Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Deets: Part 3; Sedro-Woolley, WA to Marblemount, WA (Day 3)

The morning of day 3 came just as the morning of day 2 had: the same feeling in my gut and the same reluctance to continue with the tour. One plus, though, was that it was a pleasantly sunny morning, and at least we wouldn't have to ride in the rain again. At least, not all day. I had left my wet clothing out to dry overnight, and I found that it was still somewhat wet that morning. For breakfast, Michelle and I feasted on some of the leftover pizza from the night before.

Now, I have a thing about eating solid food in the morning. For some reason if I try to choke down any non-liquids within an hour or so of waking up, I almost always end up feeling nauseous. It's weird and annoying, and it makes it so that the only things I can put down in the mornings are 1) Instant Breakfast, 2) Smoothies, 3) Soylent, and 4) Greasy Diner Food. It's a weird problem.
It tastes kinda like gritty cake mix.
I struggled through a piece of pizza anyway, somehow managing to not vomit all over the place, and Michelle and I examined the map to try to figure out where we should stop for the evening. We decided on Marblemount, a little town at the base of a massive climb that would take us across the Cascades. It was also going to be a wicked short day (only 60 kilometers) and had very little climbing, so we decided that we could take it slow and easy and enjoy the scenery.

There was a Walgreen's about two blocks from our hotel, so after we packed up and checked out, Michelle and I went there to snatch up some food for the day. A lady greeted us out front and asked "How far have you rode?" I fought the urge to shout "'Ridden!'" into her face with an excess of phlegm, and went into the Walgreen's to pick up some snacks. It was up to Michelle to deal with the 7th grade English failure; not my problem.

The Walgreen's snack selection was hugely disappointing, and so the closest thing to riding food that I could get my hands on were a couple of King Sized Snickers bars, which I decided were close enough. By the time I paid and returned to my bike, the lady with appalling grammar had gone, and Michelle and I split up the Snickers bars as evenly as we could be bothered. Still wearing clothes wet from the day before, we set off towards Marblemount.

The sun was bright and warm, and our moist clothing dried on us while the first few hours of the day passed by without much event aside from the fact that, after the 230 kilometers of riding we had put in on the previous two days, both of our butts were exceptionally sore. I had thought that at the very least mine would be okay since I ride a lot in the summer, but it turned out that carrying a large pack filled with stuff, not least of which was three litres of water, was adding more weight to my sit bones than they could handle for any real distance. This made our progress slow, but we had already committed to a short day, and the weather was pleasant, so it didn't really matter.

To give you an idea of how easy we took it: I stopped to take a picture of a sign to try to make the folks back up at Quest laugh,
It wasn't as funny as I thought.
I saw a boat in a field,
It's been a while since it floated
we stopped for ice cream somewhere after the town of Concrete,
That face tho.
and generally wasted as much time as possible making stops for no real reason. In fact, it was the only day up to that point (and even up until now if you ignore any loop rides) where Michelle and I rode together for a majority of the day. The only time we really split up was somewhere near the end, after the ice cream, where the chip n seal (that we had been on since entering the U.S.) began to take its toll, and I spun ahead just so I could get to the end and get off my ass as quick as possible.

Just under five hours after leaving Sedro-Woolley (and less than three and a half actually moving), we arrived in the town of Marblemount, WA. Marblemount is a small, scenic little town right on the edge of the Cascades and is the last chance for gas until Winthrop. There's only the one main street and, as far as I could tell, no side streets at all. On the main street there were two gas stations, a hotel/hostel, two restaurants, and a small drive-through coffee joint. When Michelle and I arrived, we discovered that everything but the gas stations and one of the restaurants was closed. The hotel/hostel turned out to be part of the same establishment as the open restaurant, and so we checked into a small room for yet another night of being too lazy to camp, even though we had brought a tent and sleeping bags and everything.

The room had two exceptionally narrow beds; far more narrow than a regular twin bed (maybe a meter wide, probably less) that were situated about 60 cm apart. There was also a window between the beds at about the same level, and that was it. It was a very small room, but that's all we really needed for the evening and so, having set up our still-wet clothes to dry, we went out  to find something to eat.

But before we did that, we decided to wander around the town for a bit. We found a small playground that had some swings that were too narrow for us fat kids, and some monkey bars that seemed like they had been just plopped on the ground instead of set into it. I thought it would be fun to climb up on top of them and walk around on top, feeling them wobble and move about underneath me. Michelle didn't think it was as funny as I did, so I got down and we wandered into another part of town where we found a small bird-watching trail that had been mowed from the surrounding grassland, but didn't see enough traffic (with Marblemount's population of just over 200) to become an actual dirt trail.

We walked around on that for a while, through the woods and flat lands near the river until we got to the river proper and found some blackberries.

They were delicious, and we picked as many as was convenient. This wasn't too terribly many since the bushes were large and prickly. Then we decided that we were tired of wandering around, and were also starving, so we walked back into town and went to the Buffalo Restaurant, where they had a sign that made me giggle.
They have very particular diets.
I got an Alligator burger and Michelle had a Kangaroo burger, but neither of our bikes ate much at all. Both of our burgers, though, were new types of meat for the both of us, and were novel and delicious. Having ridden all day probably didn't hurt the flavour either.

After dinner, we went back to the hostel, watched some TV in the group room for a while (including the South Park episode where they should have never gone zip-lining), and sorted out our plan for our next day: Rainy and Washington Passes and then, hopefully, on to Winthrop. The climbs were big and long, starting from Marblemount at only 315 feet (96 meters), they both maxed out over 5000 (1524 meters), and for the first time since the tour began, I was actually excited; it promised to be totally hard.

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