A beginning...and then another
It's Monday September 6th and I'm in Seattle, Washington.
The four of us left Vancouver on Saturday August 28th. There were some smile inducing moments those first few days - the monument at the US border reading "United States of America, William Jefferson Clinton, President", signs along the coast reading "Tsunami Escape Route"...but for the most part we quickly descended into a routine - wake up, bike, eat, bike, look at unbelievably beautiful scenery, eat, bike, eat, bike, eat, set up camp, sleep. Peaceful, stress less...boring. On Wednesday morning I was actually thinking to myself - is this what the last trip was like...wasn't there more to it? (I should mention that I was also changing my flat tire at the time...after climbing many hills...in the cold rain.) By Wednesday evening our spirits were dampened (mostly by the rain) and we were struggling up more hills, in the middle of nowhere, 7 miles away from our campground. Then there was a loud bang. Alex had a flat tire. This would be our 4th flat tire for the group in as many days. Actually, to call it a flat tire would be a gross understatement - he had a huge 2 inch gash in both his tube and tire. Unfortunately, his patches wouldn't work. Even worse, Alex's spare tube was actually fitted for his racing bike - the bike that was back home...in Chicago and that tiny tube would not support his monstrous mountain bike tires.
Oh boy! It was crisis time! Immediately we all got out our cameras to document it.
We tried calling the police, the local cab companies, our mothers - and got answering machines from them all. Finally, we decided that we would flag down a truck, beg them to take Alex into the next town with a bike shop and the three of us women would bike to the campground and we would meet up with Alex the next day.
Five minutes went by and no cars.
Ten minutes went by and - headlights! ...of a sports car.
Fifteen minutes went by and (I did mention that we were on the side of a mountain in a forest, right?) no cars.
Twenty minutes and finally a large truck rolls down the hill.
Immediately, the three women jumped into the rod and started waving our hands maniacally. Surprisingly, the truck stopped.
"What's the problem?", a well groomed elderly man asked us.
"Alex has a flat tire that we can't fix and we were hoping that you might know of a way for us to get him and the bike to Silverdale," I stepped up and responded.
"Well, I'm going to Silverdale. I can take him." the kind hearted man said.
"That would be amazing!" we all sang.
"Well, what are the rest of you doing?" he then asked.
"We are going to bike to the next campground and then meet Alex tomorrow in Silverdale," I said.
"Well, I can take all of you, put your bikes in the back of my truck," the now elevated to angelic man said.
So, we piled all four loaded bikes into the back of his sweet F150 and then climbed our greasy, smelly bodies into his immaculate cab and he drove us all the way to Silverdale. His kindness stunned us all, especially when we learned that we would make him late for barber shop quartet practice (they were going to a huge competition in 3 weeks). As we drove we learned a tiny bit about the wonderful life of Frosty Faust. He lived all over the world (Taiwan, Belgium, China, Japan, Germany...Nebraska), but when we asked where his favorite place to live was he replied, "Well, I think I found it right here." After he patiently waited for us to unload all of our gear from his truck at the local motel, Nina asked, "what does your license plate (ADVIVUM) mean?" Frosty questioned back, "Your high school latin has escaped you already?" Nina surprised me by correctly answering, "To life?" Frosty then answered back, "Yes, to life."
As he drove away from us, I was left with an indescribable amalgamation of feelings. But suddenly it had returned to me - why I liked bicycle touring.
I hope everyone is doing well.