Even after a good night sleep I was still tired and lacked all motivation to move on. Not sure if my fatigue was due to the smoke or the thought of my trip coming to an end. I also can’t remember my last zero. I had been wrestling with continuing on or returning home after Seattle. I think I had known for a while that I was going to head home after reaching Seattle, but didn’t want to admit it to myself. Rather than spending another night with Deb I opted for a hotel room, using points to book it.
My usual routine for off days is laundry, inventory, resupply, and bike cleaning. In the evening I met Deb and her partner at a bar. He had spent the weekend sailing Lake Chelan. He was an interesting guy that dominated the conversation with his adventures. I attempted to drink a local beer, but once again couldn’t stomach the taste. It was almost 10 when we left. Wenatchee has a bike trail that makes a loop around the river. Even that late it was still busy with activity.
I was just as tired the next day, but wanted to tackle Stevens Pass, the gateway to Seattle. Everything up to the pass would be uphill. I hardly remember riding from Wenatchee to Leavenworth. Leavenworth looked like an old German village. I didn’t stop to browse around because it looked too commercialized for my liking, but they had plenty of other people stopping to spend their money.
From there it was a steady climb. My legs still sluggish I stopped at food truck for an overpriced veggie burger and coconut almond-milkshake. I sat there for 2 hours looking for the energy to push on. I also played with a couple of ground squirrels. They weren’t shy at all about investigating my plate, my bike, or me. One of them was bold enough to sit on my shoulder.
My next stop was the Nason Creek Rest Area. It wasn’t five miles down the road. I had gone 40 miles and was wore out. At the beginning of my trip I would have considered that a good day. Now, 40 miles is just a morning ride. It’s amazing how perception can change. Regardless, I was done for the day. Like rest areas before, this one had volunteers working the concession. And one of them had a razorback shirt on! She was a transplant from Brinkley, AR. We talked a little as I played with her dog, but I was tired and needed a rest.
I scouted around looking for a place to camp. I avoided being anywhere near the signs that said no overnight camping. Not sure why those signs are even there or who enforces it. Around 8 PM motorists start rolling in and they don’t leave until 8 AM. I found a grove of pine trees out of the way and pitched the tent deep enough that it couldn’t be seen from the road. One of the CDT hikers told me to look for pine needle beds to camp on. He said they were warm and would add a layer of comfort, and he was right.