Day 3: Bremerton to Shelton - 28 miles
Having gotten caught up talking over breakfast with the McFarlands, we got a bit of a late start. We had another Warm Showers host set up in Shelton and we thought we’d still make it before sunset but you never know what will happen on the road! We ended up taking a wrong turn, leading us off route and once we found our way back, I rode over some glass that shredded my tire resulting in an instant flat. I didn’t have a spare tire with me but luckily a tire boot was still able to cover it and there was a chance it could hold up for the rest of the day. We arrived to Shelton after dark with Larye outside of his home, waiting for us and watching me push my bike up his huge hill to his house. It was a unexpectedly challenging day but we were so happy to have a place to spend the night.
Larye and Judy were a joy to be around. We got to know each other over Larye’s amazing Thanksgiving “tester” meal. Larye had been a bike commuter since 1976 and has ridden over 80,000km in his life! Judy is an incredible quilting and weaving artist with a very impressive workshop in the basement. They still enjoy going on adventures together and at nearly 70 years old, continue to plan bicycle tours. They are an inspiration in how to live to the fullest. They very kindly gave me one of their spare tires the next morning and Larye biked us out of own, getting us back onto the route. It was his first time on a bike after open heart surgery a few months prior and it’s admiring to see that it only gives them more reason to keep adventuring. We will never forget you two!
Day 4: Shelton to Littlerock - 30 miles
The next night we planned to bike until sunset and camp wherever we would end up. Another blue sky day with smooth, curvy back roads through greenery lead us to the small unincorporated town of Littlerock . Littlerock consisted of one street equipped with a church and a pub. It’s simpleness reminded me of Northern B.C. or the Yukon. We walked into the pub to warm up finding it packed with possibly everyone from town. There was a Seattle Seahawks game playing and since everyone seemed to be locals, we had no hope of blending in. The story of the crazy bikers quickly got around and the owners, Jeff and Niki let us pitch our tent in the grass in back. Their hospitality continued as they bought us dinner and drinks until close and we met a gem of a person, Tiffany who was one of the coolest, most engaging bartenders I’ve ever met. Before leaving to our tent, Tiffany lent me a heated pack for my sleeping bag and the owners told us to come back in the morning to warm up with coffee and breakfast on the house. We were relieved with the welcome as we woke up in a heavy frost. Littlerock is the perfect example of why I love traveling by bike. You never know where you will end up. I would have never stopped there but it’s a place I would go back to just for the people. How Jeff and Niki treated us is how I wish we all treated each other in this world. They are good humans.
Day 5: Littlerock to Longview - 65 miles
After letting the road and our toes thaw out, we were back on the road. There was snow in the forecast but we were somehow lucky enough to get another clear day until getting rained on the last 2 hours. We didn’t mind as much since we had another Warm Showers home set up for the night in Longview. We arrived at dark, wet and cold, and so excited for a shower and getting into dry clothes. Our hosts Jean and Dennis were wonderful company who we found out welcomed us into their home even though their daughter was due to give birth that day! Although the baby didn’t arrive while we were there, they were ready with their phones and we set Jean up with a skype account so that she could video-talk to more of her grandchildren over her phone. Dennis shared stories of his grandparents from The Azores and his adventures on a recumbent bike along the Oregon coast and the Seattle to Portland route 10 times! After great conversation, we had an amazing night sleep and were on the road the next day for our last day in Washington!
Day 6: Longview to Astoria - 51 miles
I’m not sure why I had the impression that it was an easy road to Astoria, but I sure was wrong. I felt like we were on long climb after long climb although I shouldn’t complain because we had yet another nice day with a few showers despite forecast of snow, When we arrived to Astoria, the roads were like Seattle or San Francisco and looked like huge waves. Not wanting to fall backwards, I opted to walk my bike a few miles up an unbelievably steep incline to get to our host for night.
It was Salvador’s first experience having Warm Shower’s guests and although he’s never bicycle toured himself, we still had plenty to talk about! With family from Peru, we all talked in spanish about familiar places and adventures. We hope we were a good first impression to Warm Showers because he was an excellent host who showed us a great last night in Washington.