Tuesday June 12 2018. After yesterday, I was sure I could not have the same experience. I was right! Not that today was bad. It wasn’t. It simply was not as glorious and that was OK.
There was no sun when I awoke. It was overcast but nice and perfect for cycling. After my regular oatmeal I packed the bike and off I went. The start was an uphill section that I was taking at touring pace. I was suddenly passed by three young woman with very little gear, but clearly from what they had on their bikes, they were rough camping. This is common and quite allowable on most state lands. Certainly a cheaper way to go. They were going at quite a pace and alternating leaders so it almost appeared they were racing. I do not know what it was; the fact I was rested, the fact I really wanted a workout today or the fact that I am a competitive male. I went into pursuit mode fully loaded, caught then, passed them! I continued at a furious pace up to Humptulips (yes, that is a real name of a village). I stopped at it’s general store for a milk and salty snack (for sodium). I was back in the saddle and carried on with the furious pace up to Youmans Road and then I geared down finally satiated. The stretch I had just completed was on a major road with a wide shoulder.
The American Cycling Association generally tries to minimize one’s time on major highways although it is not completely avoidable considering the distance traveled. You spend most of your time on much quieter, rural roads. The trade off is, generally, no shoulder. I continued cycling on this latter road type. It was really pretty and took me through some hidden gems of villages and small communities. These roads are also more undulating with much more elevation gain and loss. When you road cycle you really appreciate the “grading” that goes into road construction with major highways. There is a logic and science to everything. The Hoquiam-Wishkah and Wynoochee Valley roads were my companions.
I came out close to the Interstate 12 freeway but took a quieter side road through Montesano (which had a pretty church and is the home of the tree farm?), Brady and Satsop (where do they come up with these names?) before entering Elma.
Again, I was not quite clear where the RV Park was but on the main road I noticed a very interesting restaurant called the Rusty Tractor. I would have to check that place out afterwards. I stopped at a gas station and a young fellow knew the location of the RV Park and gave me directions. As I almost reached the RV Park I noted a road sign. This will be a bit of a private joke. This one is for you Anna. I was almost tempted to keep cycling to Centralia just to check it out!
When I arrived at the RV Park this time it was quite a bit earlier (yes!!) and I went into the office to register. The fellow there was so nice. Once he found out I was a cyclist he gave me 2 bags containing 2 home-cooked chocolate chip cookies. I was dumbfounded. I wanted to hug him! He also wouldn’t charge cyclists any more than $10 US/night. There were laundry facilities and a well maintained bathroom with showers that only cost 50 cents for 6 minutes. They also provided a closed outside box with power to charge one’s electronic. Perfect! I was starting to think this fellow was better than Mother Theresa!
The RV Park has a small grassed area for tents. There was already one cyclist there and two more arrived later. I got down to work and got my laundry done, set-up my tent and had a nice hot shower.
A funny thing happened. While I was showering I noted a sign stating they did all sorts of repairs including bike tire repairs. Since my last flat I had not had time to repair the tube. I did not like that situation. I always preferred to have a good replacement tube ready to go in case of a flat. I was hoping to buy one at a local bike shop but none were available in this area. After dressing for dinner I quickly went into the office, because it was closing soon, and said I would be happy to have them repair my tube when I went to dinner. He looked at me rather confused and said “what gave you the idea we would do that”? I said the sign in the shower. He laughed and said that was a joke sign for decoration only. I was crestfallen! He sensed this and said “cookie?”. I grudgingly accepted.
I walked over to the Rusty Tractor which had a really cool decor and on top of it they served yak meat grown locally. It was a great meal and served so efficiently. The staff were experienced. I had a leisurely walk back to the RV Park but covered all of my panniers as it looked like rain. I was not mistaken. Through the night I could hear rain on the tent. I am convinced if I do laundry it will rain!
The grass underfoot was much softer than the regular dirt pads at most campgrounds. Sleep came quickly.
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