As we look in on his progress in this, the third chapter of his bike tour of the Pacific Northwest, we read that he is having a close-up and personal encounter with this country few will ever experience.
Chapter three of the bike rambler
"Clack, Clack, Clack..."
Since my last dispatch to you, I have pedaled over 300 miles. I have encountered only a few other bicycle tourists. What an interesting and remarkable group of people.
A young man biking from Vancouver BC to San Francisco (Mark), a chance encounter with three bike tourists on a hillside in the middle of a Fish and Game wildlife refuge. A young woman (repairing a flat tire) and the even younger man accompanying her were biking from Seattle to Mexico. Their third member, a middle age man, was turning around at Cannon Beach, Oregon and heading back home to Seattle. Then there was the 65 year old man and woman from Australia cycling to San Diego. Me, just having crossed the rugged Oregon Coastal Mountain Range coming from Portland (Highway 47 and 202) was exhausted, but delighted to see them. They were the first bike tourists I had encountered on this trip.
I am at that middle place on the tour, halfway through the journey. Just less than 500 miles to go.
Yesterday was another long biking day for me as I pedaled 75 miles from just south of South Bend Washington to Olympia. Click here for that route. A friend's son (Norman's Paul) is letting me rest at his house for two night.
As I rolled out of the camp site yesterday at 7 a.m., the temperature hovered around 51 degrees and the sky was overcast. Perfect bicycling weather. It was 4 miles into South Bend, and breakfast.
As I pedaled into the sleeping town, the only sounds that I could hear were the giant converter belts moving the freshly caught oysters from the bobbing fishing boats to the awaiting dump trucks. Clack, clack, clack, as the oysters shot off the convert belts into the open air space, suspended for just a moment in time, before giving in to gravity and crashing into the belly of the truck with a thump. Tens of thousands of oysters everyday, for us.
Clack,clack,clack, as I rolled my bike up to the only open restaurant for an early breakfast. Upon entering, I saw I was the only customer. An older woman, the waitress, approached me and said "good morning dear. You want some breakfast?" I immediately saw she had stories to tell me and I said " yes I do darling, and I'll take some black coffee too."
Her name was Marsha. You could see that her body was giving in to the passage of time, but her wrinkled eye lids were full of spirit and as I answered her questions about my bike tour, all I could think of while looking into those wrinkled eyes was time, and how it's slow relentless clack, clack, clack courses through our bodies.
Yes, existential recognitions with eggs and toast, intertwined with Marsha's breakfast music of the Allman Brother Band "Eat a Peach"album
Time, I ain't gone let it catch me, but the fishing net keeps swinging closer every day. Clack, clack,clack, like an unaccompanied Gregorian chant. I ate my breakfast and prepared to head east. As I was walking out the door, I heard Marsha say "Now you have fun honey."
As I stepped into the clacking, my next destination was whispering to me and beckoning me on. Get up on your bike and I rolled toward Olympia.
Tomorrow I head to Brementon. This city is on the Western side of Puget Sound. Directly across the Sound from Seattle. It will another long, but delightful day. Here's Saturday's route. Sunday, I pedal to Port Angeles, Washington and the ferry across to Victoria British Columbia. Click here for Sunday's route.
I'll write you again when I have access to a computer. Do good things. "Now you have fun honey."
See you in a bit,
The Bike Rambler