Friday, May 27, 2016

35: A very long day in the saddle

I faithfully and optimistically put on the sunscreen each day
Roger and I put in a good long day today. If we were professional cycling racers, you might call this a transfer day. We just needed to cover some ground, and our goal was to get ourselves close enough to Seattle that we would have an easy time getting to our friends' home on Saturday.

So we decided that we would shoot for a row of hotels in Parkland, which would just give us about 40 miles to do tomorrow. It meant an 85 mile day, but only about 1400 feet of climbing, so we figured we could do it.

Well, it turns out that the climbing we did today was more like 3000 feet, and because we could not find a hotel for a reasonable rate in Parkland, we went on to Puyallup, which made it 94 miles.  And so we now have a new tour record!

Reminded me of Mr Bill - Oh NOOOO!
There was some chance we would not get rain. Of course, there was also a chance that we would. We don't even bother checking the forecast any more. One look at the clouds around here, and you know: it's coming!

Oh yeah - it's on, baby!
The first part of our ride was on a very scenic back road that went up and down and up and down WAY more than we had expected it would. Plus, there was a short segment that climbed 80 feet in less than one-tenth of a mile - which meant it was VERY steep, up to 17% at one point, and it truly tested us. Roger managed to keep the bike upright by weaving across the road back and forth, and we got up and over it. All along this route, folks had Christmas trees planted in their yards.  They might only have a small plot (40 or 50 trees), but everyone seemed to be growing them. Perhaps this is the area where folks from Seattle come out to select and cut their own tree. It wouldn't seem to make sense economically otherwise to have so many small producers. We stopped for some breakfast, and not too long after that I snapped a photo of the fields and the clouds.

And not five minutes after that, we had to stop to pull on our rain jackets, because doggone it, the road veered right into the storm. That's when we saw these great little llamas, which appeared to have been sheared for the summer already.
Newly sheared llamas

It didn't rain for long - just long enough to get us good and wet right down to our socks. That sort of how these showers go.

After the rain, we rode along again for a time, and then the skies opened up and the rain poured on us again. By this time, what does it matter?  Once you are wet, you're wet.  The second shower passed and we missed a turn, so we stopped in at Subway to reconnoiter and use the restroom.  Did you know their chicken noodle soup is really good?

As we prepared to leave, Roger started to take his rain jacket off, but then decided since it was soaking wet, he'd wear it until it dried. So a couple miles down the road, we stopped to put them back under the bungees and headed off again. I kid you not, less than a quarter of a mile down the road the drops started to fall again!  I shook my fists at the sky and screamed, "no more rain!" - and it stopped!  Whether due to my meteorological interventions or a happy coincidence of time and space, we had just a few more sprinkles and then - done.

Tenino-Yelm Bike Trail
A good 13 miles of our route was on a nice rails to trails segment from Tenino to Yelm. Pretty, and so nice to get off the road.

And then there's this little slice of small-town life:  we stopped in at a cafe to see if we could get a coffee.  No, they only sell coffee in the morning, but try Tim's Drugstore.  Really?  The drug store?  But it's not just a drug store. Sure enough, they have the coffee bar at the back. And jewelry, and giftware, and some very nice kitchen gadgets, plus a candy counter full of hand-made bon-bons!  Maybe there is even a druggist in there somewhere.  Who knows?

Goodies at the drug store

By the way, we had an espresso milkshake, which is what it sounds like:  espresso with ice cream and some milk, blended. OMG. This is what the Starbucks Frappaccino WISHES it were! So very good, and it really gave us a kick for the last 28 miles. We saw signs for these milkshakes all up and down the highway, and decided we should make them a part of our afternoon routine!

And so we end our fifth week on the road, having traveled 1726 miles in about 149 hours on the bike. That's about 11.5 miles an hour overall. I feel like we are getting stronger, but we still get very tired by the end of each day.  And so - goodnight!

The day's report:  Castle Rock to Puyallup, 94 miles/1726 to date


I'd love to hear from you, but want to know who you are. If you are not registered to comment, please include your email in your comment so I can respond directly to you.