Monday, August 18, 2014

Washington Cascades, Day 10, Forks to Port Angeles

Truck route mountain pass Washington Cascades 2014_0224
Read all the posts about this trip in backwards order (or better yet, start at the bottom and work up) here.

Forks may be famous for vampires and werewolves, but being in Washington we were pretty sure there would be coffee, too. So when we headed out in the morning, destined for Port Angeles, we were confident we'd find coffee six miles up the road in town. And indeed we did, at a lovely little drive through, or in our case, ride through. The coffee was fine, and it got us ready for what we expected would be a relatively easy 70 miles (which turned out to have almost 4200 feet of climbing. Oh well.)
coffee in Forks Washington Cascades 2014_0217
The first 20 miles or so were a delight, with very little traffic through wooded areas and past a small lake. Just exactly what you dream of when you dream of bicycle touring.

Then we saw the sign, or rather the first sign.
Read notice Washington Cascades 2014_0221
Which directed us to the next sign.
Read notice 2 Washington Cascades 2014_0223
Just in case you didn't read it, it says, roughly "If you ride this road you will be killed by a motor vehicle, and it will be all your fault becasue you do not belong here and so too bad for you."

That's the road we turned on. Not because we're crazy, but because that's the way you need to go to get from Forks to Port Angeles. But hey, it's only 40 miles or so of RVs and logging trucks, so what the heck.

What bothered me even more was that, after we turned on the Hell Road, there was not one, not one, sign warning motor vehicle users to watch for cyclists, or share the road. Nothing. Washington is a great state to ride in, but this is a major fail.

Here's what I'd like. In addition to this sign, a sign for drivers that reads:
Drivers, please exit your vechicle at the gate and sign the statement that you understand cyclists may be on the road, and that if you so much as startle one by driving closer than three feet you will lose your drivers license. If you come in contact with one and injure them, your head will be placed on a spike to the left of this gate along side the other heads of careless drivers.
 That's not too much to ask, is it?

That said, we saw few motor homes, and the giant logging trucks that flew past us made the attempt to give us as much room as they could. Mostly we listened for them, and when they passed us we had already stopped our bikes and were waiting in the dirt off the road. Some of our group just rode, and trusted the trucks to give them space. I just couldn't.

But there weren't that many trucks, and the ride was beautiful. The top photo is a view from the highest point on the Hell Road. And, again, Curtis Flower Photo Hater saw so many beautiful flowers he couldn't resist photographing them himself. Yikes.
Flowers again Washington Cascades 2014_0235
Technically not a flower, but I don't care.
Flowers again 2 Washington Cascades 2014_0237

Aflowers again 3Washington Cascades 2014_0245
At several points during the ride I was sure I could smell the ocean, and indeed we weren't that far away. We took a bit of an off-route detour to add a few miles (and hills) and get closer to the water. Sarah Palin claims she could see Russia from Alaska, but we could see Canada from our lunch stop.
Can we see Canada 2 Washington Cascades 2014_0253 copy
Eventually, and in no big rush, we arrived in Port Orchard and set up camp. We hadn't had showers available the night before, so the hot water at this camp site was a big hit with all of us.
Port Orchard camp Washington Cascades 2014_0213

1 comment:

  1. Midland9:56 AM

    Love that 1st shot. I had a friend who raced BMX in Wa. and from all his stories on the way to races I actually have heard of a lot of these towns you have been too. Great pics, any video?


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