Olympic Circumnavigation Day 2
Sunday August 8, 2020
“Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the face”
– Mike Tyson
Steve had a great plan for the second day of our Olympic circumnavigation, but we were hit in the face – repeatedly. The day began damp and cool and then came – what would later be known to Steve, Blaine and myself – the Jersey Shore Incident. Physical exercise in the outdoors is my escape from what seems to be a continual stream of bad news and toxic people, so I put the incident immediately behind me and rolled on towards better things.
Steve had mapped a route that avoids the shoulderless logging truck dragstrip known as Highway 112 between the RV Park and Joyce. The plan was to rider over Eden Valley east of Lake Crescent and down to Highway 101 where we’d eat breakfast at a place called Grandmas from where we’d ride the Lake Crescent East Shore road to the Spruce Railroad grade. My buddy Dan and I had ridden the Railroad grade the previous December – in the middle of the night in the rain – and I was looking forward to this scenic portion as the highlight of the trip. After a steady first thing in the morning climb and then a brief section of gravel we came to a pipe rail gate hinged on a concrete-filled steel tube plastered with a wide variety of No Trespassing signs. Welcome to Rat Hole USA.
I could see the gears turning in Steve’s head; I preempted the debate “we ain’t going in there” I said. By all indications this is a public right-of-way that has simply been commandeered by the partially sane, and I wasn’t about to engage some potentially armed middle of nowhere nut job. We turned around. The local we encountered a few miles back down the road was clearly disturbed by the Rat Hole, but was also very careful not to say too much, one way or the other. Oh well, put that behind us and move on to Plan B – ride to Joyce on 112 and then climb to Piedmont where we could hit the Spruce Railroad grade around the north shore of Crescent Lake.
The ride along 112 wasn’t as bad as expected, probably due to low Sunday morning traffic, and we hit Joyce with empty stomachs. While we enjoyed our biscuits and gravy – takeout from a roadside café – Blaine looked up an online trip report for the upcoming trial around Lake Crescent only to find out that it is closed. Several trip reports verified that yes indeed the trail is closed for the summer (due to what I see as a poor choice to pave the trail) and so we went to Plan C – ride to Piedmont and turn left onto the East Shore road that would then take us to Highway 101. Taking 101 around the south shore of Lake Crescent was far from ideal but at least we wouldn’t have to backtrack down 112, which was getting busier with RV and boat trailer traffic.
The lady at the local store informed us that the East Shore road is closed due to a forest fire, well now we were on to Plan D – backtrack all the way to the campground from where we began our day and ride 101. We were now cursed to twice ride the road – Highway 112 – that we had avoided in the first place.
My odometer read 27.5 miles as we rolled past the RV park from where we had started our day.
Though smooth tarmac and beautiful scenery the 11 mile stretch of road along the south shore of Lake Crescent is a cyclist’s nightmare – no shoulder, guardrails to the white line and fast-moving traffic. We were heading west and fortunately most of the RV traffic was eastbound, and since it was Sunday we didn’t have the logging truck issue. It could have been worse.
After a long climb up out of Lake Crescent we went from cycling hell to cycling heaven. We hit the Olympic Discovery Trail where we rolled through silent forests on a pristine trail. My cortisol levels began to decrease; this is what I came for.
A well-shouldered section of 101 took us into the town of Forks where we ate pizza and went grocery shopping. Blaine and I each bought twelve-dollar backpacks in which to transport the booty to our resting place at Bogachiel State Park. Steve opted to wear a plastic shopping bag as a backpack, something I predicted would end in disaster, but it didn’t.
Bogachiel is a nice campground, albeit a bit crowded. Blaine had a few issues with dog poop, but other than that we had a good night.
Route information can be found at: https://www.strava.com/activities/3890455530