(*Inasmuch as the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is only three books.)
|Hey, hey, what can I do?|
First, I thought I should thank the folks from the western washington section of AARL who volunteered their time to coordinate informing local groups (like the logging companies), man water/snack stops and patrol the route for riders in trouble. (I’ve been inspired enough that I may finally get off my duff and work on my technician class license.)
|Thank you, ARES volunteers|
|Gene Underwood (W7AKA)||Fran Underwood (N7FWZ)||Scott Henry (KJ7FD)|
|Bob Donnell (KD7NM)||Tom Needham (WA7TBP)||Nadine Webster (N7LCI)|
|Dave Flood (KD7MYC)||Jimmy Horn (KA7GKP)||Bill Rice (N7CWT)|
Day 4: As mentioned in my last installment, rumors were going around that Port Angeles to Forks was going to be The Hardest Day Yet. Going from Port Angeles to Forks via US 101 isn’t that bad until Lake Crescent. To avoid this, we took state roads 112 and 113, rejoining US 101 as it bends southward to Forks. Nearly everyone donned their safety triangles in anticipation of the logging trucks and RVs we’d be passed by later that day.
|Friendly logger, photo by Lisa Parsons|
Logging trucks need to be experienced to be appreciated. The drivers are true professionals who will try to give adequate berth. Still, the fully-loaded trucks are large and noisy. Typically I’d hear the engine as it was coming up. Following that was an increasing rumbling that peaked as the truck passed. Wood chips fly all over the place, but are mostly sucked back by the turbulence created by the cab. The whoosh of air as the truck completes its pass tends to pull the biker towards the fog line, thus you hope there aren’t two in a row.
Being passed by the really huge recreational vehicles feels a lot like logging trucks, except there are no wood chips and their drivers aren’t as comfortable with their vehicles. With both, it’s nerve-wracking the first few times it happens. Be visible. Stay to the right. Know what to expect. React accordingly.
I tucked my post cards into my handlebar bag and hoped to see one of the big blue postal mail boxes on the way out of town. Nada. According to the cue sheet, we’d be passing by several small towns along the way. As it turned out, there’s a whole lot of nothing in Disque, Shadow, Twin, Pysht and Sappho… except for another cyclist who, at first glance, appeared to be wearing a top hat and going even slower than I was. As I got closer, I saw that the “top hat” was the neck of a guitar slung on his back. His odd choice of luggage represented an entirely different set of choices I’d make if I was biking a long distance, but he was enjoying himself.
The lunch stop was short of latrine facilities. A truck with six sani-cans on a trailer backed its way down to the park to deliver… just one.
Once we got back on US 101, the first town, Beaver, had a post office. Curiously, all of the post cards I sent were delivered within one or two days.
I’m going to wimp out on more specifics of the route to spare Susan.
|Hoh Tribe, Photo by Lisa Parsons|
Pat Soderlind, the event coordinator for the city of Forks, made an incredible effort to make us feel welcome during our visit to Forks. We camped out in the county park – plenty of sani-cans, it was quiet and there were no eclair-filching youts.
The highlight of the evening, also arranged by Pat, was a visit by the Hoh Indian tribe. They brought some Elk stew for us to try — it tastes like beef, without the excessive salt — while they cooked hamburgers for their kids and drank cans of Dr. Pepper. (It’s an odd juxtaposition.) After dinner, they performed several songs, which I’ve included a sample of on the right. (Sound quality is what you’d expect from a mini-voice recorder sitting in an open-air shelter with 199 other cyclists.)
We’d been considering a three-day camping trip out to Salt Creek county park, our mid-morning stop. However, now that I’ve spent some time seeing the peninsula, I want to spend more time there. I have convinced my wife that we ought to make it a week-long vacation, using Port Angeles and Forks as bases for mini-trips.