Belfair to Elma
After taking our morning pix, thanking our amazingly gracious hostess (Thanks again Julie) we were off on day #4.
I headed out first to make a stop at the grocery store for more water, ice, lunch meat and batteries and met up with the gang in the parking lot where Jerry took lead today because our directions were vague and he had studied them while I was on my side jaunt to Seattle. Wow, drag is a lot different than the lead. You wait for a while after the bikes leave, then catch up and go a bit past them and pull over. Completely different timing and worry level. How long should I wait before leaving? How far past them should I go? Once we were past the first few turns (it was a good thing I was not leading because they were not even on my list ) I took over the lead again because we have both grown accustomed to that role.
About an hour and a half down the road, Charlie – the traveling bike seat salesman – caught up with us and asked if he could show us his new bike seat post invention. He had seen our info on Facebook and had tracked us and found us right by a spectacular park. We pulled into Mason Lake for what turned out to be his 2 hour sales demo and I pretended to care about what he had to say at first – I am not a biker so I really could not relate to what he was selling but I am a sales person and really I wanted to see the pitch that a guy who obviously rides, was going to pitch to a group he knew had just started for the day and what his sales technique was. I thought since he knows how things go and how far we were headed that he would make it short but after about 20 minutes, and our Nature Encounter, I stopped pretending to be paying attention and found other things to do instead.
I am grateful for Charlie though because he brought us to this amazing lake that we would have missed otherwise. And we saw what was the highlight of my day (perhaps week) so far. A bald eagle was dive bombing a duck and her ducklings and it took several runs for her to get one because mama duck was trying to scare her off. It was pure mayhem on the water. Mama Duck was squaking and flapping her wings and baby ducks would try and submerge themselves under water and hide with each pass the eagle made. Eventually, (and sadly) she got one and flew off. I went down to the dock shortly after to console mama and her babies…after all they are my peeps. A Duck is a Duck is a Duck! I fed mama some bread and she hopped right up on the dock and ate it right from my hand.
So, 2 hours later we were still sitting at the same lake getting new bike seats posts from Charlie. It was a good stop because this ride is all about meeting people and sharing the experience. Also, they are very good bike seats posts and if it makes it easier for Carl and Pops to ride the whole way to San Diego, that is two hours well spent. It has allowed me to catch up a bit on blogging because this SAG thing is actually a lot more involved than I originally thought and I have had little time to tell my story.
We ate lunch at the park before heading back out and we took a shorter way around the lake to make up a bit of time per Charlie’s recommendation. Today we passed a lot of other bikers on the road. Most of them would ride along or stop and chat for a few minutes. Some were training for the STP (Seattle to Portland ride) or the ride that goes across Washington State. Riders tend to stick together…it’s kind of like a “jeep thing” as Jerry would say. All Jeep owners wave or give the head nod as they pass each other. Both are very exclusive members only clubs.
Being from Arizona and a Huge Cardinals fan, I am having a bit of trouble driving through Seahawks country. Every where I turn there is a 12th Man flag, or Seahawks schedule, or cute little stained glass hawk heads. Super Bowl, blah blah blah! We are the Champions! Yada yada yada. When does football season start already? Let's Go Cardinals!
Today we passed through Shelton at the peak of the record breaking heat wave. The previous record was 81 and it was close to 90 today. While you’d think we are used to that being from AZ, it is far too hot for riding bikes (at least in my opinion.) And you probably are thinking I had it cushy in the Air Conditioned car but I sweated along with the guys. No AC for me if they could not have any. I was really just trying to make is so when they stopped, I could not smell them over me.
As we went through the town of Shelton and our directions were a bit sketchy so the boys stopped at DQ for a treat in the sweltering heat while Jerry went ahead to scout the area. Carl had an extra fudge bar and shared it with a lady in a car and she came over and handed us money for the cause. That happens all day long. Love it. When we got back on the road, I got stuck behind a truck painting the lines on the road so it took me a while to catch up. Normally that would not bother me, but I do not like to get too far behind, especially when I am supposed to be in the lead.
I’m getting better at remembering all the things I have be on the lookout for. How far till the next turn? If it’s flat, go about 3-5 miles ahead but if there is a hill in the way, stop at the top. Don’t stop at the bottom of a hill though because the riders will be coming down fast and not want or need to stop. Make sure you close the hatch before you drive off. Yep, that’s an important one that you should always remember…Oh yeah, and put the car in park too…. Learned those two the hard way. Hey, there’s a lot going on here.
|Selfie while waiting|
Mom, you’d appreciate this one….this is the month for plant sales in Washington – we must have passed signs for at least 4 different upcoming sales on our way to tonight’s stop in Elma. We did not go to any though. No room for plants in the car. Sorry.
We successfully arrived at Michael and Bev Koontz’s house in the very adorable small town of Elma, WA. And once again, I am completely blown away by the outpouring of generosity of complete strangers and how they just welcomed us into their homes and lives. Michael cooked us a gourmet meal including homemade clam chowder, baked salmon, fried chicken, fresh steamed broccoli and salad with pie for dessert. And if you think that is impressive, wait till I tell you about breakfast tomorrow.
We got to do some much needed laundry and while the gang relaxed and unwound after dinner, I went to the town grocery store for supplies. Our water and ice had been completely depleted in the severe heat and we also needed some other supplies for the next couple of days. Jerry and I have worked it out that while I do the grocery run or work on “our” blog, he takes care of the next day's route because Adventure Cycling maps leave a few things to be desired.
Do you guys know about “bionic ears?” Well, I thought only Lindsay Wagner had bionic ears but Shannon taught me that if you cup your hands behind your ears, you can hear things so much clearer. Without amplification, I heard a lot of frogs outside of the Koontz homestead. With my new, six million dollar bionic powers, I could hear each frog individually. It was Amazing. How come this is the first I have heard of this? Thanks for enlightening me, Shannon!
You are probably curious about the sleeping arrangements each night. Well, lucky me, I get to travel with 5 guys. Every woman’s dream vacation, right Mona? Well, the arrangements are different every night. In Elma, because we were in a house, POPs and Carl were in a bedroom (No girls allowed – that’s what the sign on the door said) and the rest of us were on air mattresses in the living room. There are a few snorers in the group and I am not ashamed to admit one of them is me so the light sleepers now have ear plugs! Other nights we have all been in one big room.
Well, I’m off to catch some zzz’s and scare away the wildlife with my snoring.
See ya on down the road!