Day 14: May 22; Florence – North Bend OR; 60 miles

We made our return to Florence! Apparently Florence is pretty big because technically we stayed there last night, but we rode through the 15 miles to Florence proper pretty quickly. But not before taking in some gorgeous views! Below is atop Heceta Head just past a tunnel. The view was stunning and there were tons of sea lions swimming down below. (I’ll get back to the sea lions later)

After doing some research, we decided to stop at a cafe for breakfast in Florence. The cafe we chose was right next to a subway we camped out for a few hours the last day of the Transam. Reminiscing about the good old days and the yelp reviews of how good their bacon is made it a must stop. And holy moly was their bacon good. Perfectly cooked thick cut bacon the likes of which I have never had at any diner before. I daydreamed about that bacon for miles after we left.

The route deviated from the coast the entire rest of the ride. We were riding next to Oregon dunes national recreational area the entire stretch which blocked out the ocean and we caught very few glimpses of the dunes. Because we were stuck in the woods all day, nothing worth taking a picture of.

At first we had headwinds. Which was super disappointing and disheartening following yesterday. BUT after noon, the winds again were in our favor and pushed us forward. We blew through 30+ miles without a break. Needless to say I zoned way out and can’t really remember anything about that part of the ride.

One thought sheena and I both share is our feelings about semis and shoulders. Because they are so obnoxious and huge, we can usually hear the behemoths coming from pretty far off. How we feel about them is entirely dependent on the amount of shoulder we have. When there is barely a shoulder, we hold our breath and think, “oh god oh god please don’t hit us”. When there is a nice big shoulder, we welcome them passing us because it means catching a huge draft to push us along for a good 5 seconds. When paired with a good tail wind gust, it feels like we are in Mario Kart and just passed over a turbo boost. It’s actually a lot of fun.

Along today’s ride, we ran into a couple we saw in San Juan Islands. We don’t remember where they’re from, but we call them the Norwegians anyway. They’re really nice and we feel as though they might be our “Monica” for this trip. During the transam we continually ran into Monica during the trail during different stretches. We will probably have similar run ins do with the Norwegians! Unfortunately, they were intrigued by the advertised Sea Lion Caves and were suckered into paying an exorbitant fee to see them. After they already paid, the owner said it’s a bad time to see the sea lions cause they’re all in the water with their pups. Talk about getting swindled! We were warned by the Canadian couple yesterday to not go down to the caves because you can just see them from the road. Wish the Norwegians got the same advice!

After crossing the bridge into North Bend with them (we got honked at for a good solid 10 seconds… so Sheena gave her a piece of her mind) we split off. We could’ve gone further to take advantage of the obnoxious tailwinds, but I was exhausted from the constant wind and cars passing that I needed to stop. Just listening to noise like that takes more out of you than you’d think. We decided to not deal with the wind anymore and instead opted for a motel in town. Awesome decision. We had a very filling dinner and now are watching Netflix! Great way to end the day. Plus in 2 days we’ll be in California!

Day 13: May 21st; Lincoln City – Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park (Florence…?) OR; 65 miles

Today we found out why it is more popular to ride southbound on the pacific coast. Today we got very well acquainted with tailwinds and they were fantastic.

We headed out early as per usual and went through the usual coffee routine. The sun was shining which could only mean one thing… wind was coming. I learned this during the Transam. The sunnier the day, the windier the afternoon. Whereas it was usually unpredictable on the Transam whether or not the winds would be in our favor, the prevailing winds of the pacific tend to go south. Just like us.

We were cruising along at a pretty substantial clip passing absolutely beautiful coastal landscapes. They sure weren’t lying when they said the Oregon coast is some of the most beautiful scenery in the country.

Oh! And we saw whales! Finally!! Doug was adamant about us riding Otter Crest Loop – he guaranteed us we’d see whales. Doug did not lead us astray – as soon as we pulled in, I saw one breaching, spouting and everything. Unfortunately, Sheena just missed it. We cycled a little more up the road to the final lookout, and sure enough there was one lone whale swimming around in the kelp. Now that she can cross “seeing a whale” off her list, Sheena’s only “must do’s” of the trip is not getting hit by a car.

We made a couple stops in some of the coastal towns – boy are they cute. We made it to our original destination, Yachats around 1:30pm, plenty of time to do some more riding. We stayed in town for a while, where we ran into a couple from Canada cycling from San Diego to Victoria. The winds were not in their favor, unfortunately and their mood reflected that. We saw a few more cyclists pass by. Definitely a record for the most cyclists seen in one day!

We decided to go another 9 or so miles to Searose when the wind was still kicking. We rode up some pretty substantial hills, but with the wind blowing us up as hard as it was, they were relatively easy. And apparently distracting because we blew (pun intended) right past Searose without even noticing. Maybe it was during the time I was experimenting with how far the wind alone could push me up a small grade hill without pedaling. 3/4 of the way in case you were wondering – it was that strong.

Because backtracking 1 mile against wind to Searose sounded like cruel and unusual punishment for missing it, we decided that 4 miles to Carl G. Washburn State Park was the more appealing option. And we flew there. It’s a nice park with pretty moss covered trees everywhere. But the wind is still kicking so we’re praying one doesn’t crash into our tents tonight! There are also bears in the area, so everything scented has to be placed in a bear box overnight. Should sleep well tonight!

We’re sharing the biker/biker site with a fellow biker who is cycling all over. Alan, a retired British bloke, is hiking and biking until “I’m in a wheelchair”. He’s hiked the John Muir Trail 3x in his lifetime and has loads of experience in the Sierras. I picked his brain a little to see his thoughts on the JMT. I guess since he did it 3x, he must really love it!

Another early night. No service so this’ll have to be posted tomorrow! Probably will get a bunch of frantic texts from my parents whenever we get service tomorrow… Fingers crossed we’ll have the same luck with winds!

Day 12: May 20; Rockaway Beach – Lincoln City OR; 60 miles

Today wasn’t our favorite. The first 17 miles were a bit of a blur because of our desperate search for coffee. McDonalds to the rescue again! After we got all caffeinated we were ready to tackle the day.

Now that we have an elevation map, we can see what’s in store for us with regards to hills. Most of them are pretty small with little elevation gain. Some of them however look absolutely daunting and we climbed 2 of them today. They were a lot steeper and longer than we anticipated and they took a lot out of us mentally. Just like the Appalachians, you think you’re at the top, but you turn the corner and there’s more! I’ve gotten good at using road signs to figure out what to expect. If there’s a “Passing lane 2 miles”, you know you’re in for one heck of a hill. And there is no sweeter sign than, “right lane ends” to know you finally reached the terminus and are about to reap the reward of a splendid downhill.

Going up the first hill we came across some hand glide and paragliding folks. Really neat to see them just launch themselves down from a cliff.

Also going up a hill, we noticed that to the left was a barren field, likely decimated by fire while the right side was lush and beautiful. Crazy to see the complete contrast.

And one last tidbit about this first hill (seriously so much happened on this hill… I mean it was 2 miles). As we were trudging along, a pickup truck pulled up right next to us driving slowly. In the passengers seat was a lady wagging her finger at us telling us, “you are crazy for riding on this road. You shouldn’t be on it” before driving off. Because she drove off before either of us could register the situation (and also because we were focused on not getting hit by the car her husband was driving entirely too close to us), we couldn’t react. I mean, the road we were on had a bike lane with frequent signs that bicycles were on the road… we’re not quite sure why she thought we shouldn’t be on it. But some people just want an excuse to wag that finger. Sheena was hoping she would be at the top of the hill so she could give her a taste of finger wagging medicine, but we must’ve been too slow because she was never seen of again.

Once again, rural Oregon reminds me more of Kentucky than Kentucky reminds me of Kentucky. Trucks with ATVs in the bed were heading out in droves to go mudding and we heard our first gunshots. We were looking at a map near someone’s driveway, and not two minutes later we heard a gunshot followed by a pump and a second gunshot. Taking it as a warning shot to get off their property, we high tailed it out of there immediately, not caring at all if we were going the wrong way.

We continued to follow 101 and today kept going from coast to further inland. We wish we would just stay by the coast! But it looks like our wish is coming true soon.

We’re staying at Devil’s Lake Recreation Park which has an awesome biker/hiker section. In fact, we met our first hiker using the site! Doug is hiking up the coast for a few days. He started Thursday and is ending tomorrow. He has been retired for 8 years and has been doing hiking trips ever since. He has already section hiked the PCT.

we talked to him for a while which is why this post is being written fairly quickly because I am ready for bed! We had 2 days logging truck free (they don’t operate on the weekends) but we get to contend with them again tomorrow. I am not thrilled with that, but we’ll get through it!

Day 11: May 19th; Astoria – Rockaway Beach, 51 miles

Today started with another bang! This time I successfully made it down any flight of stairs I encountered undeterred, but had trouble negotiating a bike path. Not even a mile into the ride, I was looking at a sign showing a stick figure of a guy on a bike flying off said bike due to getting his tire stuck in a railroad tie. Obviously serving as a warning, I took special care to avoid the ties. But all the care in the world sometimes isn’t enough for my clumsiness, and I felt myself become the stick figure man as my wheels got caught in a tie and I went flying over my handlebars. As violent as that sounds, I got up alright. I think after years of dealing with falls, I’ve learned how to do it the right way. And besides, what’re a few more bumps and bruises at this point?

We made our way out of Astoria and through some really cute towns on our way towards the coast. We stopped 17 miles into the ride in Seaside for coffee. Our coffee stops in the morning are pivotal. Sets the mood for the whole day. Neither of us weened ourselves off coffee prior to this trip like we did the Transam, so let’s just say we’re less than jovial in the morning. The only reason we ride those first 10-20 miles in the morning so quickly is because we’re itching for a cup o’ joe to perk us up. Today we sought refuge in a McDonalds. We both agree they have great coffee.

Not long after our caffeine fix, we finally made it to highway 101 and the Oregon coast! Anyone we encounter tells us about how beautiful the Oregon coast is and how it’s arguably the most spectacular portion of the ride. We can’t wait to see if that’s an accurate description.

We had a pit stop at Cannon Beach to see Haystack Rock. After the Transam, my friends met me on Portland and we took a day trip to Cannon Beach. We drove a small portion of 101 to the beach, and I remember thinking “one of these days I’ll be riding my bike on this road”, and here I am! Didn’t think it would be this soon, but when opportunity knocks, right?

After Cannon Beach, we knew we had a few hills coming our way because we FINALLY have an elevation map! Granted at this point we’re used to being surprised with hills, but it’s still nice to know anyway. Unfortunately, though these hills were totally manageable, it started to rain and fog up as we ascended. This made us both a little nervous because we knew there was limited visibility and the roads were busy, being a Saturday. But nonetheless we trudged on. We encountered a tunnel which at first was a little scary, but we saw a button for cyclists to push that lit up the tunnel warning vehicles to be aware of cyclists. Awesome!

As we continued to ascend, we encountered more rain and fog. We could barely even see down to the water, which was only a couple hundred feet below us. Again, this unnerved us a bit.

What comes up must come down. Which made for a terrifying descending journey. The rain was pelting us in the face, making it hard to keep our eyes open as we sped down the hill. I think you can come up with a thousand reasons why riding 35 mph down a wet road with cars wizzing by with your eyes half shut is a dangerous situation, so I won’t bore you with details.

But alas, we made it down fine and just as we did, the rain ended. Like our ride out of Washington, we were pretty close to hypothermia range (or at least I was shivering enough to think that), so we warmed up and took lunch.

We rode an easy 15 miles through some more cute coastal towns to our destination, Rockaway Beach. We’re camping in Barview Jetty Park and though we had some trouble finding it, we’re all set up and ready for bed. Hopefully the weather is less temperamental so we can actually see this gorgeous Oregon coast everyone has been hyping up!

Addie is never going to want to come home… living the life of luxury with her best friend!

Day 10: May 18th; Astoria rest day, 0 miles!

What an interesting city. And with its close proximity to Portland, it’s no wonder why. Astoria has a lot of parallels with Portland, including culture and interesting ways of life. In fact, Astoria has been attempting to become competitive with Portland with good food and fun festivals, so maybe it’s working!

Because my body is so accustomed to waking up early, I decided to do a light jog around town. I ran along the river walk and found all the sea lions. Not really difficult to do, just had to follow the obnoxiously loud barking. I spent about 15 minutes just watching them. I soon grew weary of their barking and left. There must’ve been a hundred of them there!

While Sheena got her zen on at a yoga class, I set up camp at a coffee shop and tried to plan out the next couple of days. We have a lot of climbs in our future and have been warned about limited shoulders, which makes planning difficult. Hard to predict if we’ll be too mentally wiped out from dealing with traffic to add on additional miles, but we have a rough plan of getting through Oregon.

We had lunch at a place that everyone told us we just have to try, it’s an Astoria staple. We passed by a tiny boat food truck with a huge line. When we asked Steve about it he gushed that it served the world’s best fish and chips. He recommended that it’s a must try. So we just had to try it! We waiting in line for a while, but totally worth it. I’m not a big fish person, but it was worth the hype! They make the fish out of tuna which really takes it the extra mile.

We did some shopping and grabbed some pizza for dinner before coming back to Steve’s for the evening. We came back to find he’s hosting 3 additional cyclists from Canada! They’re riding from Vancouver to Portland. Didn’t get to talk to them too much cause we were tired and went to bed early. Have to wake up early to check out the beautiful Oregon coast!

Day 9: May 17th; Eagle Cliff WA – Astoria OR; 41 miles

Nothing like starting the day with hills, rain, and logging trucks to really wake you up! We both were pretty traumatized by yesterday’s afternoon ride so getting back on the death road took some encouragement. But eventually we did and thank God the traffic at 6:45am was pretty manageable. Of course we had some close encounters, but the majority of the trucks and cars kept their distance. Eventually we made it to the end and had a nice easy 3 miles to the ferry. We got a picture with the welcome to Washington (better late than never) and got on the ferry.

Because we spent 13 miles in the rain and cold, we were freezing. All we wanted to do was find a coffee shop and warm up. After we got off the ferry, we did just that. I’m pretty sure we were 10 minutes away from hypothermia. We spent and hour and a half in a coffee shop to warm up. We even indulged in the best breakfast burrito I’ve ever had. But alas, all the stalling in the world couldn’t put off the inevitable so back on our bikes we hopped.

We only had 28 miles left, but we were still chilly and just wanted to be at our destination. We even considered asking a man at the coffee shop who had a huge truck to drive us there, but we chickened out. We mainly didn’t want to start cause the ferry man told us about a 2.5 mile steep hill that we’d encounter right away. I wish people would just leave us to find out these things on our own! Sometimes it’s nice to have a little surprise – ha! We surely did encounter that hill immediately, but I’d say 2.5 miles was a bit of an overestimate. We got over it just fine and dandy.

It was an especially pretty hill because we ascended right into a cloud of mist. Sure once we got into the cloud it was rainy, but it made for a pleasant distraction. And the big climb gave way to an awesome descent. During the descent there were times I thought it down poured for brief second or two intervals. I soon realized that the rains matched up perfectly with when trucks without mud flaps would pass by. Upon this eureka moment, I looked down at my jacket and noticed it was splattered with mud. As was my face. Cycling is such a glamorous hobby.

After a bunch more hills, we eventually made it to Astoria. This was an especially important stop because it is the official end of the Transam. It only took 103 weeks to get to it but we made it!

Along the way to Astoria, we saw a ton of white crosses along the highway, noting the death of someone along that road. Not surprised necessarily, as there are beer cans and liquor bottles littering the side of the road and the cars are going way faster than the speed limit, it is a huge reminder to ride defensively and carefully. Before she left this earth, my grandmother promised me she’d watch over me this summer, and I know she 100% is keeping that promise. I have a reminder of her on my handlebar bag and thank her for being with me every time a car gets a little too close.

We are staying with Steve, an awesome host from warm showers. We haven’t gotten to know him too well yet as he’s been working all day, but he’s super relaxed and hospitable. He lives on the steepest hill we have yet encountered. What a way to end the day.

We went out for dinner and got to explore the town a little. It’s super quirky with cute houses and sea lions! Steve said they’re a constant presence and once the novelty wears off, they’re super annoying, which makes total sense cause they’re super loud. We had a great dinner at a brewery and are turning in early. Astoria is known as the home of The Goonies, so in addition to exploring more tomorrow, we’re gonna check out some of the sights from the movie. So excited to have a day off the bike!

Day 8: May 16; Centralia – County Line Park, Eagle Cliff, WA; 61 miles

One week on the road! And we can see Oregon!! It’s teasing us. We’re camping along the Columbia river and Oregon is right across the river, staring us straight in the face. It’s not that we dislike Washington, it’s beautiful and has been treating us super well (weather, warm shower hosts, friendly strangers, not too too bad hills), but we’re ready to move on to new scenery. Plus Washington is super hard to navigate, what with all the inlets, bays, and ferry’s… we spend at least an hour a day trying to make heads and tails of maps. Who knows what Oregon has in store for us, but we’re excited.

We left the hotel today energized and ready to head to Longview. However, after a message from a warm shower host who couldn’t take us in warned us to not even consider staying in Longview, we scrambled to come up with a new plan. He said that the locals are unfriendly and advised us not to camp because of a high concentration of homeless who would likely act hostile towards us. Every day we have been out here we have been warned not to leave anything we own unseen, including bikes. After hearing so many stories about bikes being stolen from people on tours, we have gotten quite paranoid. In fact, last night we decided to take an Uber to dinner instead of riding our bikes 0.5 mile and lock them up. Even though the Uber was more expensive than dinner, it was worth it to make sure Ol’ Bess was safe and sound. We opted to completely bypass Longview and head to a park just outside of Cathlamet.

Although we got an excellent night sleep (I slept so well I woke up in the middle of the night thinking I was in my apartment and when I realized Addie wasn’t there I nearly cried) Sheena required some espresso to really wake up. Sure enough we found some 12 miles into the ride and she waited in line in the drive through.

We also got an amazing donut. Sheena and I are both trying to eat as healthy as possible, but we also want to support local businesses and taste local fare! Totally justifies total indulgence.

The first 37 miles of the ride were amazing. Rolling hills with a little mist, not nearly as cold as yesterday. It mostly looked like what I remember Kentucky looking like, including the poverty. We were chased by our first dog, coal dusted for the first time, but also met some really friendly people. We passed by one house with a cat on the front porch, to whom sheena praised with compliments. Within seconds, about 20 more cats ran out of the house to see us. Needless to say, Sheena will be moving in soon.

We stopped in Castle Rock to pick up some groceries and eat lunch. When we rolled in a gentleman exclaimed, “gosh you ladies move fast! I passed you 5 miles ago I can’t believe you made it so quickly!” That made us feel good, maybe were starting to pick up the pace?

Nah, it’s not that. Cause after lunch the rollers and good timing ended abruptly. We hit some lengthy and unpleasant hills that took a lot out of us. After 14 miles of that nonsense, we hit pretty flat terrain along the Columbia river. Sounds great! Except that the road we had to take was heavily trafficked with barely a shoulder. With windy and blind turns, it took us a great deal of time to get to our final destination. The road is used a lot by logging trucks speeding along and impatient pickup trucks who pass entirely too close. We had to stop at every turn out to prevent an anxiety attack and collect ourselves from escaping death countless times. Luckily, there is a construction light that held up traffic for around 2 minutes. Knowing this information, we knew that cars would come in waves. We timed our riding with the waves and were pretty successful for the most part. With only 2 miles left, we stopped for a bathroom break at an especially large turnout. An older couple pulled up and asked us where we were staying tonight. We said County Line Park, and a huge rush of relief washed over their face. “Oh good, we thought you were going to stay here and we couldn’t let you. Unsavory people come here late and you girls wouldn’t last the night”. Oh great, how reassuring! They told us that we had already cycled the worst of the road and the shoulder reappears. Sure enough they were right so we hot tailed it to the park to set up camp.

We’re staying in a nice campground on the river. After a good home cooked meal, we’re turning in early from pure exhaustion, likely from those last 10 miles avoiding death. We still have another 10 miles left on that road, but hopefully we leave early enough to avoid the worst of it (seriously – I don’t think we can handle another 10 miles of that same traffic!)

Day 7: May 15th; Shelton – Centralia WA; 57 miles

Today started with a bang… literally. I fell down an entire flight of steps. Now yes, I know I’m super clumsy, but- to my defense- the Parkins live in a 1920 style bungalow, meaning that the stairs are steep and shallow. That paired with just waking up, having my hands full, and wearing socks, was a recipe for disaster. So after slipping on the very first step, I had the entire flight to wake up. As did the rest of the house, and likely half the neighborhood. But I came out of it unharmed, with just a few more bruises I can add to the arsenal of bruises I’m already collecting all over my body.

Sheena and I rolled through 27 miles pretty smoothly, with the exception of mist and rain. The heat wave has definitely ended. The morning was a stark difference compared to yesterday.

I am not a fan of the cold or rain. So at our first rest stop I was grumpy and cold. We decided to take a short cut to shave off 10 miles. As we rode I warmed up and the grumpiness melted away. The route was pretty flat (compared to the previous few days) but heavily trafficked with logging and gravel trucks. There was a good shoulder, but still some trucks came a little too close. Thankfully we have some guardian angels on our side working overtime.

We rolled into Centralia around 1pm. We set up at a Starbucks to decide whether to keep going an additional 30 miles to a state park or stay in Centralia for the night. Because we spent 2 hours just sitting at Starbucks puttering around being lazy, we decided to stick to the original plan and stay put and get a hotel. While mulling over the decision, we spoke with someone who recognized the ACA maps. We talked briefly and turned out he’s running for Congress. Best of luck Dave! Great meeting you and Sally 🙂

After much debate, we finally decided on a motel in town. Nothing crazy, but definitely nice to be indoors when we know it’s going to be a chilly night tonight!

Also, as we head out in the morning (usually before 6:30am), our warm shower hosts have been taking pictures before we pedal away. We get a kick out of how miserable we look, despite getting a great stay and a great night sleep. Early morning grumpiness is a very real thing, we need to insist on taking the picture when we’re fully awake!

Day 6; May 14th: Silverdale- Shelton WA; 53 miles

After an incredible night’s sleep, the MacFarland’s greeted us with breakfast in the morning. We set out for Shelton early to beat traffic and the forewarned heat that was sure to strike in the afternoon. After getting lost a few times in Bremerton (seriously, ACA, these maps are confusing), we finally found our way and cruised through some good 17 miles before stopping at the cutest gas station convenience store and for the first time this trip, I succumbed to my chocolate milk addiction. I also made a friend with a dog who purely only wanted to hang out with me for my banana and donuts. Oh well, I miss Addie so much I’ll take whatever dog interaction I can get!

After the gas station pow wow, we moved on. We decided to take the advice of Gary and alternate from the ACA route to take a flat and shaded route by the water (rte 106). We are so happy we did! Not only was the route gorgeous, but we were shielded from the heat and traffic wasn’t so bad. Gary told us that Bill Gates owns a house on that street, though you’ll never know cause you can’t see it from the street and he even has a secret underground entrance. He was right cause we surely passed right by it without even noticing it. I guess if you’re Bill Gates, you can afford being super secrete!

Eventually 106 dumped us onto the all too famous hwy 101! Because we knew we only had 10ish miles left, we took a long lunch by a fish hatchery and literally took a nap in the gravel. Naps are one of those things where if you need one, better take it any way possible! After all, we knew we had a guaranteed shower at night, so being caked in dirt wasn’t the worst thing that could happen.

We knew we had a guaranteed shower cause once again we were using warm showers to host us. We found Larye and Judy who were kind enough to let us stay with them for the night. Larye is a retired software engineer and Judy is a retired nurse. Sound familiar to any parents I know? Hmm…

They are super sweet and made us dinner and an amazing dessert. They told us all about their love for touring and all about their family. They have great-great grandchildren, which I thought was pretty cool.

But alas, it is way past my bedtime and I’m falling asleep as I type this, so forgive any grammatical errors I may have made! We are really hoping tomorrow’s ride is just as enjoyable as today’s!

Day 5: May 13th; Fort Ebey State Park – Silverdale WA; 52 miles

Happy Mother’s Day! Especially to my mother. She is the prime example of selflessness, unwavering support, and demonstrates without fault dedication to family. Should I ever bless this earth with my own offspring, I hope to be 1/2 the mother she is… then I know I did well. Love you mom and miss you!

Despite all the trash I talked about last night’s campsite, I had the best nights sleep in the belly of the forest. Which is perfect, cause we woke up at 4:45am to catch a ferry into Port Townsend. The morning ride wasn’t bad and got to the ferry just in time. On the ferry, we got coffee and saw they had Marionberry yogurt, so we just had to have it. Sheena and I both heard of this berry, apparently it only grows in the PNW, from different avenues. If you ever seen Portlandia (again demonstrating my glorious taste in Tv) then you understand why I needed to try it. Decent stuff, nothing special. We spent some time in Port Ludlow for lunch and debated whether or not to have a “shorter day” or a longer one. Due to where we decided we’re going tomorrow, we planned on going the shorter route and stay in Silverdale.

Silverdale doesn’t have any campgrounds, nor does the town up the road Bremerton. Due to this, we decided to resort to warm showers to see if we could stay with anyone on that app. If you’re not familiar with warm showers, it’s an app where people (usually cyclists) advertise that they’re willing to host fellow cyclists at their home free of charge. They usually provide a bed, shower, and especially generous folks will cook you dinner. While practicing good caution, it can be very a useful and cheap alternative in a pinch. We were so lucky and got a few people willing to host us!

The ride into Silverdale just wasn’t fun. It was hot, the sun was super intense, and there were hill after hills. We rode on a lot of no shoulder roads, yet motorists weren’t the worst. Except one guy. I was taking a breather a top a hill (I admit, it wasn’t the smartest place to stop) but I was pretty far off the road. I heard a truck coming full Speed up the hill and saw him before he saw me. He was literally swerving onto the shoulder so I stepped back to avoid getting hit, not realizing I was stepping into a ditch. I fell backwards and Ol’ Bessie fell right on top of me. Super embarrassed (and mad at the truck driving idiot who nearly killed me), I found superhuman strength and lifted the bike off me and jumped out of the ditch. Which I realized after I got up was full of thorns that cut up my entire right leg. I had blood pouring down making for a grisly scene. I’ll spare you the picture cause it even makes me queasy. It’s all cleaned up now, so it just looks like I got into a nasty fight with a cat. And the cat won.

We did ride on what is called an engineering masterpiece, a floating bridge. Apparently it’s made of floating concrete and was a huge development in engineering cause it rises and sinks with the tide. Or something like that. I’m not really sure, cause I fell asleep after the short explanation…. it’s just a bridge.

We eventually rolled into Silverdale around 4:30pm and hauled up a huge hill to our host’s Janice and Gary house. It is a beautiful home with a gorgeous view of the water and is directly west of Seattle. On a clear night you can see the city. They were just wrapping up a huge Mother’s Day party and had lots of leftover food they offered us. We. Ate. Like. Kings. It was unbelievable – salmon, lobster tail, beet salad, asparagus, chips and dip, and the crown jewel – German chocolate cake with ice cream. It was spectacular. They offered us their shower, laundry, and Gary even helped properly fit Sheena’s bike seat. He is a fellow physical therapist who took a CEU course on biking and is a super smart guy. Janice owns a Pilate studio and is retiring this week. Lucky! The MacFarlands are super nice and an extremely interesting couple. As a family, they took a year off in 2003 to cycle the entire globe. At the time, their daughter was 18 and son was 14. Kudos to them for dealing with teenagers on a trip like that… I know at that age I would’ve been a total brat! Since then they have done a lot of other tours, including the Eerie Canal, but nothing to the globe magnitude. They even offered us advice for tomorrow’s ride and the best way to avoid traffic, hills, and heat. Western WA is experiencing a heat wave right now and we’re not loving it. No matter how much sunscreen we apply, we’re getting burnt. The sun is just super intense over here.

In order to avoid the heat, we’re waking up early again tomorrow to get most of the miles in before the heat really hits and fries us to even more of a crisp. We both have our own rooms, so we’re looking forward to what we hope is a good night’s sleep.

Little Addie even got me a Mother’s Day card… gosh I miss her.