2013 has been a bumper year for bicycle touring in the Pacific Northwest. As of the July 4th weekend, we have already had 21 visitors. The Europeans know how to vacation, with quarter, half-year, or year-long sabbaticals to tour the world on a bicycle. Most of the Canadians and Americans so far have been on either college graduation tour, singly or in groups, or retirement celebrations. We’ve had one guest moving to a new job in California on her bicycle, BOB trailer in tow. All so far have been traveling north to south, but by different routes: some on the Adventure Cycling Pacific Coast route through Elma, Centralia, Castle Rock, and Cathlamet to Astoria, but the more adventurous have chosen their own routes, to brave the 6.5-Km long, 60-meter high Astoria-Megler Bridge. And some have taken the equally high but shorter Lewis and Clark Bridge between Longview and Rainier toward Portland, the bicycle capital of the Pacific Northwest.
The Ruby Street Art Quilt group has a show at the Quiltworks, March 17-24, the first in the 4-year history of the informal interest group. The photos below were taken at the March 17 opening reception, after the regular monthly meeting of the group. Judy has six pieces entered, and Larye has two (both of which were in the Man-Made exhibit at Island Quilters last month). The overall show was fantastic, and well-received. I think we may have picked up a few new members, quilters excited about the surface alteration, innovative techniques, and artistic expression exhibited by the group members.
Last month, we showcased the Man-Made quilt show at Island Quilters, Vashon, Washington, in which the Unix Curmudgeon had two quilts displayed. The response from men who quilt in the Pacific Northwest was so overwhelming, the show was extended through March, with Man-Made 2, featuring 25 additional quilts for which there was not room to display for the February show, including my “Leonardo’s Garden.” Some of the favorites were repeated, like Luke Haynes’ works and Carl Rohr’s Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired men’s round robin quilt, along with 8-year-old Max Zuber’s wonderful collection of small quilts.
Island Quilter is located at 17739 Vashon Highway, in the heart of downtown Vashon, on the island. Vashon is accessible by auto on Washington State Ferries from Fauntleroy (West Seattle), Southworth (Kitsap Peninsula) and Point Defiance (Tacoma/Ruston); and by public transit via King County Water Taxi from Pier 50 in Seattle (next to WSF Coleman Dock). Metro bus routes 118 and 119 serve the island from downtown Seattle via the Fauntleroy ferry terminal and meet all boats on-island on intra-island routes.
As the winter wet and cold settles in on the Pacific Northwest, we bring another bicycle touring season to a close. In addition, we are currently sans shower, in the fifth week of a major bathroom remodel, so we put away the “Welcome Cyclists” mat at the beginning of October this year.
2012 was a banner year for Warm Showers guests — we hosted 18 cyclists in all, up from 13 last year. Because of scheduling or availability, we turned down nearly as many. Once again, the Pacific Coast Route proved to be the big draw for cyclists from all over the world. We had guests from Seattle, Korea, Nova Scotia, Yukon, British Columbia, Australia, New Zealand, Idaho, California, and Germany. Riders were mostly north to south, but we had two groups cycling from south to north.
We live close to the Adventure Cycling Association’s Pacific Coast Route, which starts in Vancouver, BC and passes through Whidbey Island, Port Townsend, Bremerton, Shelton, Elma, Centralia, and Cathlamet on the way to Astoria, but we also had many travelers who chose their own way, crossing to or from Victoria and Port Angeles and up or down US 101 along the Hood Canal. Some rode the dangerous WA Highway 3 between Belfair and Shelton, and some rode the south shore drive all the way to US 101 rather than grinding up the hill to Mason Lake. Some followed Cloquallum Road to or from Elma, and some chose to get to or from Centralia via Olympia. A few kept westward at Elma and braved the 3.5-mile-long Megler Bridge at Astoria. And some headed to Portland rather than Astoria.
We live halfway up a steep hill, so getting in and out of our neighborhood with a minimum of climbing is a tricky bit of navigation, so we often met travelers inbound to guide them to our house. We also rode with guests in the morning to guide them on their way, especially the ones who were using auto maps instead of the bicycle route maps. We also provided printed Google maps for alternate routing.
The gallery of Warm Showers travelers hosted in 2011. Warm Showers is an international on-line community of bicycle tourists who share lodging with fellow tourists. Since we live on the Adventure Cycling Pacific Coast Route and popular routes for tours of the Olympic Peninsula an Hood Canal, we have the opportunity to host bicycle tourists almost every week that we are home during the season, which lasts roughly from early May through late October.