So it is day 11 of my expedition and I have decided to take a proper rest day. A day that involves no running, limited walking, lots of food, reading, and of course writing blogs!
Right now I am sitting at a park bench in a beautiful RV/camp site in a small place called Artic on the 101 Highway. I am surrounded by moss covered trees with Blue Jays bouncing around. The sun is shining and it really is as idyllic as it sounds. To add to that there is a small tavern about 100m from my tent.
Since I left the park and ride (and meth dealers) two days ago I have had a pretty straight forward time. The weather has been amazing, the roads quiet and the people continue to be fantastic. My route took me along the side of the picturesque lakes and into a town called Shelton. Apart from a good cup of coffee and a really old piece of wood Shelton didn’t hit me as the most buzzing of places to hang out so I spent little time hanging around.
I consulted my map to try and figure out a way of avoiding the freeway and found a cunning route that should have loop round and got me where I wanted to be. Unfortunately google maps aren’t always as trustworthy as one would hope and led me straight into a dead-end. After a quick chat with some locals we managed to find a slight more cunning route that allowed me to test my stroller in an off road environment… Needless to say it performed perfectly.
This detour led me past a house where a chap was having his head shaved by his daughter. After declining an offer to have my hair “buzzed” the father introduced me to his 22 year old son who had just cycled the Oregon Coast. We had great chats and shared ideas etc. Just as I was leaving a $20 note was slipped into my pocket… another example of pure generosity!
Once I re-joined the main road I managed to get a total of about 46km completed by mid-afternoon when I arrived in a town called McCleary. One of my favourite things about small towns in the US is that they ALL have a Subway sandwich shop. This means I can get a cheap ham sandwich (and can use nice clean facilities!!!)
After enquiring about camping it was agreed that there was nowhere deemed safe to pitch a tent (again homeless people and meth being the reason). I decided to hit the road again and managed to get another 10+km completed before arriving at a lovely hostel in Elma. The owners of the hostel gave me a pitch for my tent, access to a shower and a kitchen. The hostel was also the proud owner of a disc golf course. Jay, the owner, bounded down to the course (with me hobbling behind) teaching me about the rules and telling me of upcoming competitions. We watched a group of lads playing and while it did look quite good fun after nearly 60km running I just wanted to go to bed…
The next morning I set my sights on a café 30+km from Elma. Jay had recommended I have a milkshake there and conveniently there was a campsite half a mile further down the track. Today my running legs were feeling good, despite a sore knee and swollen Achilles. With Brandon Flowers pounding on the MP3 player, hills were destroyed and the km were flying by. Unfortunately this gusto led to my body screaming for a break…
So after a delicious chocolate and peanut milkshake I found myself at the Artic RV Park. To make sure I fully experience everything on offer I popped into the tavern for a beer. (Quick fact – in America a Tavern is a bar that is only allowed to sell beer and wine.) After meeting some lovely people and a few beers returned to my tent to prepare dinner and get some sleep.
This morning I woke to an email and a toot of the horn from someone I had met in the tavern. She had very kindly come to take me out for breakfast as she knew there was nowhere I could buy anything. Yet another act of kindness from a complete stranger…