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Beginning the bike trip

June 11, 2010

2010 has been and will continue to be an eventful year. I finished my undergraduate degree with a full final day: a task force presentation, ancient China final exam and the task force dinner. May 9, I was speaking with my dad on the phone, who stated that if I didn’t pursue the bike trip immediately, it probably wouldn’t happen. Great words. After this conversation, I spoke with Liz and we made it happen. The past month has been a whirlwind, so much work to move. I reduced all of my belongings to 4.5 boxes, that I mailed to my parents’ place in Arroyo Grande, CA, and tried to see friends.

Day One: Saturday, 5 June; Seattle-Bremerton Ferry-Potlatch State Park, 43 mi.
Liz and began the bike trip to CA today, we took the 3pm ferry to Bremerton, a town across the Puget Sound on the Kitsap Peninsula. We had missed the 130 ferry by about 2 minutes because we had to detour to the bike shop to have them look at Liz’s funky brakes, so we were forced to watch the ferry we wanted to take, depart only a few yards in front of us.
Leaving Bremerton was confusing as Liz had copied directions that sent us through the city’s naval base. Finally, we reached Hwy3, which was pretty miserable-heavy traffic, minimal shoulders, lots of road debris. Spacing out, I ran into a barrier on the side of the road, which was stressful as the cars were travelling about 60mph.
We spent most of the rest of the day on WA106, which was a very pleasant road with small grades and little patches of communities and lots of second homes where friends were drinking wine watching the sunset after dinner on the porch. Later, we rode by a bizarre scene of young people (mid twenties) including a couple with children burning something in the side of the yard, a house full of books and a yard full of random stuff. Liz remarked that it looked like some sort of anarchist collective. I think it kind of looked like the end of the world.
The end of the day brought us to the Hood Canal (actually a fjord), and an area that seems very run down as if former industries have left, and the area has met a decline. Old, vacant buildings, such as an old Wells Fargo building, abound. Later, we rode through a 2 or so mile strech of old Dairygold trailers for 18 wheelers, probably from the early 1980s. An interesting one displayed a picture of two kids, a white girl on the left drinking chocolate milk and a black boy on the right drinking regular milk. Something tells me this wouldn’t fly today.
Our google map directions took us through the Skokomish Reservation, which began right after we passed the Skokomish River. This river was an amazingly striking creamy blue-green, which looked extremely unnatural. Liz said it was like some crayon color she remembers from childhood.
The reservation was, by far, the most interesting pary of the day. It felt like another country, eerily quiet-very few cars. There was a health center and a community housing complex, but no retail until we reached US101, where the firework stands and casinos took over the side of the road. The area reminded me of a PBS documentary that I had checked out of the UW library about the Quinault tribe’s (another Olympic Peninsula native tribe) economic and social (substance abuse) problems. Strangely enough, the roads on the reservation were in perfect condition.
Drivers have been very courteous on the road, and other people we have run into have been so nice-coming up to Liz and me to ask us about the trip. Liz and I always criticize “white trash” people, but several groups including the group we just ran into at the campsite in a 6 person seater truck and Harley Davidson shirts have been extremely nice to us. While, these noted qualities would also qualify them as the butt of our jokes.
15 American Flags
1000+ shards of glass run-over by Liz and my tires
3 road kill victims passed (possum, raccoon, squirrel)
Southward we go!
Pictures available when we arrive in San Luis Obispo.

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