Sunset on Chuckanut Drive â€“ Sept. 10/08
Photo: Chris Keam
Sept. 11 9:00am â€“ One mile south of Larrabee State Park
I crossed the into the US border yesterday afternoon at the Peace Arch border crossing . I didnâ€™t ask Border Protection Officer Engels if heâ€™s any relation to Marxâ€™s good buddy Fredrich. This seems prudent as humour doesnâ€™t appear to be his strong suit. Also, I have no desire to see my penchant for trivia turn into a good reason to be refused entry to the USA. Heâ€™s already less than impressed by my destination, which heâ€™s never heard of, not to mention the idea of bike racing in the Nevada desert. He asks me what kind of bikes, I say recumbents… the kind you lay down on. He just shoves my passport and drivers licence back to me. Clearly my story is too bizarre to be made up and Iâ€™m too much hassle for even a cursory search of my baggage.
Itâ€™s back roads all the way to Ferndale, where the Visitor Information lady plies me with the touring cyclistâ€™s favourite schwag… free maps. Her recommendation to take the old Pacific Highway is a good one. It gets me most of the way to Bellingham without too much traffic to contend with. Dinner at the Chuckanut Brewery and Kitchen â€“a microbrew Helles and sweet chilli beef salad is inhaled with gusto before an evening ride to Larrabee State Park, pitching, a tent in the dark, then a cup of hot tea and to bed.
I aim for an early start but settle for being on the road at 8:45am. Allâ€™s well for an entire mile. Traffic accident and road closure! Time to break out the laptop and compose this entry. It will be about an hour before it opens, still less than going back and around. The bigger bummer is the lack of breakfast. Iâ€™d planned on eating at the first town I hit along the way. Fortunately, some nearby blackberry bushes are providing a little sustenance while I wait and I have my stove and camp espresso maker at hand. When in doubt, make a cup of joe.
Sept. 11 â€“ 11pm
Finally in Seattle, at the Days Inn, after twelve hours on the bike or bus, an awesome chilli dog at Pollyâ€™s Java Shack, various Gatorades, a Propel caffeinated water, one popsicle, a love/hate relationship with the I-5 that turns to wistful remembrance when I have to exit it outside of Everett, one wrong turn shortly thereafter, a new friend made at the Everett bus stop, and three beers and a turkey and swiss at the Hurricane Grill across the street from the hotel. Todayâ€™s notable quote, the girl who gets on the Seattle 510 Express and begs off paying the fare with, â€œI just got out of jail.â€ Gotta try that sometime!
Tomorrow, the train to Sacramento.
Roadkill count to date:
Unidentifiable white fur â€“ probably a cat
One small squirrel
One really big rat
One garter snake
One small brown bird, probably a sparrow.
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Chris Keam 2008