Thursday, 18 September 2008

Seattle to Belfair (September 17)

Day 3

Proper cycling, along a busy main road, in cooler conditions. Riding on the right isn't as weird as I thought it would be, except when I have to look left and right at an intersection, when I have to turn left or right at an intersection and when vehicles turn left or right across my path at intersections. Apart from that it's a piece of cake! Oh yes, and when a big truck passes me on my left. I don't know why that should be scarier than when they pass close by on the other side back home, but there you go. They have 'bump' signs before an unmade section, unlike our 'ramp' signs. So much more descriptive. Feel like shit in every way. It's just my body, mind and soul panicking I think (they won't tell me and then maybe we could work through it). Bought a Milky Way, which is in fact what they call a Mars Bar... Stopped for a rest next to a railroad where a goods train was lumbering southwards, with that beautiful long horn note sounding out across the bay. This sound defines America; the scale, the space, the opportunities.

Searched for a wi fi cafe Downtown (which defines modern man), can't follow directions, eventually find it, then I have to buy something, then I can't connect to the internet... F***ing laptop! You don't get these hassles with good ol' paper and pencil. Found another cafe and this time it worked. It takes so bloody long to turn the thing on, open the Word type package, open the document, select the relevant part, copy it, connect to the internet, go to Blogger, sign in, create new post and paste it. Made it! That bit was boring, but it was therapeutic for me. Unknowingly made the 12.45 ferry across Puget Sound to Bremerton with 5 minutes to spare and the next one wasn't until 3 pm. Remember the times when things work out Adrian... Like everything else here, the ferry was huge. A simple cream cheese bagel and banana, gazing at the skyscrapers, the wooden houses along the pine tree-lined shores and the (gulp) foreboding, spiky mountains.

Kept making wrong turnings out of Bremerton. The sign would say “Go this way Adrian” and I would go this way, yet still managed to go the wrong way. I had to stop at every turning and ask someone. The Highway was hairy, although there was a wide hard shoulder. At one point when a road fed in from the right, the shoulder became the spine of a raging thoroughfare, but there is always a substantial, unbroken white line keeping everyone in their place. Once on the Old Belfair Highway it was fine and dandy. Stopped to have a rest down a long, shady driveway and picked blackberries. It was like being on a jaunt in central Scotland, except here it was now 20 degrees and there was no wind. After a mere 29 miles in the saddle I came to Dan & Reva's auto shop, workplace of tonight's hosts, and Reva had made a welcome sign and put it at the roadside. They harnessed my bike on the bike of their pick up truck, where he looked very regal, and Reva drove us back to their new house several miles away, while Dan continued toiling. Reva stopped off to show me The Wetland Center, a nature reserve, where we had to keep to the boardwalk. The house, newly built by their own fair hands, was very impressive. They had even constructed the walls (out of two layers of polystyrene 'Lego' blocks and poured concrete between them). It was beautiful, bristling with Reva's art and African themed adornments; but the best thing about it was the view over a steeply descending wilderness, line of trees and bluey mountains. They were both keen cyclists and she showed me photos of them in various fancy dress outfits on their two seater – in one they were dressed as dinosaurs (tandem-o-sore-asses!) She had no interest in the forthcoming election and ended my attempt at political discussion when she declared that the millions spent on campaigning was a waste and would be better spent on wind farms.

Reva had the Scrabble set up prior to my arrival and was gagging for a game. She used to go the Seattle club, but rarely plays live games nowadays, as Dan is a Scrabble widower and she mostly plays online. The spoils were divided with two games played and then we stopped for dinner. We had won each with high-scoring bonuses utilizing the Q – Reva put QUESTING (107) on a triple word and I slotted QUIETENS (92) on a double word. Game over in both instances. Dan came in from work, a fine figure of a man for his 60 years, with his curly brown hair, blue-grey work clothes and braces. Reva's sister and husband, Nancy & Clyde turned up next, having driven from Boise, Idaho, with Lacy, their cute pomeranian. Dinner was a mighty tasty affair, featuring a pork casserole, marinaded in, amongst other delicacies, Pepsi Cola; also bicycle shaped pasta; homemade brownies, homemade chocolate ice cream and all washed down with beer brewed in Woodinville, Washington. I won the third game, which was a damp squib and then we played Super Scrabble, which has twice the tiles, twice the squares and takes twice as long. Reva beat me into second place by four points.

Dan spent ages searching for a suitable route for me for the next day. Such lovely people – and I was happy to draw my Devil Cat cartoon character on his garage wall, alongside her friends and family's doodles. Dan talked about the time Mount St Helen's had blown her top in 1980 and how when he heard the boom he thought it was a pilot from the nearby air force base fooling around. The mountain is in a 'doming' phase – gradually rounding off its flat top. Reva had been following my blog and read about my restless nights, so she gave me some kind of pill, which had the desired effect.

In the morning I wanted to be up to see Dan off at 7.30, then had a mocha latte made by Reva from her gleaming coffee machine with all its knobs and whistles. The bathroom featured a hot tub, two water jets in the shower, TV and zebra themed objets. At a breakfast of asparagus & ham fritata and fruit salad, Nancy and Clyde expanded on their endless golf-in-the-summer and skiing-in-the-winter lifestyle, now they're retired. People often vacation in Arizona at xmas and there is a reverse migration, to escape the summer heat. Reva insisted I take a pair of padded lycra shorts and garish synthetic top, neither of which I have ever worn before as I'm a casually dressed cyclist. Also she foisted a huge packed lunch upon me, whereas Dan had only been given a sandwich.

1 comment:

DCT chair said...

When we were in Canada in the summer Lynn couldn't guzzle enough ice-cafs, basically iced cappucinos (which must be a good scrabble word, although don't trust my spelling). Ludicrously, I noticed yesterday via a poster on the bus stop at Alexandra Parade school that Nescafe are now selling this here. Just the thing for the dreich old Glasgow. Just for comfort, by the way, it rained for most of the day on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and yesterday.