Once we got into Mount Vernon which is just south of Burlington we called Pat and Don to make sure we were not going to get lost, we had 2 small towns to get thru and traffic was heavy. My phone dead now, we had to depend on Siri from Carmen's phone. We ended up taking some feeder roads up to their neighborhood to avoid heavy after work rush hour traffic. This was a golfing community, but our host were not golfers, they just liked the area. With my allergies out of control and my eyes red, Pat ran me to the Pharmacy to get Benadryl. That night we had dinner together with what Pat explained to us was all free food, that their group collects from the markets , such as Safeway and even Starbucks. Their group makes runs throughout the towns to pick up all unsold food from restaurants or vegetable with a slight ding in them that customers will not purchase. It is a very neat program, where the members pay $365 a year, and they get all the food from the stores, but they have to volunteer to go and pick it up and take it to a center where then the members can pick up food as they need it. Pat says her groceries bill is just about nothing all for the price of belonging to this group for a dollar a day, so pretty much their dues cover storage fees for the foods they collect. While Carmen and I ate, Pat sat and talked with us while Don had his weekly bible study group in their house. We were impressed with their energy, both in their 80's and full of energy to run constantly with one project or another. Carmen and I talk about the food project and it is something that we say we will follow up on back home. Don and Pat have done cross country trips and are always taking long trips in their tandem bike. They had just done a ride from Jacksonville, Florida to San Diego , CA. They suggested that we avoid most of the morning traffic leaving their town and head to Anacortes.
Carmen- As we leave Drew and Becky's house I repeat what she told me - You are our First Female Warm Shower guest! I know that there are other women out there cycling and touring, and I can't wait to meet some of them. As we leave out of their driveway - I take a photo of their front yard pine trees and wish I had taken a photo of their backyard with the beautiful view of the flowers, pine trees and sky. The pine trees are a beautiful beginning to what will be one of our longest days of riding. I don't really want to look at the maps and think too much of the actual miles - because I will begin to doubt myself...so when Robert asks me to look at the map on his phone and see where we are going I just glance and look - but put my mind elsewhere. I'm trusting that he will keep us on track and that we will make it to our next destination. He rides faster than I do - so I usually follow behind and just keep peddling. I recall the guy in the woods - trails of Spring Water Texas saying to his students - just keep peddling, when it gets hard, when there is a branch, when there is an incline; just keep peddling and you will get there. These bikes are ment to run over things and keep going. I feel safe on my mountain bike with the big fat mountain tires.....but Robert and Drew were talking about how changing the tires would make it easier for me to climb the hills. I do want to be faster, but not ready for change. I joke and tell Robert that I am just feeling one with my bike....that change of tires may not make me faster. Maybe it's my mind that needs to let go so that I can ride faster. I feel the beauty around me in the trail, the pine trees, the green everywhere! We travel non stop till we get to a little town where we decide to stop at a bakery for coffee and a paestery.
It is at this point that I notice the big black marks on my legs left by the chain grease. Going upthe hills, and the stop and go of traffic has me constantly banging up on my bike. I am not as coordinated as I look - I'm actually quite uncoordinated with sports. The only time I feel coordinated is when I dance.....and that is with a strong partner. I'm discovering that cycling is all about coordination, mental strength and determination. I am determined....before we boarded the plane I told Robert - there will be hard times, but I will not quit. Today I will ride all of the miles knowing that it will end and there will be a place to sleep - because we have a host family expecting us. That thought keeps me going...knowing that at the end of the struggle someone is waiting, someone will be there to hear about our day and understand the emotions of being on a ride. Many of my family members and friends....including myself at first think that I am on a bike ride. I am not on a bike ride - It just hit me today .... I am TOURING! OMG - maybe I don't have the right bike after all. I love researching everything - and I researched bikes AFTER we purchased ours. I discovered that there are different bikes for different types of cycling. I am confidant that no matter the type of bike....the ride will be enjoyed. My last hill before getting to Pat and Don's house is the toughest....I am not able to ride all the way up, so have to get off and push my bike to the top. I get back on and finish the day riding into the garage of their home. We are warmly greeted...like old friends. I am so impressed with their back yard garden and quickly tell Pat that I want to take pictures of her garden. It is so full of colors! A beautiful spot to end our day's ride of 62.5 miles!