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Bicycling Around Vashon Island

This account of the trip dates from a letter I wrote home in July, 2015. A few minor changes have been made.

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Vashon Island

On Friday I did one of the things I was hoping to do before I left the Seattle area – bicycle around Vashon Island. Vashon has ferries that lead to West Seattle; you can see the dotted line that runs from the tip of the island over to the mainland on the right. It’s about 13 miles for me to bicycle from my home to the ferry landing, and then 13 miles home from the ferry landing – 26 non-Vashon bicycling miles in order to bicycle on Vashon. So I ended the day having biked a total of 71.2 miles. Not bad for a spur-of-the-moment trip. Though I did get a few charlie-horses. On Vashon, I bicycled from the northern tip all the way to the southern tip, and also all over that south-eastern extension (called “Maury Island”) you can see on the lower right hand side of the island.

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On Vashon Island.

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On Vashon Island.

The isthmus between the two was the coolest thing. It was about a block wide, and from either end, you could see the water on the southern side. In the two photos above, you can see the view in either direction from the same spot. The block itself had a couple of residential homes, and on the corner, this:

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On the corner.

A decrepit old, general store. If I was a homeowner, I might want something done about it, but as a passer-by, it’s beautiful.

Here are some more of the photos I took:

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On Vashon Island.

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On Vashon Island.

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On Vashon Island.

At one point in my ride, I passed a lemonade stand set up on a forlorn corner. I normally have a soft spot for such things, but on this occasion it was legitimately useful to patronize. So I stopped in, and got what they recommended: a blend of lemonade and tea. They put a ring of sugar around the edge of the cup; it was like getting a luxury drink. And oh, so good.

Vashon, like Bainbridge island, is covered with hills. Up and down; up and down. The distance would have been a lot easier and less exhausting if it was flat. But the thing about hills is that you can get going really quickly on the down-slope. I think my previous bicycle speed record, set on Bainbridge island, was 39.1 miles per hour; I broke that on one glorious hill on Vashon, where I went 39.3 mph. Of course I then, later on, had to bicycle back up the same hill. I wasn’t quite so speedy then.

Often on the trip you could smell the salty tang of the sea. Sometimes – like when the road you were biking on abutted the water – you could hear the waves gently lapping ashore. I got within about 30 feet of a moseying deer, and just a few inches away from a tiny, camouflaged seabird packing at the water line, when I was immobile for a while, looking at the waves.

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On Vashon Island.

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On Vashon Island.

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On Vashon Island.

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On Vashon Island.

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On Vashon Island.

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On Vashon Island.

This roadside farmstand was off the beaten path a bit, but I followed the signs and it is the cutest and most adorable farmstand I’ve ever seen. I mean, look at it! There were plastic bags and rubber bands you could use to package your produce; a refrigerator; bundles of flowers; bunches of basil kept fresh in water; strawberry transplants. And, you know, it’s gorgeous to look at; just gorgeous. I used up all my small bills on the way into Vashon, and I made sure to break up some of my large bills so that I could revisit it on the way out. And I did. And it was worth it.

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The best farmstand.

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The best farmstand.

There were other farmstands throughout Vashon, but none so gorgeous as this one.

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