(July 12 – written by Dave)
We had a lovely night in at Lake Quinault – starting with a great sunset sitting on our own private beach. I’m not sure how we lucked out on the spot but we had room for 4 or 5 tents and a private path to the beach. While on the other side of us, some 12 young hikers were crammed into a very small site. The woman who checked us in was on auto pilot and couldn’t really seemed to have cared less – so our luck this time.
As planned, we hit the mercantile for pancakes for brekkie. They were huge and very good. It’s hard to screw up pancakes but we took a chance on getting them at the mercantile as the lodge had them as well (all be it for twice the price). I’m sure that the lodge used butter from Yak and eggs from Guinea fowl, making up the price difference. Simple me, I was pretty happy with hen’s eggs and Nancy, well, she’s pretty happy any time she gets pancakes.
We had a fantastic start to the riding. It was 3 miles up a very steep hill but the road was through Olympic National Park and the trees were just massive. I think my neck was starting to cramp with all the looking up. And the hill, never mind that, who could care about hills with some many big trees to look at – some of the trees were so big, I’m sure they would have filled one log truck all on their own.
Cedar shakes and mill below…
Once out on Highway 101, we had pretty much smooth sailing all the way to morning tea at a servo just south of the wonderfully named berg of Humptulips. While on 101, I managed to capture Nancy riding with a few of the log trucks – it’s hard to get the real feeling without the noise, but the photos below should give you some idea. At the servo, Nancy went in and came back with some really bad coffee and an equally bad packaged sweet roll. We tried to drink and eat them but they were so bad – life is too short for bad food!
While at the servo, I went in and asked about a road ahead that took us off the highway. While waiting to discuss it with the clerk, she made a comment to a truck driver (clearly a local) that the high clouds were keeping the tourists “out of his hair”. Never mind that the other three people in the shop were tourists. When it came my turn, I asked her about the road. She said it was sealed (paved) but that it was narrow and really dangerous. I could tell she wanted to say that bike riding in general is very dangerous and that we really should not even be out there. I pressed her on the road being sealed (paved), to which she said that we really shouldn’t take it – it just wasn’t safe. I thought to tell her that staying home and watching TV would be safer but I decided to just thank her and leave. Truck fun on 101 below – sure, that’s a better road…
We headed back out with determination to take the back country road. And in fact we found the turn and started down it… But then we saw the “chip seal in progress sign” and were passed by a couple gravel trucks in the first 100 yards. We like back country roads but we hate new chip seal. So with a little resignation, we turned around and went back to Highway 101. We’ll never know how great the mystery country road would have been, much less how dangerous.
We eventually made it to the towns of Hoquiam and Aberdeen. Nancy read a few notes about the later being an “Ice Capitol of Washington” or something. We didn’t find any “Ice” but we did find two rather hard scrabble towns. Traffic was hard, the streets were rough and there were quite a few folks milling about – we didn’t have any desire to linger. We stopped for groceries and then at the Verizon store to get a SIM for our phone. Groceries were a success but Verizon was a complete bust –something about our phone not being capable – random techno gibberish I think – no we did not buy a new phone from them. We’ll do more research and try again.
We had another 19 miles to ride to reach our camp for the night. After the phone debacle, we were not in the highest spirits and we expected to also headwinds heading back to the coast. The next 19 miles reminded us of why bike rides need to be ridden. There were some winds but the views were nice. We passed a cranberry factory and a couple oyster farms. Traffic was pretty light and the sun finally broke through the clouds. It turned out be a great afternoon ride – our energy was restored.
Nearing the campground it got even better when we came across Brady’s Oyster farm and shop. They were selling all kinds of fresh fish, oysters and crab. We already had everything we needed for dinner but our bag of chips sure could have used a crab and artichoke dip to make them complete. Throw in a nice local IPA we picked up at the servo near camp and we almost had a proper happy hour when we arrived at camp.
Camp is another hiker biker site a Twin Harbour State Park – a great value at $12. Our site was very shady and a little buggy so we sat out in the sun near the ranger station and enjoyed a lovely late afternoon on the Washington coast while we had our appetisers.
The hiker biker site has a French couple with two very young kids riding from SFO to Vancouver and then maybe across Canada. There are also a couple guys about our ages riding from Seattle to SFO. So, in addition to some nice food, we got to exchange information about the road ahead and behind with some like minded fellow travellers, a rather pleasant way to end the day that had several high and low moments all rolled into one.
Tomorrow we have a shortish day (47 miles) with a planned stop at a KOA campground in Bay City. The KOA site cost 3X what the hiker biker sites cost so we’ll see if it it’s worth it. If nothing else, we’ll have access to laundry as we are both down to our last pair of shorts for riding so we need to do some washing – one of the less glamorous things about bike touring.