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North America

Busted at Baskin Robbins and other Washington Tales

[slideshow]

Lilliwaup to Potlatch State Park 13 km

Potlatch State Park to Montesanto 81 km

Montesano to Twin Harbours State Park 53 km

Twin Harbours State Park to South Bend WA 59.16 km

Our anticipated day off at Potlatch State Park WA (along the southern end of the Hood Canal) never materialized as Ian didn’t like hearing the traffic noise and unfortunately the only hiker/biker site open at the park was the one closest to the highway. So after a camp breakfast at the park picnic area the next morning (which was beautiful sitting by the Hood Canal with mist hovering over a glass ocean) we pushed onto Montesano the following day, enjoying some wider shoulders. We were still passed by many a logging truck — I estimated one every 15 minutes — but the drivers are good and they aren’t a problem when the shoulder is wide. We passed through some small lumber towns, Shelton, McLeary and then ended up on highway 12 for a long haul as we pushed against a headwind. We hit Montesano and decided to stay at the one motel in town, owned by the Chevron…

But it was a good day off and fun with the waitress at the Local Bee Hive restaurant where I had prime rib and Ian had chicken fettucine while we got some local knowledge on route possibilities off the highway. The menu explained the history of the restaurant — built in 1934, originally as a tent selling coffee and burgers for 25 cents. Real small town America in lumber country. Saw Mitt Romney signs. Saw lots of anti-expansion of Olympic Park signs. Lots of loggers want to keep their jobs and their way of life and I don’t blame them. It is a tough problem — but just finished reading Ronald Wright’s A Scientific Romance, a post biological disaster, global warming post apocalypse novel and yeah we have to find a way to both look after the environment and make sure people can make a living. Seems like overwhelming problems for our complex political and economic systems to solve. Sigh.

Legs rested after the gruelling last 10 km into Montesano we pushed on to Twin Harbour State Park and had the perfect ride. They happen sometimes…the waitress at the Honey Bee was absolutely right re her directions on an 11 mile stretch of back roads to Aberdeen. There was zero traffic and emerald marine grasses and funky little rural properties to look at. Gorgeous.

We arrived in Aberdeen (last couple of miles in on highway 12). Ian got ahead of me (he usually is) and when I caught up to him he was stopped in front of the Baskin Robbins. Surprise surprise. But it wasn’t open yet and I teased him. A local woman stopped by to chat — a fellow long-distance cyclist who had just cycled galloping goose (trail near Victoria) and so we had a good chat and got more local route info. Lo and behold another cyclist pulled up, kitted out with camping gear. He had come from Seattle and is enroute to Santa Cruz and then flying to Panama with his bike. His name was Bo and he is from Anchorage Alaska. We talked about how this is a training ride, especially for me and it was at that point that he noticed we were alls standing in front of the Baskin Robbins. He laughed and said its usually best to stay in condition rather than get back into it and cycled off as we made our way giggling into the store which had opened in the meantime. Chastened, I ordered a kiddie scoop of chocolate fudge in a cup.

Twin Harbours State Park turned out to be the best park so far and we were treated to our first views of big Pacific rollers on a windswept beach with fog rolling in. We set up camp and cycled to a local gas station to get wine and beer (don’t you just love that you can do that here). And then…the, I’m guessing, 25 year old male clerk asked me for ID. For the liquor he said. I looked at Ian rather unbelievingly and pulled out my drivers license. Ok, I’m thinking, I really like this place and it truly has been a perfect day. Later, as we sat around the campfire drinking our wine and beer, I speculated on why he’d asked me and guessed that with my oversize sunglasses on and a tan its hard to see wrinkles and my hair is bleached blond from the sun and I was in bike clothes and besides guys that age think all women over 30 are the same — old. Ian said maybe the guy was just kidding when he asked me.  I say Ian doesn’t get any brownie points for that comment ;-0

Today was a bit of a tougher cycle (headwinds again) but we enjoyed great weather (still) and pretty ocean and river views all the way to where I sit at Chen’s Motel in South Bend which has a lounge and margaritas for 2.99. Hmmm. Sounds like a good deal to me….Ciao.

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