Day 3 (2016-08-29): ~50 miles from Shelton, WA to Cosmopolis, WA along mostly country roads with little traffic.
Today was our first “long” day. Schafer State Park was only 25 miles away so we emailed a Warm Showers host a bit further along and set off for the park. The climb out of Shelton was short & steep and there were rolling hills all the way to Schafer. The country road was pretty quiet and it was nice when we could ride side-by-side. It reminded me a little of Pennsylvania with its two-lane road, no shoulder, and lots of farmland. Except this area was also full of forests very different from those on the East Coast. It is borderline rainforest here (in fact, there is one on the northwest most tip of the Olympic Peninsula).
Not far from Schafer we called the Warm Showers folks to check in and they graciously offered us a bed, shower, and BLT upon arrival. The next 10-15 miles were much of the same – long stretches of windy, hilly roads overlooking the Satsop River. By the time we caught up with highway 12, which we followed on a frontage road for a short while, Lindsey was getting tired. At this point we were nearing 40 miles and it certainly didn’t help that we ran into a moderately strong, steady headwind from the West. After what seemed liked forever averaging about 8mph we turned south again and picked up the pace as we sought to get along the highway’s small shoulder as quickly as possible. By the time we reached the host we had done about 55 miles and battled quite a bit of headwind and rolling hills.
Marnie and John, our Warm Showers hosts, were fabulous. They welcomed us with a hot shower and a nice, soft, warm bed. By the time we had both showered Marnie prepared all the fixin’s for BLT sandwiches with tomato soup and Lindsey and I downed them in no time. We chatted about John’s recent fishing trip on the Columbia (they didn’t catch anything, but one of the fish stole their rod!) and some of their experiences with Warm Showers. Although the two have not been hosting for long, they’re great – John even scouted out a few of the nearby campgrounds to give cyclists an idea of what to expect on the road ahead. What a fine couple! Marnie did a BikeMS ride a few years ago and we saw the photo of her in her kit. Plus we heard about their grandsons – a bunch of little rascals.
We ended the night with a long, deep sleep. I’d say we put 9-10 hours in and didn’t hit the road until 11:30 the next morning.
Day 4 (2016-08-30): ~35 miles from Cosmopolis to Bruceport County Park, WA along Highway 101.
By the time Lindsey and I got out of bed Marnie was long gone and John about to leave. We made one of our oat packs and added delicious peaches Marnie canned (she has a whole shelf full of canned yummies in the garage). I made the oats packets – they’re perfect. One quart-sized Ziploc filled with oats, some nuts, some dried fruit, and whatever other dry materials were on hand. Each one provides a substantial breakfast for two hungry cyclists, packs easy, weighs only a few ounces, and costs little. Adding fresh fruit is always a good idea, and the peaches made this simple breakfast way more delicious!
The ride today was not very notable – almost the entire way was along Highway 101 with medium to no shoulder. I’d classify the road conditions as “average” (5/10). Some areas had a nice wide shoulder which was pretty good, other areas had no shoulder whatsoever. Traffic was moving at 55mph most of the way and there were a decent number of trucks and RV’s, but overall traffic was very low so it was mostly comfortable. There was one 300′ stretch of gravel where there was construction which was fine, except I got a staple through the tire. First flat of the trip
Bruceport County Park was decent – a bit steep in price ($15 for one, $20 for two) but it had warm water, showers, and fire was allowed (burn bands only apply to federal and state lands) although we did not make one. For dinner we made a MExican-inspired couscous dinner with tomatoes, peppers, black beans, chipotle spice, red pepepr flakes, and lettuce. It was very filling, simple, healthy, and most importantly cheap! Who would have thought 1-2 cups of dry couscous would be so filling! I do need to be careful with how I eat though. On one hand, I am biking a ways every day and my mind is in hungry bike mode. But on the other hand, I am not really working that hard since we are keeping a slow pace, so my body actually does not need as much food as it craves.
We also met another pair of touring cyclists – Martin & ____ (I forget her name!) from Germany. They have the most ridiculous sized tent and perfectly matching bikes. Like us, they have no apartment, no job, no anything tying them down – they’re going to travel for a while and then who knows what!
P.S. I realize I need better photos of each day – you know, ones that show other people exist! I’ll do better for the next one.
Dreaming on two wheels,