Sorry I am a day late on this blog, but things got a little crazy yesterday, and I was exhausted last night by the time we finally got settled into our second hotel of the night, but more on that later. I’m going to start this now, and I will add to it and finish it tonight at our next destination, because the wifi here isn’t very good and I know it won’t upload any of the pictures I want to share.
Yesterday we woke up at 5:30 and started getting ready to go. At 6 when the hotel breakfast was supposed to start, we walked down to the breakfast room and found it was just waffles or pastries, with no sign of protein anywhere, so we decided to walk next door to the little family restaurant called Joshua’s that we had dinner at the night before. We were the first and only ones there, and I had the biggest omelet I’ve ever seen in my life, completely loaded with about anything you could think to find inside of an omelet. It was delicious. It also came with a fantastic english muffin and their homemade seedless raspberry freezer jam that I was going to buy a few jars of after I tried it and fell in love, but it turns out they just sell it in cups, intended to be taken straight home and refridgerated, so I obviously couldn’t take any with me on the bike 😦 It was some seriously good jam, but please don’t tell my grandmother that I said that!!! Dwayne had biscuits and gravy that nearly put him into a food coma, and he wasn’t even able to finish half of it!
Once we were over-stuffed and barely able to squeeze into our gear, we walked back to the hotel and loaded up the bikes and rode across town to the entrance to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park. It was 57 degrees in town before we started up the ridge. On the way up the road we saw a bunch of beautiful deer crossing the road and grazing beside it. I wish I had been able to stop and get a picture of them, because they are so much different than the white tail deer that we have back home. They are much smaller and they are a beautiful brindle color with longer hair. As pretty as I think the deer back home are, these are much prettier.
We stopped a few times on our way up to take pictures of some of the absolutely beautiful scenery. There was a thick fog coming off the mountains, and unfortunately the pictures don’t capture it as beautifully as our eyes did in person. The further up the mountains we went, the colder it got, and the closer we got to the fog line. Right as we went around what I am assuming was the last curve, as according to the mileage we should have been within site of the visitors center, we hit the fog and it was so thick you could barely see, so we were forced to turn around and head back down. At the point where we turned around, it was 37 degrees and our hands were freezing even with our heated grips on. It turns out our leather gloves are much better for summer weather than they are for winter weather.
As we started back down, we went maybe a mile and turned a curve and there was a car parked on the side of the road, and I saw the passenger frantically pointing up the hillside trying to get our attention. Dwayne didn’t notice, but I did and looked where the guy was pointing to see a little black bear looking back at me. I looked around to make sure he didn’t have any friends close by, and stopped the bike and shut it off to try and keep from scaring him off, and I was able to snap some pictures with my phone before he wonderered on across the hill. Once he was out of our site we started up the bikes and continued down the hill and I saw him cross the road and continue down the mountain in my mirror. As pretty as I am sure the view from the top of the ridge is on a clear day, I am kind of glad it was foggy and we had to turn back, otherwise we may have missed out on seeing the bear.
A little further down the road we saw another deer on the side of the road, but this time it was a doe with a tiny little fawn. The fawn could not have been any bigger than a small dog, it was one of the cutest animals I have ever seen. It followed closely to its’ momma, and we watched as they both hopped their way over the small bushes and walked up the mountainside into the woods. I really wish I could have gotten my phone out and got a picture quick enough, but I knew they would be gone before I could even get it out of my tank bag, so I didn’t even try.
Once we got to the bottom of the hill, we decided to take a back road we had seen on the map over to another section of the park where there was supposed to be a gorgeous overlook. The road quickly turned to dirt, and we were excited to finally get some off-pavement time on the Tigers. We enjoyed the ride through the back country for a few miles before it finally turned back into pavement and intersected with the road we were looking for.
The road followed next to the Sol Duc River, which had the clearest water I have ever seen in a river before, so we had to stop and take pictures and admire it for a bit. Once we got down the road to where the pavement was supposed to end again and we were supposed to ride back to the overlook, there was a road closed sign, and it turned out there had been a landslide that had made the road impassable. We were bummed, but then we saw a sign for “Madison Falls” and after someone told us that it was only a very short walk down the path to get to the falls, we decided to check it out, and we were glad that we did, because it was beautiful and well worth the short walk to see, so it turned out our detour wasn’t for nothing after all.
From there we went back out to 101 and took it back to the coast to First Beach at La Push. As we got closer to the ocean, the sky started to look more and more like rain, so we stopped and put our rain jackets on, but we assumed it would probably be fairly light rain and opted not to bother putting our rain pants on. Once we got about a mile from the beach,the rain started to fall, and by the time we parked at the beach to take pictures, it was raining fairly hard, but we figured we had already ridden out there, so we were going to at least get some pictures before we left. On the way back to 101 it rained pretty hard on us most of the way, and by the time we got out to 101 and rode into Forks to a gas station, we both had soaked pants and I was freezing, so we took a break and I got some coffee to warm me up a bit, and then we put on our rain pants and started moving south towards Centralia, where we were supposed to stay for the night.
After we stopped in Hoquiam for a snack and bathroom break, we started riding again and my bike started making a weird noise whenever I would let off of the throttle. Dwayne said he thought it was my chain, so we found a Wal-Mart parking lot and tightened my chain a bit before heading on our way. It was still making the noise a bit, but not as bad, so when we got to Centralia we found a full service car wash that agreed to let us clean our chains in their lot and then they let us use their water hose to wash the cleaner off, and then later that night we lubed them up, and that fixed the problem.
When we arrived at our hotel in Centralia, our room wasn’t ready so they put us in a double bed room. When we walked into the room, it smelled horribly like cat pee. We weren’t sure if it was actually cat pee, or some kind of cleaning chemical they had used, so we left the door open and tried to air it out a bit. A little while later I realized that there were some questionable tenants in the room across the pool from us, and I told Dwayne that I thought the people were living there, not traveling. At this point, we both decided this was not somewhere that we wanted to stay, as we couldn’t stand the smell in the room, even though it did appear to be clean, and we didn’t trust leaving our bikes in the lot with the questionable tennants on the other side of the lot. We were able to get a refund for the room, and we loaded up and rode a little further south to the next town of Chehalis to a MUCH nicer Holiday Inn Express that greeted us with free cookies upon check-in.
The girl at the front desk gave us some dinner recommendations, and we ended up walking a few blocks down to a little restaurant pub called Rum Runners for dinner. The place was pretty empty except two other tables, and the sweet girl bartending was also our waitress. She had great people skills and took good care of us, and the food was delicious. We both agreed that we ended up being where we were supposed to be, and we enjoyed our dinner and we both slept really well in the comfy bed in the clean room that did not smell like cat pee, hahaha.