Friday, October 30, 2009

Day Two Hundred Forty, 091026 - So. Bend, WA

Day Two Hundred Forty, Date Monday, October 26, 2009
Time in Saddle: 5:27
Distance for the Day: 46.01 miles From Hoquiam To South Bend, WA
Accumulated Trip Distance: 11,810 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 3’/-52’ make correction, Highest: 478’ Accumulated: 2388’
Speeds: Avg: 8.4 mph, Max: 34.0 mph
Weather: 48° rainy, off and on, becoming mostly cloudy in the afternoon
Expenditures: $21

The morning, I woke up at 3:30am. Since night is falling earlier these days, trying to sleep an hour after it gets dark (around 7:30pm) is too early. After 8 hours of sleep, I’d wake up in the wee hours fully rested, but would then have to try to continue sleeping until just before daylight (about 7:00am). Trying to sleep when you are no longer sleepy is uncomfortable, and not very productive. So, from now on, I’ll stay up until at least 9pm before starting a sleep cycle.

Keeping my promise to be gone before sunrise, I got up at 6:15am and began the breakdown process. A periodic, light rain did start during the night, but it was the occasional gusts of wind that made breaking down a challenge. At one point, I had to go running after my tent as it went tent tumbling across the small parking lot. I finished by 7:06am, and left shortly thereafter. I went to a mini mart still in Aberdeen for a breakfast of hot cocoa, cherry cheese Danish, and blueberry muffin, plus I stocked up on more Gatorade ($8). It was a gray, lightly rainy morning, and I just stoically plugged away as best I could, wanting to just get miles behind me. The terrain was somewhat mountainous, and I’m sure pretty enough under nicer conditions, but the rain and fog kind of ruined it for me. I’m sure I would have liked it a lot more had I been viewing it from the comfort of a car, but when you’re wet, cold, and uncomfortable, it’s a little harder to appreciate. I stopped in the town of Raymond for 2.5 hours to dry my sleeping bag ($3 for dryer + a soda). My ‘black banana’ pannier, where I store my sleeping bag, tends to collect a puddle of water whenever I go through any significant rain, and my sleeping bag soaks it right up. I was also somewhat hypothermic, so I waited for a few other customers left, before opening the dryers they’d just finished using, to stick my upper body into them, and gather as many residual BTUs as I could get (sometimes, I admit: I’m just pitiful). I also held my hands against the dryer window I was using. I was thinking of getting inside one and activating it – not *too* seriously. While eating the other half of my Subway sandwich for lunch, waiting for my stuff to dry, I met and talked with ‘Al,’ who was also there doing laundry. He was a recently retired oyster collector, and was touring around a bit in his camper. At the end of our conversation, which included a mention of my not-really-waterproof waterproof gloves (I was trying to dry them, too – not very successfully, I might add), he went outside and brought me a nice, new spare pair of Thinsulate gloves he had in his truck. Wow – that was nice, and they even fit my finger lengths, which is very rare! I thanked him profusely, and then took off to find the local Radio Shack (still looking for the SD-to-USB converter and Joby tripod). Still no luck with the tripod, but they did have the converter, so I got that ($14), and I stopped at the grocery store to get a roll of trash bags ($4), to try to keep my sleeping bag drier, and to make a (hopefully) more watertight, makeshift poncho. I continued on from Raymond at 3:40pm. A few hours later, as the daylight began to fade (around 5:30pm), I saw a short, semi-steep gravel driveway that went up off the highway with a real estate ‘for sale’ sign by it. At first I passed it by, but then swung around and rolled up it to check it out. There was a single, abandoned building sitting in a huge open gravel lot with trees all around. It was a little close to the road, but fairly well protected, so I picked a high, level spot in the gravel and set my tent up there by 6:04pm. The sky was partly cloudy, and I could see the slightly gibbous Moon in the still-blue sky. Just after I hopped in, I heard the crunch of gravel as a truck drove up, so I went to talk with them. Turns out they were hunters, looking for deer to hunt. Not seeing anything, they left. There was a big, fat cloud heading my way, so I got back inside quickly, and one minute later, short rain squall hit, with a wind strong enough to push my tent around, a bit. I was close to finishing Stephen King’s novel, “The Green Mile,” which I’d just seen at Dennis and Paula’s in Sequim (they had the DVD), and at 7:15pm, just as I was getting to the end of the book, the rain came down hard, and the wind really pushed my tent around, adding an interesting bit of real-time drama to the finish. Afterward, I listened to music on my iPod before hitting the hay at 9pm.
Something incredible happened before I went to sleep. I was listening to the dramatic and beautiful Enya song, “The River Sings,” and thought it’d be cool to pop my head out to look at the Moon. I was delighted to see it was in fairly close conjunction with Jupiter – that, alone, was cool. But then, as I was raptly viewing this celestial event, I saw the silhouette of a large owl, its wings spread wide, silent as the night, fly right across the Moon, directly toward, and then right over me, in *perfect* alignment. Enya, Moon, Jupiter, Owl. It was one of those shining moments that occur but a few times during a person’s life, and I will never forget it for as long as I live.


RobR said...


I enjoyed your comments about the owl...Weegie and I had a similar moment with a coyote at dawn while we were backbacking in the Sierra this summer. Remind me to tell you about it.

From the latest in your log it looks like you'll complete the circuit soon. Any idea when you'll arrive back in the Bay Area?

Rob R

obi_donkenobi said...

Hi Rob: Can't wait to hear about your and Weegie's coyote experience! I should make it back to SF sometime on Saturday or Sunday. I'll try to post the exact date and time this Friday (oh, it's Friday the 13th!) See you soon! ;~Don