Day 3- Improvization

One piece of knowledge that I’ve picked up, though I can’t verify that it’s true, is that once you break a spoke you’re likely to break more. You might think that’s obvious- if you were doing something that broke one spoke, you’re probably still doing that thing. Actually, as I understand it the remaining spokes have to take up the work of the missing spoke, and get more stressed out, shortening their remaining life. If you’ve seen fatigue curves, it makes a lot of sense.

Since I don’t have time to have my wheel rebuilt, or feel like spending the money for that, or to get a stronger wheel, it looks like I will have to be just a little easier on it if I don’t want to be fixing spokes all the time for the rest of this trip.

With that in mind, I set out to move some pounds onto my front fork (and off the back). Here’s a picture of the general idea-

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I picked up some hose clamps, utility cord, and shelving brackets, and my wonderful hostel host was willing to let me have a couple of laundry detergent buckets. They even have lids!

I will try to get a good picture of the full compliment of plastic box panniers tomorrow. Also on the agenda tomorrow, biking to Centralia.

Side note- tonight another touring cyclist arrived at the hostel, and he’d seen one of my posts about this trip on Reddit.com. Small world!

Day 3- Olympia

I decided that the best way to go was to take the bus to Olympia to have my wheel trued up, spokes replaced, and to pick up the tools I’ll need to replace it on my own in case I run into more trouble.

After I dropped it off at The Bike Stand, I walked over to the Olympic Supply hardware store to see if I could improvise something to move a few pounds of supplies up front.

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I saw one of these- I’ve never seen this tool before (certainly not so large), but if the zombie apocalypse happens while I’m waiting for my bike, I’ll run back to pick one up.

Waiting…. Waiting….. Could be a little while for the bike, so I found a place called Kitzel’s deli, and got a bagel with lox and cream cheese. I had a request to keep posting my gastronomic encounters, and so here it is:

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The pickle was excellent.

Day Two (further misadventure)

So I didn’t really want to mention it since I know y’all probably worry too much, but when I was on route 3 I had a little bit of an accident. With all of the traffic and narrow roads, I saw a logging truck coming up behind me fast, and I wanted to give him as much room as possible. I thought I could get just an inch or two off of the shoulder, but no! That soft grass had some really soft dirt under it, and down I went- off the road, not into it! I scraped my knee a little, and I was mostly embarrassed about it. A car pulled over and a guy quickly asked if I was OK. My bike seemed good, and I knew I didn’t hurt myself badly, so I thanked him and went on my way. No big deal!

Anyway, I went on to Shelton for lunch, had a nice rest, and set off on the next 30 miles to Elma (where I am now). I went through some more of these clear cut areas, and all I could think was:

20120718-194348.jpgThe Lorax would shit himself!!

But it wasn’t all like that. I also saw some cool wildflowers. Anybody know what these are called? There were tons of them.

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Back to my mishap. If you’d been riding beside me for the next few miles, about ten miles outside of Elma, what you would have heard was, “PING…… Awe shit!.

That’s right, I broke a spoke. It turns out that I broke two spokes, the first one apparently happened when I took my fall, and the wheel was out of whack for 40 miles. It further turned out that although I had spare spokes, I had neglected to bring the spline required to remove my gears, so there wouldn’t have been a way to fit the new spoke into the hub. I tried, though, and I looked for a way to McGyver something, but it wasn’t happening. What I decided to do was to adjust my spoke tension to the best of my ability (such as it is), and try to ride gently for ten miles. I filled my daypack with heavy things from the panniers and lashed it to my handlebars, kept my speed low, never used the back brake, stood up a lot, and just did whatever I could think of to minimize the forces going through those spokes. It helped that the roads were quite flat and smooth, low in traffic, and free of bumps, and my efforts worked well enough that I made it to the hostel. The folks running it let me know that there’s a bus to Olympia that only costs $2 each way, and suggested a bike shop. My other option was to try to ride gingerly to Centralia, which didn’t sound as safe or fun as I’d like, and I think I will have better luck getting what I need in a bigger city with more bike shops. While I am there I will look for better options to keep weight up front.

Day Two (2)

So I misinterpreted my map, and took the wrong road for about fifteen miles. Maybe twenty.

Anyway, I got to Shelton about 10:30 in the morning, having done more miles today than I did in any of my training rides. It turns out that highway number 3 isn’t the road that Adventure Cycling wanted me to take. I’m glad to see that now, since it had narrower shoulders and more high speed logging trucks than I’d prefer.

Much of the ride, before I figured out that 3 wasn’t right, was along this kind of scenery:

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There were signs up every five or ten miles advertising that this is a “working forest”, and saying what a good job this company (forget the name, but it had the word ‘green’ in it) is doing at managing the land.

Dude, it’s a tree farm. They clear-cut the whole area and planted a bunch of pines really close together at the same time. In the sections that were older, the trees were super straight, and had practically zero branches within 20 feet of the ground, and crappy little bits of undergrowth. This is not a good habitat for animals. This doesn’t do a good job of building good soil. If this reduces our need to take trees out of actual forests, great! Just don’t confuse anybody about what this tree farm is.

So now it’s time to eat some more, read for a bit, and get back on the road to Elma. For anyone thinking of doing this trip, Shelton seems like a fine place to stay. There are lots of little inns and motels, and plenty of cheap to expensive restaurants. I’m hanging out in a Dairy Queen right now, since it seemed like a good place to charge my phone and spend some time. I also ran across what looked to be a decent bottle shop with some fancy beers.

Day one (2)

I took the ferry over to Bremerton, which was kind of fun. The view of Seattle on the way out was great, and the ferry itself was really comfortable. It looked about like this-

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Here’s that view:

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And here’s the obligatory self portrait, “I’m on a boat!!!”

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And finally the ceremony of “setting the odometer to zero”!

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At the end of Day One, I made it to the Twanoh state park, and I slept next to the Twanoh creek, where I was soothed to sleep by the sound of water gurbling.

I had a nightmare, as sometimes happens when one camps alone and isn’t used to it. It’s silly, but I woke up to the exact sensation you have when a cat walks over your chest in the middle of the night- except this was a big furry raccoon, in my tent! When I discovered that my arms were unable to move to hurl it into the woods, and my vocal cords were not responding to shout it off, I realized that I was still more than half asleep, and it was just a dream.