Day 3 Coupeville, Washington to Everett, Washington: The Mailback - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

May 3, 2011

Day 3 Coupeville, Washington to Everett, Washington: The Mailback

Almost no rain today. Even though we are well equipped for rain, with our stuff in drysacks and ourselves in rain suits, it makes a giant difference in your outlook.

The road South on Whidbey Island continues reasonable, with usually an adequate shoulder. However the stream of traffic is constant, and therefore wearing. Much later in the day, at ferry terminal at Clinton, the immense amount of parking space for vehicles waiting for sailings hinted at much higher traffic volumes during the summer tourist season.

It took us a while to figure this one out. Another favourite was Jet Java whose slogan was "Drive In Fly Out".
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Hey, I thought we were heading for Moscow, not Nairobi!
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Marius, if you buck these we will trailer them home.
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For a while, the road rolled gently through farmland, the exact image we had had for the whole Island. However, before long the rolls were not quite so gentle, although they were never totally extreme. Dodie continued to struggle, often resorting to pushing up the hills, and I too was not so enthused to be using my granny gears so often. When gliding through the countryside on your bike becomes more like a grind on an exercise bike it can be a real bug.

The open road!
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What is this all about??
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The last hill went on for a long long time, like long! To cheer Dodie up I supplied some basic logic. Since our journey on the Island would end at the water, the road would have to descend sometime! Dodie countered that she could easily believe that sea level here is higher than sea level in most normal places. As it turns out, the last long climb is followed by a long long descent into Clinton and the ferry terminal. No charge to leave the Island. Hurray!

We walked up from the water way down there, and this was not the top of the hill!
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The Continent, on the horizon
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Our joy was short lived, though, as a ferry worker informed us that the 10% grade down into Clinton is matched by a similar hill up out of Mukilteo on the other side. So it was that we left the Islands and set foot on the Continent that we have foolishly set out to cross.

"Fond" farewell to Whidbey Island
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With the looming prospect of doing that crossing partly on foot, an idea hatched in our heads. Dump this junque we are carrying! Of course, it's not so simple. Like Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol, we had forged every link of our chain carefully by hand. That is, each piece had been carefully selected (sometimes twice - with a better piece being bought to replace a rejected one) and certified to be absolutely necessary. What we needed to make a major difference was a broad policy initiative that would sweep clean whole categories of stuff. Dodie voiced the brutal reality. Its either the electronics or the food. Well, since you are reading this, you can guess that the electronics made the cut. (Of course!)

Oh, oh, the food! Well what is meant by that is the stove, fuel, plates, pots, frypan, utensils, dish towels, and lighter. Plus any food like substance that needs water or cooking to make it edible. Caught up in the purge was also the street clothes, spare shoes, tarps, bungee cords, and one electronics item - the hi fi speakers. Without these movie nights ar going to be dull - oh well.

All of this stuff amounted to 25 pounds, and got "mailed back" at Mukilteo. This is the famous "mailback" that we gave read about on other blogs.

The true impact of the mailback will be seen when we leave the populated areas and are on our own. How will we do without so much as a cup of hot tea in the wilds of Western Washington and in Saskachewan? We really have no idea, but at least now we may actually get to those wilds to find out.

Most of our stuff was entrusted to the US Postal Service, but items like propane and our one can of soup and the tape we used to seal the box could not go. In the end we found homes for this stuff with people around the post office, but it was not that easy. Numerous people denied ever going camping,let alone needing a two week supply of propane. The exception was "Lani", who is going camping this weekend and who we hope will be enjoying a hot tea made with genuine Canadian propane!

The "Mailback"!
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Other people were most kind to us in and around the post office. Glen Jones offered advice about the route ahead and gave us his phone number in case we needed help in this area. Call me, he said, even if you are in tears. What a nice man! Then there was the fellow in the Starbucks who lent us his phone to see if Lakeside RV had a spot for a tent, and who looked up reviews to make sure it was a good place for us.

With the help of the GPS we found Lakeside RV, and not only did it have alovely spot for our tent, but it had managers Betty and Bob Casey. They made us feel totally welcome and introduced us to their spotless and convenient place. The washrooms with showers are wonderful, as is the laundry. This is being written in the laundry right now, with the electronics happily lapping up power from the abundant plugs.

Lakeside RV actually does have a lake, and it is a little oasis in an area otherwise gobbled up by roads and retail development. At a little under $16, this place is a happy find for us and much recommended!

Hidden gem at Lakeside RV
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Free wifi here also will guide us to tomorrow's goals on Highway 2. Highway 2 was to be our way into the Cascades and Stevens Pass, but now of course we will quickly veer away South. The machine by the laundry has Mountain Dew. Going out for a drink first sounds good!

Luxury camping at Lakeside RV
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Today's ride: 59 km (37 miles)
Total: 210 km (130 miles)

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