Saturday, July 9, 2011

Washington HO!!!

     Leaving Portland was much less intense than entering it.  I took the 30 which heads north and will continue on to Astoria if you were to stay on.  But I didn't go to Astoria, I went to Washington.  Washington the land of obnoxious wooden debris all over the side of the road.  I shouldn't say that.  The great state of Washington has many great qualities... there's just a crap ton of wood debris all over the side of the road.  As I crossed over this giant bridge from Rainier, OR I was unceremoniously dropped into to Longview/Kelso WA.  I think more truckers than tourist cross into Washington this way so there were no cool signs or tourist information centers or beautiful women putting lays around your neck as you enter the "By and By" state.  You know, I think I may have crossed over on the 4th of July so, the lay women were probably off on holiday.  Longview is somewhat of an industrial town so as far as aesthetics there's not a whole lot going on.  At least on the road I was on.

    My first stop in was at a state park called Seaquest State Park.  This place is one of the stops you should make if your on the way to Mt. Saint Hellens.  It's on the 504 which is a cool scenic rout toward the monster volcano.  Careful if your on a bike though... it's definitely uphill.  As I pull up to the kiosk ready for a quiona dinner and some snoozage the friendly park attendant dropped a bomb on me.  The "primitive" site was 12 bucks.
"Shot to the heart and you're to blame,
 you give state parks, 
 a bad name."
     My eyes must have grown three times the size but I payed the man and went in the park.  The site wasn't bad.  It was just off the beaten path a little and the water and restrooms were a little ways away.  The worst thing about this site was, though, was the amazing amount of mosquitos.  It was incredible.  I felt like Dorthy when all the flying monkeys were trying to grab her and all of her friends and take them away to the Wicked Witch's castle.  It was so bad that after I made my food I had to retreat to my tent for shelter from the devil vampire creatures.  They were poking at me through the screen and I swear I could hear tiny voices cursing and swearing revenge.  I think that somehow a few managed to get in because when I woke up the next morning I still had fresh little bites.
     Anyway, the next day I made pretty good time one the way to Olympia.  A noticeable thing about this part of Washington was the visible clear cutting of the trees.  In Oregon you see logging trucks go by, but no real evidence of what's actually going on.  In Washington in looks like the forrest got a really bad hair cut with an electric razor.  As you ride you see the tall trees then all of a sudden it's open space, over and over.  I wasn't really paying attention too much because all I was really thinking about was the shower that awaited me in Olympia.
    The providers of this delicious shower were Dudley and Dana.  They are wonderful.  I met them as they were on the way out on their own bike ride but they just let me in and gave me free rain of the house for about an hour while they rode.  I showered while they were gone and little did I know that after the shower was to be an amazing meal.  I would soon find out that these two have an amazing ability to whip up gourmet meals like it's nothing.  We we're eating eggplant parmesan that night, yogurt and hot cereal for breakfast the next morning, curry chicken salad sandwiches for lunch and for the road Dana gave me some crazy amazing cold salad dish that I had never heard of before that consisted of: some different wheat, cucumbers, tomatoes, garlic, mint and cilantro.  Now if you're taken back by this all I can say is, "So was I!"  I immediately felt we were close friends.  They both have really cool touring experiences so it was great reminiscing together of each of our stories.  Dudley had spent over a year on the road at one point.  Together they went around the coast of Australia and Tasmania... and I think the went to New Zealand as well.  So far the people that have hosted me have gone far and above what I ever imagined anyone would for a complete stranger.  I just hope that someday I'll be able to do the same for someone else.  I left there feeling like I was leaving home all over again and made my way for Tacoma... where another amazing experience was waiting for me.

Coffee Notes
-Batdorf and Bronson:  From the early 1800's to the mid 1900's coffee companies, as well as most other companies, labeled themselves simply by using their last names then adding "CO."  I'm not sure if they were paying omage to an old stye but it definitely seemed that way.  It was actually a sizable store.  Not to many coffee shops can afford the amount of room they had.  It felt open like a fancy hotel lobby.  The latte I had was ok.  It had decent art but milk tasted damaged because it was steamed too hot.  I ended up talking to another barista for a while who mentioned that she was riding the STP (Seattle to Portland, a 200 mile ride that 10,000 people do in one weekend) rout the next weekend.  That seems like something I would like to be a part of someday.  She pulled me a shot of espresso as well.  It tasted good but I think that these guys just roast a little heavier that I'm used to, so it wasn't my favorite.  As I left we both wished each other luck for the riding each of us would be doing in the future.

-Olympia Coffee Roasters:  In a word... AMAZING!!!  These guys got it goin' on!  Although they have a pretty small operation they do big things with it.  I had a Costa Rica drip coffee that was fruity and delicious.  It was made using this machine called a clover machine.  I don't usually recommend machine made single cup brewers but this one is amazing.  It seems to create the perfect cup every time.  You don't see them too much anymore because the good ol' 'Bucks bought the company and has the rights now.  These guys have an older model so they can still use it.  On top of the clover though they have baristas that have competed nationally in the Brewer's Cup and placed 2nd and 5th.  The brewers cup is a competition that tests a baristas skill at making single cup drip coffee using any manual method that they prefer as well as their customer service skills.  The espresso was great as well.  Al around goodness.  If you're ever in Olympia make this place you're first and last coffee stop.

1 comment:

  1. So interesting reading your biking adventures Beau. I was at a baby shower with your Mom yesterday. Being a Mom myself I know she is following your blog very closely! What a wonderful experience at this stage in your life. Prayers here for your safety on the way.