(July 11 – written by Dave)
It was very quiet overnight in the state park last night. We didn’t hear any wildlife – not that you would know if one of those giant slugs was “rushing” around. What sound does a rushing slug make anyway? Given the lack of slug trails this morning, I think we dodged a bullet. Either that or the slug that “flew a great distance” from the back of my bike rack warned all of his friends.
Nancy was not feeling too flash this morning. I think I may have pushed the envelope getting up at 6AM. She didn’t think that it was time to get up and she let me know. I figured it was a fine time to get up since we went to bed at about 8:30. I didn’t win any husband gold medals when I deflated her sleeping pad while she was laying on it. Oh well, 10 and a bit hours sleep really should be enough for anyone, even a tired cyclist. (Senior editor’s note – some of us don’t fall asleep immediately on putting our head down on the pillow, so not everyone gets 10 hours of sleep. And really, why do we have to get up at 6am when we are just going to be riding our bike all day?)
We heard a few log trucks gearing down on the hill near the park while we ate brekkie but somehow we missed them completely for the first couple hours of the ride. We had our first stop at a turn off to a giant cedar tree. We didn’t make it to the tree however, as it was all uphill and pretty steep at that. Instead, we settled for giant chocolate chip cookies – purchased yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed today. Nancy was feeling better now – nothing like a giant bikkie to brighten one’s mood.
It wasn’t long before we’d covered 35k and we reached the ocean. The road out here makes lots of 90 degree turns, followed by 10-15k, then another 90 degree turn. The turn at the ocean came with a view and the added benefit of a nice tailwind. You are supposed to get tailwinds riding south on Highway 101 in the summer – but still even when expecting it, it brought us smiles. The only downside of this section of road was the lack of shoulder. Rather than widen it and make it safe, they put up signs every 2 miles or so warning the log truck drivers to slow down. It appears that few of them can read, or could be bothered. It was a nice road, but a little stressful. Ocean views follow.
We decided to try for a second brekkie at the Kalaloch Lodge and we made it with 5 minutes to spare. They stop serving brekkie at 11AM and I was not sure that the staff really wanted to acknowledge that they had 5 minutes left. When I asked, the waitress responded “you’ll be the last table for breakfast”. More smiles for us as both of us got blueberry pancakes and an egg. Second brekkies are our favourite, grumpy wait staff or not!
More tailwinds pushed us the rest of the beachside route and onto Queets. We expected more of the town of Queets but only saw a single mini-mart. We didn’t need to stop so this was just fine. Soon we made the next 90 degree turn and were heading inland towards Lake Quinault. It was mostly uphill for the next 30k but we had a good tailwind still and it didn’t seem too bad. We had a couple more log trucks but were wise to them now. If it looks like they aren’t going to give us room, we just get off the road. Makes us safer and everyone stays happy.
We rode past a lumber mill and watched a full log truck drive right past it. We can’t really figure out where the logs are going. We see full and empty trucks going both directions. Perhaps if the log wholesalers would get together and plan things out a little better, we could get a few of these trucks off the road.
The last bit of the ride to Amanda Park was downhill and we were pretty happy to pull into their local store for a cold drink. While there, a fresh order of “pizza bread” came out of the oven. We didn’t have any but several carloads of “local folks” seemed quite excited by this. Weird deal, they all pull up, leaving their cars running while running into the store for an order. They park wherever they want, today almost blocking the entire driveway. I’m not sure I get it but I am pretty sure that they look at Nancy and I in our bright Lycra and bikes and say pretty much the same thing about us.
We stopped at the first campground along the lake only to see a ‘Campground Full’ sign. We also learned that all of the campgrounds are booked through the Lake Quinault lodge so off to the lodge we went. Nancy sent me in and I got one of the last 4 sights in the entire 4 park network. I asked about a room to surprise Nancy but they were full. No problem however as we have a great campsite right on the lake. After getting set-up, we both took sponge baths in the lake to clean up.
We learned from a fellow bicycle tourist in the next site that you can pay $8 for a pool day pass and get a shower there. We were sort of glad that we didn’t know about this option. I really like a shower but at $8 each for the lodge shower, the lake proved to be a pretty good option. I jumped in the water fully clothed – cold, but refreshing. After dinner, we headed over to the lodge for free WiFi and a beer. After saving so much money on the showers, it just seemed like the right thing to do. Quinault Lake photos follow.
Tomorrow we are planning on breakfast at the lodge. Second brekkie options look slim so it seems like a good way to fuel at least the start of the day. Pancakes for Nancy is always a good way to start my day as well! We are heading towards Westport, back on the coast. It is a bit of a longer day at around 65 miles so breakfast at the lodge should get us an early start.