41 mi / 10.6 mph / 1073 ft. climbing
Home: Twanoh State Park campground
The continued requirement to compensate for our lack of preparation meant we stuck with the familiar, continuing our 2020 route along the Hood Canal, and even the gray skies mostly matched our memories.
There would be only one “grocery store” along today’s route, but when we stopped at the Union City Market, it had more cute knick-knacks than food. But hey, surely $32/lb. wagyu beef would be better in the pasta/stew Rett was planning for dinner than the beef jerky we had been hoping to find? They did have giant fresh out-of-the-oven cookies for us to get for dessert though!
At our roadside lunch, at the gated entrance to an undeveloped housing development, surrounded by private tree plantations with no other signs of civilization for miles, we were surprised when a pickup truck pulled in the driveway too. He passed us by without comment, but then stopped, sitting 100 yards away with the engine running. Just as we finished packing up to roll on, he continued down the drive. On the one hand, I can sort of understand him wanting to make sure we weren’t camping there for the night (we were sitting in our portable chairs), but 1pm is a bit early to pull in to camp, and also, you could have saved yourself 5 minutes by just talking to us.
Also in the middle of nowhere, we hit a “Road Closed” sign. We had no Internet, and the map showed the detour might add about 4 miles and an unknown amount of climbing. So we explored ahead, because sometimes “closed” roads are really quite passable, especially on bikes. This one was solidly closed, with a huge chasm (blocked off by construction equipment on either end to prevent the drunk/stupid from driving right into the hole), but there was a narrow, treacherous, eroding footpath that gave access to the other side. After a bit of hemming and hawing, we decided to take inspiration from Alee Denham (the Internet’s current leading bike-touring guru, cyclingabout.com), and unload all the bags off our bikes, take everything across one by one, and reload on the other side. No one fell into the river, and it made us feel like total badasses, until I remembered that Alee would repeat the same thing 40 times in a day on the “roads” he rides, and call that a good day. Maybe someday we’ll get up to his level! (Probably not, and that’s ok too.)
On the other side, the road was empty, and just got prettier as the ride went on. Rett wasn’t feeling the hip pain from the night before, and finishing on a long downhill sure helped. We got into camp before 4pm, three hours earlier than the previous day.
Schafer State Park was again nearly empty, but there was a host this time, and she gave us a hiker/biker rate ($12) on a gorgeous, huge, secluded standard site (normally $25). My original “plan” had been to go 15 miles further, to the same park we stayed at the 2nd night of our last tour, but this place was nicer, which created some good positive feedback for me on the new “planning things on the fly” thing that I’m apprehensively trying to learn out of simple necessity.
We had our tasty improvised dinner of fancy beef chunks, soba noodles, rehydrated vegetables, paired with Rett’s Old Fashioned cocktails she mixed and bottled and had been carrying for two days, and of course those fresh-baked cookies for dessert!