Wishing you all the best for another celebration of your birth. Have a great time with Paul and Shan this evening.
A fellow I used to work with liked to tell jokes around the brai (bbq). There’s one that I remember and it seems to have relevance to my journal entries on this site so far. I probably won’t give it the flair he was able to deliver it with, but I trust the point
will be clear even if the entertainment value is low.
Here is sort of how Ron would tell it: “There was a young bull and an old bull standing on a hill looking down at the paddock gate as the farmer moved a herd of heifers into the camp. The younger bull got all excited and turned to the older bull, ‘Look at all those heifers, we ought to run down there and meet a few.’ The old bull casually lifted his head from grazing and turned to look at the young one. ‘What say we walk down and meet them all?’” Readers with experience in animal husbandry, feel free to interpret meet any way you choose.
No real earth shaking news to catch you up on, but there have been some tidbits that might be of interest. My original intent was to attempt an average of 60 miles per day and hunker down and write a little something each evening before sleep. Alas, unlike the old bull, I can not hope to relay all to you. Perhaps a few of the past week’s highlights will slip into the coming day’s journals. We’ll see.
Mount Vernon to Newhalem was a good ride, my excitement was high and the load didn’t seem impossible. My first night was in the North Cascade National Park at Goodell Creek Campground. Later in the afternoon Kathy pulled our 18’ Nomad camping trailer and joined me. When coming over the railroad tracks at the Cook Road crossing heading east, the Nomad bounced off the trailer ball, connected only by the break-away chains. Kathy managed to get off the road and received some help from a passing man who worked with Washington Tractor. Traveling with care and trepidation, she made it to Goodell just before dark. Since then, I’ve learned that she returned home safely and has an appointment to fix the hitch problem on Wednesday
My frustration with the packing of my panniers received attention at Goodell. Certainly a case of the squeaky wheel getting the grease. A good dose of it too. The first paring away went home with Kathy, I felt no need to carry it any longer, one day was plenty. In the end I felt a little more comfortable that I might be able to find sun screen, or electrolyte tabs or a wind breaker when needed.
We left for a bite to eat at the Newhalem store, enjoying our last lunch together for some weeks, I began peddling up the hill for Washington Pass around 11. Through the day it was clear I had not pared enough away, the ascent was a lot of work. The sky was open most of the lower travel, as I ascended, the clouds gathered.
The ups and downs finally culminated at Washington Pass at 9:30.
In the rain.
According to my Wahoo ELEMNT, 30.2 degrees F.
I stopped to bundle up with more clothes, ate some bread with peanut butter and honey, adjusted my headlight then started down for my reward after all the uphill. Haha, what a joke. I barely got up to 20 mph before I was too cold to go on. Coasting down the east side was easy, too easy. As in almost effortless and thus no muscle work. My engine was idling, the heater turned off. The cold came on so suddenly and wracked me so violently and so deeply I was seriously concerned. I’ve been cold in the mountains before, but never like this. The speed of transition from comfortable to cold was something I’d not experienced ever before. Hypothermia was moments, at the most minutes away. Off my bike I got and immediately I began a fast walk steering my bike, holding it back with the brakes. WALKING DOWNHILL. wtf*
All ended ok. I even made it through the 1 mile of posted “Caution, slide zone next 1 mile” beaming at me from the portable flashing yellow highway alert sign-trailer thingy. Although, I must admit, as I looked at all the pumpkin sized rocks on the roadside, that perhaps, might this be my end? But I’ve just started. The raindrops slashed diagonally as silver tracers through the beam of my headlight.
By this time it was getting late. My thought was traffic would be light at best. Having walked through the slide zone, through the hairpin turn, continuing on down the straighter section, I looked up and saw illumination in the fog at the summit, it could only be headlights. Relief. After numerous vehicles passed finally one stopped and gave me a lift to Mazama. A young couple, we didn’t exchange names, there didn’t seem to be a need to. Everything was calm and easy. They had two bikes in the back of their VW hatchback and were sure they could get one more in. I was doubtful and thanked them for the thought, but this probably wouldn’t work. He persisted, “No, I think we can get one more in.” After all three of us fiddled, there we were, all doors closed and there was even a seat for me to sit on. I was so thankful. wtf** Where ever you kind folks are, thank you.
The thought of pitching my tent in the rain . . . Fortunately Steve at Mazama Ranch House answered the phone. “You got a credit card? Head on into room 5, it’s unlocked, hot tub is on.”
So this was not even a few, as the young bull suggested, but it’s a start. Perhaps I will find some sort of rhythm in the days ahead.
*wtf: not wonderful terrific fantastic
**wtf: WONDERFUL TERRIFIC FANTASTIC
Has been/is a: husband, father, busboy, wrecking yard worker, carpenter, photographer and contractor among other things. He is now apprenticing as a retiree. Remaining, as always: sometimes able and willing.