First and foremost, Happy 4th of July everyone! I almost forgot it was a national holiday. I guess that’s the problem of being on the road for 10 days now. You lose sight of what day it is or if the day was a holiday or not. We had one mission today: to be the first bikers to reach Potlatch State Park so that we can claim 1 of the 3 hiker/biker sites. Did we make it? (Don’t cheat and look at our Instagram.)
We woke up at 4:30AM as scheduled and quickly broke down our camp as quick as possible. Even at our best, we still didn’t get out of camp until 5:30. We found our way back on highway 20 and spotted a McDonald’s restaurant for breakfast. We both stayed at the restaurant for an hour and half to take advantage of their free WiFi. We didn’t get back on the road until 7AM. We were greeted with nice climb up towards Old Fort Townsend campgrounds, where we originally thought we would be staying. We passed the entrance of the camp site at the 6 mile marker. So we used this fact to track our progress against the book’s points-of-interest.
We veered off of the highway at the 16 mile mark on Central Road which was a nice straight shot from East to West. We were on roads with nice shoulders and lush forests on both sides with fewer cars than the highway. We rode about 12 miles into a little town called Quilcene where we finally took a break to refuel and rehydrate before the great Mount Walker climb through the Olympic National Park. This was going to be the first ascend up pass the 500ft mark. We put our heads down and spun up the steady incline. It wasn’t so bad as the road was not steep as the climb was steady. We were at 650ft when we reached the summit of the climb before we were gifted with a long 4 mile descent at the other side. It was glorious!
The next 40 miles was probably the worse by far. It was similar to the days we spent riding through the Sunshine Coast in Canada but this time with more traffic and no shoulders at some point. It was a harrowing experience but most drivers gave us enough space as they past us. We finally got honked at today for the first time since our trip started and Sang Hyun was given a diesel smoke screen by a speeding lifted truck. The road undulated from up and then down and then up while we were in constant view of the canal on our left side and a steep ditch on the right. In other words, a not so great way to travel. We were in these conditions until we reached Potlatch State Park on our 66 mile. We eagerly found the first hiker/biker campsite (#19) and was elated to see that it was empty! Success, we have a home for the night.
We got here at 3:30PM and had enough time to shower, enjoy our dinner and just relax while we plan our ride tomorrow. It’s going to be a doozy. Most mileage in a day at 74.6 miles. The book pretty much said it’ll be a heads down kind of day but no hills higher than the 500ft mark, thank goodness! Can’t believe we are at the end of our second week and we’re in the middle of the state of Washington. It’s incredible to realize that we powered our way through this far on our own power without the need to burn fossil fuel. As we cross out all the first things we’ve ever done and note every final thing we will do on this trip, I can’t help feel a bit of sadness as this trip is slowly coming to an end. We still have about 20 some odd days but I just don’t want this to end so soon. I think the appropriate word is bittersweet.