Seattle to Grand Ronde: The Story

So, on the 28th of June, Jeff and Steve arrived in Seattle on the Green Tortoise bus. We had a hearty dinner of spaghetti, then crashed for the night.

In the morning we got up, loaded up our bikes, and headed off. At the bottom of Fremont Avenue, we stopped at a stoplight. I stopped by using my brakes. Jeff stopped by using his brakes. Steve stopped using Jeff's rear wheel. I don't think he was quite used to an extra 50 pounds of gear on his bike. Come to think of it, he was riding my extra bike, so it wasn't even his usual bike with 50 extra pounds. Anyway, no major harm was done.

We continued on to the Colman Ferry Dock in downtown Seattle, where we boarded the ferry for Bremerton.

After disembarking from the ferry in Bremerton, we headed out of town. This segment of the trip was 35 miles from Bremerton to Potlatch State Park on the Hood Canal. A couple of miles out of Bremerton, the road started to rise. After a nice climb, we had a several mile descent. Jeff and I stopped near the bottom of the 3-mile grade to wait for Steve to catch up. We waited. And waited. And waited some more... Eventually, we saw a pickup pull off the road near us, with Steve in the back with his bike! Apparently he had gotten a flat but didn't have a patch kit with him, so hitched a ride with this lady.

So I got out my patch kit and we took out the tube. We immediately found the hole, which looked like it was from a sharp piece of glass. We patched it and inflated the tube to make sure there weren't any more. Well, sure enough, there was air coming out of another hole! So we patched that one, too.

After inflating the tube again, we realized that there were more holes. Many more holes. And we didn't have a spare tube for that bike, because I had forgotten that it used Presta tubes instead of Schrader. We counted 18 holes in that tube, mostly snake-bites which were probably formed after he had flatted and before he could stop flying down the hill.

Fortunately, there was a hardware/variety store in this little town. So we went over to buy some new tubes. Hmmm... Little stores sell tubes, but they're sure as heck not Presta tubes! They did have some tube gunk which was supposed to seal flats, though, so we bought that. It, too, was designed for Schrader valves, so we had a bit of trouble getting it into the tube. Eventually we forced a bunch of it inside, though. It was really nasty-looking yellow slimy stuff. After rotating the tube to coat the inside, as per the instructions, we blew it up.

Let's stop for a moment here. What do you expect would happen if you put yellow slimy stuff in a tube with holes in it, then pressurized the tube? The yellow slimy stuff would ooze out of the holes? Correct! That's exactly what happened.

Well, the next option was to try a makeshift patch job. I always carry both duct tape and electrical tape with me. We tried both. Neither worked. Argh.

So, the last option was for someone to ride back over the hill to Bremerton to buy some tubes (and more patchkits, since we'd used up several trying to fix the holes). So, I dumped off all my extra weight and headed back over the hill. After an extremely fast ride (I was afraid that the bike shops would all be closed after 5 pm, and it was 4:00 or so when I left), I arrived in Bremerton, found a bike shop, and bought a bunch of spare tubes and patchkits. Climbing back over the hill, I passed a whole bunch of other touring cyclists, many of whom were headed all the way to San Francisco! I finally got back to where Steve and Jeff were waiting and gave them the stuff. I went to the nearest Subway and snarfed down a footlong meatball sub, since I was starving.

Steve and Jeff had fixed the flat by the time I got back, so we headed on down the road towards Potlatch State Park.

Sorry, this is as far as I've gotten. More soon!

For Now, Some Pictures

My brother had a lot of flat tires.

One day we got dumped on, but after 65 miles of pouring rain, it slowed down for the last 20 or so, and we actually got a bit of sun as we set up camp at Fort Canby State Park.

But we made it!

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