Cycling through Fifty Shades of Grey

070. Potlatch State ParkI’d suggest reading the condensed version of this blog post rather than the full version as it’s unlikely to be very interesting.  It certainly hasn’t been very interesting cycling over the past few days, evident by the lack of photographs we’ve taken.  So, the short version: we left Deception Pass last Thursday (21st July) rode along a busy section of Highway 20 and took the ferry to pretty Port Townsend where we ate burgers in the sun, followed by cider tasting & two nights with Phil and Emmy Lou who hosted us in Chimacum.  On Saturday it rained from Chimacum to Quilcene, then it was just grey along the Hood Canal to Potlach State Park. Monday, grey turning to blue as we rode through forest plantations to Lake Sylvia State Park via some very long straight dull roads.  We went swimming in Lake Sylvia.  Monday it was grey, again, and we cycled to Brucepoint Park via McDonalds in Raymond (a nondescript lumber town) to get some WiFi.  We spent the evening chatting to other cyclists.  Today (Tuesday) it’s been another nondescript day with grey skies and marshy coastline, probably the dullest day we’ve ridden in over six months on tour. So dull that we dug out our iPods for some musical entertainment. We’re now at Cape Disappointment, an apt name considering how disappointed we are with the cycling since leaving Chimacum.

Onto a longer version of events.  From Deception Pass we needed to hop onto the ferry to get across the Puget Sound to Port Townsend.  Highway 20 was pretty busy, the worst part being through Oak Harbour.  We took the ferry, which was possibly the last one for this trip as we think from here it’s straight on the road all the way to Los Angeles.  Port Townsend was a pretty seaside town and as we knew Phil and Emmy Lou (our Warm Showers hosts) wouldn’t be home until 5ish we enjoyed lunch in Port Townsend and then picked up a slow, scenic, bike path out of town.  We got to Chimacum still with loads of time to spare, but found a great cidery, Finn River, where we whiled away some time.  Philippa’s new favourite drink is blackberry wine, which is a bit like port infused with blackberries.  We stayed with Phil and Emmy Lou in their beautiful house set in the woods for two nights, providing us with a much needed day off after six days of riding during which we’d covered over 300 miles.

From Chimacum we rode along the Hood Canal, which isn’t actually a canal but an inlet.  The road was good and this was one of the better parts.  It was a Saturday and Philippa was worried about not getting a space at the Potlach State Park, so we bashed out the 90km before stopping for lunch.  The tailwind and only one major hill helped.  We (or rather Philippa) needn’t have panicked because there were three hiker/biker sites at the campsites.  These are $12 sites that cannot be reserved and are only available to people who’ve walked or cycled to the State Park.  That evening we managed to forage for wood and spent our time enjoying a campfire.

From Potlach we rode westwards to hit the Pacific coast.  The first part of this was via Matlock along very straight roads that cut through forest plantations.  It was easy and the road was very quiet, but it was also pretty dull, not helped by the straightness of the roads.  At least the sun was out, Lake Sylvia State Park was beautiful and we went swimming in the lake.

Yesterday (Monday) we finally hit the Pacific coast.  The blue skies had vanished and we rode through more forestry areas.  We stopped in Raymond to buy food and the town seemed dead.  From Raymond the last ten miles to the campsite was along a long straight road beside a dull marshy area.  There were other cyclists (a girl from Alaska and a family of five from British Colombia) at the same campsite that night and we spent a sociable evening around the campfire toasting marshmallows.  They also commented on the dullness of the road from Raymond, which was reassuring to know it wasn’t us just being in a grump.

Today was another grey day.  Philippa’s told me “Fifty Shades of Grey” was set in Seattle and I’ve decided the book title must be a reference to the Washington State sky.  She’s also informed me the Twilight series was based in Forks, north-west Washington, which also makes sense because the vampires won’t get destroyed by any sunshine.  The ride to Cape Disappointment State Park was, frankly, a disappointing ride.  I even stopped to fish out my iPod from a pannier, only to discover the battery was dead.  Disappointing. Philippa’s iPhone worked so she had music!  The evening was damp, but at least the campfire kept us warm and the Canadians have introduced us to s’mores. Tomorrow we’ll hit the Oregon coast, which simply has to be better than the past few days cycling.  Hopefully we’ll be able to stay with a Warm Showers host tomorrow evening, but we need to send them a SMS and, disappointingly, we currently don’t have any mobile phone coverage.  Fingers crossed that going for a walk up a hill will help.

To PotlatchTo Sylvia LakeTo BrucepointTo Cape Dissapointment

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