Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sequim to Forks Sept 20

Friday, Sept 20         71.1.miles in 6:35.   Taking yesterday off turned out to be the best thing I could do for weak legs. The weather held up longer than I had anticipated, even though I finished in some pretty significant rain. I started out on US101, the Pacific Coast Scenic Highway, where we are going to be spending some significant time. I left at about 9:30 AM, with the sun at my back, as I headed west. I cruised about 15 miles to the town of Port Angeles, where I stopped at the post office to pick up a package of mail that Buddy had forwarded to us. I strapped the box on my aerobars with buggy cords, and I was on my way. Port Angeles is right on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which is the main shipping channel from the Pacific Ocean, between the US and Canada. I saw some pretty big cargo ships in the water, then turned inland on 101, to the Olympic National Forest. My legs felt great as I rolled along some small hills, through thick, forested areas. I saw a sign for rain forests, which I didn't even know existed in the US, let alone as far north as Washington. The trees were all filled with moss and vines, creating very dark forests. I guess it gets even denser in the rain forests, where they get 200 inches of rain a year. That's not 200 inches of snow, ( Pittsburgh gets 48 inches of snow a year), not 200 inches of total precipitation, but 200 inches of rain! The other side of this peninsula, which isn't that big, gets less than half of that. This area is the documented, rainiest, area of the lower 48 states. And we are here for the monsoon season. Great. I'm going to be a pretty wet boy for a few weeks. However, I was still dry, and about thirty miles into a great ride, along a lake, when I pulled into a little country store, to grab an orange juice and a snickers bar. I noticed two loaded down bikes there, and they belonged to two guys from Kentucky that were riding from Canada to San Diego, I believe. They were into their fourth day, and we struck up a conversation. We decided to ride together for a while. Brian and George are 22 years old, and are on their first bike tour. We hit a section of road along Lake Crescent, which was a beautiful, deep, clear lake, but we didn't have much time to look at it. This particular section began with a bicycle warning sign like I had never seen before, and a button to press to turn on a flashing light to warn traffic that there were bikers present. The logging trucks, which were ever present became a nightmare. US101 had a great shoulder, and has been pretty straight, until this section. The road became very twisty and turny, the guard rail stole our shoulder, and the thick forest growing so close to the road, reduced sight distance. It was as bad as any road I have ridden on this trip, for about ten miles. To complicate matters even more, George's side bag rack came loose, and dumped his gear along the road. Fortunately, we were going slow, and nothing bounced out into the road to be flattened by a logging truck. We got that fixed up, and rolled to the end of the lake, where my temporary riding mates decided to stop at a national forest campground, and set up before the inevitable rain began to fall.  I still had thirty miles to ride, so after a fist bump farewell, I began to climb from the 600 ft elevation lake to about 1100 ft. The hill was just a couple miles long, but as soon as I got to the top, the rain began to fall. I pulled out the poncho, put my camera in a plastic bag, and spent the next 25 miles clipping along at a pretty good pace. The legs felt great, as the slower pace of the first part of the ride saved my juice for now, when I just wanted to wrap it up. The road became straight again,it was nicely level to downhill all the way to Forks.
At one point, I passed the sign to the northwestern most point of the USA. Not the northern most, not the western most, but the northwestern most point. After being in Key West, the southern most point of the US,  I gave great consideration to going to this milestone, called Cape Flattery, ever since I had heard of it. After researching it, it became apparent that it is very out of the way, and accessible only by a rocky walking trail, not to be biked to. There are no markers, and it only recently has become known to anyone  but locals. It is supposed to be beautiful, with a high overlook of a rocky coast. Not a place I can dip a tire in the Pacific. If I wasn't on my back for three weeks, I would have gone there, even on foot, just to see it. But, now, it is supposed to be a cold, windy, unforgiving place except on the best days. There is four-five days of nasty weather forecast for us, so this may be one of the landmarks that we miss, which makes me sad.
By the time I got to Pam in Forks, I was pretty cold, wet, and tired. I am happy with 71 miles, but made the decision to take tomorrow off, before a long day that will actually get me to the Pacific Ocean. As I hosed the grime off myself and my bike at the end of the day, Pam and I were stepping on slugs the size of an adult finger. I guess that is our first confrontation with a rain forest creature!

Scenery on the road

Snow!


Never knew there were rain forests in Washington!!!

George and Brian from Kentucky - on their first bike trip


This was the sign that bicyclists must read before they enter the Lake Crescent area.

This is the sign that Mike had to turn on so motorists knew he was on the road!

Lake Crescent

When George's rack fell apart.

Entering Olympic National Forest

To go or not to go.....

There are alot of forest plantations up here on the peninsula.  They have these signs that tell when they were harvested, planted and when they will be harvested again.

No, this isn't a real person climbing the tree!

The rest of his friends!

End of ride.  Look how grey the socks are!  

The local slugs!  They are huge!

Trying to give you an idea of their size - the black tube is our power cord.  Look at these guys!

This guy isn't stretched out

This guy is a beast!  He is longer than Pam's longest finger!  Ugh!

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