We were awoken by the voice of a security guard at 7am. Apparently the place we had been told to camp by a local wasn’t actually a place we were supposed to camp. The security guard informed us that we should pack up and leave soon. Having heard stories of people being given 2 minutes to leave I started packing quickly, but soon realised that he had gone and we weren’t in a rush.

While C & Seth had some small bits of food left, I had eaten the last of my supplies the night before so needed to get something. Newhalem, being a company town for Seattle City Light, seemed to have no services so the nearest food was 10 miles away in Marblemount. C & Seth were busy doing something so I wrote them a note and attached it to the side of the tennis courts using a peg that must have got stuck to my tent when I aired it back in Riverside.

I made it to Marblemount and bought a cup ramen (cup noodle in the UK) for 59c and sat down to read my book and eat breakfast. It took almost an hour for C & Seth to roll in to town and, having not seen the note, they were a little surprised to see me.

Not much later my tyre failed again and I got another slow puncture. I rode it for a short distance, but it was getting more and more unstable so I pulled over to patch it. Frustration with my tyre meant that while sat there I was so tempted to stick my thumb out, get a lift to Sedro-Woolley and then just sit around reading while waiting for C & Seth.

I didn’t hitch, and after fixing the flat tried to pump up my tyre. My Topeak pump is starting to show its age and not work so well. The pressure gauge which was fairly useless back in Florida now doesn’t give a reading at all. It gets a tyre up to a rideable level, but it definitely doesn’t work as well as a floor pump. I was pumping up my tyre when a Bike Friday cycle tourist came past the other way and asked if I needed help. He let me use his pump, complete with functional gauge, and after a minute or so I got my tyre back up. We stood round chatting for about 15 minutes and C & Seth caught up with me again. We started back on the road again and not much further down I got frustrated. We had been up since 7 and having made it to almost noon we had done about 20 miles so I was unimpressed. I gave them a note with the contact details for Chris, our host for the evening, and instructions on how to find his place and headed off by myself.

The rest of the ride went fairly quickly. I was riding by myself and not having to be concerned with how frequent Seth & C were taking breaks. I felt the freedom from my ride up Sherman Pass again and looked forward to the trip after Phoenix when I’ll be riding alone. There are definite advantages to riding with someone, and it works nicely for a week or two here and there. Having said that, I think riding alone is more my style. That’s not to say that I’m closed to the idea of riding with other people in the future, but C is not the riding partner I would want to ride around the world with.

Heading north of the town of Sedro-Woolley, a car pulled up in front of me. The guy inside asked me if I was Seth or Dominic and I knew it must be Chris, our host. We spent about 10 minutes talking and I explained how C & Seth were riding together somewhere behind me. He tried to make contact with them, but got no reply. We were only a few miles from his house so he drove off and I said I’d meet him there.

At Chris’ house we sat down to a glass of wine and tried again to contact C & Seth, but to no avail. Chris had prepared some seafood and was wanting to know how much longer they would be. It wasn’t for about 2 hours after I’d arrived until C & Seth rocked up. A combination of riding slowly, taking lots of breaks and some punctures had made them drop back. I was glad that I’d ridden alone as I’d been able to ride at my own pace, clean up, chill out and enjoy a couple of drinks before they’d made it to the door.

The rest of the evening was wonderful. Chris proved himself a great host even though the oysters he was trying to cook on the grill refused to open. The feast he prepared of clams, mussels and salmon/scallop/halibut kebabs meant we’d have struggled to eat them anyway. He told us stories of his days as a cyclist racing in Europe and gave C a pair of his gloves to hopefully help alleviate the problem in her hands that had plagued her since Chicago. I had recommended a pair of different gloves when she had originally said that the gloves she had didn’t fit her back in Florida, but she didn’t pay much attention. It reminded me of when she was told to lighten her load in by the Foxes in Charleston after I’d mentioned that it might be a good idea on several occasions. I guess it’s easier to take advice from 3rd parties who are less attached to a situation.

Seth & Buoy part 1

Seth & Buoy part 2