It has been a strange few days for us, since we have been doing a good amount of riding and sightseeing within a relatively small radius. If you remember waaaay back in Bella Coola, we got five days ahead of schedule because of the change in ferry service. We have been spinning our wheels (ha!!) now getting back on schedule. It has been so different to not ride in a line, but more in loops in and around the town of Port Angeles. It has been fun, and more of an adventure than we thought. In particular, we have met some wonderful people.
The first night back in the USA we got off the ferry at 9:30 pm. It was getting dark, and we still didn’t know where to stay. Overall, a not-too-good situation. As we rode through a neighborhood searching for a school or a park to stealthily camp in, we asked some folks for directions. After a bit of discussion they decided we should camp in the backyard of the house next door, which was vacant and for sale. The neighbors were all notified, and voila – we had a lovely place to spend the night.
The next day we found a real host in the same town through warmshowers. They agreed on short notice to let us leave our stuff there while we took a day ride into Olympic National Park. We dropped off our belongings at their wonderful cyclist cottage, and headed into the park. We rode from sea level to 5,242′ over about 18 miles. It was beautiful!
We learned of a Lavender Festival going on in a nearby town, so we rode over to see it. The best part was visiting a local farm and seeing the different varieties of lavender both in the fields and also drying in the barn. The festival itself was pretty similar to every small-town fair: craft booths, fair food, and a small stage with background music. We camped at a nearby county park that had hiker-biker sites, a rare treat in this area.
The next day on the way back in to Port Angeles we spotted a sign that said $9 haircuts. It was a hair cutting school! I (Daisy) immediately had to stop and get one – I have been dreaming of getting my hair cut off since Anchorage! I was hoping they would donate my locks for me, but they wouldn’t. Once they learned my hair was un-dyed and all-natural though, they were practically fighting each other to get a braid of it. Apparently, they need hair like this to use for their school projects! My hair was quickly braided and chopped off. What a relief for me!
Our other fun side trip was a circumnavigation of Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park. This deep blue lake had a narrow road to the south and a trail to the north. We began our sidetrip on Saturday, which is bad bad news for finding a campsite. The park ranger on the phone said that no sites were available in the park, not even for cyclists. So we decided to try and wildcamp, either stealthily in a day-use area or off the side of the road somewhere. We got caught by the rangers when we tried in the day-use area, but they did tell us of a good spot up the road. Oops!
The next morning we rode along the narrow, winding trail to the north of the lake. It was a challenge for us with our bikes because of the bumpy surface and sometimes steep drop-off. However, it was beautiful. We got to ride through the lovely forest next to the lake without the crowd and crash of any motorists. When we finished the north side of the lake on trails, we turned around and rode back on the congested and narrow road to the south. It wasn’t so bad though, and we were soon back to civilization in Port Angeles.
We planned to spend another night camping in the hiker-biker site before resuming our ride east and then south, but luckily we found a much better place to spend our last night in the area. A lovely couple with a friendly dog stopped us on the side of a busy highway to offer us a place to stay! We quickly agreed, despite the uphill 5 miles to their house. The ride was made easier since they also took half our bags! We spent a lovely evening chatting about our various travels.
Now we are en route to the town of Port Townsend to visit Daisy’s cousin for a day. After that, we will head to Seattle and then back into the mountains and finally south again. Yippee!