Vashon redux: Foot Ferry et al.[30-50 Miles, 1650 feet total elevation gain] Map,
Since 1998, Vashon Island has been my favorite ride ... In 1998 I did it 5 times and 8 times (last in October) in 1999.
2000 was the same as previous years (Although it seems that there are more and more cars and development on the island) and as of this writing (7/2000) I have done it 5 times ...(Feb, Apr, May, June, July). However it saddens me to say that the Saturday Foot Ferry to Vashon ended June 17th, 2000 - a result of a measure (I-695) in Washington State which reduced Auto excise tax to a pittance. Washington State DOES NOT have a state income tax but I'll leave that discussion to another forum. The weekend foot ferry service was cancelled. It was rather special while it lasted and hopefully it will come back one of these years. I will probably switch my monthly Vashon rides to Fridays - and forgo Frump rides.
In 2003, I did it in late September and the ride is as nice as ever. Dokton road (in Ellisport) was closed for shore repair and I had to make a detour past the High School and then Vashon Highway. The road should be open by the time that you read this (11/03). My rides around Vashon seem to be now a yearly ride but I hope to increase the frequency in the future. The foot ferry is still running on weekdays on a commuter schedule. Other news is it appears that the exercise bikes at Tramp bay have multiplied.
It's been 6 years since my last ride around Vashon (gee time does fly doesn't it) but on September 23, 2009 I did it again. Despite getting a late start (11:20 AM from Faunteleroy) and a missed turn (which got me to Burton Park) it was a fine ride. What impressed me this time was it feeling more and more like Bainbridge with it's "monied" houses but it (Vashon) still has some of that historical hippiesh, artistic and farming feel. Even though my understanding of Proust's "Rememberance of Things Past" is quite simple it will explain how some of my favorite landmarks have changed - The "Gas" station is now a Jewish Common Center, The bright Aquamarine house up from Docton is now a stately white and my Car ridden mystery is now a carefully cleaned/pruned gated driveway. (Then and now pics will follow).
The reason I like the ride (besides it's wonderful bicycling pleasure) is (of course) because I don't have to drive to it's start ... I take the Foot Ferry from downtown Seattle on Saturdays (closed since 6/2000) which is a bit problematical (if all you websters start using it) as only 10 bicycles are allowed. If you can go during the week ...since the foot ferry is a commuter boat, you'll be going in an opposite direction from the working folk. This noisy, small foot ferry makes a great start/finish to the rides! Actually there are three foot ferries, the Skagit, Tyee and Snohomish in order of "class" ...usually I took the Skagit or Tyee.
Vashon itself is a sylvan joy (for the most part - it's getting built up with the monied like the rest of the Seattle area) and a physical challenge (at least for me!) The West end of the loop is probably some of the best bicycling in the Seattle area. Swooping tree-lined viewed way without much traffic or even houses built close to the road.