A little bit behind the journal entries. These shall be my “Photo for the Day” for a wee bit:
I pull the covers over my tarnished black legs. At my feet it reads “God Bless America”. Lady Liberty’s flames rub my ballsack. How appropriately you act, my dear femme fatale. Unlike last night, the room is heated and in the same quarters as the couch surfer host. There are no dead flies on this bed and I feel safe to use the various pieces of the bed as what shall keep me warm through the night, rather than a bunch of misrepresented bedding I will try to avoid. When did I last write? Who knows. I am certain I wrote in Townsend…yes…as I stole Quimper’s signal. Good times. Never did go into any shops in Port Townsend. This trip is prepping me for my inability to see it all on the second bike trip. I have no time. I did, for your Global AFCers, have time to do quite a bit of work finding accommodations. More to follow on that front.
Port Townsend was gorgeous. The rest of the day I wandered by bike, following the historic map up Washington Street and Lawrence Street, passed the old warning bell for the fire bragade, passed the unimpressive Rothchild’s house and the unpink Pink House. Try to fit that court house in a shot is a ridiculous task that I absolved myself of by clickity clacking it in portions. Bumped into a lady who invited for internet and spoke about the marvels of wifi. I mistook their movie theatre for a theatre theatre. A man going uphill stopped to explain how great this town in and how when he broke up with his girlfriend he lived at the homeless shelter. I believe just because through break up your house broken, doesn’t you don’t have a pot to piss in. Quite the opposite if you think deep.
The post office was an amazing stone building that seemed a bit to large for this town. Imposing and physically astounding, the former customs house occupied my last 15 before returning to the bus depot to return to Discovery Bay. The millions of numbered cash boxes, the wood liquered panelling, the augmented glass windows, the natural light created skinny half oval pillars of brightness on the ground. I explored, but felt that odd feeling you get when you go into closed door rooms of other people’s houses. Fascinating and overwhelming.
I came home. Shot the shit with Andrew. He showed me the Llamas, a baby goat…
Longest day of my life. Worried that people think I am dead. I am NOT dead. Internet tomorrow to insure that death has not occured. No pictures. Nothing. Biked 100 miles to insanity. Never again…I think the stupid Google Earth sucks teste. Saw lots through Joyce and Sekiu and…..need to rethink trip as I cannot ever do this again. Going to bus at least to Forks tomorrow. Its not cheating…most people do not come out this way. Makah Tribe. Night night.
A day was lost due to scarcity of life left in my loins. Yesterday took my body to a wonderful new place I have never been before. Apologize for my summation of the events that occurred…this past night I have slept in the Forks visitor centre. And much to my own choosing, since I refuse to give a cent to a motel that I will only occupy for 5 or so hours. First daylight and I am gone…gone…gone. I have no real idea as to the next stop, I am trying to hit Taholah. Oh…I slept outside for a bit….damn shoes suck and the water pants froze me even more…the sweat from two days ago’s epics still seeps in its pores. I chose to reside here due to helpful tip from the lovely server at Fork’s Pacific Pizza. I ate a personal pan for no reason. I wasn’t hungry. I am spending cash like a rabid dog…10 bux a day…10 bux a day…I keep trying to convince myself that such frugality is possible with how I want to do this trip. Again, I feel, no avail will come to it at all. I am finally heading down down down after a treacherous day up up up.
Two days ago I did 100 miles in a day. From Sequim, I rode the Discovery Trail to Port Angeles…where it failed…I took it all the way to a split in the ocean that lead to a dead ender at the Nippon Paper Mill. Span around, up a hill, left on 18th, and onto 12 to take my chances with that callus road. That be a road I shall never forget as long as I live. No shoulder, up hills and down hills, twirling and twirling, truckers honking, tempting beaches, warning go 25mi, walking when my knees eroded. Finally, at 7:30, I pulled into Neah Bay…..made it to the Tyee Motel, pulled myself under the awning, near the sign that says “if you need a room, call Cary” and placed my 50 cents in a pay phone and called Vicki, a couch surfer who lived this way. After several attempts….tada…Vicki pulled up in her car and I followed her to Hemlock Road, to Nursery Road, to Hemlock Road, last house on your right.
She gave up her own bed so I could pass out. She fed me Elk Soup and wouldn’t have it any other way.
The next day I awoke. I discussed Makah History with Vicki. She explained how the language was being kept alive and about how her different parts of her family looked at religion, the advent of Catholism, the different parts of where the Makah would roam, the mudslides at Ozette that covered the town for 500 years, the goats that mysteriously appeared on the small Wadah Island and their eventual escape over a rock jetty built to protect the bay. She spoke about the Coast Guard that use to live on Tatoosh Island, a girl named Vicki who she looked up to in elementary school, her grandfather that would teach her to live off the land and her sons who fought and put holes in the walls. She went on about drugs, a Native Art, and her laugh sang to me its own tales. I went to the Makah Museum and learned about the covered Ozette site, where over 50,000 Makah artifacts were found, preserved for 500 years by a mudslide. A whale from the 1999 whaling incident hangs from the ceiling, long canoes sit below it. A long house in its entirety sits in the centre of the museum, built to perfection. I walked the town, bought a note book, listened to people interact…tried to get smoked salmon, but the guy only had tuna. Albert, one of Vicki’s 5 children, showed me how to put up a tent. Simple enough. At 7 I left on a bus to Forks and here I am. Today is a new day at 6am. Gonna try to sleep for 2 hours. Tata.
Everyone will have their preference on what they should bring with them on a long haul bike adventure. As they should. For instance, some people like those quick dry towels, like the one I originally had by Mcnett (http://www.mcnett.com/). I ended up throwing it away. For me, it was too thin and felt like I was drying myself of with a wet dog. Not my cup of tea, but for others, it suits their needs.
So as I mentioned, this is my biased list. If you have beef with my list, drop me a line and we can duke it out American Gladiator style. No, but seriously, send me an alternative and I’d be curious to try it out on my next voyage.
The second thing to note is that all the items on this list were tried and tested items that were needed from day one to day final. I’ll mention as we go along items I brought and I threw away as well, just for comic relief, but I’m just letting you know I didn’t really research each item before I went on the trip. I used common sense about human necessities, went into the local outdoors and sports shop and filled the void. I think that’s a good starting point. It’s also nice to go into the store and listen to experienced outdoors men. They might bring your attention to things you didn’t even think of.
Okay. Enough banter. Let’s get into this.
1. GPS – The Good, the Bad, the Ugly Miles
One thing I didn’t think of that I did purchase was a Garmin GPS system that would attach to the handlebars of my bike (http://www.garmin.com/us/). A man with a gratuitously large beard and a viking presence to him convinced me to get it. It had all the bells and whistles, maps galore, time keeper, long lasting life on double As and most importantly it was in COLOUR! As I started the trip, I was enthralled by this little device. It was my friend, my guardian angel, my confident, my certainty that a town was around the corner and a good restaurant was near by. What I city slicker I was. The problem I started to find with it was that I would look at it constantly. I’d stare at the graphics of passing trees and golf courses, as opposed to the real beauty of the landscapes surrounding me. Nothing was unexpected, nothing just arose around the corner that I didn’t know wasn’t there.
Now, that wasn’t to say that I DIDN’T look up and that I didn’t take in where I was. I ended up turning it off and using it only when I was desperate for food or shelter or was completely and utterly lost. On the coast tour, it was hard to get lost. Almost impossible. If my bike was underwater, I was too far West. The issue was, in California was the road rules for bikes, not which direction I should be heading. I ended up ditching the use of the GPS all together. Due to my reliance on it I had started to have nightmares of miles, digitally counting down. That’s where I had to draw the line.
Through touring, I discovered my love maps and route planning. I colour code my maps and note places of interests along the way as well (touristy things, different foods of the area, odd museums filled with stuff gophers in Cabbage Patch costumes). I am a big fan of the Michelin Map books, where you can tear out the pages as you go along. I’ll get into the details on those later. I love setting out down the road with a route in place that I have to check at each turning point, each gas station, each little town. And if, on a whim, I want to go somewhere else, I do, with full knowledge as to where I am going and what I am in for. If I’m lost, I can always ask someone as well.
GPS is great in situations where there are few cities to use as checkpoints on a map to assess you are going the right way and/or where there are few people to ask directions. Asides from those instances, I feel that GPS take away from the thrill of adventure, the victory over struggle, the innocence of it all. As long as you do your prep route work then the GPS acts primarily as unnecessary safety net and even sometimes a deterrence to take the road less travelled. Plus it beeps a lot. Or worse, has a computerized voice that tries to pronounce street names. Thank god the english language has so many ridiculous rules that you get a to laugh at how horribly your GPS butchers them, as it desperately tries to sputter through multi-syllables, the silent g’s and h’s.
Wow. A lot to say about GPS and the reasons behind this list. Not much of a list with one item. But rumor has it that writing epically long blogs is synonymous with stereotypical grandparents showing their relatives slideshows of their “thrilling” vacation to Delaware. So next time, AN ACTUAL LIST!