Day one (1)

The first major event of the trip happened today! I left Gabe’s place at about 8, and went over to this place I’d seen but never tried- Biscuit Bitch.

20120717-084901.jpg

I ordered a plate of biscuits and gravy smothered in cheese and bacon, and when I reached for my wallet it wasn’t there! I immediately started unpacking my bags, thinking I must have put it someplace weird, and it wasn’t turning up anywhere. I was getting ready to call Gabe’s girlfriend, Dylan, on the chance that she was still at their place to see if I’d maybe left it there.

As I opened my phone, I saw a voicemail. It turns out that a young guy named Yvo had found my wallet on the ground less than a block from Gabe’s! I was so thankful- he reassured me that it still seemed to have everything in it, and he could bring it right over. He did, and it nothing was missing. What a nice guy! He didn’t even let me buy him a coffee or anything. But- I have a blog, so here’s a big shout out to Yvo!

Now I’m catching a ferry to Bremerton, and trying to camp at Twanoh state park. After that I hope to make it to the hostel in Elma. The first day ought to be a little shy of 30 miles, and the second a bit over 50. The map doesn’t look too hilly.

Day Zero

Time to upload my first round of pictures! After I got off the light rail in downtown Seattle, I needed to go to REI to get some fuel for my camp stove. It’s a good thing that I did, because my rear dérailleur wasn’t shifting very smoothly. Two minutes on the bike stand and it was right as rain- I guess it was just a little bit out of whack after the flight.

20120716-175755.jpg

It’s hard to explain just how huge the Seattle REI is. Apparently it’s their flagship store. The central staircase is above; the place is three stories tall. Each floor is huge. There’s a climbing wall at least 30 feet high, a small mountain bike path, a simulated hiking trail for trying boots, and a million accessories. Other than my required fuel, I only picked up one extra piece of gear while I was there: a spork. I resisted the temptation to finally get that titanium spork that’s been calling to me for as long as that’s been a thing. Instead, I picked a simple plastic one with a knife edge. It should see me through many nights.

After REI I rode to another part of town and saw Twilight.

20120716-180553.jpg

Oh, did you think I meant a movie? No, it was a boat. There were historic wooden boats viewable from a park on the sound.

20120716-180807.jpg

The Virginia V is a wooden steamer from the 1920s, with a three stage expansion engine that took the boat to about 10 knots while doing 150 RPM. I didn’t get to see the guys or hear it run, but I imagine that the sound of it would be a little bit like those old time railroads that you hear in movies… Chug chug chug chug!

Later in the afternoon I walked over to the Pike Place Market to see if I could find any provisions that were tasty, local, and/or of good value, when I stumbled upon the “gum wall”-

20120716-181258.jpg

I don’t know if this is famous or what, but people have been sticking an awful lot of gum to this wall. It’s fairly nasty. Regardless, it is a thing. People stand in front of it for pictures, and they add their gum.

20120716-181636.jpg

America!!!!

So I made it over to the market and did find an excellent deal on cherries! Maybe it’s just that you can’t get them year round, but I think they’re one of my favorite fruits.

20120716-181838.jpg

Walking around I found more interesting things in the market. Example- fine herbs:

20120716-182141.jpg

Ham for $80 per pound (note to my parents- research this stuff with regards to your field of nut trees!!)

20120716-182351.jpg

Finally, I went to a less touristy store to find some real food for my first couple days out. These items cost about $3 each, and from left to right they contain about 1500, 1900, 1700, and 1200 calories. Per weight and per dollar, I think these are going to be good things to have in my bag.

20120716-183117.jpg

I’m paying attention to this now because it seems like most of the bike touring websites and blogs I’ve been to have had some focus on food in that light. It makes sense- I’m aiming to keep my budget in check, and I’ll need to keep my body fueled. Hopefully these do the trick!

And now, as I am about to become a real live bicycle tourer, I will go study my map to figure out where to camp tomorrow!

Constant updates (3)

I’ve successfully checked my bike and my box of bike stuff, and passed through security. It cost me $50 in excess baggage fees for the size of the box. That wasn’t totally unexpected (I read the SWA policy), but I’ve heard of people getting lucky and having bike boxes count as free when they really shouldn’t have.

Another nice thing was that security didn’t say a word about my juggling clubs. I’m glad I brought them; they should be a fun thing for when I’m tired of pedaling. I hear that you meet all kinds of fun and interesting people when you do these bike tours. Juggling on breaks should just add to the fun.

Still, I debated long and hard about bringing them on the road- they’re just dead weight that I’ll be carrying mile after mile, weight and space that I could use for food and water. They didn’t even fit into my checked boxes. When it occurred to me that I might not even be allowed to keep them, I nearly left them at home. There’s a joke here about how my bringing the juggling club influences my need to also bring condoms, but it’s 5:15 AM and I’m unable to write it funny.

Constant updates (2)

4 AM, I just got a taxi to the airport, Quick Cab, the only one that was OK with my large box. I have to give a shout out to Veterans Cab, though- they called all over to find this place, and it’s not the first time they’ve helped me out with an unconventional situation. It’s still before Southwest has somebody here to accept bags to check, so I’m just standing around with a boarding pass and my boxes.

Feel a bit Nervous!

It’s Sunday, and tomorrow at 6 AM my plane leaves for Seattle. My bike is packed into a cardboard box, my gear is laid out for the final check, and I don’t need to get into a taxi for almost 12 hours. Although I think I’m reasonably prepared, I have some last minute jitters!

I guess it’s normal to feel like this before doing something for the first time. I have a flight up, and no return flight or hotel, just a friend who’s letting me sleep on his floor the first night. There will be no turning back or backing out. My main worry at this point is that the airline will damage my bike. I packed the box as well as I could, with internal bracing and extra cardboard to brace and protect delicate parts, but I know that Southwest will have me sign a paper releasing them from responsibility for breaking it.

After I get my bike re-assembled, inspected, and loaded, I need to take the ferry to Bremerton where there’s a three mile spur from the Adventure Cycling route. From there I’ll be aiming to get to someplace south of Bremerton where I can camp for the night.