I woke up about an hour after sunrise on Sunday ... about 5 am. It would have been nice to sleep later, but somehow I just couldn't do it. After rolling over a couple of times, I went ahead and took a shower, packed, and got the bike out of storage.
The day before, my rear disk brake kept slipping -- I would hit the brakes and they would hold for a second or two, and then just let go -- so I spent a few minutes trying to fix that. It took about 10 minutes before I got the brake apparently working correctly, but I found later that it continued to be undependable. Basically, it just meant that I had to spend the day using the front brake, but there were a few times that I would forget and get a brief "Oh, crap" moment.
Once I got loaded up, I went over to a bagel place that was right next to the burger place where I had eaten lunch. They were open, and the bagels were delicious. It was nice to sit outside on a cool morning with a hot cup of coffee and a good book, watching the world roll by.
And roll by it did, primarily on two wheels. There were lots of cyclists out, and eventually they got me feeling antsy to ride, so I got up and started south. I basically retraced my route through the quiet neighborhoods, which were even more quiet on this Sunday morning.
When I got to the bridges, I saw a cyclist start over a bridge. Since he wasn't getting on the sidewalk, I decided that I didn't need to either -- in spite of what the Adventure Cycling routesheet said. Then I kept following him further towards the airport, until my GPS pointed out that I was not going where I really wanted to go and I regretfully had to come about.
After a couple more wrong turns, I was back on the route. Just before River Road, I saw a huge group of cyclists going the other way, some with numbers (pinned on their sleeves? Ooookay ....) indicating that they were either racing or doing a t-shirt ride. There was a lot of shouting in the pack that I saw, mostly "Railroad tracks!" and "Hold your line!" If this is the way that they behave when they leave downtown Vancouver, I can better understand why the residents of the southern suburbs are not as friendly towards cyclists.
It was a little more quiet on River Road, following the Frasier River. There were hundreds of rafts full of logs, I guess waiting to be milled into boards. You could see where many of them had gotten loose and were floating on the river, or had washed up onto the shore. It was very cool, in a Pacific Northwest kind of vibe.
Crossing the Alex Fraser Bridge again was even more scarey, with three bunches of cyclists coming the other way on the supposedly two-lane span. Each time, I found a place where I could move well off the path, since I was obviously wider than the bikes that these folks were probably used to passing. I really have to wonder, however, whether even two non-touring bikes could have fit on that path.
On the other side, I was back on the iffy paths for a bit, and then climbing another path that had been put in over a gas main access space. This wore me out so much that I had to stop for second breakfast.
From here I passed through the busy neighborhoods of Surrey again before heading into the farmlands closer to the border.
Then, it was another tough climb over the ridge, another bumpy descent, and then a few turns to U. S. Customs.
The crossing south was almost identical to the crossing north, other than the U. S. Customs folks were more concerned about what I might be bringing back and didn't spend much time looking at my passport. After 10 minutes I was passing through Blaine and riding through USA farmland again.
Halfway down Kickerville Road my back tire quickly went flat. Changing the inner tube, I found almost half a dozen of little pieces of glass embedded in the tire. I picked them out, put in a new tube, worked on the disk brake back there some more (to no avail, unfortunately), and tightened up a few bolts. The wind was now mostly at my back as I cruised into Ferndale, where I stopped for a sandwich at Quizno's.
Replenished, it was an easy ride back to Bellingham, and I got to the hotel just before 3 pm. They let me check in anyway, and I started some laundry and wrote this blog.
Tomorrow I'm going somewhere new -- Port Townsend, via Anacortes. It's a shorter day than most of the ones so far, so I'm going to try to get the rear brake fixed before I leave Bellingham.