Day Two: Potlatch State Park to Lake Sylvia State Park
This is the second installment of stories about our 9-day trip around Washington State's Olympic Peninsula. To read a previous day's story, just click on the previous post above. I will be posting a new story every day for the next week and a half.
Another rare, warm day greeted us. By 6:00 AM Mike was already out of his tent and setting up his stove for breakfast. I brewed some tea and we cooked up a pot of oatmeal then, we folded up camp and started out for that evening’s destination: Lake Sylvia State Park near the small town of Montesano.
The route wound its way through deep forests, areas of clear-cut, pastoral farmland; even by a state corrections facility. As the sun climbed in the sky we began to feel the heat. I was stripped down to a light jersey and shorts, sweating my way up a long hill in low gear when a loud clunk came from my bike, the pedals froze and I lurched to a halt, fighting the heavy load and almost falling over.
Upon inspection I discovered that the chain had come off and jammed itself between the chain ring and the frame. After a few minutes struggle and some world-class swearing, I managed to fix the problem and was back on the road. But this chain issue would prove to be a recurring problem throughout the trip and tested both my mechanical ability and self-control almost to their limits.
We rolled into Montesano around 3PM. It’s a busy little town and the county seat. As we pedaled down the main street we were greeted with friendly waves from pedestrians and motorists alike. I guess they don’t see many heavily loaded bicycle tourists and our presence seemed to be something of a special event.
Lake Sylvia State Park is about 2 miles out of town. Of course, it’s on the other side of a ridge that requires climbing a steep hill then coasting down the other side to Lake Sylvia and the camping area. My chain came off twice in this short climb and I wound up pushing it each time to appropriate repair spots clear of traffic.
As with most Washington State Parks, Lake Sylvia has several campsites reserved for hikers and bikers. After a brief discussion with the ranger we located our spot and set up camp. We had a fine dinner of stir fried vegetables and Asian noodles, played a few hands of poker and hit the hay
Later, I was awakened by the steady tattoo of rain on the tent fly. It continued all night and the morning, I knew, would pose a whole new set of challenges.
To be continued...