Day 7
Another beautiful day in sunny (?) Washington. I slept late, ate breakfast in my room and headed out about 9:30. The route climbs north out of Shelton and goes around Mason Lake before going over to highway 106 along the Hood Canal. The ride around the lake is quite nice, in part since the lumber company that owned the land around the lake has limited its clear cutting so that it isn't visible around the lake. This is one of the few places in Oregon or Washington where clear cut land is not part of the 'view.' I stopped for a coke at the only store before reaching Mason Lake and for lunch on Hood Canal. The route goes across the end of Hood Canal and then on to Bremerton.

Bremerton is a pretty busy place, but the route climbs steeply up to what must be the highest point in town in order to avoid the traffic (?). Then it zooms down into a busy part of town and climbs steeply again going out of town. Then back down again and along the, mercifully flat, Chico Way. There is a lot of steep climbing getting through Bremerton, some of it seems unnecessary. Chico Way becomes Silverdale Way and this lead into an unpleasant ride through Silverdale. Silverdale appears to consist largely of malls.

In order to get a rest from the Silverdale traffic, I stopped for my second lunch at a Burger King (only fast food allowed on this strip!). While I ate lunch a couple came in with a small child. He came over and introduced himself as a bicycle tourist who had ridden the AC Northern Route out to the eastern end of Montana. He was one of the most experienced tourists I met on this trip, most were on their first tour.

The ride gets better after leaving Silverton, becoming pretty rural. After Silverton (or before it if you are headed east), look out for Shelly. Shelly is a small (terrier?) dog who bit me on a road between Silverdale and the Hood Canal bridge, Clear Creek Road. Since Shelly's mistress seemed thoroughly acquainted with Shelly's proclivities towards folks on bikes, I expect she may be a problem for anyone riding that road. Fortunately most of her bite was on my shoe so she just scratched and bruised my foot. My experience with Shelly was followed shortly by the experience of riding over Hood Canal in dense traffic. I'll take being bitten by Shelly any time.

A submarine had just cleared the Hood Canal bridge when I arrived, so traffic had been held up for 30 minutes. I should have waited for traffic to die down, but instead I rode across the bridge with a solid stream of traffic just off my left handlebar. The bridge does have some provision for bicycles, but it varies from section to section. I felt quite sure that if I made a mistake I would be run over (sieved through the steel mesh ;-{) by a dozen vehicles. Not fun.

After Hood Canal, the riding is quite good, but hilly (good riding = hilly?) and services are scarce. I managed to get off route around Irondale, so I stopped for a good pizza and some directions in a town that isn't on the adventure cycling map. Then I headed into Port Townsend on highway 20. It was starting to get dark so I stopped at a $50 motel room (there may not be any inexpensive rooms in Port Townsend) for the night. 90 hilly miles with 3700 ft of climbing - I started using the climb function of my Vertec. It really was a glorious day, probably the most beautiful day I rode in the pacific northwest.

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