Cycling the West Coast: Missing Bolts [Day 3]

Luke Guilford | CycleCycle
New bar tape
To those who noticed, I finally put handlebar tape on my bike! Photo Credit: Luke Guilford

Day 3

I left Shelton ready to hit the road for another big day! My route today took me down the backroads of rural Washington. This was a nice change of pace from yesterday, I hardly saw any cars and I sure didn’t miss the huge logging trucks zipping right by me. The terrain was mostly gentle, rolling hills in heavy forests.

After about 25 miles of leisurely riding, carefully observing the culture of rural Washington from the road I made it into the town of Elma, but not without a little excitement. As I was biking past one home, a pair of dogs took off chasing me down the road. It took a moment to realize that these dogs were not bluffing and came out biting at my feet. I picked up the pace and quickly blew past them.

Rural Washington
Cruising through rural Washington. Enjoying the birds, trees, and quiet. Photo Credit: Luke Guilford

This bike trip might also be a bit of a foody trip. I stopped at Smittys In & Out, a small little shack that reminded me of those tiny drive-thru coffee shops. I ordered the biggest burger on the menu and found a spot behind the restaurant to sit down and chow.

I ended up eating with 5 cyclists who set out to bike the Olympic peninsula over the weekend. I can’t remember the exact mileage they were set out for, but it was somewhere averaging over 100 miles/day. They showed me how to use Strava Heatmap to find popular cycling routes. They were a fun crew and one of them shared his thoughts on suffering and the importance it has on bringing a purpose to life.

One man’s trash is another man’s toilet. Photo Credit: Luke Guilford

These 70+ mile days are a little too long and I wish I could hang around the area more, but I should be cutting back on mileage a bit soon. My goal is to bike around 50 miles/day so I can add a couple more hours to my day for exploring. I left Elma and set off for Raymond, which is an old logging town turned large marijuana-producing town, according to a local.

The ride to Raymond was a bit remote, with few cars and many hills. My legs were burning! I hope my legs will slowly break into this new way of life. After arriving in Raymond, I toured the area and spent some time checking out the Willapa River that runs through the area. I talked to a few locals that had spent their entire lives in the area. The logging industry leaving sure seemed like it drained the community.

Finally getting the drone in the air. Photo Credit: Luke Guilford

The day was getting old, so I decided to keep moving, I planned to camp at Bruceport State Park about 13 miles away. As I was leaving, I heard some rattling and stopped to investigate. My rear rack had lost a bolt that was mounting the legs of the rack to the bike. Unfortunately, the hardware store had just closed so I had to make it work for the rest of the day.

Luckily, I found a campground just a mile outside of town, which will save me a lot of time tomorrow since I won’t have to double back very far to the hardware store. Things happen for a reason, and I probably wouldn’t have stopped at this gorgeous spot if it wasn’t for the looming repair I need to make.

My campsite on the Willapa River, just outside of South Bend, WA. Photo Credit: Luke Guilford

These first few days have felt like a lifetime, time has moved incredibly slowly… in a good way. All of these new experiences and sights, have me alert and excited 24/7. I feel so connected to not only myself but the world around me. Traveling alone is something that I’ve never done before, so I wasn’t sure how this trip would go, but so far I have been very happy. In all honesty, I can struggle in isolation, and I hope this trip will help me grow closer to myself.

Stats from today:

  • Roughly 70 miles biked
  • 3,500 vertical feet climbed
  • 1 bike repair is to be made
  • 1st-night camping
Route for the day
Route for the day, getting close to the ocean!

Related Articles

Got an opinion? Let us know...