Friday morning, Liberty Lake, WA
Mount Vernon feels so far away yet in terms of days and miles, I really haven’t
traveled very far. I guess I never gave it a thought to how all encompassing and absorbing these days would be on my bicycle.
On flat sections of road it’s easy enough to have my head up and look out and around. Downhills will keep me more focused on the road surface immediately in front of me. When it comes to grinding up the hills its a different situation. It’s pretty much nose to the grindstone. The white fog line becomes all there is. Slowly climbing up Highway 20 some days ago, from my perspective of about 5’ above the road surface, it was easy to be distracted by little things. Like ants. And most of them were moving from the edge of the pavement towards the fog line. Why? What drives them? The heat? Why not stay and forage in the earth rather than begin to cross the blacktop? Until yesterday, the only wildlife I saw were a couple of deer at Goodell Creek campground. Yesterday, between Wilbur and Reardon I counted four dead snakes, caught by wheels on the pavement; one turtle/tortoise, or so it looked, I was going pretty fast, +/-13mph (13 mph is fast? hu?). The domed shell, broken open not long before. Poor animal. I say not long before because there was still a little sheen and color to the entrails. It couldn’t have been an hour later and this antelope kind of animal darted out from the plowed field on my right, turned as if to reverse and head back, then spun again and continued across Highway 2, heading north. I was watching for the coil and leap as it would clear the top wire of the fence. Nope, rather, it lowered it’s head, extended its neck out becoming longer and less deep. With front legs folded close under its body, hind legs extended back, the projectile pierced the gap between the top and second wire. Like a wedge with it’s nose leading the way, ears flattened, followed by the much larger body. Faultless move. Only after the animal was through was I aware of what I’d just seen. I’d have thought it would have been over the top for sure. Nope. Grace and accuracy, right between the wires. Almost like saying, “Hey you, cyclist, want to see something cool? Watch this!”
The fog line. The white stripe on the right side of the lane which defines it from the shoulder and the gravel beyond. I try to stay well clear of it. Many drivers do too. Not all though. I swear some are in love with the fog line and are reluctant to part very far from it. It’s those drivers that I feel less love for. Perhaps some haven’t seen me. If that’s the case it’s worse. Other drivers I’m thinking maybe reckon the road is theirs and I’m an interloper. When passing vehicles give a little room, it feels better than not. Back in the more populated area of the state, this love of the white line was often demonstrated by drivers of vehicles which either had bike racks (both with and without bikes attached) or Ragnar Relay stickers on their back windows.
I leave Washington today, on into Idaho. Post Falls then Coeur d’Alene and beyond. The Centennial Trail here in WA, was great, apparently it continues for a quite a way into ID.
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.