Easing into the ride

Day 5, Kalaloch Beach to Lake Quinault, 33 miles

I’m going to take a short day, riding just over 30 miles. Yesterday’s pace was deceptively fast, given a long descent from Lake Crescent where Jenny dropped me off. I want to ease into the miles, acclimate my legs and butt to the countless long hours in the saddle which lay ahead.

I glad to have made new cycling friends, so quickly. I’m following through on my goal, to talk to everyone. The woman next to me on the train, the scruffy cyclist who sat down by me at the crumpet shop in Seattle, everyone who questions and wonders at the crazy quest I’m on. Smiling, smiling constantly. Even when I’m struggling up the next hill, or baffled at where to camp, what my life purpose is, where I’m going next. Smiling at the comedy of it all. And the feeling of bliss I find in this time.

I stop at the picnic area, breakfast of tortillas, coffee will be down the road. Blogging outside, great place for writing. I’m looking forward to the many places I’ll see, visit, land in, launch from. Ever in motion, on a bicycle tour, every vista is new.

A chilly start, shaded miles down the 101. Clear skies, a slight breeze off the ocean. I stop at the next Queets market, chat with Johanna and Robin. They’re taking a day off, to enjoy the beaches and dry out their wet gear. They’ve toured a lot in Europe, we talk about the North Sea Bike Route, which I’m eager to do. Maybe next year. I push off, certain we’ll meet up again down the path. We’re all giddy, here on the road, cyclists sharing the same passion for discovery and exploration, powered by muscle and will.

Alone with my thoughts, I tune into the other sense. Muscles are solid, no complaints on the mostly level ride. Aromas are striking, musky swamp, floral fragrances, almost like wild honey. Then the pungent delight of cedar, passing shingle mill. I wish the timber barons would have replanted the cedars, instead of opting only for quick growing fir. How many of the Western Reds are left? When will this mill close? Huge Trump signs, promising to Make America Great Again. Will he replant the cedars? Ah, politics, always in my busy brain. Pedal on!

I reach Lake Quinault in the early afternoon. Stealth camping now, not wanting to sink my precious dollars into an overpriced RV rate campground. Closer to nature, this way, camping on a bed of fir needles and moss, under towering spruce, firs and cedars. I glimpse the lake through the trees. Glad to have landed. Then the thunder comes! No big storm, just a few sprinkles on my tent. One should expect rain in a rainforest! As I lay back into my cozy nest, a deep relaxation washes over me. I’m home again, if just for the night. Resting upon the land, in tune with the rhythms of the earth.

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