July 3, 2019
This morning, I stopped in Winthrop, an adorable Western-themed town, for coffee and breakfast. Today’s ride was a lot of little hills with a headwind kept me going slow all day.
I stopped right before Pateros at a cherry orchard shop. I was chatting with an older couple about this trip and they bought me a berry milkshake and a bag of local cherries. I chatted with the shopkeepers and ended up with two invitations to a spare bedroom. I had just booked a Greyhound ticket departing from the next town over, so I unfortunately couldn’t take up those very sweet offers.
I was taking a bus because I needed to meet my climbing partners in Yakima. We’re climbing Mt. Rainier on the 5th and there was no way I’d cycle a few hundred miles in two days.
When I booked the bus, I was informed that I had to bring a printed ticket and pack my bike in a box. This was logistically challenging because the bike is how I get around and there were no taxis in this area.
I found a library and printed the ticket 5 minutes before close. Check! Now I had to find a really big box. I biked over to Brewster, a little industrial/agricultural town. The ride was purely downhill, but I had such a strong headwind that I couldn’t break 8mph on the downhill! I arrived at my motel and the front desk attendant fished a giant box out from his truck. Check! Small town people so far have been very kind, caring, and generous.
Okay, now I needed to figure out how to strap a giant box to my bike. A little bit of tinkering later and I had a shaky system that I was 60% sure would work. Good enough. I was exhausted from the 60 mile day and passed out in bed.
July 4, 2019
I made it to the bus station, an Exxon parking lot, by 6 am. The box, strapped to my rear rack, survived the ride. Now I needed to take the bike apart and fit everything in the box. There was another young woman there, Arely, who was intrigued and wanted to help dismantle my bike. I showed Arely how to take off the racks, wheels, seat, and handlebars, then we threw it all into the box with the rest of my belongings.
Arely and I waited and waited, but no bus showed up. We were both desperate to get to our connection in Ellensburg. A family offered us a ride south and we gladly took it. The bike box didn’t fit in their trunk, so I dumped my bike pieces into the trunk and threw the box away. They definitely raised an eyebrow at the ice axe. The family dropped us off in Wenatchee, and Arely and I split up in an attempt to figure our situations out. Bike in pieces on a sidewalk and no busses or trains for the rest of the day, I sat on the sidewalk and thought about my options. I was doubtful that I was going to make the connection from Ellensburg in the first place, and there was no way I could bike there in time. Arely had bussing options available, and I was glad she’d be able to catch her flight. I doubtfully opened my Uber app and saw there were drivers around. Thank. God.
Michael from Uber picked me up and I asked him if he was ready to drive to Ellensburg. He ended up taking me all the way to Yakima, which avoided another bike box fiasco. I checked into the hotel and napped. Later on I tried to reassemble the bike and couldn’t get my derailleur to shift smoothly. I messed around with it for a while and got the high gears shifting smoothly and rode downtown to find a meal.
I don’t know what it was about Yakima, but Yakima was a bit scary. There were a lot of tweaky people outside. Both restaurants I tried were closed for the 4th, and I desperately ducked into a Jimmy John’s to get away from the weirdness outside. I biked by a man in the street that jumped into the air and started yelling things at me. I retreated to the room and my climbing partners, Chris and Tom, eventually arrived from Portland.