My Snake Obsession - A Snake, A Heart, And An Earring - CycleBlaze

September 9, 2021

My Snake Obsession

Clarkston, Washington

At first light I was awakened by footsteps behind my campsite.  My body instinctively bolted upright and my eyeballs strained to focus on the intruder through the tent screen.  No doubt, I'm hypervigilant, but I think it's justified.  When one is the only camper in a remote campground, one never knows who might come along looking for trouble.

In this case though, it was a pair of deer--a big one and a small one.  I was relieved that the footsteps of a potential serial killer or bike thief turned out to be the hoofsteps of two curious, harmless animals.  Oh, I love the Church of the Great Outdoors.

Morning coffee amongst the morning mess.
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For the second day in a row I hit the road at the magical hour of 9:30 a.m.  This time my excuse for the late start wasn't the cushy amenities of a motel.  No, it was the hot coffee in the cold air of a delightful riparian campground.

Aside from a deceptively steep climb away from the campground, followed by a fast downhill, my entire day was an amazingly flat riverside ramble.  And, oh, what a great riverside ramble it was.  Get ready for some pictures.

Here's the first picture.
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Here's the second one.
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And here's the third one. The smile says it all. I'm amazed I pulled this one off on the first take.
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Lednar De NallohGreat photo for a profile pic. I imagine you were stationary at the time.
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1 month ago
Gregory GarceauTo Lednar De NallohStationary? No way! I think I was going at least 60 k.p.h.
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1 month ago
This picture was taken along a stretch that had a bunch of boulders and rocky formations.
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I really wanted to get to the top boulder for this picture, but after three attempts I realized I couldn't do it in the ten seconds the camera timer on my phone allowed.
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I like it.
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I like this too.
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How in the world did those cows get down there?
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I questioned my sanity, but I zoomed in and yup, they are actually real live cows.
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I guess I should write something about the smoke.  The Air Quality Index was 132, which is considered "poor air."  I didn't know that at the time because I had absolutely no internet data nor cell phone reception.  Overall, I'd have to say the smoke looked worse than it smelled.  To be sure, there was a scent in the air, but it wasn't overwhelming.  I figured that if some people can suck the smoke of 30 or 40 cigarettes directly into their lungs every day, I should be able to handle a little forest fire smoke for a few hours.

All day long I was incredulous that there was almost no traffic on this awesome road.  I think of other roads I've ridden along the shores of scenic lakes and rivers, where cars and RVs pass in both directions every few seconds.  Here, cars have been passing no more than every 10 minutes.  What's up with that?

I have a theory:  This road has no souvenir & gift stores.  No ice cream and fudge shoppes.  No folksy diners  or "quaint" bistros.  No mom & pop motels or boutique hotels.  No museums or historic buildings.  In fact, I haven't seen a single place of business for two consecutive days.

Then I reached the outskirts of Clarkston.

A big lumber mill turns these logs into . . .
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. . . these boards.
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It was real hot by that time and I was sweating like crazy.  I shouldn't have lingered so long at my campsite this morning.  I shouldn't have stopped for so many pictures.  I shouldn't have hiked into some of the more interesting side canyons.  I shouldn't have been trying to climb boulders.  Had I not done those things I might have been able to ride more than 28 miles.

I sought out some sleeping quarters right here in Clarkston.  Someplace with air conditioning.  And I found just the place.

Every few days, the International Hotel Group (Holiday Inn) sends me messages that I have something like 21,000 points, so I should use them at one of their thousands of affiliated hotels.  It just so happens that one of those hotels is right here in Clarkston.

So I booked a room from my cell phone outside of a Walgreen's store.  Then I went across the road to buy a couple of pieces of fried chicken at the deli in an Albertson's grocery store.  Then I took my fried chicken to a riverside park to gobble it down.

When I finished gobbling I headed to the Holiday Inn, but I got sidetracked by the Riverport Brewery.  I thought some fresh beer would be most helpful while updating my Cycleblaze journal, so I bought a growler of their Seven Devils IPA and loaded it onto my bike for the two block ride.

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Keith KleinHi,
You must still be a young buck. If I drank that much beer before bedtime, I wouldn’t get much sleep!
Cheers,
Keith
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1 month ago
Gregory GarceauTo Keith KleinI slept like a log last night, but I have to admit I didn't finish the whole growler.
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1 month ago
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Today's ride: 28 miles (45 km)
Total: 127 miles (204 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 8
Comment on this entry Comment 4
Emily SharpLooks like your tour is off to a great start. Nothing like having a whole campground to yourself. I've traveled with one of Mike's cousins, Mr Hubba Hubba, since 2017 and been pretty happy with it. Hope Mike is as good to you as Jim. I still miss my North Face Tadpole - but, like all good things, they stopped making it. I love that canyon scenery and I'm crossing my fingers the smoke moves out for you.
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1 month ago
Gregory GarceauTo Emily SharpYes, I knew you had a Hubba Hubba. You might have had some influence on my decision to buy one, knowing all the time you spend in a tent.
I'm packing up to begin today's ride and unfortunately the smoke is still here.
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1 month ago
Keith KleinHi,
Sorry to hear about the smoke. Your holy land seems to have been desecrated. May the wind of purity blow your way.
Cheers,
Keith
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1 month ago
Gregory GarceauTo Keith KleinThanks Keith. Your blessing seems to have worked. The air looks a little bit more clear today.
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1 month ago