July 31, 2001

7/31/01 Island View Camp

37 / 5479 miles

For a place that only gets 20" of rain every year, it sure looked like rain today. Put on my raingear as a heavy mist fell on the bike as I loaded up. Even though I was here only a short while, I feel I know Dorene and Ken. Just like the family back in Missouri, I'm grateful to be part of the caring Gramlich clan.

Rode through Oak Harbor on my way to Anacortes. The mist went away but the sun was having a tough time finding a hole in the clouds. Stopped to talk to a few people at Deception Pass. In 1792, Joseph Whidbey, sailed through the narrow passage and proved it wasn't a bay as the Spaniards thought but a turbulent channel. Looking down off the bridge, the current in the channel looked pretty fast. Dorene told me that ships still sometimes use the channel, but it's pretty dangerous.

The bridge over Deception Pass

I stopped at a lookout to view Padilla Bay when I met Allen and Rena Gray from California. They were touring the Northwest with thoughts of relocating. I told them to check out Port Townsend. When Allen found out about Nancy's memorial fund, he promptly pulled out a donation. It's great knowing Nancy is touching people's lives wherever I go.

"Where ya' goin' pilgrim?" one guy asked from the cab of his truck. When I told him where I'd started, another guy walking down the street exclaimed "Virginia!" I talked a little bit longer with them, then headed off to get a quick bite to eat. It was about noon, and I wanted to be early for the 2:00PM ferry to Sydney, BC.

While waiting to board, I talked with a family headed to the San Juan Islands for a few days on the bikes. I had just told them about a British couple I had biked with in Montana, when riding off the inbound ferry is Alan and Maggie. If there hadn't been a fence between us, I'm sure we would have been hugging and jumping up and down. All I got to do was touch their hands and say hello when customs were directing them to keep moving because they were blocking taffic. I guess they'd been on the Islands. They were headed for Bellingham to begin the Alaska portion of their trip. I wish I could have spent a little more time with them.

The ferry picks up passengers and more cars at Oreas Island and Friday Harbor of the San Juan Islands (USA) before heading to Sidney, BC (Canada). I just walked around admiring the sun off the water and the wide variety of boats we passed. Talked a bit with a man from Joplin MO, on a trip paid for by his kids for his 80th birthday that was yesterday.

Friday Harbor was pretty big. Saw a bunch of other cyclists boarding, two guys with trailers, a tandem, and two women. After we got underway again, I went down to talk to the guys with the trailers.

Saw several boat planes

Pat and Tracy introduced themselves and when I said my name was Jim, they asked for my last name. "Damico" I said with a question in my eye. "Wandering the world" was their reply. Turns out Pat is a room-mate with the bike mechanic I talked at length with in St Louis. Plus, it sounds as if they've only been a few days behind me the whole trip. They even rode with Bubba, Iain and Margaret.

So, the three of us spent the rest of the voyage comparing experiences on the road. And once we docked, we decided to stick together to Victoria. Tracy offered to call the hostel which was in downtown Victoria some fifteen miles from the port of Sydney. Good thing too because they were full. Got directions to a campground about halfway between Sydney and Victoria. Already seems like we've been riding together for weeks.

I think the plan is to ride into Victoria tomorrow and see if we can get a spot in the hostel for tomorrow night. Still undecided about Vancouver. Pat and Tracy are at the end of their ride. After Victoria, they head to Seattle to rent a car for the drive home.