I’m on the road again, this time without Mary. She told me she had some odds and ends to take care of back home but basically she woosed. We had planned to do Adventure Cycling’s Sierra Cascade Route all the way to the Mexican border but we really don’t have the time so I’m going to go as far as I can get by September 8 or so.

Tonight I’m just outside of Packwood, WA and the weather forecast is for rain tonight and 100% rain all tomorrow. Heavy rain. Dammit. I can handle wind and heat and steep mountain passes but I cannot handle riding in the rain. I guess I’ll just have to get a motel room and wait it out. I can hear Mary now: “What? Lief staying in a motel?” (I always gave her a hard time about renting motel rooms on our previous rides.)

I’ve been on the road two days. Rode 85 miles yesterday and 90 miles today climbing 3000-ft passes each day. I’d say it’s going well. I jury-rigged my road bike to fit panniers and learned that you want a stiffer frame than my bike has for panniers. The frame flexes like wet spaghetti so I have to take it easy. I’ve learned to compensate.

The neato innovation on this trip is my super-powerful flashing tail light which I have hooked up to a solar panel so it charges as I ride (although not in the rain). I show up like an ambulance with that thing flashing although that didn’t stop some a–hole from nearly killing my today. I was crossing a bridge on the climb to White Pass. There was zero shoulder. I’m in the middle of the bridge when I hear somebody behind me lay on the horn. I was over as far as I could get – what more could I do? The guy was hauling a large boat and he never even slowed down. Just kept his horning blaring until he had passed. The on-coming traffic was sensible enough to stop before coming onto the bridge so he had plenty of room to move over – but he didn’t. He roared on by within inches of me. A–hole. I was hoping he’d stop somewhere up ahead because I would have told him what I thought of him. No such luck.

Last night I camped in Yakima Canyon and there were bears out. I took a photo of my neighbor trying to escape:

Just kidding.