Holy cow this bike tripping thing is exhausting... We thought we'd have time to do acro, practice handstands, learn to juggle, play music, and blog daily, but all we have had time for on our long days has been making food, biking, eating, biking, being friendly with strangers, biking, eating food, biking, making camp, making food, eating food, and sleeping. So since today's our first rest day, 20 miles instead of 60, lets get caught up on the blogging bits...
Day 1 2 and 3 of biking with Mercedes & Chris 6/29/2018 to 7/2/2018
Day 1 of biking 18ish miles
The goal of the day was to get out to Port Angeles to get our bikes. And we were lucky enough to do it with these two fine folks, Mercedes, Stephanie's niece, and Mercedes' person, Chris:
The morning consisted of preparing our gear for the trip after having spent the night at Songhaia, a divine little intentional community that had raspberries for me to eat each time I took a walk somewhere. And needless to say, I walked between Mercedes and Chris' and the guest room many times :)
There were also cherries and strawberries to be picked and eaten. But I digress... (Stephanie's note here: But seriously, half of this blog is just going to be recording all the yummy food we get to eat while on trail.) Having packed up our stuff including the tandem for M&C, we loaded into the car and headed for the PCC coop to get a pizza lunch (yum!) and supplies for a few meals. Oats, lentils, rice, chocolate, garlic powder, salt, carrots, broccoli, sesame sticks, hummus, peanut butter, cheese, macaroni salad, GORP, and probably something else I've forgotten since. Oh yeah, it was heavy whipping cream. Stephanie (and I by proxy) inhales that in a dainty manner. (Stephanie here again. Only when on trail Alex! Miraculously-seriously, this is water into wine stuff. Instead of going bad, heavy whipping cream just turns into butter. Heaven...)
Headed to Anacortes, we stopped by a super cool bridge or river or gorge. Though I forget what it was called (S: Deception Pass) here's what it looked like...
Then we got to Bikespot in Anacortes where our bikes were in one (ish) piece. My rear rack had to be changed out bc the one that was sent didn't fit with the fenders, and my front racks had to be remounted since they were set up backwards, but the shop owners were super nice, hooked us up with a beer each and lent me the tools and parts needed to get the front rack ready to go. Here's what we looked like with our new bikes. This is the first time I got to ride mine!
We rode to the parking lot where M&C were parked with our gear and we started loading our paneers. Once all set, we had our inaugural wheel dip into the Pacific...
The ride to Bay View State Park was delightful. We saw otters and seals (all christened sea dogs by Stephanie), crossed all kinds of cool bridges and saw all manner of cute people. We only had one clip pedal related fall (3 minutes into the trip. -S) and the rest of the ride was smooth! At the park we were gifted a bigger flatter grassier site than the normal hiker bike sites and we got some firewood to celebrate. We set up camp had lentils and rice with avocado, garlic powder, and salt and it was delightful. We went to bed feeling pretty good about ourselves and the good times we got to spend with Mercedes and Chris.
Biking day 2, 34 ish miles.
Since I heard some drizzle noises when I woke early, I decided to set up a rain tarp above our picnic table, and rather than blogging about yesterday, I compulsively checked Stephanie's phone to see how France was doing against Argentina in the world cup. They won. Hooray. Then I went back to the tent for some cuddling time with my favorite person, sorry everyone else, and we woke up leasurely around 930. Had oatmeal, apples, and our oatmeal fixings, peanut butter, dried currents, chocolate chips, and cream, as well as coffee. That tarp I mentioned earlier came in super handy because it was raining steadily at that point. Despite the rain we had a nice little breakfast and spent some quality time all together before heading out just before 1pm (Don't judge us too harshly trail friends. Our start times get better but not by much. -S). The rain for sure put a damper on our speed, but we made it out and that was pretty darn good since there's always the option not to...
Leaving the park we stopped by the beach and met a nice fellow who offered us snacks. It was his sister's graduation party. We didn't stay for snacks but he recommended we bypass our stay in Concrete in favor of camping at Razar State Park. We didn't do that either but you will have to read further to find out that Stephanie sweet talked us into an awesome lawn camping spot...
I don't remember much of the scenery or conversations we shared on our way into Sedro Wooly, but Julie at Bike Spot in Anacortes had mentioned the Sedro Wooly market. So we stopped there, soaked and chilled from riding in the rain to share a BBQ brisket sandwich, a cheese steak, and a large multi refill cup of coffee. While warming up and stuffing our faces full of grease, carbs, and, flavor, a kind small town lawyer named Pat asked us about our trip and shared with us his own plan to do it five years from now when he retires. Pat offered us a map of county bike trails, some good advice for getting to our camp site, and two of the hoppiest beers he could find us. I forgot to take a picture of Pat or the beers he offered us, so here's some blank space for you to draw your own conclusions and mental image:
Leaving the market full of food, warm, and psyched about our beer, we immediately encountered a chainsaw art festival and had to stop to look at it and take several pictures. It smelled sweet of saw dust and was full of beautiful pieces both complete and being realized before our very eyes. (OMG OMG, there was an half finished T-Rex. OMG OMG... -S)
The rest of our afternoon ride was still rather wet. We were chased by dogs twice, the second time one nipped at Stephanie's shoe, and a passing car slowed down between me and the other dog to create a shield for me. It was scary and a good reminder that while on bikes, dogs are dangerous. It was also amazing how wonderful motorist can be. Shortly after our run in with dogs we had to stop for another issue, my front disk break was creaking and my fender was rubbing. The house we stopped in front of had a yippy dog (behind a fence) and a big Tom turkey coming down the drive way to cluck us away. Fortunately, my knight in spandex armor came to the rescue and showed the turkey she was the boss around here!
In the late afternoon we found a cherry tree and ate our fill of cherries prior to continuing on (So so so many cherries. I'm still smiling about it.-S). We stopped by a pretty river a few miles from our camp. I was stressed out by the stop and then a dog chased us away with his voice. Darn dogs... At least, for me, it meant we didn't linger. About 1 mile from our destination, Stephanie saw a house under construction with a dry, open garage and a man by his pick-up truck ready to leave. This was her moment of truth and our first chance to put our cost-savings-MCS- fundraising plan into action. Stephanie introduced herself to Jack, made a connection with him over our circus lives and his knowing some folks at the Seattle circus school, and when came time for the final pitch, Jack's offer was for us to camp out under one of his cedars by the road which was completely dry under the canopy despite the day long rain. He asked us to stay out of the garage since he'd and his neighbors to look out for squatters, but told us we could go in the unfinished house if we wanted. After he left we were elated that the plan had worked, and as we were getting ready to unpack, he came back to tell us to camp under and even better tree farther from the roof so we wouldn't have to hear the traffic.
The spot was dry from the tree's canopy and a good night's rest after a chilly day. Because it had been a long day we decided to just cook up broccoli and snack on our other food and enjoy one of Pat's beers.
Day 3, our first 60 mile day!
We woke up from a good night's sleep, slightly less motivated due to the drip drop sounds on the tent, but ready to take on the day anyway! The goal today was to get to Colonial Creek Pass, and it was about 60 miles with some decent climbing involved.
We started with our typical oats medley and coffee then started up slow but steady, until I noticed my gloves weren't on my hands but instead still on the back of my bike unattached... Or at least once of them was... So I pedaled back to our sit and sure enough it fell off by the shed... So after that light mishap we were off for real! Again the day was full of beauty, biking through rain forests, seeing giant trees being in awe of mountains, and listening for rivers and streams. The greatest riding joy for the day was when we turned off the main road and saw some thimble berries, which we promptly devoured for the better part of 15 minutes (so many thimble berries. Muhahahaha. -S). Before leaving we gave ourselves a generous 30 seconds to eat up as many was we could before heading out and since I didn't play by the rules, this was the result:
It was DIVINE! We then stopped in town to eat fries and a mocha milk shake and bought some organic tri-color pasta at a gas station for barely anything more than the spaghetti was. This turned out to be an amazing life decision for the next two dinners!!! The rest of the day was basically just climbing, so with sore knees, sore butts, and unyielding(ish) minds, we made it all the way to our camp site without any trouble.
Except we didn't... My rear, virtually flat proof tubeless tires designed and engineered to be virtually flat proof and good for my whole bike trip without me having to do anything... went flat... Though I was super bummed, my "deluxe " repair kit included 3 plastic tire levers and 2 metal ones so I was all set to fix this flat! Until we couldn't get the freaking wheel off... To keep my bike safe and theft proof when locked, some fancy only take off-able when upside down auto lock quick release were installed on my front and rear wheels. Infuriatingly, even when upside down my rear one wouldn't unlock. Stephanie and I spent at least 15 minutes trying to pry off that POS until we decided she should go get help or at least find us some plyers (not included in "deluxe" repair kit). While Stephanie was off saving the day, making friends with all kinds of kind people for us, I kept on trying to pry my quick release off. Finally, I did it! And then I popped off the tire inspected it fit damage, found none, other than the tube within it had just disconnected from the valve. Not sure how tubeless tires work, but I felt jipped. Regardless, I pulled out a new tube from my "deluxe" repair kit, saw that it was bigger than the tire was, decided that it would be better to ride on something that maybe would work than nothing and proceeded to field change my very first flat. I pumped it up to 40psi since I wasn't sure if more pressure it less pressure would be better and decided to err on the side of less (and hand pumps are hard to pressurize tires with). (For the future, we found out that more PSI is better though some hand pumps may not let you inflate past 60 PSI. -S) And I reassembled my wheel packed up my gear and started riding. Not half a mile into my ride a couple on a pick up truck ask me if I'm Alex and offered me a ride to meet up with Stephanie where she had AAA on their way to rescue us. She's the best, the bee's knees, the chocolate chips in oatmeal, the tailwind on a hard day of riding. Regrouping with Stephanie we decided to cancel the rescue call and bike the final 11 miles to get to camp for the night. It was literally all uphill from there. We took several breaks, went through a scary but amazing tunnel, ran out of taillights (duck you battery life!), went over a metal grate bridge sidewalk, took a short hike break to see a Vista, went though a less scary tunnel, and finally made it to camp around 8pm. We met another bike tour biker, Paul who was going to Nevada, set up camp, and had pasta with cream and garlic and broccoli. It was such a good meal after such a hard day, we popped our gear in a bear box and collapsed. I don't even remember Stephanie coming into bed after she finished getting washed and brushing her teeth. What a day!
Day 4 60 miles, but over a mountain pass or two
This was a hard hard hard day. We went from the Apple stem to my finger