Day 2 – Port Angeles, Neah Bay, disaster (144.6km)

OK, I’ve not had a great day! All is fine in the world, but it got a little too adventurous for me. I’m going to attempt to explain, but I’m not exactly Hitchens!

After a night of fear, worrying about being an accidental extra in a US local news crime report, as well as worrying about my door being kicked in and being relieved of my bike, I unsurprisingly woke up at 5am and decided to start my day. And how better to start it than with my first Golden Arches….

Epic.

After the disappointingly short day of yesterday and the fact I started at 6am this morning, I thought I’d see how I felt and potentially ride long.

The morning couldn’t have been better, I was out of Port Angeles and on the open road as the sun came up, it was going to be a good day. The first section of the day, was simply staying on the same road, after 2 and a half hours I hit the 112 T junction, left for Fawkes, 25 miles and my day was done, or right to Neah Bay and hitting the most North Western Point of the US, it was a sign and I grabbed at it. I felt it would be a regret to have missed going to the edge, I’m trying to be on an adventure after all.

I kept on the 112 all the way to Neah Bay. Keeping a decent lick (29km+), I found myself feeling slightly hungry at around 84KM, then out of nowhere an Espresso stop appeared, it really was a good day!

A caramel latte, flap jack, cookie and water top up and I was back on my way. In not time at all, well 4 hours, I hit the entrance to Neah Bay.

I meandoured through Neah Bay looking for a photo opportunity, but soon found myself out the other side and leaving! I was supposed to stop in Neah Bay for a rest and refuel, but since I was feeling good I pulled over and typed the directions to Fawkes. 40 miles or a quicker route of 30 miles through an Indian reservation.

I’m here to see things I thought, so the reservation was chosen. I’ll be checked in to the hotel by 12, what a day! What a day it turned out to be indeed!

About 10 minutes in I thought I should call Babs, two attempted calls later and I realised I had no reception, never ideal. As I continued to meandour along the route, the road took a turn for the worse. Gravel doesn’t quite describe it, but hey according top big G I only had 5 miles of it, so what the heck!

You may notice that my distance remaining has jumped up in the shot above! Well it soon became clear that my GPS had started playing up. No worries I thought, just stay on the blue line of destiny. Its my own fault anyway, I shouldn’t have tried to cheat the miles.

About 20 minutes later and 3 miles in, with my bike being shaken to bits, I hit a gate, slowing to work out the best way through, I heard shouting from a truck behind. Enter the Angel TJ. TJ was the manager of the logging operation for the local tribe and he had noticed me, yet another idiot cyclist, being directed down this route of insanity by big G. He had also found my day book and letters from Babs, which had fallen out with all the bumps. Gratefully receiving my package back, TJ went on to explain this road remained like this all the way to Fawkes, 35 miles on, and that he would happily put my bike in the back of his truck and take me 10 miles to the next main road, where I could re start my journey.

Thank you TJ I said, but this is an adventure and I need to press on. How bad can it be? It’s only 2 hours of riding.

How bad can it be? Well…. My first puncture came after 3 more miles, the second was a mile later. The second was not fixable, a clear 2 cm gash in the side wall, darn it! Adversity is set to try us and I’m not one for giving up, especially as I felt I was in a personal battle with fate, and it seems, big G! Shoes switched, trainers on. I’ll show you big G, I’ll run the 6 miles.

So, off I went. The midday sun beating down and 0.5 litres of water left on my bike. 2, maybe three miles go by, and I’m majority walking. It turns out my lightweight trainers don’t quite have the sole for this sort of terrain and my feet are really feeling it. Then this happens:

Yes, that’s right, no more road. Big G is directing me through the forest. Sun glasses off, I entered to see if I could see a road the other side, after 20 metres it was clear, there was no path. Great.

With no other options and being critically low on water I decided the only safe thing to do was to turn around and walk the long way back to Neah Bay (20 miles) and hope to bump in to another Angel on route who may be able to take me to civilisation.

After what felt like a lifetime of walking and having long finished my water, a sign of civilisation appeared, it was a massive logging truck. As the truck hurteled towards me I stepped out, foolishly thinking he would just stop, he didn’t! No sooner had my hopes been raised, they were dashed. But then, out of nowhere, another truck appeared. With renewed resolve I stepped out and waved like a maniac, he stopped!

Long story short, he was able to radio the previous truck to turn around and pick me up. What a hero. The first trucker swept me up, bike in the back and drove me to the edge of the reserve and back on to the glorious 112. It was so far in his truck, I can’t tell you, in the 30+ degree heat, I’m really not sure what I would have done without him. Slept in the woods? According to the trucker, not a great idea, unless being bear food was part of the adventure…. He carries a gun at all times as ”they’re everywhere at this time of year!”

Note to self, stay on paved roads from now on!

Off the truck and on foot, 6 miles to the nearest town. No worries, 2 hours and I’ll find a room and eat the local diner out of food, but then…A red Ford F150 pulls up on the other side of the road, weirdly it looks familiar, but how? Its only the Arc Angel TJ! What are the chances? The hero I turned down all those hours earlier had appeared again, like a vision from the sky! ”Need a lift?” Yes, yes, yes.

In I hop and off we go. TJ you are my hero. In to the lovely little fishing village of Sekiu.

One room left at the last motel in town. No sheets, no towels, no bedding, no shower gel. I almost bit the guys hand off. Checked in and agreed to meet TJ at the diner to get him a thank you milk shake (best around), as I jog up my humble hero is leaving, he had his real life to get back to. We shake hands and I give him my blog details. I can only hope he reads this, so he can understand how grateful I am.

In to the diner, sweaty, stinky and hungry… Game on

What a feed. Left with a pizza in tow too, figuring I’d eat it for dinner and have it for breakfast.

After a quick shower and change I turned to my bike to see whether it could be fixed. Short answer and a few hours later, after using the motel air compressor and help from various other good sammaritans, is no! My only option it to head back to Port Angeles (50 miles or so) and the nearest bike shop and start spending.

So, day 3…. Not a lot of exercise ahead and hopefully I won’t have to stay at the same crack den as two days ago.

Sorry, bit of a long one. Chin up, look forward, remember your mistakes and keep going. Oh and ignore big G, no wonder they dropped the ‘don’t be evil’ monika!

6 thoughts on “Day 2 – Port Angeles, Neah Bay, disaster (144.6km)”

  1. We can’t believe it ! Promise us from now on you stay on proper roads and get a proper map ! You really are having an adventure. Thank you TJ !
    Mum and Dadx

    Like

  2. Hi David. Just checking whether I am able to send replies to you. Mum has already commented on your latest day 10 activities – what a day eh? Keep safe and watch out for the bears!
    Love DAD x

    Like

  3. Mate that is brilliant – what a read and what an adventure. If you can get through a day like that you will be fine for the rest of the trip

    Like

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