Sunday, August 31, 2014

The stranded cabooses of Disco Bay

Port Angeles to Discovery Bay

Get enough pot, sugar, caffeine, and granola bars in you, your ass won't hurt, your knee won't hurt, and your nerves won't flinch as a relentless convoy of trucks and SUVs blast past you at a thousand miles per hour.

 Grateful Dead on the jam box and loooooong downhills. 

The Olympic Discovery Trail is pretty great, except for the stretch between PA and Sequim. Steepest climbs ever. Later in the fall, when it is more damp and more leaves cover the blacktop, I can imagine it would be sketchy for walkers. 

The trail through the farmy Dungeness Valley is full of turns and is completely fenced in. Respect private property signs botch the landscape the length of this stretch, but the fenced in trail is a total bummer. Turns and fences. Turns and fences. Dung warned me, he said stick to the highway, just get it over with. But there are a few cool things like produce exchanges with nothing edible and lots of old people riding recumbents. Once I got on the other side of Sequim it got awesome again. 

Lake Crescent to Port Angeles - Highway to the Danger Zone with Dung

This is Dung, he is a machine. We shared a campsite and in the morning rode the south shore of the lake, Highway 101's gauntlet. (The Spruce Railroad Trail was closed, I had just learned, foiling my plans. Plans.) Dung has no fear, and volunteered to take the tail end of our two-man train. He planned to ride back to Seattle, an estimated 120 miles or so. It would not be the longest day riding of his trip. 

Here is our camp, which looks like our bikes exploded. I'm really glad he showed up in the no vacancy campsite, looking for a place to stay, as his bike was in seriously dangerous condition. Not only were his brakes in desperate need of adjustment, I'm surprised he could stop, his front wheel was not secure in his fork, the skewer had no tension, and the axle rattled around in the drops. I'm surprised his front wheel didn't just fly off, with his face close behind. 

A light rain fell as we left, RVs and log trucks, but the shoulder wasn't the narrowest either of us had seen. Climbing out of the Elwha River valley was more daunting. The rain cleared before PA. 

Heading east, the park provides a flashing signal to alert motorists to the presence of cyclists. I reckoned it was more of a sugar pill. There was no signal light sign for cyclists heading west, interestingly, as the counter-clockwise route seems more popular. Dung disagreed, though. He swore by it. 

Here he is, pushing the button, full of confidence. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Forks to Lake Crescent

Devil's club club club

Found in the northwest and only one other place, devil's club looks the way it should look. It's scientific name is equally mysterious and monstrous: Oplopanax horridus. I found this noble specimen today. 
It can grow to an immense size, with it shoots running straight and true above the ground, like conduit, then angle straight up 10 feet, spreading its huge, pie plate leaves out, colonizing the air and hoarding the spare sunlight. Its stalks are covered in sharp spikes of various sizes. It has the look of something prehistoric and extraterrestrial and altogether weird, in the true sense of the word. Devil's club is weird. Spiritually, it is the less well known, and more dangerous cousin of western washington's most persistent and prolific plant, the blackberry bush. 
As a kid, I stumbled upon a blossoming den of devil's club in the ravine behind my house. It was a cold, dark winter day, and impending dusk made the forest black and the overcast sky bluish white. I didn't quite understand what i was looking at. I marveled at it, especially it's size. The stiff stalks running along the ground were half-dollar in diameter and covered in moss. It had taken over a marsh, blotting out competing forms of flora, and injuring fauna that strayed too close. I had trouble working through the warren of barbed plant life and mud. I tried hacking at it, but it proved stout and vengeful. So I gave up and turned around. There 

Devil's Club also plays a role in the labor history of our region. One account of how police and the Chamber of Commerce dealt with a couple IWW organizers had the men driven to the city limits. There, the crypto fascists fashioned a handle by wrapping tar paper around the end of a length of devil's club stalk, and then flogged the union men. 

Highway 101 Bungalow Ghost Town

1.5 miles south of the Hoh Oxbow Campground. 

If these old cabins could talk, they would probably be screaming for help. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Forks via Motheroad

'On a bike your consciousness is small. The harder you work, the smaller it gets. Every thought that arises is immediately and utterly true, every unexpected event is something you'd known all along but had only forgotten for a moment. A pounding riff from a song, a bit of long division that starts over and over, a magnified anger at someone, is enough to fill your thoughts.'
- Tim Krabbe

'Was ridin' along side the highway, rollin' up the country side.
Thinkin' I'm the devil's heatwave, what you burn in your crazy mind?'
- Fogerty, John

Today's top speed: 31.1
Today's lowest speed: 3.8

Queets Tradin' Post

"I bet that guy has a perfectly good car at home"

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Porno Bridge Providence

Yes, that is Bozo the Clown's photocopied face glue-sticked over some porn dude's face. 

We were so excited, just now, on our way to here, Porn Bridge, I feared we expected too much. We were going to be let down. 

On the contrary. We couldn't have been more happy. 

"Hey, people are into weird shit, man," mr q said. "That's nothing."

Portal to the Pacific

Ridin Dirty - North Loop, finally

Those are definitely not Washington apples, but it lives up to what an apple should be. 
-pres. Q

It's been a long time since we rock and rolled

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Eulogy for Handsome Jack

On the bus downtown one cold morning, passing the cancer care center, I sat fogging up the rattling window, watching the world go by, and I saw him. This had to be late 2011, maybe early 2012.