visited this area frequently onboard his family’s yacht, the “Wild Goose.” After his death, the family built and dedicated the marina in his honor. By the way, our dinner was scrumptious. Ed and I ordered iron steak (for him) and grilled prawns (for me). After stuffing ourselves, we checked into the Sequim Bay Lodge (older but nice) and went straight to bed (it was 1 AM our time….yawn:)