I got off to a “late” start this morning because I “slept in” until a whopping 5:30. I slept decently last night only waking up once to use the bathroom around 3:30. Woke up feeling really good and well rested. Legs are a little stiff, especially the quads, but nothing I’m not used to.
The day started off with some beautiful back country roads. I’m so glad I picked up the Varia it’s been such a blessing on this ride. You end up in the middle of no where on a country lane and you’re free to ride right down the center stripe. I can’t imagine doing this without it. 10/10 would buy again for sure.
I rolled into the Bremerton area, spotted and easy in, easy out Starbucks and decided to stop. I was maybe 20 miles and a couple hours in at this point so I treated myself. Only coffee though no pastry or other food. They had a nice patio area that I enjoyed all to myself. Took a minute to toss out the LiveTrack link out there for people to stalk me with.
Afterwards I passed by the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard on the way out of town. Saw three huge shops docked and failed to stop to take a picture. It’s a weakness. Always looking for a better angle and then before you know it you’re too far away for anything worth taking.
Had a nice chill cruise until just past Belfair and Sunset Beach when I had to leave State Route 106 and turn onto Trails Road. I swear to all that is holy a wall just materialized in front of me. Looking at the stats: 0.6 mile climb for 232 ft and 7.8%. Mind you that’s the full climb. Look at the “Trails End Rd Climb” segment on Strava to see it. I swear Strava shows it peaking at 17%??
Even on my best days that’s a lot, but today? Lugging 40-50 pounds extra? Yeah I stopped halfway up when my heart rate nearly reached 170. It didn’t help that I had an extremely polite Subaru behind me that I was trying to hurry for. Don’t get me wrong they were SUPER polite and SUPER patient. No honks. No engine revs. Nothing like that. I was putting the pressure on myself. Anyway, I pulled of at the only really clear spot and tried not to die while they passed.
A short while later I made a left onto Mason Lake Drive and it kinda made up for it. There was one steep climb, but being nearly devoid of cars was awesome. I recall a total of maybe seven cars on the entire six mile stretch of road. Super chill, again, back country road that skirted along Mason Lake.
I thanked them and headed that direction. Did get briefly sidetracked with the huge steam locomotive they had parked in front of the post office that I had to get a picture of. What can I say I’m a sucker for steam engines.
From there it was a nice steady ride into Shelton. There was a ringer of a descent to drop me into town which was nice, and as I approached my turn I spotted a pair of ladies walking. I rolled up to them and asked if they had a recommendation for a local dinner joint. After professing many of the restaurants along the main drag were good, they settled on Railroad Tap Station.
I roll across the street, jump onto the sidewalk and roll up to the joint. I park Shadow against the front window, so I can keep an eye on him, and head inside.
Now here is where things get interesting. I’m sitting there going over the menu and their list of 22 brews on tap when I see this gentleman walk by and start eyeing Shadow. I mean really eyeing him. He even goes in to take a look at the frame bags and I’m thinking I’m going to have to run outside. Eventually he keeps on walking only to return a few minutes later and getting another eye shot before walking on.
Crises averted I turn my attention back to the menu when I hear someone ask, “That must be you with the bike out there huh?”. I turn to see who is asking to find it’s the same guy!?
“Um yeah he’s mine.” I replied.
Without missing a beat, “Mind if I buy you a beer?”
My jaw nearly hit the floor, “Sure I was going to have the 2 Towns Ciderhouse Outcider.”
He walks over to the waitress, and I over hear him say, “I want to buy his drink and take of his lunch today.”
They both come back over and the waitress takes my drink and lunch order of the Tap Station Burger (Our house meatball mix broiled in the oven on a warm pretzel bun. Topped with smoked cheddar, pancetta, onions, tomatoes, lettuce and pickles. Served with chips and Pepperoncinis.
With the ordering out of the way he asks if he could join me and I say, “Of course, please!”
He sits down and leads with, “I used to teach in Connecticut. I was hired, then fired, and rehired. During one summer I rode a tour across the US. Now when I see someone on a tour I try to at least say something and in your case buy lunch.”
That was all it took to have us talking for the next two hours. During those two hours I learned a lot about him. He taught at a prep school on the east coast before leaving teaching to become a technical writer specializing in the aerospace industry. He owns, or owned, a classic wooden boat cruiser named “El Mistico”. Has completed numerous tours including the US (east to west), Connecticut to Ohio in the winter, and several other smaller tours. Recalling his experiences while touring took up most of the conversation. He’s weeks away from leaving Shelton behind to move in with his son in Portland.
I was heartbroken to learn he was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, two weeks ago. He said that he first knew something was wrong when he had twitching and weakness in the hands. It was then he started questioning continuing with boating and cycling.
Almost as if on queue he started wrapping things up and it was 3:00 which was check-in time at the hotel. Perfect timing. We exchanged contact information and said our goodbyes. I was kicking myself later for not getting a picture with him, but l suspect he wouldn’t appreciate me posting it, or his name, online.
I want to say that this is one of the nicest things I’ve ever had happen to me. I was really touched by this completely random act of kindness. As I rode away down Railroad I heard a friendly beep beep and saw him waving from his parked Subaru. I will NEVER forget this. I’ve read stories of “trail magic” from people hiking the Pacific Crest Trail or the Appalachian Trail, but I never thought something like that would happen to me.
I rolled over to my hotel and got checked in without issue. First priority was to get out of my kit and get it laundered. Next I did some ad-hoc rear derailleur adjustments to hopefully quiet down the drivetrain. Then I setup the electronics to charge. Finally I jumped into the shower which was heavenly.
Soon enough it was nearing dinner time and I decided to head next door to Blondie’s Restaurant. Was greeted by a great waiter who just had a great personality and demeanor. I pulled the trigger on the highly recommended Chicken Fried Steak and followed it with some Blackberry Pie. When the country gravy comes out and you can see the huge chunks of sausage in it you know you’re in for a treat. The meal was amazing.
Afterwards I walked over to the local grocery to grab a couple items and returned to the room. With that you’re all caught up on my day!
Today was truly memorable. A real treasure and one I won’t soon forget.
New bike fund: $5.00 (+$0.00)
61.84 new miles — From Wandrer.earth
Sunny-Sunny, 53°F-82°F, Feels like 59°F-85°F, Humidity 63%-30%, Wind NNE 1mph-WSW 12mph – by Klimat.app
— myWindsock Report —
Weather Impact: 0.7%
Headwind: 31% @ 0.8-9.2mph
Longest Headwind: 01h 0m 26s
Air Speed: 14.4mph
Precip: 0% @ 0 Inch/hr
— END —
Max elevation: 552 ft
Min elevation: 14 ft
Total climbing: 2936 ft
Total descent: -2935 ft
Average speed: 16.10 mi/h
Average cadence: 80 RPM
Average heart rate: 121 BPM
Average temperature: 75.20 °F
Total time: 07:41:15