Day 1 2021 – First Day of School

Even though I have always ridden alone, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to join my old friend, Rod Schleif on a journey from Canada to the Mexican border. Through this journey, I may use the acronym TNSLR – The Not So Lone Rider. To be clear, Ron is truly riding border to border. I am cheating. Due to various circumstances, Ron changed his route to come through Olympia/Lacey. Today, he and I will ride together out of Lacey to the border.

This is the third major trip for me, but I still get the same anxieties that overcome me before these rides. I’m getting a deja vu feeling that makes me relive the first day of a new school year as a kid.

  • What am I going to wear on the first day – set it out the night before.
  • Review my list of supplies and make sure they are all packed.
  • Will the new kids like me – I’ve been told I snore, but I seem to sleep through it.
  • What are my teachers going to be like – in this case, can we find a place to stay – I’m not a camper

Ron has a great attitude about the ride and I just hope I don’t ruin a good friendship. Mom (my wife Becky) is going to be nice and drive us to school the first day. Which means we will put the bikes on a rack on our car and drive us up the worst hill to the other side of town. I remember that on my last journey, I had to walk that hill. If Hidalgo hadn’t been carrying my 25 pounds of supplies, we could have done it. With that extra weight all on the rear wheel, I was too unstable to stand on the pedals long enough for that climb. Besides, walking it was as fast as pedaling. As Betty James, one of my warm showers hosts says “I never met a hill I couldn’t walk”.

So much for the prologue. Ron will be here at our house soon. Whatever happens, it’s all part of the adventure!

We had a great ride today. The weather went from sunny and windy to overcast and windy. About 10 miles outside of Montesano we caught some light rain and took shelter under a pine tree besides the road. As we broke out our rain jackets, the mental juke box was playing REO “Riding the Storm Out”. As it turned out, we just had to wait out the storm. In less than 20 minutes we were back on the bikes with our jackets, but without the rain.

We were still dry when we reached Montesano

In Montesano we got coffee and some rest. While inside, another light rain passed through. Using the same strategy as before, we waited that one out, too. Patience is a virtue, especially on this relatively short day. The roads were still wet on the way to Cosmopolis.

Just blocks from our Warm Showers hosts

John and Marnie were incredible hosts. Not only did we each get a nice bed and shower, we ate like kings. The conversation and music were both very entertaining. After this first experience with Warm Showers, Ron may never want to camp again! It was a great way to start our ride together. The summary stats can be found here.

The Not So Lone Rider

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