Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day 6

Today was a rest day in Elma, WA today was supposed to be rainy and the next 2 days will be sunny. So I decided to spend the rainy day resting and the sunny days riding, just in time to get to Justin's house near Portland.

After climbing up several difficult climbs over the past week, I've realized that the 30 tooth chainring isn't enough. So I went down to Olympia via bus to buy a 24 tooth chainring. At noon, I hopped on the bus and headed towards Olympia with my bike on the front. A guy sitting near me asked me about my bike and we talked about biking and stuff. He was a really nice guy with a job cutting wood for guitars in Elma. He showed me where my stop was in Olympia and I got off the bus to head to the bike shop. In just about 15 minutes, the mechanic installed my new chainring and told me that my chain is on the verge of needing replacement :/ and that that was the reason my chain was slipping the other day. I'll probably replace the chain in Portland or somewhere soon after that.

Since the next bus going back to Elma wasn't till 5:20, I had an excuse to look around the city some.

I saw some boats.

And some lumber

And the capital building across the lake.

While sitting by the lake, enjoying the act of sitting without pedaling at the same time, a man with a loaded bike pulled up to the benches 100 feet away from me. I was hesitant to go over there and meet him, but then I thought back to a couple days before my departure date...I told my friend Rebecca what my daily agenda would be--Wake up, eat, ride my bike, meet crazy people, then go to sleep.  "How exactly do you plan on meeting crazy people?" she asked...I don't know.  So here was my chance! To meet someone who was potentially crazy and would definitely have some awesome stories.

I walked up to him and started talking to him. He was riding from Bellingham to Idaho and possibly Colorado. He was going there, looking for work and to get the heck away from the constant rain of Bellingham...boy could I feel his pain. He honestly really impressed me. He had no tent. All he had was a hammock and a rain fly for the hammock. Since he didn't have a job, I assume he was living cheaply, so he didn't have the luxury of crashing at a hotel whenever it rained and was probably "stealth camping," which means camping in the woods or in people's yards. His gear was all old and worn out because he has done several other "tours" in the past. I say "tours" because they're tours in that they are long distance bike rides, but this guy doesn't just tour for the sake of touring. He tours because he needs to get to another place and find a job. He actually has a real purpose to his ride aside from having fun. So I was pretty impressed because he was really roughing it. Walking up to him, I had no idea what he would be like, but he actually turned out to not be crazy and had some really good stories. Some of which can be found here. We exchanged websites and names and parted our ways.

I went back to the bus stop. <Sarcasm Rant>I was authentically impressed at the public transit security guard's acuteness when it took him only 0.5 seconds of me riding my bike "illegally" on their sidewalk to awkwardly point at the sign I never even had a chance to look at that says "Walk Bicycles." Not to mention the fact that I wasn't even in a position to see the sign he was pointing at and he nonetheless refused to say any words until I walked over there to look at the sign he was pointing at. "I was just getting off my bike." "Yeah, yeah, next time get off your bike earlier." </Sarcasm Rant>

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