~ Day 9 – Washington the Low country ~

06/08/2010 – 56.2 miles

After 8 straight days of 50+ miles travel and reaching the 500 mile plateau, my legs are becoming casualty to the lure of distance. I have, I admit, become obsessed. Face this: the land is unforgiving. So you try camping out, in the cold and wet, at the same camp for more than one consecutive sunset. You won’t like it. There is, instead, great comfort in grinding yourself to a paste on the road rather than sit there and shiver at a cold camp.

I awoke several times last night in horrid pain because I could not move my right leg but 2 inches for a more comfortable position. I very reasonably feared that I would not be able to rise this morning. But I suppose I constantly outperform my expectations (not really, but some humor here). After realizing where I was, the middle of nowhere, I read a bit before scratching my way out of bed. Weather looked fine, if slightly overcast.

Completely packed up before breakfasting on a yogurt, 2 bananas, dried fruit, and a bit of selectively picked at trail mix. Hit the road by 11:00, which was just fine by me. Setting out was a thing of beauty, as I coasted for literally the first 5 miles. Amazing. Rolled into Naselle, where purchased orange juice, hot/cold pads (for later) and some ice (for right then and there). Iced down for about 30 minutes by a pay phone and tried to call Melodie. Gone to Squamish with Tango for the day. Really wish I got her last night.

Eventually pressed on, through about 40 miles of Weyerhauser-owned “managed forest.” The reality is clear-cut hillside for just about as far as the eye can see. Its insane what they’ve done to their forests. Bugs were also awful today, was constantly pelted by dive-bombing kamikazes with clearly no will to live. Shame. Busted a spoke on my front wheel, which took me a few moments to realize exactly what had happened. Not sure exactly what to do now, but I believe I can carry on. I also biked past a road-killed deer that was being picked at by two buzzards. Picture this: riding through a clear-cut devastated landscape, constantly pelted by vile insects, limping due to a busted spoke, and having to slowly pass in real-time a rotting deer corpse and two giant buzzards having their take. Life is currently imitating the art of my demise. Southwest Washington is hideous so far. I am a long ways from the Oregon coast.

Settled on a campsite that I only intended to water at, but as the skies were darkening this was a good decision to stop. Moreover, next stop is Aberdeen, a place of which I’ve only heard unkind things. Ok, one thing total, and it was unkind. Still, point taken. Tomorrow, if I push, I can make it to Bremerton in order to hop on the ferry to downtown Seattle, the finish line. What a thought. This is my goal.

Set up tent, bedded down, began dinner (repeat of last night – chile and avocado, carrots, yogurt). Then it started to rain. Hallelujah, it’s the Northwest. What’s it been, 2 days? Had a good chat with dad on the phone, applied hot/cold pads with much success, reading, writing, killing strange little hopping bugs that seem to be falling from the sky. Still not crazy, I swear. Time for bed.


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