THE RSVP AND BACK By Jim Norris, Cascade member So, you’ve now ridden or plan to ride the RSVP next year. Have you considered riding back home? It’s easier, shorter and more scenic than you may think. The first step is to decide on a return route. Two favorite routes are via the Sidney-Anacortes or Victoria-Port Angeles Black Ball ferries. With only 2 Sidney-Anacortes and 4 Victoria-Port Angeles ferries per day, planning ahead is a must. Both routes require taking the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay ferry. Once you pick a route, determine your cycling and second ferry sailing time, then pick the best Tsawwassen ferry’s departure time. It leaves hourly for an enjoyable 95 minute crossing to Swartz Bay. If you haven’t taken a BC ferry, you are in for a treat – good food, well maintained with spacious and comfortable seating, and great views. Getting to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal is as easy as taking the bus or riding there (25 miles). Bus racks handle only 2 bikes, so group planning is required. Or, take the SkyTrain to Richmond (near the airport) and ride or continue by bus. If riding from the hotel, take Nelson Street east crossing the Cambie Street Bridge. Take either Ontario (flatter) or Heather Street south to W. Kent Ave.N. Turn right and proceed to the Canadian Line (SkyTrain) Bikeway Bridge to your left. Once in pancake flat Richmond, head south on Garden City Road. I bike to the Richmond Riverport Holiday Inn (15 miles) after the RSVP. A nice mall is close by and it’s not far from the free bike shuttle off Rice Mill Road through the George Massey Tunnel. The shuttle runs south on the hour. Take the main highway (17A) with a good shoulder (11 miles from Inn to the ferry) or a nice but not so well marked bike route. Optionally, try an afternoon or early evening ferry and spend the night in Sidney or Victoria (5 or 21 miles from Swartz Bay). All bike routes can be seen on Google.ca/maps and selecting the bicycle route icon. My preferred route is the Sidney-Anacortes ferry. Stop at a Sidney bakery or café for some travel treats. Arrive 45 minutes before the noon ferry to get your ticket and go through US Customs. This truly scenic ferry ride winds through the San Juan Islands arriving in Anacortes at 2:10. Take the Anaco Beach Road to Marina Drive to Rosario Road and then Highway 20 crossing Deception Pass Bridge. Staying on Hwy 20 is the most direct route to either the Coupeville-Port Townsend or Clinton-Mukilteo ferries. From Anacortes, it is 34 miles to the Coupeville ferry and 58 miles to Clinton. Continuing to Clinton, ride or take Mukilteo buses south to Seattle. For the Port Townsend ferry, turn right off of Hwy 20 at the Coupeville pedestrian overpass and head out Eagle Road to Ft. Casey. It is 49 miles of cycling from the Richmond Holiday Inn to Port Townsend. Overnight in Port Townsend (make reservations) and head out in the morning. Take Hwy 20 to 19, then use the posted bike route to Hwy 104, the Hood Canal Bridge, Port Gamble and the Kingston-Edmonds ferry. While Highway 19 is more direct, it’s limited shoulder and fast moving semi-truck traffic is dangerous. Watch out for passing semitruck pressure waves on Hwy 104. From Edmonds, I continue on Highway 104 to Lake Forest Park and the Burke-Gilman trail. Then, for me, it’s an easy ride to Marymoor Park and home for lunch. A total of 126 miles cycling back from the RSVP finish, four relaxing ferry rides, great scenery and the satisfaction of a round trip under my own power.
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