August 7: South Whidbey to Port Townsend, Washington - The Great North American Sticky Bun Hunt - CycleBlaze

August 7: South Whidbey to Port Townsend, Washington

"YA SPEND ALL DAY taking the rise out of America," said an Australian drinking wine from a plastic cup, "and then someone does something unbelievably kind and you feel guilty and hope they didn't hear you."

Russ and his pal, darker and less talkative, flew in from Sydney and are heading up through Vancouver Island to Vancouver before hiring a car to tour Jasper and Banff. They'll then go south along the Pacific. They are progressing in a gentlemanly way. "Do 80km and we reckon we've had a really demanding day," Russ said. They had already decided, as they lay under their improvised rain shelter, that they wouldn't trouble riding next day.

It rained most of today. It started around the time we reached the ferry for Port Townsend, where a dozen riders from the Cascade club in Seattle showed not even normal human curiosity in our presence, and it never stopped.

It was something we discussed with a Texan as we sat in a bus shelter, eating our sandwiches. One day a treatise will be written on the role that bus shelters play in the lives of cycling hobos. Our southern friend was short and dark and walked in a rolling gait that suggested years at sea rather than decades in the electrical white goods world.

"I used to do the buying for a retail chain in Texas," he said. "Several of them, in fact, but three of the last four companies I worked for went under. Which doesn't look too good on your resume." He smiled with irony. "Then one day 16 years ago I came through here by chance and I decided this was the place I wanted to live. So I did. Texas is all heat and humidity."

"No lack of humidity today here, though," I said. The rain continued to fall as an impolite drizzle, the sort you knew would bring tears by bedtime.

"This is rain," he said, "not humidity. And anyway, it doesn't normally rain here in summer. Trouble is that we haven't had a summer this year."

We rode the short distance to a state campground, most of it along a bike path made from a converted rail line. When the line emerged by the busy main road, we turned on to a country way and discovered Scott.

Sculptor Scott: happier with wood than words.
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Scott makes sculpture out of bicycles and used wood. He makes angels on bicycles, monsters on bicycles and things you can't quite identify on bicycles.

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He also advertises his services as a bike shop and he's shown as such on Adventure Cycling maps. In reality, I'd say, he is an artist who believes in bicycles - "Cars stink" says a sticker on his workshop door - and mixes the two as best he can.

He is not a good talker.

"How many do you sell?"

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"How long have you been making them?"

"For ages."

"When did you start?"

"No idea."

"About what year?"

He thought.

"About 1986, that close enough?"

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