Monday, July 5, 2010

Day 14- 4th of July

If I were to ask myself why I am willing to ride such distances, and at times muscle through tough conditions, the answer is because I love it. It is the same reason that my mom is willing to put a 45 pound backpack on her back and hike through the woods for days on end, sometimes in the sun, and others in the pouring rain. The funny thing is, that I hate riding in the car. Three hours and I am done, I want out. But I can spend all day on my bike, whether it is sunny, rainy, or windy... willing to suffer through road construction and traffic jams. I get to my destination, am thrilled and thankful to be out of the saddle and rest, and the next morning, I get back on my bike as if it was Day One. :)

The 4th of July dawned brightly in Winthrop Washington. Patrick and I were headed to his home, south of Seattle via the Cascade Mountains. The weather was okay to start, it never really rained on us, but became chilly and dark, clouds hanging very low on the mountains blocking most scenic vistas.

Although still beautiful, I did not stop for the overlooks, because again, there was not much viewing to do that was different from while I was in motion. The road was gorgeous, a winding river almost always at one side.

There were numerous waterfalls tumbling by the roadside, keeping with the name of the Cascades.Patrick and I rode about 120 miles, stopped for fuel and a cup of coffee (and an out of order restroom). He looked at me and said, "well we can continue on this road, it doesn't look to get any better though, or jump on the slab and head to my house." I am not above knowing when to say 'uncle', and opted for the direct route.

Poor Jack was so confused! I had two more towns as way points on this leg of the trip, and Jack spent the next hour and a half trying to get me to turn around and go back. I have the gps set to give me an arrival time and if we had stayed on course, it would have been about 3pm. Usually, Jack will give up trying to get me to a way point and continue on the route to the next one if it looks like I have gone past it. But this time, he never caught on and failed to switch to the direct route to Patrick's house. The arrival time kept getting later as the route was calculated by my going back to that gas station and picking up. Right up until I pulled into Patrick's driveway, poor Jack was trying to get me to make a U-turn!

Slamming down the highway, the landscape suddenly became urban. What a shock it was to me, having just spent so many days in the wilderness!

Pretty soon we pulled into a neighborhood and landed at Patrick's home. I was greeted by a warm hug from his wife Cindy, and this wonderful face of Mariah.... a delightfully joyful pit bull who's goal in life is to obviously wag her tail and snort in happiness. Her heart shaped head and sweet eyes melt me every time I look at her and get a kiss.

The other 4 legged family member was not very happy when we arrived... a giant wolf mix of a teddy bear, named Farroch, was very upset with the fireworks that were constantly going off in the neighborhood. He spent most of the evening with a very worried look on his face.

Patrick's daughter Heather, a trained chef, was cooking dinner. Heather is gorgeous, funny and full of energy, with long hot pink fingernails, tattoos and piercings. She was a joy to watch while she prepared the meal, and putting her mom, Cindy to work as her sous chef.

We had a most glorious meal, cooked in my honor.... Salmon, lots of veggies, bread and to die for sweet potato pie with amaretto whipped cream. It was amazing in its own right, but after a couple of weeks of road food, it tasted even more glorious!

The unfortunate underlying thread throughout this whole day was that my health was going downhill. I hated to admit it, that my body was going to over rule any riding decisions over the next 24 hours. I went to bed with an obvious fever, had a dose of Theraflu, and fell to sleep with the sights and sounds of fireworks going off right outside my bedroom window. They went on for hours, all shot off by homeowners in the neighborhood. I was sick enough to be able to fall to sleep with the blasts.

I have decided to take Day 15 and stay in bed. I am trying not to be too distressed about this! The decision was really not difficult, but it is not without sadness, as the reason for my whole trip has been to visit Puget Sound and Port Townsend. Anyone who knows me and this area has told me that I would love Port Townsend. It is located north of here and would require a day in itself to visit.... but something has to 'give' in this decision. The desire to ride along the Pacific coastline has won. And so, I am here, trying my hardest to cook this crap out of my lungs and sinuses so that the second half of my trip is stress free. I still am in disbelief that I have gotten sick.... I am one of those people who seemingly never gets sick, but when I do, I do it with gusto. You can only imagine how annoyed I am with myself right now!

My next trip will have more items in my first aid kit, and better decisions made about the daily mileage. Retrospectively, I should have left 3 days earlier to allow for rest, and so now, my trip is suffering because of it.

I am thankful for the warmth and caring of my friends along the way, and those at home who are watching over me. There will be no SPOT to track today, because it will just show me in bed. :)

A message to Mike Hamlet (currently serving in Iraq) and all of those who are serving and have served our country here and abroad...

My thanks to you for the freedom to be able to travel safely through this beautiful country of ours! Blessings on you all and come home safely, please.


  1. Patrick thank u and your family for taking care of Kate. She means the world to us. And Katie just remember your health comes first. You have along way to get home

  2. Kate,
    I'm saying a prayer for your improved health and safe return to the road. It sounds like you're in good hands. The road will wait. Rest, recuperate and ride.
    Be well,