91km out of 184km so far
I woke up at around 8am, well rested and refreshed and started packing my stuff while eating some breakfast. It took me an hour and a half to get ready and leave the campground, a time that I definitely need to improve, as I have a flight to catch in two months. Despite the distant storm I could see the night before, there was no rain during the night. Just a bit of mist and a general overcast in the morning.
Even though the campground was in a state park and fairly isolated, through out the whole night I could hear a distant humming noise. Only in the morning I noticed some massive plumes of smoke, above the treeline. A few kilometers down the road and I started seeing fenced areas with signs stating it’s BPs private property. Whole roads were blocked, some accessible for pedestrians and cyclists, others not.
While trying to find my way back to south, I ended up cycling right next to the fence of the refinery. Trucks were driving up and down the road carrying the precious matter. I rode next to one of the entrances and took a few photos, together with a massive pipeline that was running next to the fence. A few kilometers down the road I saw a big barrier and a check point. It was obvious that I took the wrong turn, but I moved forward anyway to ask for directions. The guard was rather friendly and after he gave me directions we even talked a bit about cycling touring and how much he wanted to do the same route. As I left him, another security vehicle approached me and asked me whether I was taking any photos. I was honest but realized that this security guy wasn’t that happy about it and started asking me questions and wanted to see the photos. He talked to the radio for a bit and then took further information from me. Driver’s license number, name and phone number. I know I had the right to deny giving any information, especially since he was not an officer, but I thought I should play nice and avoid any further troubles. He said that this is a standard procedure, to do a basic background check in case I have any connections with terrorist groups. Oh America…
I don’t know how big of a deal that was, but I thought I should better not upload any of the close up photos, in case FBI, CIA, NSA or Mulder and Scully come after me.
The minute he let me go it started raining. Hurray! I had already wasted the first hour of my morning getting lost and being interrogated so the rain completed the good morning start. I put my rain gear on and started heading south. I went through some small towns and then just after noon I got to Bellingham.
It was still raining so I went in to a cafe for lunch and my internet daily dosage. By the time I ate and half charged my laptop, the rain had stopped, so I was happy to get back on the road.
Right after the city I entered Larrabee State park which was by far the highlight of the day. A winding small road, going up and down the hill, within the forest and right by the coastline. A typical north west beautiful scenery. This area seemed big with Oysters, as I saw plenty of restaurants and bars serving them.
After an hour in the park, I cycled through a long stretch of road within farmlands. By that time the sun was out, so I was enjoying the easy ride while warming up.
I was planning to get half way to Seattle, so I can make it there for Friday. I stopped at Burlington to ask at the visitor’s center for campsites or hostels further south. Unfortunately the next 40km south are fairly remote with nowhere to stay. The lady convinced me to cycle back north 10km and camp at a KOA campground. I had never heard those before and the acronym stands for Kamping of America and I am not sure why they spell it with a K.
I was a bit annoyed that I had to cut the day short, but also had to cycle back north again. The campsite is ok but a bit expensive and at $30 they even have wifi in all the spots. I so love nature… especially when it comes with an internet connection!
I picked up some adventurous GM/cheap food, set my tent, had a well desired shower and went into the tent right after my food experiment. As it got dark, the storm kicked in for good this time, with thunders all around me. Rain started pouring and I hope it’s done by the morning, so I don’t have to pack a wet tent.