Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Week in the Pondo

I've just returned from another fabulous week at the Clarke's cabin in The Ponderosa with Lorraine and Annette. Since it is on the eastern edge of the Cascade Mountains, the weather was primarily hot and sunny. We did have a couple of cooler, windy days, but not too bad.

We swam in the pool, went for a few bike rides, wandered around the shops in Leavenworth, and had an encounter with a squirrel who decided to check out the INSIDE of the cabin (he went out the hole he had come in and then we blocked the hole).

We had planned to float the Wenatchee River in inner tubes, but the river was still quite high, fast, and very cold. The place we had rented tubes from a couple of years ago wasn't there, so we took the hint and didn't float the river.

Below are some images from The Ponderosa. On our walks, we noticed lots of places for sale (a sign of the economy I'm sure). There is everything from the old mobile home under the snow roof to the huge "mansion" cabins that are bigger than my house! The views are spectacular as are the curiosities such as the bras on the pole (complete with lights) and a bike zip-tied to a tree. The road runs under the power lines close enough that you get "zapped" while riding if you touch bare skin to metal (We ride "knees wide" going under the power lines).

It was truly a fun and relaxing week with my great friends! I consider myself lucky to get to laugh and play with these two wonderful women!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Next Tour in the DOCKet

For my next tour starting August 14th, I will be spending a lot of time on the docks. This will be the "Bike and Boat Tour". Twenty-one days, 17 boat rides! I'll be mostly taking ferries with one passenger freighter thrown in for fun.

This tour has another purpose. My mom passed away a little more than two years ago. One of her wishes was that her ashes be scattered from the top of Mt. Constitution on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands. Although most of her ashes have already been scattered at the Oregon Coast (another favorite place), I have a small amount that I will take with me on my tour of the Sunshine Coast, Vancouver Island, the Canadian Gulf Islands, and the San Juan Islands. Yes, I will be taking the long way to the top of Mt. Constitution, but I think my mom would have enjoyed the journey (especially since she wouldn't have to pedal!).

Because I am traveling at the height of summer, I have resigned myself to a pretty strict itinerary by making some necessary reservations. I have my train reservation on the Amtrak Cascades from Seattle to Vancouver, BC. I have also made a campsite reservation at a Provincial Park that comes at the end of a long day of cycling (and a 75 minute ferry crossing). I have secured a space on the M.V. Frances Barkley Passenger Freighter from Port Alberni to Ucluelet on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

There will be some very early mornings as I pedal hard to make, in some cases, the only ferry for the day. Or, at least the only one that will enable me to get to my destination during the ever-shortening daylight hours as I ride later into August. I will be sure to take a good headlight with me!

I think it's going to be challenging and beautiful. After this tour, I will have completed the entire Pacific Coast Bike Route. I will be hoping to post blogs as much as possible along the way. Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The View of a Wheel

The 2012 STP is done! One day, 204 miles! Lorraine and I did it and so did Amy and Tony.

Lorraine, Annette, and I drove to Bothell Friday night and stayed with Lorraine's mom so we wouldn't have to get up so early Saturday morning. Our goal was to get off the start line before 5:00 am (One day riders could start as early as 4:45). Lorraine woke Annette and I up at 3:20. I had set the alarm on my phone for 3:15...PM. We were out the door at 4:00 and down to the parking lot of Safeway (across from the UW parking lot start line) at 4:25. Got the bikes unloaded, said goodbye to Annette, and rode over to the start line. Since we needed one last potty shack visit, we missed the first wave start at 4:45 (might not have made it anyway as there were quite a few people lined up). However, we made the second wave at 4:55. We were off!!!

The first 10 miles to Seward Park is called "The Blaze of Glory". It's not uncommon to see crashes, flat tires, and numerous water bottles, route guides, and other various items on the road. Lorraine lost her tail light (also very common). A guy broke a spoke not more than 5 miles from the start. The road is pretty bumpy and everyone is all pumped up and riding like mad. There is not a lot of room to maneuver as you are surrounded by cyclists. What amazed me the most was the number of stupid guys riding in this "Blaze of Glory" no-handed. I don't care how accomplished you are at no-handed riding, it's not a good idea when you are surrounded by all levels of cycling abilities! I lost Lorraine at some point in the Arboretum.

Near the Seward Park end of the ride along Lake Washington, the sun was just starting to peek over the mountains. As I made the turn at Seward Park to go up the one-block, short, steep hill, there was a guy crashed in the middle of the hill. How does one crash going uphill? I suspect he didn't get shifted until he was going up, lost momentum, and couldn't get out of his pedals fast enough. He was still trying to get out of the pedals while laying on the road. Only one crash, and that was at the end of the "Blaze of Glory"--that's not too bad!

The first stop comes at mile 24 in Kent. I rolled in there at 6:24. This year, unlike the previous years I did STP, they had bike racks to hang your bike on. This is a great improvement. In the past, bikes would just be laying all I've in the grass. Although it made for a great photo, it could be difficult to get your bike out from amongst all the other bikes.

I hung up my bike and went to the potty shacks, then some food. They had Odwalla juices. I had a bottle of juice, a piece of banana, and a mini Clif bar. Annette had driven to Kent and was there when I came in. Lorraine was just 10 minutes behind me. We both gave our vests (and Lorraine gave her arm warmers) to Annette. The weather was overcast, but not cold. Since I had already been at the rest stop for 10 minutes, I headed out. That was the last I saw of Lorraine until she finished.

When I got back on the road, my goal was to draft as much as possible for the rest of the ride. I was quite successful. I rode behind two Group Health (the main sponsor of STP) guys all the way to Puyallup. Talked to one of the guys. This was his third STP and first time doing it in one day. I lost them at the top of the Puyallup hill because they stopped to take a break, but I continued. No problem, I just hooked onto the end of another group. Coming through Roy and McKenna, the line was so long (about 30 riders) that it was a little crazy. The guy in front of me slowed down really fast which caused me to brake quickly as well. The guy behind me almost ran into me (thankfully, he didn't). Never figured out why the guy in front of me stopped so fast. That line finally broke up coming into Yelm. I picked up another couple of riders on the trail to Tenino. I did this most of the way to Centralia. I have little memory of the scenery; just the view of the wheel in front of me.

In Centralia, the lunch stop for one-day riders, I got my free Creamsicle and chocolate milk. I parked my bike and got in line for the potty shack. I ate my ice cream and drank my chocolate milk while waiting in line. Of the things you do at the rest stops, the main thing is waiting in line for the sani-cans. After that, I went to get some lunch. The line for the one-day riders' lunch was too long. I just decided to eat an almond and coconut bar I was carrying and then got back on the road. Since the weather had been foggy and misty for much of the way into Centralia, I hadn't drank that much water so didn't need to fill my water bottles. I spent 15 minutes in Centralia and was back on the road at 11:30. My average speed for the first 100 miles was 17.3! That is the beauty of drafting! The second 100 was not so fast.

I pulled out of Centralia, seemingly, all alone. Of course, I wasn't for long. Groups of cyclists would pass me and I would hook on the end for awhile, but some were going too fast for me to keep up. When I was alone, I would just hunker down on my aero bars and keep cranking the pedals.

The sun came out in earnest as I got to Napavine. I stopped at the top of the Napavine hill and switched to my sunglasses lenses. Ahhh, much better!

There are a number of rolling hills between Napavine and Lexington. I would either try to hook on to a group that was going too fast, or I would get behind someone that slowed down too much going up the rollers. There was also a headwind. I was okay with the headwind because I hoped it would change to a tailwind on the Oregon side (which it did), and it kept me cooler as the temps got up into the 80's.

By the time I got to Castle Rock Highschool, I was in need of a little bit longer break. Up until then, I had spent, at the most, 10 minutes at the other rest stops (except 15 in Centralia). In Castle Rock I bought a bottle of Gatorade and a Reese's. I went into the Highschool where they have the flush toilets. I even took off my gloves and washed my hands with soap and warm water (a luxury not available with sani-cans)! I had my sun sleeves on and I wet them down with cold water from the water horses. All in all, I was only there for 20 minutes, but it seemed longer.

I skipped the Lexington stop since it is only 7 miles after Castle Rock. From there it was not too far to the Lewis and Clark bridge over the Columbia River at Longview. One-day riders do not get escorted over the bridge like two-day riders do on Sunday. If you are going over the bridge on Saturday, you're on your own. However, there is a decent shoulder, and it is not an issue. In fact, because there aren't 250 cyclists going over at the same time, it is easier to get that nice downhill speed coming down the other side of the bridge. That might be where I hit my maximum speed for the day of 36 mph.

Once on the Oregon side, it's more rollers but, with that nice tailwind, they weren't too bad. I was still, occasionally, hooking onto someone's rear wheel, but not for very long. At one point, there was a line of about 6 riders. The guy at the end, who I was behind, kept drifting back, then standing up to pedal to catch up to the line (I'm sure to get his butt off the saddle). That was too exhausting for me to maintain, so I let that one go.

I stopped at the Gobles mini-stop for more Gatorade and a brownie. The min-stops are typically fundraisers for various organizations (usually youth groups), so I don't mind purchasing food from them. From there it was 10 more miles to St. Helens, the last STP sponsored food stop.

At the St. Helens stop they had watermelon. It tasted so good I had two slices! I also soaked my feet in cold water and took off my sun sleeves. It was 5:00. I texted Annette to let her know where I was, then got back on the road for the last 30 miles.

I rode with a gal who was doing her first STP (and in one day like Lorraine). At one point, I was following her (we took turns leading). She reached into her jersey pocket and pulled out a bar. Apparently, it wasn't what she wanted, as she put it into another pocket and reached in again. She pulled another bar out of the pocket which also was not what she was looking for. She put that in the other pocket and reached in yet again! I rode up beside her and told her it looked like she had a magic bottomless pocket of food. She said she did have a lot of food and asked me if I needed anything. I told her I had my own bottomless pocket of food (at that time I had a pocket with a brownie, Rice Krispie Treat, Clif Shot Blocks, and a granola bar a kid had handed to me as I was going down the road).

The gal (never caught her name) stopped at the last mini-stop in Scapoose to get more water. I stopped, but only briefly (ate the other half of a package of Shot Blocks).

The last 20 miles were interesting in that the route did not go the same way it had gone in previous STPs. Instead of going all the way into Portland on St. Helens Rd., then over the Burnside Bridge, we turned off and went over the much more scenic St. John's Bridge. There was one last longish hill to get up to the bridge, but it was a great way to go.

After the bridge we worked our way To Willamette Ave., Rosa Parks, then Vancouver Ave. to the Rose Quarter. There were bike lanes the almost whole way. At the Coliseum, we returned to the usual route for the last 1/2 mile to the finish. As usual, it was stoplight after stoplight. Finally, the Finish Chute was there, I was riding down it, and my sixth STP (second in one day) was completed! I finished at 7:14pm for at total time of 14 hours and 20 minutes, with a ride time of 12 hours and 14 minutes, and an overall average of 16.6 mph. Not too bad for a 50 year old!

Lorraine completed the ride, coming in at 9:15. When her son asked her how it was, she said it was the hardest thing she has ever done--even harder than childbirth! Which reminds me of part of something my dad says about things that are difficult, it's something something, and "makes childbirth a pleasure". Now, how my DAD would know what childbirth feels like??? I don't know...

Anyway, we did it! We both survived! AND, I HAVE NO PLANS TO EVER DO IT AGAIN!!! Give me 1000 mile bike tour anyday!

Here are some photos. Some are not so good, but you get the idea.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Star is Ready, Am I?

Tomorrow I will ride from Seattle to Portland in the Group Health STP Bike Ride. That's 203 miles. In the last three weeks I have been on my road bike, Star, exactly one time (last Sunday for 35 miles). Of course I have been riding--about 550 miles around the Olympic Peninsula. Is it enough? Does two weeks of daily riding on a fully loaded Bike Friday translate to being well-trained for a double-century?

I was definitely ready prior to leaving for the Olympic Peninsula. I had done several century rides as well as one 150 miler and one double metric century (127 miles). Of course, lots of other rides too.

The last time (and only time) I did STP in one day, I left two days later for a two week tour down the Oregon Coast. That was no problem. Now we will see if I can do a two week tour, THEN do STP in one day. Stay tuned to this blog to find out the answer.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

And Now Just One

We woke to sun and a whole lotta dew on the tents. I laid out my rainfly on one of the teepee concrete pads knowing i was going to be packing up a wet tent. No big deal as I was just going home.

Christian and I enjoyed our last breakfast together. Him with his bread with meat and cheese and me with my oatmeal and hot chocolate. I finished packing up my stuff. Christain was going to wait until his tent was completely dry since he would not be using it for the rest of his stay in Seattle.

I headed out just after 9:00. It's only about 10 miles back to the ferry. Of course there are some pretty good hills, so it took me just under an hour.

When I got to the terminal, the ferry dock lady was blowing the dust and dirt from the whole ferry dock road. She told me to wait on the other side of the street. She finally gave me the go ahead to ride down to the walk-on passenger area. She apologized for keeping me from coming down. She said she takes pride in a clean dock. She said she is a bit of a "Felix Unger". I told her she could come clean my house if she ran out of dock to clean.

The ferry arrived, off-loaded, and then I rolled on. I tied up Betsy (all alone now) and went upstairs. It was a beautiful day on the water.

The ride was over all too soon. This time, when I got off the ferry, I pulled off on the sidewalk and waited for all the ferry traffic to exit the boat before I started up the hill from the dock. As is true of most ferry terminals, the road is pretty steep away from the dock. Once I got to the intersection for Point Defiance (the park), I continued on Park Ave. instead of going up Pearl. Park turns into Vassault and there is a bike lane the whole way. I think the hill is a little steeper than Pearl, but I will go this way from now on (should I happen to go to Point Defiance or Vashon again). It was nice to have a bike lane and loads less traffic than on Pearl with no bike lane.

When I got to Bridgeport and 27th, I stopped for lunch at Subway #6 (I'm sure Christian is happy to NOT have Subway anymore!).

The rest of the trip home was unremarkable. On occasion I did mistakenly look in my rear view mirror for Christian. Sadly, he wasn't there...enjoy Seattle my friend!

And Then There Were Two

Back on the road this morning with only Christian. Carol had to work so couldn't complete the "C" Musketeers.

It was "the path frequently travelled" for me, but all new for Christian. Especially new for him was riding on I-5! Many people are surprised that it is legal to ride on the freeway (in certain places it is NOT legal).

After our stint on I-5, we worked our way to Steilacoom where we rode along the water and up Chambers Creek Canyon. We opted to take the roller coaster that is Grandview Dr. to 27th. Then up to Jackson/Bridgeport Way.

One of the things Christian wanted to do was ride across the Narrows Bridge. We did that, stopping to take photos at mid-span. Once we got across, we just turned around and rode back.

Once we were back on the Tacoma side, I realized we would not make the 11:45 ferry (we didn't really think we would anyway). That meant we would have to wait until 1:40 (they take a lunch break). So we rode to Subway on Pearl and had a leisurely lunch (Subway #5).

From Subway it was all downhill to the ferry terminal at Point Defiance. Even though we didn't rush lunch, we still had awhile to wait at the terminal. Even the ticket window was closed for lunch.

Once the window opened (late because they were having computer problems), we paid our $5, and, a short time later, boarded the ferry. Christian and I made a complete tour of the ferry on all levels. Even though the weather had been overcast (in fact, I thought I might have pushed my Weather Karma too far because I didn't bring any rain gear), the clouds broke up and the sun came out. We stayed out on the deck of the ferry for the entire ride.

Once on Vashon, Christian got to experience many of the hills that Vashon Island has to offer. I took him the way Carol and I have gone. It's still alot of climbing. We came into "downtown" and we're stopped by a cyclist we had been playing leapfrog with. Gene was from Bellevue and this was his first time on Vashon. He asked us about our tour and how we got to Vashon from Olympia. When I told him, he said to Christian, "It's a good thing you have her with you!". He also took a photo of us. Christian took one of him.

Other than visiting with Gene, we didn't stop in the town for anything. We continued on to the hostel/campground.

This time when we got there, the guy came right away to collect our money. When Carol and I were there before, the gal charged us $13 each. This time the guy charged us $12. The very first time Carol and I just stopped to check out the place, the gal told us it was $15 per person. At this rate, it will eventually be free!

Christian went to put his food in the fridge in the barn at the hostel. At that point he realized he had left his refrigerated food at my house. We decided to ride back to town to Thriftway so he could get more cheese and meat. I got some yogurt for my breakfast. We fixed dinner in the kitchen and ate outside at the picnic table since it was so nice.

Later on we played cards (Christian has gotten much faster at Speed). After several hands, we called it a night. It's our last night together.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Another Go at the Willapa Hills Trail

After yesterday's debacle with the trail and sending Carol off on the wrong road, we decided to stick together and try the Willapa Hills Trail again from Rainbow Falls toward Adna. We were told the trail was pretty good and it was...for about 8.5 miles when it, unexpectedly, ended at a washed out train trestle over the South Fork of the Chehalis River. We had to backtrack 3 miles to the last road crossing (where it would have been helpful to have a sign mentioning the lack of a bridge) which was Ceres Hill Rd. We were able to follow Ceres Hill out to Hwy 6.

At Spooner Rd. we wanted to get back on the trail (after bypassing the missing bridge). This time we had a look to the map to see if there was the possibility of another washed out bridge. There was another river crossing. We decided to go for it, knowing we might have to backtrack again.

We got onto the trail and all was fine until we got to the river again. There was a sign at the river that said "Trail Closed". There was an intact train trestle bridge, but the trail has yet to be developed over it. It was just the railroad ties. No railing or other decking over the ties. We decided we could make it by pushing our bikes. This was not for the acrophobic! Some of the ties were a little rotten. They were still pretty sturdy though. Some were farther spaced apart than others. The important thing was to keep the bike perpendicular to the ties because otherwise the wheels would fall through (as Carol found out toward the end when she tried to turn to go through the barrier). It was a long way across, but we all made it. At least we didn't have to worry about any trains coming!

From the other side of the trestle, the trail was paved. We rode through Adna until the trail crossed Hwy 6. From there we got back on the highway.

We took a break at a gas station/mini mart at Hwy 603 and Hwy 6 where the clerk recognized me from when I stopped there when I was doing the Two County Double Metric Century route. We chatted for a bit. He also remembered I had told him I was doing this Peninsula trip.

From there we had 5 miles on Schueber Rd. into Centralia and our 5th and final Subway stop. After lunch it was pretty much auto-pilot for me--home up 507 to Tenino and the trail home. Just outside Centralia we saw the guys painting the STP Dan Henry route markers. I hollered, "See ya next week!".

We arrived home to no fanfare, but we got Nolan to take a photo of us. It was a successful tour by all accounts. A little bit of everything--beautiful scenery, rain, sun, and most of all, adventure!

Now Christian will stay here in Olympia for a couple of days, then I will ride with him to Vashon, camp out one last night together, then come back home. Christian will continue to Seattle.

Carol Lost and Found

The second half of today from Raymond to Rainbow Falls was a bit more adventurous than the first half.

After lunch we got on the Willapa Hills trail out of Raymond that parallels Hwy 6. It is the old railway that they are slowly developing into a rail trail. For a short distance out of Raymond the trail is paved. Then it becomes crushed gravel that is still rideable. Then it becomes something only a mountain bike would be able to navigate. At that point we popped out to Hwy 6. We rode 6 all the way to Pe Ell. There is one really good climb along the way.

In Pe Ell, the trail is developed again, but is still gravel. The three of us started on the trail, but when we got to the next street crossing (which we thought was Hwy 6), Carol decided to ride the road instead. Christian and I continued on the trail. I told her we would see her at the park as the trail was supposedly developed all the way to Rainbow Falls.

After maybe 1/2 mile, we crossed another street, but the trail became too difficult to ride. We turned around and went out to Hwy 6. Once on 6 again, I asked Christian if he thought Carol was in front of us or behind us. He thought she was in front. After a few more miles where we didn't see her, we thought she was probably behind us.

We got to the turn off 6 at Chandler Rd. Carol wasn't there (not that we thought she would be at this point). We followed the signs to the park (actually, I knew how to get there). We pulled in at 5:30. As we suspected, there was no Carol. We chose one of the Hiker/Biker sites and I went to pay. Then we sat where we could see her come in. We Carol. After about 45 minutes, I thought maybe she was waiting at the turn onto Chandler Rd. I went on Betsy back to Hwy 6 and Chandler Rd. No Carol. I came back to the park. By now it had been over an hour since we had arrived. I checked my phone, but I didn't have any service. We set up our tents and as Christian went to go shower, Carol pulled up in a car. She saw Christian (she was very glad to see him). They unloaded all her stuff out of Gladys' car (the bike was folded up in the back seat).

Turns out, when Carol turned off the trail onto the road, she was not on Hwy 6. She was on Pe Ell-McDonald Rd. after she had gone several miles she saw Gladys pulling out her lawn mower. Carol asked how far it was to Hwy 6. By this time she knew she wasn't on Hwy 6. It was only a few miles to 6, but then it was still 13 miles to the park from there. Gladys asked if Carol would like a ride. Carol gladly accepted.

So, we all ended up with extra unplanned adventures today. Christian and I on a gravel trail and Carol on a cross-country jaunt along the wrong road. But, it all turned out okay.

Notice my face in the photo of me on the gravel trail. It was a little dicey!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Halfway to Rainbow Falls

Here we are sitting in Slater's Diner in Raymond. We are not quite halfway, but close. The morning has been great for riding. It is sunny and perfect riding temperature.

We have left the ocean behind and will now head inland for our last night as the "C Muskateers". Our destination for today is Rainbow Falls. This time I will go the correct way over the new Chandler Rd. bridge. Less hills and shorter distance.

We met another cyclist last night at Twin Harbors. His name is David and he is from Spain. He is doing the Coast route to Mexico. He was leaving before us, but noticed he had a flat tire (like Christian did at Kalaloch). We ended up leaving before him. He caught up to us at the "Raymond on the Willapa" metal sculpture. Below is a photo of the 4 of us.

A Good Day for a Detour

Today we had to detour around Gray's Harbor due to the no ferry debacle of yesterday.

For the first time since we began this tour, we awoke to clear blue skies and sunshine. I didn't even put my knee or arm warmers on! I had my jacket sleeves on, but only for a short time.

The first section of the road to Hoquiam was not great. There was little to no shoulder and there was alot of traffic (this being July 5th). But, after about 8 miles or so there was a wide, smooth shoulder. It remained like that most of the way to Hoquiam.

In Hoquiam we decided to split up and take care of two tasks. One was to get dinner for tomorrow night and the other was to get more fuel for the stove. Carol and Christian were going to get the food and I was going to get the fuel. I headed to Big 5 Sporting Goods. When I came to the first grated bridge, I took the sidewalk. Bad idea! The sidewalk ended on the other side of the bridge at a dead end with a three foot tall barrier. Just as I was trying to turn around, I could see Christian coming up on the bridge sidewalk. I tried to signal to him to stop, but he couldn't hear me or see what I was doing (waving frantically). When he saw me and stopped, we both turned around. We only had to go a short way back before we found a break in the bridge girders that allowed us to get onto the bridge deck (when there were no cars coming, of course). We were still able to bypass the grated part of the deck.

We stopped at a Safeway to see if they had the right fuel. They didn't, and I decided to call Big 5 to make sure they had the right kind before riding all the way there. They did have it, so Christian and I continued on. Carol had stopped at a grocery store so she wasn't with us. We planned to meet at the old mall on Hwy 105.

After getting the fuel, Christian and I proceeded to where we were to meet Carol. Not 5 minutes after we got to the Mall, Carol pulled up behind us. Perfect timing!

By then it was after noon so we decided to go sit in the shade of the Mall entrance and eat lunch.

Back on the road, we were now on Hwy 105 that I have been on 6 other times (the latest being about 5 weeks ago). I can say I know this road very well! This time we stopped at the Westport Winery along the way. They have a nice little garden and a delicious bakery (in addition to the wine stuff). We all had some dessert (mine was a quad-layer chocolate stout cake). Then we tried our hand at horseshoes. Carol did the best. I sent a couple sailing into the plants of the garden. Christian tried "bowling" his horseshoes. I suppose we should stick to biking!

After the winery, we didn't have too far to go. There was a road I wanted to go on that ran parallel to 105. It was called Bayview Rd. It should have come back to 105 just before the bridge over the bay. Instead it dead ended at Pirate Ave. after just a short maybe 3/4 mile. Pirate Ave. went back out to 105. Well, now I know where that road goes...

We made it to Twin Harbors State Park, set up our tents in the hiker/biker site, showered, and then walked to the gas station Subway for dinner. It's now the second time I have eaten at that Subway, and our 4th Subway for this trip. On our walk to Subway, we saw the sign to Westport. And what sign was also there? The sign for the non-existent pedestrian ferry to Ocean Shores! SOMEBODY needs to take care of that!

After dinner Christian and I played cards and Carol organized her stuff. Then, Christian and I walked down to the beach to watch another glorious sunset.

We have just two more days of riding before we get back to Olympia. This trip seems to have gone by very fast. As we were getting close to Twin Harbors today, we could look across the bay and see the Olympics far off in the distance. It was interesting to think that not too long ago Christian and I were looking at those same mountains, from the other side, at the top of Hurricane Ridge!

Fireworks, a Full Moon, and Bad Karaoke

Happy 4th of July! There are fireworks going off all around us. One pyro is pretty close to us so I'm sitting out at the picnic table to make sure nothing comes sailing our way. We have a front row seat to some pretty major fireworks being set off on the beach. There are about 4 competing displays. We are surrounded. To add to the cacophony, there is a party nearby where they are doing really loud and extremely bad karaoke!

We are not where we planned to be. We were supposed to be at Twin Harbors State Park tonight. Instead, we are in Ocean City at Screamin' Eagle Campground.

We left Lake Quinault this morning to the promise of blue skies and sunshine. We were not disappointed. The riding was easy and we made good time. We were planning on catching the 4:00 ferry to Westport from Ocean Shores.

We stopped at the Green Lantern Pub in Copalis Beach for lunch. It was the only place to eat and the food was pretty good. From there we only had about 12 miles or so to Ocean Shores, then another 6 miles to the ferry. We enjoyed a tailwind most of the way from Copalis.

We arrived at the place where we were supposed to purchase the ferry tickets (according to the website). The first thing we noticed was a sign that said "No Ferry Service". We went around to the office and asked about the ferry. We were told there hadn't been a ferry for 8 years! WHAT??? There is a website that lists the schedule, days of operation, and fees! Well, there was nothing to do but head back and go around the harbor tomorrow. But, not without Carol asking everyone at the marina if there was someone who would take us across in their boat first (no luck).

We pedaled the 6 miles back into Ocean Shores, stopped at the grocery store, then proceeded to Ocean City State Park (which we had passed coming to Ocean Shores). We pulled up to the park office and when we requested the hiker/biker site, we were told they had nothing. The park was full. They didn't seem to be too concerned that we were on bikes. They didn't even suggest any place else until Carol asked. What has happened to never turn a cyclist away? Anyway, we went another 2 miles back in the direction we had come, to this campground. At least this place has free hot showers! We each paid just under $10.

Since we are just a block from the beach, it was quite windy earlier. Good for drying tents and laundry--difficult to cook in. I took my stove over to the restroom building and cooked our dinner. Got some funny looks from people coming to and from the restroom but, ya gotta do what ya gotta do!

After dinner we walked down to the beach to watch the sunset. It was a beautiful one!

At this point, most of the big booming fireworks have died down. Now, if only the karaoke party would end...oh no, now someone is botching a rendition of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody!

The Better Half

We didn't end up riding around the lake, but the second half of the day was very nice.

Once the rain let up a little, we rode over to the lodge for lunch and wifi. I had delicious fish and chips (sweet potato fries).

After lunch we retired to the lobby to sit in front of the fire and connect to the complimentary wifi. Around 4:00 Harvest Moon, a local author and Native American storyteller, came to the lobby with her dog Moon Shadow (an Australian Red Heeler). She did about an hour of storytelling. It was very entertaining.

After Harvest Moon finished, we checked out the Mercantile, then returned to our campsite. Carol discovered she had a couple of inches of rain water in her rear pannier. It was closed, but the side clips that the compression straps connect to were clasped together on top which allowed water to get in. She set about drying everything while Christian and I had a snack dinner (lunch was so big we didn't need a full dinner).

After we finished with our tasks, we went for a walk on the Rain Forest Trail. The weather had finally cleared and it was perfect for a walk in the forest. There are some whopper sized trees! It was all very beautiful.

When Christian and I returned to the campground (somehow we lost Carol), we went down to the lake. The sun was setting so we got some great photos.

When we got back to the campsite, Carol wasn't there. I thought she was having tea with Bob, the camp host. Turns out she had taken a wrong turn on the trail and ended up back at the lodge. She made it back to camp before it was dark, so all was fine.

Since the weather has cleared, we are hoping for some sunshine for tomorrow's ride to Westport.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Rain and the Kindness of the Camp Host

Welcome to the Rain Forest!

It rained throughout the night. Fortunately (or unfortunately for my kidneys), I didn't have to get up to pee! At 6:00, the rain stopped long enough for me to make a quick run to the restroom. As I returned to my tent it started raining again. About an hour later it stopped and I took the opportunity to get out and fix breakfast. Of course, it started raining again, but I was prepared in my rain pants and trail jacket. After breakfast, Carol retreated to the restroom down the way (not the one closest to us that doesn't have a hand dryer) to attempt to dry some stuff. I went to the closest restroom and washed my breakfast dishes.

Everything was put away so I went to stand under cover at the campground map sign. After awhile Carol joined me (Christian was in his tent), then we went to sit under cover at the restroom building. I took some pictures of the raindrops making bubbles in the puddles.

After awhile it was back to the tent. I had accumulated a bit of a lake at one end of my tent so I took a stick and dug a little channel to drain the water away. It's working okay in that the lake is not getting any bigger. Then I returned to my tent as my trail jacket had exceeded its water resistance and my down jacket underneath was getting wet.

I spent some time organizing wet things and strung a line from a couple of the tabs so I could dry my down jacket.

I did a word search puzzle I'd picked up at the lodge last night and read my Kindle.

As I was about to fall asleep, the Camp Host came by and said he was going to be doing some weed-whacking nearby and we could come sit in his warm truck. I'm the only one taking him up on the offer. I'm doing a good job of fogging up the windows, but I'm nice and warm.

Update: The host came back as the weed-whacker wasn't working. Now I'm back in my tent. If we can get a long enough stretch of no rain, we are going to go over to the lodge for wifi and maybe lunch.