Ben raced us to the ferry in the morning, and we barely made it on. But, we made it! And forty minutes later, we pedaled off the ferry into Bremerton, Washington feeling simultaneously excited to be riding again, but a little nervous at the thought of heading down the coast. I think it’s normal to feel a little jittery after having consecutive rest days on this tour. Even though it was just a few days off, we always feel a little rusty and unsettled getting back on the bikes. But, it was a beautiful day, sunny and warm, and we were ready to get our day started.
Not five minutes off the ferry, we took a turn and were faced with a hill so steep it would have qualified as a vertical black diamond on a ski slope. We laughed and began our climb up the hill. Things were going great, until I got a flat. Brooke and I were like a pit crew at a NASCAR race working together to change the flat and before we knew it we were back in action. Until, the next flat. Same tire. Huh. Again, we didn’t get upset, I didn’t even feel the urge to kick my tire across the road. We changed it and again, I pumped and pumped furiously with the mini hand pump to get up to 90 PSI. Until, mid pump Brooke exclaims, “Oh no!” and covered her ears and took a staggering step backwards.
When the tube exploded it made a sound no less severe and jarring than a gun shot. This particular tube had given us trouble with bulging, and this time, it definitely was bulging and Brooke caught it just before it exploded, sending me flailing backward into my bike knocking it and all my gear to the ground. Yeah, now I admit reaching a point of raw anger and kicking something was tempting and seemed as valuable option as any. I refrained from kicking something, but that was our last tube, and it was not patchable at this point. So, after I stopped shaking, and began to find some shred of humor in this stupid situation, we grabbed the tube from the first flat, sat down and began searching for the hole. We got it patched and we headed down the road.
We made it about 10 miles until my third flat. Same tire. I know this sounds ridiculous, and I know you are thinking “why didn’t you check the tire for glass or thorns or any other obvious sharp object?” The thing is, I did. I thought I did a pretty thorough job of it, but obviously I was missing something. There was glass in the tire, which was buried in the rubber in such a sly, barely visible way that Brooke had to fish it out with tweezers. UGH. Anyhow, we moved on flat tire free for the rest of the day.
Astonishingly, we were still feeling happy to be riding. We planned to stay at a biker’s hostel that night, and we were looking forward to having a bed and a roof over our heads for our first night back in the saddle. We arrived at the biker’s hostel, and we met our host for the night. Right off the bat, he told us a strange story about his Scott carbon fiber road bike, and the story took a bizarre twist when he divulged that it was purchased with money a friend left him after the friend committed suicide. Huh. Then he trailed off with a regretful mutter that he should have done it differently and bought another brand of bicycle with the money. When it comes to knowing how to react to a story such this, Brooke is clueless. In this case, she relied on the enthusiastic smile and nod method as if she were agreeing. I however, thought the guy was a wacko and stared at him with furrowed eyebrows and left it at that. We moved on. As we were heading into the house, he took one look at our bikes and announced that we were carrying way too much. Again, Brooke politely smiled and nodded. Again, I looked at him with the same furrowed eyebrows that said, “nobody asked you”.
We moved on into the house where he began telling us how he makes very little money running this hostel, and how he was giving us a real deal. It seemed like a total hassle to move on down the road, so we took a room and paid way too much. When we were bringing in our gear, he told us to be quite because his wife was sleeping. Turns out, she was sicker than a dog, and Brooke and I had the pleasure of falling asleep to the hacking and coughing of his wife in the next room. Right before bed, our hostel host made the announcement that he was sleeping outside in the RV because his wife was too sick to be in the same room with. ICK.
The next morning he tried to give us directions to a place where we had no intention of going. Brooke’s attempts at explaining this to the guy were cut off in mid sentence, while he blathered on about a road we would never ride. Finally, we were out the door and on our way. Good riddance scam artist!