Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Enumclaw is for lovers.

Day one slides away, leaving me safely nestled in my tiny pup tent, watching the stars while I listen to the nighttime songs of the neighborhood dogs and cows. I'm camped in the back 40 of ThunderMountain Middle School's voluminous recreational fields, surrounded by Enumclaw farmsteads.

My first day was a good one, despite a continuous headache. The scenery was lovely, and I was thrilled that KC keeps a segregated recreational path parallel to route 169. My scariest moments came while leaving Renton on 169, before finding the trail. Nasty truck traffic. The trail follows the Cedar river, so offers many opportunities to dip. I took a swimming break where I met a friendly swimmer named Chris with all the signs of a chronic meth habit. He offered that he's lived his whole life in the area, and kept up a constant stream of chatter about the history of that particular swimming hole, wild ferrets, his broken truck, his BMX bike. I would have swam longer, but frankly I was afraid of leaving any of my gear out of site around him, friendly though he was.

Renton was a pleasant surprise. I have always thought primarily of Renton as "that place where the Ikea is," but its downtown still bears the vestiges of quaint small town charm. I enjoyed sweet doughnut peaches at its mid-week farmer's market.

I covered a bit less distance than I'd hoped, only 36 miles. According to my bike computer, I peddled for under four hours today; even with all my breaks, that seems questionably low, but hopefully I'll soon hit my stride. At least I'll get an early start tomorrow. My top speed today was 43.9 mph going down a hill, and I can not truly impart to you the terrifying thrill of doing highway speeds while dressed in thin bike clothes with a hundred pounds of wobbly gear at your back.

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