24.4 mi / 13.5 mph / 318 ft. climbing
Home: M&M Motel
It’s 64 miles from Othello to Lyons Ferry, which is a bit too far to be fun for us. The only other thing between the two places is the small town of Connell, and their one motel is the only lodging, so we were facing an easy 24 mile roof-to-roof day. The only problem is that if we duplicated yesterday’s heat-avoiding 6am start, we’d get to our destination six hours before the new motel’s 2pm check-in time. Plus we always like to maximize our time indoors when we’ve paid for it. So we decided to just wait until 11am checkout, reasoning that the heat is less of an issue if we only need to endure two hours of it, and if we’re going from air-conditioned room to air-conditioned room.
In yet another example of the strength and comfort that Rett has been feeling this week, she suggested backtracking a bit before we left Othello, to a Mexican grocery so she could seek out some Doraditas, the breakfast-dessert she’s craved since Baja. That’s the first time she’s ever done something like that…in the past, not just the extra mileage, but also all the annoying bike-handling (turns, getting in and out of parking lots, parking) would have had her saying “Hell no!” if I had suggested it. Then again, maybe this is less a story about Rett and more about the addictive powers of Doraditas….
Othello (pop. 8500) has at least three Mexican grocery stores, outnumbering the “American” ones, it has businesses with signs in Spanish only, 80% of people in Walmart were speaking Spanish, and the biggest complaint of a 1-star Google review of the motel we’d stayed at was not that no one there spoke English, but that no one there spoke Spanish! Combined with the could-have-been-in-Mexico town of Beverly yesterday, and the similarly Hispanic population of Connell today (and heck, even the multiple Mexican doraditas-selling grocery stores back in Monroe where we stayed for a month before restarting), I can see in a way that I’d never experienced before that Fox News may actually have a true-feeling basis to undergird its odious ‘Great Replacement’ conspiracy that it leverages to keep its old white audience frightened and angry.
The sad thing is, those old white people wouldn’t need to be so frightened and angry if they would just try some Doraditas! Then they’d be like “fuck yeah, these Hispanic folks are awesome!” More-broadly, this country (and the world) are becoming increasingly culturally-homogenized (knowing which products are going to be available in all the corporate chain groceries we visit, regardless of what state we’re in, is simultaneously convenient and deadening). So the fact that “foreign” cultures still manage to exist underneath the suffocating global monoculture is something to be celebrated, not feared, like discovering a thought-to-be-extinct species of woodpecker! On top of that, it’s obvious that the economies of these nowhere-towns would be far worse without the influx of immigrants keeping them propped up and prosperous (and then there wouldn’t be motels in them to host and take the money of travelers like us).
Anyway! After the successful Doraditas (and Principe cookies!) run, we were soon out onto WA-17, a highway big enough to have an exit ramp, but also big smooth shoulders. The wind had us flying easy for the 24 miles, even after we turned onto the much-less-traveled WA-260. It didn’t even really feel hot, with the 15% humidity making the RealFeel temperature cooler than the actual 84F temperature.
Even with our late departure from Othello, we still made it to Connell well before the 2pm check-in time at the motel, so we got groceries and then sat in the irrigated green grass of a nearby park to eat lunch.
The easy day actually then became more difficult for me, as I spent a couple hours wrestling with kickstand issues on both of our bikes. Mine was the “easy” one: the kickstand bolt had simply come loose, but I need to take apart half my bike to be able to access the bolt to tighten it. Rett’s was the baffling one. The whole day her bike had been making a new noise, that sounded like a tire rubbing on something, but it was tied to her pedal rotations. I hadn’t been able to figure it out during any of our breaks. I could hear it when riding her bike, but not when I would stop and spin the wheels manually. Adjusting the fenders did nothing to make it better. Luckily the motel had a nice carport-like entrance I could ride through that allowed the sound to echo off the walls, and I finally figured out that it was pedal pressure flexing the frame and pushing the folded-away kickstand into the rear tire. So of course I couldn’t hear it off the bike because in those moments the kickstand wasn’t retracted alongside the tire! The problem was that the double-legged Esge/Pletscher kickstand wasn’t fully retracting anymore. The complex (and riveted-together) mechanism seemed to have gotten a bit gummed up (perhaps from all of our dusty gravel riding), so the only option was to just spend a lot of time flushing with water and lubricant, wiping, flushing, wiping, operating, wiping, etc., and at least it finally started snapping back like it used to. All with the temp up to 88F, but it still didn’t feel too hot. Hopefully the “fix” lasts, otherwise the next step is just waiting for it to wear down the tire tread where it’s rubbing!