Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fits and Starts

Another title for today's post could be along the lines of "Lucky, or unlucky?".

After yesterday's long 63 miles, we had just over half that distance for today. We slept in--well, until 7:00 or so, and were not in any great hurry. That was a good thing because as we were leaving the campsite, Christian discovered he had a flat rear tire. He got it changed pretty quickly (considering he had to take everything off the bike). He pumped it up as best he could, but it still needed more air. Luckily, there was a gas station with air just down the road at Kalaloch Lodge. After a couple of attempts, he was able to bring the tire up to sufficient pressure. Once again, we took off down the road.

We rode about 5 more miles to Queets. To back up a bit...we have not camped where there are showers (other than rain) since Port Angeles. And we won't have showers until Twin Harbors which is two days away (because we are staying at Lake Quinault for two nights). As we rode up to the turnoff to Queets, there was a gas station/store with...SHOWERS!!! They also had laundry facilities, but we are okay with that (really putting the wool clothing to the test). I inquired inside as to the cost and hotness of these showers. They were $4 for 15 minutes of a nice hot shower. And, there were two of them! Christian declined a shower, but Carol and I jumped at the chance to be clean. It's not like we were really dirty or even sweaty since the weather hasn't been warm, but still, a shower is nice. Even though I haven't washed my hair since Sequim, I didn't wash it today as it would have never dried (yeah, it's raining again). Although Christian didn't shower, he did attempt to dry his shorts with the air from the fan thing outside of the showers (see photo below).

Once we were all spiffed up, we got back on the road. We got maybe two or three miles down the road when it started to rain more heavily. Once again we stopped, this time to put rain jackets on. Then, off we went again.

This time we made it about 5 miles before we stopped to wait for Carol to catch up. Once she did, she decided it was lunch time. Actually, by then it was almost 1:00 so we pulled out food. The rain had lessened some.

Back on the road again, we rode several miles on chip seal. Fortunately, the road was pretty straight, so I was able to ride out in the travelled area of the lane on the smoother surface. I could spot a car in my rear view mirror from pretty far away with plenty of time to move to the shoulder.

We took a couple more rest breaks. There really wasn't any scenery except trees and the occasional clear-cut. Our destination was July Creek Campground on the north shore of Lake Quinault. As we turned upnorth Shore Rd. we saw a sign warning bicyclists that July Creek was closed to camping. I thought that was mighty nice of them to let us know before we got all the way there!

We continued to the South Shore Rd. with our new destination of Willaby Campground on the other side of Lake Quinault. It was only a couple of miles off 101.

It had pretty much stopped raining, but then as we started to set up our tents it started again. We moved quickly (and I set mine up under the rain fly) and got everything taken care of. Then, of course, it stopped raining.

We went for a walk on a trail along the lake to the famous Quinault Lodge. It really is a nice place with a beautiful big fireplace and loads of comfy couches and chairs. As we were relaxing on one of the couches, we noticed the dining room. I said to Carol, "You know...we COULD have dinner here.". She quickly agreed as did Christian. We took a gander at the menu and decided it suited us just fine! We were shown to our table and proceeded to have a lovely meal (I wore my nicest black wool shirt). I had clam chowder and crab dip with toasted ciabatta. Carol had crab cakes and Christian had Penne with chicken. I had a deep dish marionberry cobbler for dessert and Christian had Banana Slug ice cream (strangely, it didn't taste at all like banana slugs--but, then again, who knows what banana slugs taste like???).

Speaking of slugs, we saw a info sign on the trail that talked about the various slugs here. Two that caught my attention were the Warty Jumping Slug and the Yellow Bordered Tail Dropping Slug. I've included a photo below with the info. I can see a whole animated show featuring Warty the Jumping Slug and his tail-dropping sidekick!

Anyway, during dinner the rain really decided to come down. We felt so smart sitting in the restaurant eating dinner while it was pouring outside. That is, until it was still raining when we had to walk back to our campsite (1 mile). Carol was dressed in her rain pants and rain jacket. Christian had his rain jacket on and I had my new trail jacket (water resistant). Christian and I rain all the way back to our campsite (okay, we took breaks in the dry spots under the trees--we're bicycle tourists, not runners!). Still, we were fairly wet. I managed to get into my tent and get my pants off without getting my sleeping bag wet! Both my tent vestibules are full of my stuff. At least nothing (except poor Betsy) is getting any wetter! My blue tarp is being used as a door mat for the "back porch" of my tent.

We are hoping it clears up tomorrow so we can circumnavigate the lake on our bikes. However, this is the RAIN forest...

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