Welcome back to the Olympic Shakedown
To recap the outing so far:
- the ricks fought a bear
- met some honeys at the hot springs
- diffused a terrorist plot
All or none of these things may have happened.
Day 3: To The Ends of (Naked) Earth
It was a pretty good weekend so far. Kyle may have forgotten the pump to the stove, and the snow was insubordinate, but little else was impeding the Ricks. Day 3 dawned with a blazing hot sun and the Ricks may have been a bit hungover. The sheer volume of beers and Fanta-infused shochu consumed at the turn-out campsite/rave was impressive. Today would be a long day, so after breakfast, it was onward.
The goal: the… coast? It had been remarkably hot so the coast sounded nice and refreshing. Something soothing about the idea of sunny skies, rolling waves, and that refreshing sea breeze. Could the Ricks make it? There was a considerable amount of route to be covered. Stay tuned.
As we saw the previous evening, the Ricks were thwarted by some snow. But this impasse was along the road at a steep, north-facing slope, surely a rare occurrence. A little backtrack to another road could lead us to the same area and vindication. Snow would be less likely… right? Try again, Ricks, because the snow was relentless. The vistas and beauty in the area brought some solace.
The ricks dipped into the mountains onto the next sizable piece of the route. Some of the dirt roads had some serious “up” components. Up and down and all the way around. Some long, steep grades and the ricks cooled off their brakes. Oh, and we saw nary a soul. It was a brilliant weather holiday weekend, but aside from the highway, we would rarely seen anybody else. A very solid perk of this route.
Road Block 1
While the solitude was great, there was a reason why there were so few folks. The road gods tested our resolve. Around one corner lay a cluster of trees that had slid onto the road, blocking the entire road. The ricks have a hatchet.
If you think this landslide of trees is a negative in our book, think again. This was a prime opportunity to celebrate rickdom.
The newly created path was not all that sketchy. However, with a rather decently steep and loose slope immediately below, the Ricks spotted each other, achieving glory on the other side. , Try again road gods.
Road Block 2
Shortly after the road turned back to paved goodness, the road gods brought the heat and threw their next curveball. Inauspicious concrete blocks spelled certain defeat…
Luckily the Ricks are not in cars. We’ve seen the versatility of bikes already on this weekend outing. The washed out section of road was rather impressive. Previously tar-repaired glide cracks foretold the road’s doomed fate. Luckily, there was a muddy path around that led to the promised land.
It was hot. Bonking was a real possibility. So the ricks sought refuge at the coast now more than ever. Sure enough, the natural air conditioning kicked in a few miles away from the shore. But the blessed sun was smothered by a layer of cloud. With the twist in weather, folks donned their insulating layers. Next up, where the hell do we camp? The “official” national park options would undoubtedly be full. Plus, we’ve clearly established that camping around others is a total no-go. We have trouble regulating the decibel level. Things that are said (or shouted) will almost certainly offend others. Children exposed to these mannerisms will most likely grow up to be alcoholics living in a place like Eugene or Wenatchee. So we needed to find that magical spot where nobody else would be…
If a landslide and a complete road washout were no match for the Ricks, a swamp would surely be of little challenge.
Penitence pays off. We discovered (nearly) the holy grail of camp sites: flat, sheltered from the wind and civilization. The ocean was oh so close. We could hear the constant roar of the waves in the distances. The only caveat is there was a bog between us and the ocean itself.
If a landslide and a complete road washout were no match for the Ricks, a swamp would surely be of little challenge. The Ricks laid siege to the ocean, crossing the bog in formidable fashion. Tall adventure boots were advantageous.
Most residents and visitors to Washington State appreciate the diversity of the environments that are accessible so close to one another. Even most Californians seem to appreciate it, for what it’s worth. The day at the beach reinforced that admiration. Earlier, we were winding up steep mountain roads, battling the heat. Now here we were, chilled by the breeze, dwarfed among massive logs from who knows where stacked along the ocean shore, interlocked with other massive logs from yonder. There was only one thing left to do… WARNING MAN ASS BELOW
They made epic discoveries, including this massive block of Styrofoam which yielded an adequate surfboard for the baby waves.
The camp routine went down much like it had in previous nights. There was a gathering mission for firewood, followed by cooking, and consumption of beverages. Tonight, we would see the addition of marshmallows. Not-so-fun fact: Kyle will not eat marshmallows.
It had been a long day, so it was time to call it a night.
Day 4: Blow it Up
Enough of this chilly area. It was a good rest at the beach, but the Ricks sought the warmth inland. Today would theoretically include one river ford, lots of mountains, some great sections of road, and a girthy stump.
Jordan had to part ways, and headed off on the 101 back to the city. Now it was down to four ricks. The first main objective: the river ford. But before we got there, there was some less-traveled road to drive.
Like all good tragedies, there needs to be conflict. Kit, Kyle, and Grant were oh so close to the river crossing, only to be denied by a series of fallen trees. Unlike the trees blocking the road the previous day, this would require a chainsaw to break through. If somebody has a travel-size chainsaw or motorcycle-chainsaw conversion kit, hit us up. According to the map, another road would get us oh so close, so it was worth a shot.
But it never materialized. The backup option was going far beyond where we needed to it to go. Other strategies, such as driving down primitive trails, didn’t pan out either. For the record: Kit dropped his KTM in the woods. Suffice it to say the river crossing would not happen today. Time for a lengthy backtrack.
The thermals were brewing in the valley. It was hot. Time for a dip in the river.
Refreshed, we headed up the next stretch of road. With altitude, the road deteriorated, first rocks, then rocks and various debris, then finally… snow. This was just an optional loop, so it wasn’t all that painful. Back to the river the Ricks went. Now it was onward to the supposed best section of road. She climbs. As the road ascended, there were stellar views of the valley. This is what riding is all about. But alas, like before, We encountered our good friend snow yet again. We could see the road higher up: it went, she was clear. We only had to cross this one lengthy patch and we would be home free.
The main patch was crossed with ease. Upward and onward! Or so we thought… twas not meant to be. A much deeper and more imposing section of snow crushed our dreams shortly thereafter. Oh, and Kit was almost out of gas and we were a long way from a petrol source.
The Ricks debated just how rick it would be to go through the snow. Chris’ scouting mission up the road suggested the snow would go on for quite a ways. With its depth, this would be too rick. If we had more gas and a couple of extra days? Things may have been different. Back down the Ricks went…
Not all was lost, however. Yes, we were unable to go through one of the premiere sections of the loop, but our consolation was a insanely delicious stretch of tarmac down the Wynoochee Valley, Cougar Smith, and Boundary Roads. The low level sun and twisties were a joy. Kit did not run out of gas.
Back in civilization (sort of) in Shelton, the Ricks resupplied for the final night. The objective: a 5-star campsite tucked in the hills near Elk Lake. It was getting dark, but the drive along the Hood Canal was rather splendid. Before heading off the main road, the Ricks bought fireworks.
Unlike many of the gravel roads earlier, this one was… deep. And dusty. And we needed to drive it at night. In two groups of two, the Ricks ascended, only to find the campsite occupied. Never fear, Kit scouted one that was excellent.
Why was it excellent? Well, for starters it was available. Further, it contained a groovy campsite with built fire ring right along the river. The river was complete with a chilling pool for the beverages. There was a flat, smooth platform for sleeping a short jaunt up the trees. We were about to turn the calendar into Memorial Day, so we had to do this proper.
The day had been long and full of Rick
Day 5: Memorial Day – Dodging RVs
If you’ve made it this far, kudos to you. Future Rick installments may or may not contain this much play-by-play. That remains to be seen.
The Ricks awoke quite late. Their late arrival to camp the previous night, and the festivities that followed, facilitated a very late start. Today… today would be easy, so there was no rush to leave the Olympics.
The Olympic loop was coming to and end, but the Ricks got to cruise some nice forest roads before rejoining Highway 101.
Now we were back in the thick of it. Main highways. Memorial Day afternoon. Traffic was… dense. The ubiquitous RV slowed us way down on Highway 101. A massive bottleneck created a miles-long backup to the Hood Canal Bridge. The Kingston-Edmonds ferry had a 2+ hour wait. If you were sensing that the bikes came in handy, right you are! The Ricks dodged the fuzz and drove on the shoulder to avoid the majority of the Hood Canal Backup. Just as the trip had started, the Ricks used motorcycle privilege and went straight to the front of the ferry line. They just happened to be the first ones on 🙂
Pooped, the Ricks took the chance to enjoy the ferry one last time (by drinking beers on the car deck) and take stock in the outcome of the shakedown. Not everything went to plan. Much of that was owed to snow and other natural barriers. There was plenty of insight gained into strategy, as well as gear and bike needs prior to the mid-June departure, but nothing glaring stood out. That is pretty unrick, but welcome. There will be tens of thousands of miles for things to go more rick with the motorcycles.
Coming soon: the real deal. Worldwide Ricks depart mid-June. Keep your eyes peeled for The Progress