Bike Odyssey
North America 2004

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Journal for 27-May-2004 : Port Angeles

Today didn't start too well with me blocking up the toilet, again. American bathroom systems just ain't up to handling people with Aussie sized equipment.

What an awfully wet day. It rained solidly for the first seven hours, to be replaced by a 30kph headwind.

Took us a while to get out of Bremerton. Thankfully we found a AAA office, which we weren't expecting. This gave us some valuable maps which showed our tourist info maps would have lead us well and truly up the garden path.

Lots of rain as we cycled passed the underwater naval station. Underwater was a very apt description for it today.

Hood River Canal bridge a complete nightmare. It's about 2.5ks long, and a collection of box girders, floating pontoon bridges and a strange middle section where the carriage ways diverged around which looked like submarine berth. And it was narrow. Very narrow. No way for anyone to pass us. In the rare places that were a touch wider than half a car, concrete barricades had been placed to stop people driving into the river.

After sprinting across the bare metal grates of the first box girder span, we reached the divided stretch. A short section had a half metre of shoulder, enough for the trail of cars behind us to try and pass. After a few cars passed the shoulder disappeared and a hideous diagonal wheel catching seam appeared in the road.

I tried to stop, but clipped my front panniers on the gutter and I went arse over apex onto the pavement. My bike came off only slightly damaged (front pannier rack bent) and somehow managed to not get run over.

Riding the last 10ks to Port Ludlow a bit of a roller coaster nightmare. It seemed to rain harder too, my bike was falling apart, I was getting very tired, I was soaking wet, and whenever Linda got within earshot she let fly with a complaint about how wet and unhappy she was.

We had a snack and a hot chocolate at the shopping centre at Port Ludlow. Then it was back off into the rain. Not as unpleasant as we might have expected, riding through the forests on the back roads. Except for the rain of course, and the hills, and the traffic.

At one point an Elk pranced onto the road in front of us. It trotted ahead of us for a few hundred metres (it clearly thought it best to outrun us down the road rather up the embankment). These animals can really prance, bounding along with their hoofs barely touching the gound. They look like they are flying.

Back on the main roads and it seemed to get wetter. I've no idea how, but we seemed to be cycling with heavy rain falling from above and heavy water spray gushing up from the 3 inches of water covering the road. At least I think we were on the road. It was very hard to tell at times.

The last 20ks were without rain, just through all the mud, slush, road grime and pools of water left on the shoulder. When we arrived at Port Angeles were were covered in grime and filthy black oil spots. We were turned away from the first motel we tried because we were too dirty. At the second I got changed before presenting myself.

Watched TV weather report. Western Washington state enjoyed record rainfall for today and two tornados.

This should be the last entry for the USA. Tomorrow we try to catch the ferry to Vancouver Island in Canada, where the weather is always warm and sunny, and we don't have to worry about getting rained on ever again.

I must say I am going to miss America. It makes me feel young again. Whenever I look in the mirror I no longer see my wrinkles and receding hair. For the past six weeks the mirror has greeted me with a face full of pimples!

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