The Coast of Whoa! - Dérive Column - CycleBlaze

September 18, 2021 to September 26, 2021

The Coast of Whoa!

Washington was incredibly refreshing, especially the ride into Olympia.  I had been awaiting this environmental landscape for quite awhile.  Maybe since Wisconsin or Minnesota, where the people and tree to cow ratio began to shift.  

During my two night stay at the Green Tortoise Hostel, located in Seattle's Pike Place neighborhood, I simply ate and slept. Once checked in, I headed down the street to a Russian bakery called Piroshky Piroshky and treated myself to a very satisfying savory and sweet Piroshki.  I then headed to REI and bought myself a pair of  waterproof gloves, for there was rain in the forecast. Welcome to the Pacific Northwest, right?

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My second notable dining experience was at the Persian restaurant, also in Pike Place, called Farvahar Persian Cafe, and like whoa. I had the Zereshk Polo with Chicken, which I thought was reminiscent of mole chicken, re: the indigenous Mexican dish.  It was incredibly floral, striking all the senses and taste buds. As I was consuming this dish, another customer expressed their satisfaction with their meal choice by offering additional gratuity, telling the husband and wife chefs that it was the best meal they have had in the city.  They humbly accepted the compliment but went about their work as if to say, "yes we know." It was indeed a treat and I highly suggest witnessing for yourself if you find yourself in the area.

For the rest of my stay in Seattle, I slept, alot. I think the change in elevation from West Glacier, 3500 or so feet to sea level, was a bit of a shock to my system and I was happy I booked two nights at the hostel in order to somewhat restore my equilibrium. 

My next stop was Olympia. I decided to take a slightly more scenic route through Vashon Island which involved two separate ferry's, totalling $6.  I think it should be free if you are on a bike, but I also think everything should be free if you arrive by bike.

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Vashon was beautiful and smelled wonderful.  The sweet scent of fruit so ripe that they were almost dripping off the vines and tree limbs.  Lining the route that went directly from one end of Vashon to the other were wild blackberry bushes and apple trees, not to mention all the lush spruce forests. 

I stopped at a cafe in the Town of Vashon  and had a damn good cup of coffee, two actually.  8oz Americano's.  The island use to be home to Seattle's Best Coffee Roasters until Starbucks bought them out and closed the production facility.  Empires doing empire things, but the islands rich history of coffee roasting and fruit farms, may still have something to do with the quality of the baristas working there today. 

As I was leaving the island for Tacoma, the rain started to introduce itself into the mix.  I donned my rain gear and gloves and continued my trek to Olympia.  The rain was stop and go and my GPS kept routing me to a private and gated country club thru roads or very large military training facilities with no alternative routes.  I was force onto Interstate 5, for a mile or two, to avoid adding 20+ miles to my already pretty tiring day. 

Eventually I arrived at my friends house where I stayed for two nights to allow us a little time to catch up after 8 years or so. While there I joined my friends partner, now my friend, in serving meals to a houseless encampment as part of an organizing effort associated with Just Housing in Olympia.  Just Housing's goal is to help houseless people advocate for their own needs.  Here, read for yourself what they are all about, and try to support organizations doing similar work in your neck of the woods. 

At the suggestion of an unavailable warmshowers host, I left Olympia for Lewis and Clark State Park, just south of Chehalis.  The days ride was uneventful yet beautiful.  I could often see Mt. Rainer in the distance where some of my KOA fellow workers are headed for the winter season.  Maybe I'll end up there too, we shall see.

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When I arrived at Lewis and Clark State Park, I ran into another cyclist, Ben, who was only two days out from finishing a 6 month journey covering the west and east coast.  We entered the park together and claimed the hiker biker site, within 10 minutes or arriving two other cyclists appeared, who also met at the parks entrance, then two more shortly after that.  This has been the most touring cyclists I've seen in one place since starting in May.  We invited the other cyclists to share our free site, but they were rolling pretty thick with large tents so they settled for regular tent sites.

The park was beautiful with campsites situated in an old growth forest. I stayed up awhile talking with Ben, sipped on some tea, and took short hike before I settled in for some sleep.  My next day would involve back tracking 10 miles to Chehalis where I would catch a 50 mile rail to trail called the Willapa Hills Trail. 

Lewis and Clark State Park
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Lewis and Clark State Park
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I had a difficult time getting my GPS to recognize all parts of the Willapa Hills Trail. It kept redirecting me to rejoin the old highway road that ran relatively parallel to it and it wasn't until I got a little further on the trail that I understood why.  The trail is only partially developed, where it is definitely usable, there are some sections that just really inhibit your ability to travel any faster than 6mph and after awhile you just want to move a little faster.  50 miles is a long way to travel on thick gravel and chunky rocks. 

For the last 10-15 miles I traveled strictly on the highway with the exception of a short little country road that ended with a short lakeside trail that I feared would get pretty gnarly before it let me out the other side but it was alright.   

It had been misting for a few hours and I was moving fast enough where I felt like the air was keeping me somewhere between moist and drenched and on the last couple miles I got drenched.  

Looking forward to reaching my destination, I was looking forward to changing into some dry clothes and throwing my wet ones into the dryer, but when I arrived I had forgotten that this was a spiritual commune I reached out to on warmshowers and that things might be a little extra.

I'm going to save this part for its own post....

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