Bellingham to Birch Bay Bike and a Hike

This is my last catch up post! Marty had his Birthday ride and I had mine! This time we took a drive up to Bellingham and stayed at the Oxford Suites (putting our new rule “no camping in the cold” into action!). The next morning we met up with my nephew Nick who is now at University and becoming quite the accomplished bike camper himself! He has done some solo trips from Seattle to the San Juan’s and has already done a century ride with soup cans in his gear and cycling in jeans (we question his judgement a bit there, but I guess at 18 years old you can do some crazy stuff and still be okay :). Anyway, our ride started started at a semi-busy intersection and soon took us out of town on country roads towards the nice town of Ferndale. Most of the way was decently flat and we enjoyed mostly sunny skies. We decided it was much to soon to stop for lunch so we continued on a very long climb out of town. I was definitely left behind!! But it was a gorgeous climb, another one of the good ones that would feel amazing if you were in shape. I excused myself from trying to keep up and instead, enjoyed the views of the Cascades on one side and the Sound on the other.

Marty and Nick were waiting for me at the top and I was just happy I didn’t have to stop and walk :). We continued on and soon reached Birch Bay at a campground site. It was so beautiful but also really cold and our next item to task was finding a lunch spot. A quick look at our phones showed a ton of covid-closed places.. yikes. But we slowly rode towards town and found a nice place near the water and warmed up.

We toyed with the idea of riding towards Blaine (further up on the border with Canada), but it was cold, and the days getting shorted, so we decided to head back. This time we stopped in Ferndale and asked a local for a good, open coffee shop and so glad we did! We had some lattes at a very cozy cafe with couches and fireplace and even had a live guitar player. It was an unexpected nicety that made the trip a little more fun.

Back on the road, we were about 8 miles out from the hotel and it started to rain…woohoo! Luckily it wasn’t really a downpour, but we felt it. AND!!! Even better news, I finally got a tire puncture. I was able to ride through it a little since I have tubeless tires, but it was soon evident that the foam stuff inside my tire didn’t totally seal it as I struggled more than usual to keep up with Nick and Marty. Marty pumped up my tire and I was able to make it back to the hotel, so I guess it did seal eventually because I haven’t had to replace it…

We made it back to the wonderful Oxford Suites and 2 out of 3 of us showered :). We dropped Nick’s bike off at his dorm and went to the Loft at the marina for dinner. The host took our name and we had a 45 minute wait, we decided to walk around the marina and wouldn’t you know it, a mile away we got the text that our table was ready. A run back to the restaurant ensued, in my case a miserable jog that reminded me I need to get in shape. That theme keeps coming up :)! With Nick in the lead, Marty a further back second and me taking up the rear we did make it to the table a little on the sweaty icky side. But dinner was nice!

The next morning, Marla (my sister) and Bryan (her boyfriend), joined Marty, Nick and I for a “5-mile hike” off of Chuckanut Drive. Talk about all switchbacks and climbing and definitely more than 5 miles. Have I mentioned I’m not in shape?? The saving grace is the scenery and company of course. At the top a large boulder outcrop became our makeshift picnic spot and we were able to see the islands and some pretty impressive birds. It takes your mind off inevitably having to go back downhill. Downhill is definitely more difficult for me, I’m nervous which naturally tenses all your muscles (which I felt the affects of for at least three days after). But we all made it back. Some more gracefully than others. But overall a really fun weekend!!

Marty and I headed back home with promises to hike more and possibly plan for a multi-day hike across the Olympics, something we’ve been talking about more and more…