Today was supposed to be a short day to Bremerton to catch the ferry to Seattle. I decided that in order to do all the things I wanted and needed to go in Portland I’d have to take a day out of the schedule. So Seattle got the heave ho.
The day began with a gentle ride off route to a cafe for breakfast. I ordered pancakes and eggs, expecting a modest meal. I got frisbee-sized pancakes. For the record, I could not eat it all.
I am learning that the Olympic Peninsula has some Olympic-sized hills for bike tourists. Fortunately the hills provided nice views of blue waters. Crossing over the Hood Canal Bridge was a good example.
Still no orcas to report, just a seal now and then.
This area has heavy traffic which is a bit of a shock after having the road nearly to myself for close to two thousand miles. I was grateful for the tailwind that made the riding easy if somewhat unpleasant.
Occasionally I was on a road that allowed my mind to drift and to imagine what it was like at the top of a peak covered in snow in July.
It was getting hot out so I took an hour break at a McDonalds in Silverdale. I chugged cold drinks and enjoyed the AC.
Next came Bremerton. There may be lovely neighborhoods in this town but I didn’t see them. I took a pass on getting a motel after 40+ miles and rode on. Riding by an aircraft carrier that was being demolished was pretty cool. These ships are LONG!
The road out of Bremerton was a four lane freak show. Cars were blowing by me and I was cowering in the far right of the debris strewn shoulder.
I took the quieter old route to Belfair, hoping to stay at the motel in town. Up and down for 13 miles to learn that there were no vacancies. My choices were (a) ride to a nearby campground and put up my tent in 90 degree heat, (b) turn around and ride back to Bremerton for a crappy chain motel, or (c) continue southward another 25 miles to Shelton which has three motels.
I chose (c) because moderation is not in my DNA.
After a few miles I decided to call a motel and make sure I could get a room. The Shelton Inn had a first floor room so I told them I’d be there in two hours.
I rode another half mike and turned off the main road onto East Trails Road. It had the steepest hill I’ve seen on the tour, even including Pennsylvania and the last 100 feet to Tim Jones’s house.
I pedaled for a minute before pulling into the mouth of a driveway. Holy crap! I caught my breath and tried to start again. It took me three tries to get sufficient momentum to get both feet on the pedals.
Once I got going I didn’t stop. I was weaving all over the road and my legs were burning but I wasn’t going to walk.
I was more concerned with time. If this hill were typical of the rest of the route to Shelton, I’d be lucky to get there in three hours.
I looked at the map and saw that I was riding next to a lake. Oh great, some level ground, right? Nope. The lake was down there and I was up here, riding up and down.
And now I had a headwind.
I endured and made it to Shelton in a little over two hours. It took me 30 minutes to find the motel because of a road closure. The Google tried to send me onto a path in the woods. I rode down a steep hill on a bike path only to find it continued through a gate as single track.
Not gonna happen. The hill I had come down was about 100 yards long but it was so steep I had no hope of riding up it from a dead stop.
The Google started going bonkers so I shut it off and found some detour signs to follow.
Most of the town including the hotel are the bottom of a bluff. One road, the closed one on my route, goes down the bluff to the east and another to the west. I went west and found the road was all torn up for repaving.
I took the lane and rode down the bumpy, curvy mess of a hill. As I passed a driveway I heard someone screaming “Get of the road, you fucking asshole!!!”
Welcome to Shelton.
I think I delayed his highness from getting on the highway with his shit box of a used pickup truck.
I had gone out of my way to avoid this construction zone. Perhaps he didn’t appreciate my efforts. So for the first time in over 3,900 miles, I extended the numb middle finger on my right hand high in the sky.
I thought I did pretty well going down the hill. I kept up with the car in front of me. Slipping past the line of cars at the red light at the bottom of the hill, I glided into downtown Shelton.
Then I heard Prince Charles, Duke of Shelton, come roaring by. For the record, it appears f-bombs from pick up truck drivers do not exhibit a Doppler effect.
I engaged him with mighty verbal gusto and more unidigital sign language. He roared away yelling out his window, rushing home to do some meth with his wife and watch some Fox News.
I was slightly embarrassed that this lusty exchange of profanity had occurred within ear and eye shot of the desk clerk at my hotel.
I made my apologies explaining how I held back for 3,900 miles. She gave me a coupon for a discount at the diner next door.
After washing up I walked to a Mexican restaurant up the street. My veggie enchiladas were muy bueno.
I went for a postprandial stroll in downtown Shelton. After 8 pm this place could be a good rsetting for a Walking Dead episode.
One shop keeper apparently agreed with me.
Miles today: 88.5
Tour miles: 3,965.5