Friday, May 27, 2011

Day 5

Today I went from Belfair, WA to Elma, WA. Another >60mile day with lots of pedaling and lots of rain. I left Belfair with lots of energy and happy since it was sunny. I went along highway 106, enjoying the view of beach homes and the Hood Canal that I apparently missed my 4 miles. I have no idea how I got that far without noticing, but there goes an extra 8 miles to the day. At least I got a picture out of it.

The view from Twanoh State Park

When I found the road I was supposed to turn on 5 miles back I started climbing up the very steep road. I was in my lowest gear and all of a sudden something in my transmission slipped and then crashed to a halt. My first guess was that my chain slipped from one cog to the next. Or maybe it was my freewheel failing. If it was the chain, that would be a simple fix. If it was the freewheel, that would be a complete pain to get fixed. It only slipped when I pushed really hard on the pedals in my first gear, so I just pushed my bike to the top of the hill and kept riding. Several miles later I was thinking about the transmission slipping and thought to check my rear derailleur to see if it was tensioning the chain like it should. In the first gear, the derailleur was no longer pulling on the chain, keeping it connected to the cassette! That meant that my chain was just too loose and it would be a simple fix. I could either shorten my chain or just slide my rear wheel back since there's an extra 3/4 in. for it to move backward. So I slid my wheel back 3/4 inch, readjusted my brakes and didn't have the slipping problem for the rest of the day. I was very relieved to fix that, because otherwise it meant I'd be walking up ever single steep hill I'd come across for another 35 days.

After that hill, there was really only 4 or 5 hills for the rest of the day and they were all pretty easy. It was nice to have the break. I stopped in Shelton for a Pizza Hut lunch and just cruised the rest of the way to Elma. It was raining off and on the entire day except for the last 25 miles, which was 85% rain, 1% hail, and 14% sun. The rain has been a pain, but I'm getting used to it. I just keep my rain jacket under a bungy cord for quick access and I can put in on in just about 10 seconds. It's probably pretty funny to see me riding in the rain. My hood is on my head with my helmet on top and I always wear my sunglasses to keep the water out of my eyes. In Washington, lots of the roads have a thin layer of gravel tarred to the surface so the road is more rough. Before today I thought it was annoying because it makes the bike ride slightly bumpy, but I realized that the roughness keeps water from pooling up and flying up whenever you ride across it. It's safer and more pleasant to ride on in the rain.

I arrived in Elma, bought some dinner at the store, and stopped at the library to Facebook my life away. Afterwards I headed over to the Grays Harbor Hostel, which is a pretty awesome hostel. It's just part of an old couple's house with a kitchen and a bedroom with 3 beds in it. I got to use the kitchen and have a nice warm bed for only $20. With the bonus of having the hosts to talk to and a real kitchen, it's way better than a hotel room. The coolest part about this hostel is that it has its own 18 hole disc golf course. I played 9 of the holes with Jay, the host, and it is one of the coolest courses I've ever played on. The holes are all pretty short, but very interesting with all kinds of hazards and hills. Jay told me that his full time job now is taking care of the hostel and the disc golf course. I wish Josh, David, and Sean were here to try it out with me. Here's some pictures of the bedroom and kitchen.

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