So we made our big escape across the border. They actually let us out of the country, though it was touch and go there when I left the car battery engaged during the line up for the ferry, killing the battery proper and forcing me to run around looking for a jump. Fortunately, the ferry employees see this half a dozen times a day so we weren’t left on the dock like week old bread for the ducks. So it’s Canada, which calls for a big Eh! to all my pals in the lower 48. We are out in the not so wilds yet – getting ready to ride a sweet rail trail called the Galloping Goose down to a place called French Beach – where bears have been spotted on occasion right on shore.
Too much to work up on the fly so you’ll have to wait for the book or a better blog update for all the details, but a quick 411 regarding the launching of the QE2 of bicycle caravans.
We made our way by car to Sequim, Washington. Camped at Sequim Bay state park – made friends with a gaggle of kids and their parents – went crab hunting, had lightsaber battles (I bring four plastic lightsabers everywhere – I know, more weight, but it’s an instant friend attractor for the boys. The first hiccup of the journey. I was working with a new camp cook set with a handle clearly designed patsy white engineers who have never actually camped out of doors – except for the openings of Start Wars and The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy. I was making Beth some coffee and I up and burned myself by tipping a whole pot of almost boiling water onto my leg – the leg mind you thats already covered in poison oak – another story involving a hike, a head wound to an editor friend from the Oregonian, and me rolling around in said shrub trying to patch him up)
Back to the burn – I hopped around the campsite, allowing the steam and water to soak into my fleece pants. At this point I realized that while steam may burn twice, steamy water saturating fleece will burn over and over and over unless you take off your pants – which is how I ended up standing in a Washington campground packed with tourists with my pants around my ankles soaking the wound with a stack of baby wipes. One of the burns is shaped like Australia and the other is the start of David. Quite fetching in certain hipster tattoo circles.
That taken care of, we loaded the bike and went for our first real ride – The Great Discovery Trail that connects Sequim to Port Angeles – on paper – in reality you can not leave from the campground – you must take to the highway – a highway chalked full of logging trucks where Jake brakes are in full harmony with the honking RV’s getting to wherever they will get to and park and extend the big awning and bigger screen TV for the night. Come on my RV pals, you know I’m just joshing ya – plus you know it’s true.
30 miles later we were still upright, but, as Bruce Hornsby’s last hit intimated – “There’s gonna be some changes made – can’t keep on doing what I’ve been doing these days.”
The longest limo of the bike world needed downsizing – It’s actually possible to ride this way – fully loaded for a camping expedition with five people – but it would have been white knuckle all the way to Nova Scotia – The boys played on a train trestle along the rail trail. The one we finally got to, while Beth and myself played out that scene from the Stephen King film Stand By Me -
“You’re the one with 100,000 miles of experience and articles in magazines so I’ll go with whatever you think we should do,” Beth said.
Joe – “Baby – I just don’t think we can do this long of a train fully loaded safely across Canada”
Beth – “Thank God, I was really terrified a few times out there today.”
One problem – the bike had tested out so well half-loaded back in Portland and that we (I) failed to bungy cord on plan B – oh yes, there was a plan B – to bring my Rodriguez single bike and let Beth pedal it alongside our tandem with a trailabike and trailer – and Beth would take the trailabike with Enzo on it sometimes – So I had to drive back to Portland – convert the triple into a double and get the rod all ready to go and be back with all this and a few other supplies before check out time the next day at 1pm – the camp ground was packed with campers for the weekend – no room at the inn – it was a salvage job at high speed. I had an ace in the hole – Craig – my country doctor of the wrenching world – he pedaled over to the house – meeting me just as I pulled in – and over pizza and PBR’s he did everything including putting on racks and fixing seats, pedals etc.
OK – gotta get on the road today – but want to send out a big thank you to our first warm showers pals – Steve Mahovlic and Melissa Haynes, who gave us friendship and such hospitality in a great place just outside of Victoria – www.aye1.com – a pedal out to Buchart Gardens, the largest indoor water slide and kid friendly pool in Canada – my burn has blistered, popped and is on it’s way to leaving a nice scar – but more stories must wait- I have a family to get across the galloping goose trail today.
PS. Beth and the boys – including Matteo are grace under pressure – kicking ass and taking names.
Joe and the family.
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