Bike Tour – Part 4 “Wet Washington”
“Where Have All The Fungi Gone”
“Is This Big Cedar?”
Remember that awesome mushroom book I bought on Day Two of the trip?
Yeah, after the night of infinite terror, I awoke to the chilly pitter patter of a slow drip in the tent. We didn’t have a rainfly (to save weight, don’t judge) and would have been fine if it hadn’t rained for 7-8 hours straight. When I reached out to my bag in the tent vestibule I found it tipped over and exposed completely to the rain. Book soaked. I think now even a year later some of those pages are wet. Uff da. We just didn’t deduce any mushrooms from that point on. Moving on to other bike tour goals.
We packed up early and got our ride on. The section we had avoided turned out to be a good call. We rode hard and fast down the hill and eventually pulled up alongside the beautiful Lake Crescent. Like many places along this route, the lake inspired curiosity of the surroundings and a desire to ponder it’s intricacies in stillness. But you gotta make your miles. Which we did. 40 of them to be exact, all by noon. That is because once we finished on the lake it was a very serious hill to get up and out of the region and then onto our most sought after destination, “Forks”. I shot a fun little video where I learned that waterproof gloves work best when they actually fill with water. You see, the trick is to keep warm water sloshing around inside of them so that the cold water on the outside doesn’t bother you. Pro Tip: Don’t empty the water from the gloves, then you have to start all over again.
We reached Forks in fine fashion. Which is to say we were soaked all the way through and questioning the intent to camp every night of the trip. Do we break down and get a hotel three nights in? Isn’t that like giving up? No, don’t care. We pulled into the first restaurant we saw. It was a little diner and we were seated in the back. It wasn’t long before the ground around us was a slip hazard and the mop had come out. We ate hot food and settled on not wanting to suffer anymore. Maybe tomorrow would be nicer. We rode over to the 5-Star hotel across the parking lot which included free coffee in the office but no movies because you had to upgrade to the “Twilight” rooms upstairs for that. Regardless, our dreams were coming true. We were spending the night in the home of America’s most iconic setting for a novel series written in the last twenty years. I am making that claim with no actual research whatsoever but it sounds legitimate. Also note, I still have yet to watch the last movie but they don’t show it on airplanes anymore. What am I to do?
I don’t know when I realized a photo project involving other bikers was going to be bust. The first give away might have been that after a few days we hadn’t seen a single other bike rider. We would be our own models the rest of the way, but at least now we could focus solely on the miles at hand. Also maybe a minor detail, I found the Pacific Ocean for the first time since 2010. Ruby beach was a sight for sore butts. We chained the bikes to a picnic table and ate our cheese on the path down to the water. Unlike in our adventurous pursuits, here we were not alone as families walked the beach, couples sat on rocks staring at waves, and dogs chased seagulls. I even jumped a couple of times out of pure joy. Later at Kalaloch Campground I would even run into the freezing ocean at sunset for the entertainment of other beach-goers. We knew they were entertained because later we would meet them and they would offer us their wood. Which was wet and extremely hard to start a fire with but we were grateful anyways.
The next three days were relatively uneventful as we passed from Kalaloch Campground – Quinalt Lake – Aberdeen – South Bend. This would take us about 110 miles down the road through mostly semi-sunny days (meaning there was rain, but not the entire day), lows around 38 degrees, and the creation of Daily Morning Stretch Break. Also included was a stay at a fantastic Warm Showers home of a retired anesthesiologist who had just finished the PCT, the World’s Largest Oyster, and a $20 can of Shasta. Not only those, but in this section of the trip we saw the world’s Largest Sitka Spruce and Cedar (which we found but also misfound), snuck into a closed campground for the most beautiful lakeside sunset and I lost Maggi while taking a pee on a hill. You can’t make this stuff up and that’s what is so much fun about traveling.
I know I’ve been building up to it and you’re probably wondering…when do Ian and Maggi leave this beautiful but godforsaken state and find themselves on the scariest bridge ever? Find out next week. Next episode. Next issue? NEXT BLOG! That’s what I meant to say. To see a few more images, follow this link to my Facebook page.