October 11, 2006
I wake and pack up my gear. It’s another cold morning, but not as bad as last night. The general store is already lit up for business. As I go to the phone to post yesterday’s entry, the same woman who checked me in last night opens the door to say good morning. She must work long days. “Is there any place open for breakfast?” I ask.
“Buzzy’s, just right up the street!”
The place looks like a small shack, or an elaborate kids’ clubhouse. Inside there’s five tables, a woman, and an older guy with a round head in the kitchen. He’s Buzzy.
I order coffee and three pancakes – they’re big and filling. The locals drift through the door, and soon all five tables are occupied. “It’s 38 degrees out there!” a lady says as she shuts out the cold behind her. They all talk between tables, and seem to know each other.
Occasionally Buzzy pops his head around the corner for a wise comment. The conversation basically circulates around the finer points of the recent huckleberry and blackberry season. Just as I’m about to leave, a guy steps in and looks at the fully occupied room. “Here have a seat,” I say, “I’m set to go.” He sits across from me.
The road still descends from the mountains throughout the morning. Red squirrels chatter high in the treetops, which shade my world from sun. I gradually stop to strip layers, one by one. Something tells me that this will become a morning routine for a little while.
The miles go by at a good, easy clip, and I feel good after a proper cycling dinner last night, a big breakfast, and coffee. It’s another clear blue day, and I’m excited that I’ll be in the Seattle area tonight. Now to the south and east, I still catch the occasional glimpse of Mount Rainier.
In Enumclaw I stop for a break, get two 20oz cokes for two dollars, have a Snickers left over from yesterday, and check my email. I’m invited to stay with Tracy and Eric, who live in Sammamish. I check the map, and see that it’s just east of Seattle. I can get there today, no problem. Awesome.
Through the rest of the day I experience the typical increase in metro traffic. It’s quite different from the wilderness roads of the last three days. I’m proud of having spent a few days riding up and down The Cascades, and think that if my stay in Eugene made me “soft” at all, then that’s surely all gone now.
Just as the traffic gets a little too hairy for my taste, I discover a bicycle trail along The Cedar River. I have it all to myself. Leaves crunch under the rolling tires. I climb a few steep, Appalachian-style hills to reach Sammamish.
The hills come easy because I’m feeling good, and I know I won’t be doing any serious riding for the next two days. I reach the house late in the afternoon, and am greeted by Tracy and her twin 3 year old boys. Shower. Laundry. Dinner. Most excellent hosts. Life is good.
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