Monday, June 27, 2016

Day 4: Olympia to Raymond. Trip total: 462.8km

Today was not a fun day. It was full of bad decisions and bad luck - in that order. First bad decision was not leaving at 6am as planned, instead I left at 7am figuring I'd be in Raymond before noon anyway, so who cares if it gets hot, right?

I made things worse by stopping for breakfast right away (I try to put in 20-30km before stopping for a proper meal), delaying my ride even further, but who cares, right? I should still be in good shape for a noon arrival. At breakfast I had the opportunity to grab another Gatorade for the road, but again, I didn't have that far to go until Brooklyn where I was planning on getting lunch, so I didn't pick it up.

The first 45km went incredibly well, then I hit a literal fork in the road, and everything went to hell.

I arrived at Brooklyn road, at which point google was sending me off on a meandering bike trail. First thing - the bike trail happened to be gated off. I probably could have maneuvered Dolores onto the trail, but who knows why it was gated off? Pretty risky call. Second - Brooklyn road seemed to go directly where I was heading. Screw google, I'm taking Brooklyn road.

Well, Brooklyn road turns into a single lane, gravel, logging road that heads straight up and down a mountain. by the time I figured this out, my gps, data service, and phone cut out - bad luck. I even forgot to screen cap the route beforehand so was riding based on vague memory and and grainy printout that provided little more than a direction of travel.

The climbs were more steap, unstable and dangerous than I've ever attempted with a fully loaded touring bike. I had no business being on that road, and to make it worse, there wasn't room for me AND the logging trucks using the same road. I was skidding all over the road at a snail's pace on the ascents, and desperately riding my brakes on the descents to avoid wiping out on the loose rocks.

One lane, loose gravel road, blind turn, and a cliff. What could possibly happen?

10 seconds later, I'm in the ditch...

I finally got to asphalt after 15km of that hell, and was looking forward to refueling in Brooklyn. Unfortunately Brooklyn is little more than a road, and the one establishment I was counting on was closed. I was running low on water, but had little choice other than to push on - and the sun was really starting to beat down.

This was my one hope for fuel

After a kilometer of smooth road, I came to another fork. One way led north, where I didn't want to go, and the other led to gravel. As I pondered my options, a motorist pulled over and asked if I needed help. I explained where I was heading and she assured me I wanted to take the gravel road as it was much quicker than heading back out to the highway. I explained my logging road horror, and she said not to worry, the gravel road is maintained by the county and is in good shape. I took her at her word and went with the gravel. She was wrong. So very, very wrong. Bad luck.

It was the logging road all over again, and it went on for another 10km.

A ride that should have taken 4 hours, ended up taking 6 and a half. I ran out of water with what I assumed was 20 km left to go, but without a map I had no real idea. The 25km stretch leading in and out of Brooklyn easily felt like 150km.

I'm dehydrated, pretty sure I have heat exhaustion, and I'm done for the day. I made it to Timberland RV park as planned, but I opted instead for a motel to lick my wounds. My plan is to be back out on the road in the morning. I can't really afford a day off yet, but we'll see how well my body recovers tomorrow.

Alpacas were a promising start to the day

Two lanes but no shoulder, still not too shabby

Road gets a little tighter, but still no complaints about this

The logging road was a terror, but the view was impressive

This was not fun to ride on

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