We arose from the campground and were in search of food. We checked out a gas station/ deli across the street who had some good pastries so we stuck with it. After examining the map for a bit, we saw that the easier detour would add another 30 miles to our day. It was too much to consider revising our path, so we continued on our route, knowing it would be a tough day.
Waterville was our first destination, which was about 41 miles away. It took us nearly four hours to make it there from when we set out. These were work days though, we knew what we had coming.
It felt good to have gotten that ride out of the way since it would probably our longest no service stretch for the remainder of the trip. Once in Waterville, we stopped at a grocer to do the usual fruit, etc. we like for lunch stops. We sat outside the store on a bench eating our food. Across the way was an ice cream place, so Paul headed over there for a little lunch dessert shortly after our meal. We filled up our bottles at the next door diner, and after surfing the net for a bit, we got back on the bikes.
We figured we'd make one more stop before the final stretch of the evening, so we just got on and road. We ended up going another 40 miles, not nearly as difficult, to a cool town called Leavenworth. It was a very fun looking little place right before the climb began to Stevens Pass that we wished we had more time to check out.
We ended up stopping at another gas station deli thing. I was quite hungry when I pulled in and made some impulse decisions instead of getting real food. By the time I got a sandwich from the deli, I was halfway full. We also thought milk would be a good choice this time around, so we got a gallon. On top of that, the deli woman gave us some fruit she was going to feed to her pigs. We couldn't turn away free food, so of course we indulged. I ended up having to pack some canteloupe, which is quite heavy.
Before riding towards Stevens pass, we stopped on some benches in front of McDonald's to try to polish off the milk. At this point, Paul stopped helping me, and I wasn't going to see the milk go to waste. I forced down the remainder of the gallon as we talked to some folks who were from Arizona and just thought that it was the best thing in the world what we were doing. Those people are great.
After the milk nearly came up 3 times, I finished off the gallon, and we were on our way. The sun was setting, but we still had ample light and shoulder to make a safe ride for the next 15 miles or so we thought we'd go to camp for the night. When we made it to a little area with a few stores we stopped and inquired where we could camp for the night. I was trying to communicate the fact that we were done riding for the day, but the attendant kept telling me of places that were 5 miles away. We weren't hearing it. Something like, you can camp out back and here's a bunch of free food was more along the lines of what we were thinking.
We gave up on him and went next door to this diner. There were RVs and whatnot behind the place so we thought we might be all right. All you have to do is ask, a lesson I have seen proven true time and time again on this trip. I can't say how many times I've heard "We're not supposed to but…" It was like music to our ears; they would let us camp next to the diner for free. We promised to eat there in the morning.
After setting up the tent on their nice flat garden area right next to the building, the woman who told us we could camp there came out and said something along the lines, "oh I didn't mean there". Oops, we moved it over near the dumpster. Shortly after that move, out comes another employee who mentioned that they sometimes have bears sifting through their trash, and that it might not be a good idea to camp too close to the dumpster. Man, I thought we left the threat of bears in Montana. We couldn't evade these damn things.
We moved the tent a little more and sealed up all our bags nicely and tucked them under this bench that we hoped would be enough of a deterrent for a bear. Excited about the banana pancakes the diner was advertising out front, we went to bed with plans to get up early. We were heading into Lynnwood, a suburb of Seattle, to stay with a warmshowers host family. We would try to make it into town before their evening plans, but it would be tough. One more day until Seattle and a rest day. Fun.
Life was good.