We’ve been so blessed to have met and stayed with a number of wonderful people who have opened their homes and hearts with us. I recounted our first warmshowers.org experience with Reynaldo and Leonard in a previous post, who helped us around the city, fixed up our bikes and even let us use the only bed in the place!
Next, we stayed with the Jacksons; Alan, Donna, their son Lewis, and the foreign exchange student they were hosting, Ice. We arrived at Bremerton from Seattle at about 2.30, grabbed a quick lunch and expected to cover the nearly forty miles to the Jacksons’ house in five hours. That definitely wasn’t happening. The combination of Washington’s semi-heavily hilled terrain, pouring rain from the storm which rolled into the northwest and perhaps most importantly, this being our first day riding a long distance carrying fifty pounds of gear made our projection an impossibility. Thankfully, Alan checked in with us and graciously offered to pick us up when nighttime started rolling in and we were still over ten miles from their house.
When we got there, the rest of the fam was enjoying the ending of Moonrise Kingdom. Alan showed us around, showing us our place to sleep, where to shower and where we could do laundry. After the kiddos went to bed, they got food in our bellies and we were able to spend some quality time with our hosts. Donna, Alan and Lewis had actually gone on the Transamerican Trail together a few years back, with Lewis riding on a tandem with his dad. They had even had a bike stolen with all their gear in Eugene, OR toward the beginning of the trek and were about to end early, but the news and people of Eugene caught on to the story and donated enough money for them to replace it!
We talked for a few hours into the night, then took showers and went to bed. Alan helped us make a few quick fixes on our bicycles after we woke up and then we were on our way to Raymond, WA, about seventy miles away. We had a late start in the day, so we were only able to make it about thirty some miles when the sun went over the mountain. We stopped at an ancient single pump gas station to use the restroom, yet there wasn’t a public one available… but there was a pleasant looking Christmas tree farm immediately next door. Haylee checked it out first and reported it to be magical. The reports were true, and even though we could have biked some more, we decided to make this our first stealth camp. The moss blanketing the area was super soft and we had an excellent night’s sleep amidst the holiday themed forest, even while fearing reindeer police were bound to disrupt our fantastical slumber.
The next day we continued our trek toward Raymond. Things were moving pretty smoothly for awhile, but then we hit an extremely high incline area and our movement was slow going and exhausting. At about eight o clock, we were taking a rest on the side of the road, rain refusing to pour profusely, and I had resorted to drinking peanut butter to quickly consume some calories. A big dude with a big mustache in a big truck pulled up and asked if we could use a ride, and our immediate answer was yes. The kind man driving this vehicle was Dan Borg, who drove us to his home south of Raymond where we met his wife Susie, his son Corbin and daughter Claire.
They were set to go see Iron Man 3 since someone who worked with Dan (who, awesomely, flies planes for skydivers) was the skydiving consultant for the movie, and even gets sucked out of an airplane on camera. While they were gone, they offered up their home to us and left an ample amount of delicious, just-shot-yesterday, inherently-free-range-organic elk casserole, ingeniously topped with tater tots. When they got back, we talked into the night with the whole family, and got to wish Claire a happy birthday when midnight struck. Susie also just so happened to be a physical therapist assistant and was able to design a bandage for Haylee’s leg with theratape that eased some of her knee pain. We had a great night chatting and got a great night’s rest in their trailer out back.