There are a few things you figure out quickly when you are living on a bike.
1. Whatever you need will always be in the other pannier (bike bag). Even though there are only two of them, there’s a 20/80 chance that the rain jacket, charger, etc. is in the first one you open.
2. You must eat, constantly. We’ve established an hourly snack break routine, which is vitally important to staving off the hanger (hunger+anger = hanger).
3. Dorky mirrors rule! I’ve never worn a mirror on my helmet, in fact I thought they were just for pros who wear spandex two sizes too small. It turns out, being able to see an oncoming RV before it (hopefully) crosses the snore strip makes one much less jumpy when it zooms by you at 65 mph.
We left my folks’ home on Whidbey Island at the crack of noon, bound 1600 miles south for my other folks’ house in Los Angeles. Within a few hours we had biked up Whidbey Island and loaded on the Keystone-Port Townsend Ferry to the Olympic Peninsula.
The Olympic Peninsula recieves over 200 inches of rain every year. Fortunately only a few sprinkles dusted our jackets during our first week of touring. Oftentimes the sun filtered through dense, moss-covered Spruce and Douglas Fir trees, lighting up the Digitalis flowers that line the road and trails.
Life moves slowly and perspective drastically changes while traveling by bike. We shared a campground with two musicians at Dungeness Spit in Sequim, WA. They were debating whether to spend the night in Port Angeles or camp at the spit another evening when Tyler said, “But you can’t do that, it’s like, 40 MILES away!” True, but 40 miles in a van takes slightly less time and calories than our full-day ride on a loaded bike.
Mom and Ken met us on Wednesday to give us a lift to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. We couldn’t nor wouldn’t have biked the 18 mile, 5,000 foot climb without them, and our gorgeous hike at the top was the perfect interlude to pedaling.
We aimed to average 40 miles a day, however, we now realize that distances are determined by campgrounds, not planning. Two days we clocked 60+ miles, and on our “rest” day we biked 40 miles down a side road to experience the Hoh Rainforest, the U.S.’s only temperate rainforest.
Life stacks on top of itself in the rainforest, such is its vigor. Fifty shades of green fill a camera lens through vines and leaves and moss. A faint smell of sun-kissed salmon berries drifts along the headwind that follows us no matter which direction we go. Thick forest only opens up with massive clearcuts that line Highway 101, or at the coast, which drops dramatically into a wide, copper beach.
Lake Crescent’s and Lake Quinalt’s clear, cold depths absorb sunshine and make the water look like someone added a million gallons of blue food coloring.
Last night we biked into civilization in Hoquiam and stayed with a nice family we met through Couchsurfing. Today we take off down the coast, towards Twin Harbors State Park. The word is that Oregon campgrounds have free showers – yipee!