Stealth Thanksgiving

Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010
Under beautiful, partly sunny skies, left Florence and headed for Coos Bay, 50 miles away. Here I am taking a break next to a little bucolic lake:

Between Florence and North Bend, Highway 101 skirts Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America. Unfortunately, the dunes are all open to dune buggies and ATVs, so the whole area is overrun with hicks in pickup trucks towing their stupid man-toys in to wreak havoc on what would otherwise be a serene wilderness area. The dunes are scarred with tire tracks and the incessant drone of ATV engines. Tragic, really.

Here's a scarred dune just north of North Bend:

And the bridge into North Bend:

Coos Bay is just south of North Bend and, figuring I'd camp for the night because of the decent weather, I stopped at a Safeway along the way. Riding up to the entrance, I recognized a cyclist already there––it was Her Majesty's Royal Bicyclist, Nathan.

Nathan has been "stealth" camping all along his trip (rain or no) and I figured I could pick up a few tips from him, so we set off to find a state park in which we could stealth camp.

Stealth camping refers to camping either in an undesignated location (ie. private property, city/county/state/national parks, etc.), or in a designated area but without paying the requisite fee.

Just south of the little town of Charleston, a tiny fishing community, we found Sunset Bay State Park and an adequate spot to pitch camp.

Here's a market in Charleston:

And a photo Nathan took of our tents (mine's the further one):

And the bay next to which we camped:

It was one of my more memorable Thanksgivings. It would've been better if my little homemade penny stove hadn't kept going out, but I was eventually able to cook a delicious meal of veggies and rice with bacon. So take your turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy and cranberries and shove 'em down your pumpkin pie-hole!

Happy Thanksgiving!

My first encounter with a fellow touring fellow

Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010
Needing to pick up a couple of things at Fred Meyer and get my bike cleaned and lubed (Riding in the rain, the water and road grit and grime wreak havoc on the chain and derailleurs.), I stayed another day in Florence.

Riding back from Fred Meyer, I happened upon the first touring cyclist I've yet seen. Nathan:

Nathan hails from Reading, UK, and is riding from Prudoe Bay, Alaska down to Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina. 18,000 miles! Jeez, makes my ride look like a little jaunt around the block!

We chatted for a bit, exchanged website info and bid each other adieu.

Nathan's website: http://velofreedom.wordpress.com/

Yachats to Florence

Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010
Awoke to two inches of snow on the ground in Yachats. By late morning it had melted enough that I was able to depart for Florence.

Shot this video south of Yachats (Click the YouTube logo in the lower right to watch it larger, then click 360p below the video to select a larger size, then the arrows button next to it to expand. This can be done with any video on my blog.):


Found the Landmark Inn in Florence––an incredibly nice hotel (It looks like a small group of condos.)––for a better rate than most of the motels I've stayed in. Viva la off-seasoné!

How to make time slow down

Monday, Nov. 22, 2010
Feeling much better in my "bike-saddle region," this morning I headed south.

Shot this video when the rain let up as I rode along the coast from Lincoln City to Yachats:

(I was right about the pelicans––they're California Brown Pelicans. They're going to Palm Springs to spend the winter sitting next to the pool and playing golf. But I was wrong about the rock––it's basalt, not andesite. Still volcanic.)

Today I was thinking, I started this trip only three weeks ago? It's amazing me how much time has slowed down since I started. November 2nd seems like two months ago.

I suspect the perception of plasticity of time has to do with the fact that speed is relative. Fruit flies, because they're cruising around having a variety of new experiences, probably feel like they have long lives. And 2,000 year old Sequoias, because they're sitting doing nothing; every day/month/year/century just like the last, feel like their lives are painfully short.

Wait, this is common knowledge, isn't it?

Tonight I'm at the Ya'tel Motel in Yachats (YAH-hots; rhymes with straw rots). Here's the sign in front of the motel:

"Situations"

Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010
For the past three days I've been staying at the Motel 6 in Lincoln City, Oregon, allowing certain parts of my body to recover. A day or two after leaving Seattle/SeaTac, I started developing a "situation" in my "southern hemisphere" and it was making riding uncomfortable. It had gotten to the point where I would have to stop sitting on the saddle long enough to heal. (Bike saddles are not called "seats." No idea why.) The dilemma was whether I should wait it out down here, or come home for up to a week. Either option would cost a few hundred dollars (motel and food expenses vs. bus/train and food expenses). I decided to stay here.

The good news is I think it worked. I haven't ridden the bike since Thursday and am feeling pretty good. Except for the other "situation" I've developed in my head––a slight head cold. This doesn't concern me so much because I know the cold will be gone within a few days.

Tomorrow morning I'm leaving, heading south. The question to be answered is whether my "bike-saddle-region situation" will return. If it does, I don't know what I'll do. Maybe go home and try to find a winter job. (Of course, there's always work cleaning and waxing the Tours NW coaches, right Dan?)

I'm fairly confident I'll be able to continue on the bike.

My other concern now is budgeting my finances well enough to make it another four months. I've been spending way too much money and will need to do quite a bit of camping and warmshowers.org-ing for the next couple of months.

Last night at 1:35 I was startled awake by another "situation"; the deafening beeping/buzzing of the hotel fire alarm. Fortunately it wasn't raining as everyone had to evacuate the building until the all-volunteer fire department stumbled out of bed (or the bar), drove down to the fire station, got the truck, drove to the Motel 6, established the cause of the alarm, judged the hotel safe, and shut off and reset the alarm.

We were outside for about 40 minutes.

While most of the fat hotel guests stood around smoking cigarettes, holding their yippy lap dogs and eating junk food that they'd apparently stashed in their cars for just such an eventuality, I went for a walk. Yes, I am better than all of them. Actually, I walked about a third of a mile down to the convenience store and bought Skittles (since I didn't have a car with emergency rations and wasn't comfortable asking the chain-smoking woman with a missing front tooth if I could have some of her Doritos).

Here's the Motel 6 where it feels like I've been for about two weeks:

And the view from the hotel looking down Hwy 101:

Here's the view of the ocean from the Motel 6 entrance:

Temperatures here are low to mid-40s. Monday night there's a chance of snow with Tuesday high temps in the mid-upper 30s. Don't know what this will do to my mobility. Guess we'll find out!

McMinnville to Lincoln City

Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010
After leaving McMinnville in the rain, rode for about an hour before the sun came out. I shot this in the area SW of McMinnville:

The odometer had started at 0 at Cape Flattery/Neah Bay and here just hit 500 miles. One-tenth of the way to Key West!

Once in the mountains (Oregon Coast Range), the rain started again and this time it came with a vengeance. It was my first torrential downpour. With hail.

You know how your shoe feels when you step into a puddle up to your ankle? That's how my feet felt within 5 minutes of the downpour. Water also quickly found its way into my rainpants and jacket.

The temperature had dropped to 39° (from about 50° when the video was shot). All I could do was keep pedaling, thinking about getting to a hot shower and into warm, dry clothes!

Fortunately, my panniers kick ass and didn't permit a drop of water in. All six of them are Ortliebs.

By the time I arrived at Motel 6 in Lincoln City the rain had stopped but I was still soggy and chilled. Once again, it was so incredible getting out of the wet and into dry clothes!

Portland to McMinnville

Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010
With the threat of an incoming storm, I packed up and prepared to strike out for McMinnville, 48 miles to the southwest. But first I got a picture of Sarah as she was leaving for work (She's a school teacher.) with the girls:

Initially, the weather was okay; a few drops but mainly just cloudy.

Just before the town of Sherwood, I stopped at Willamette Valley Cyclery to see about getting a bit of oil on my chain, which was starting to get squeaky. Earl was very friendly and helpful and we chatted a bit about bike touring. Thanks Earl!

Leaving WVC Bicycles, the rain started. And gusts of headwind. It was nasty.

But, soaking wet, 5 hours later I was in McMinnville at a nice old hotel called Hotel Oregon. The main floor of the hotel is a McMenamins pub and after that ride and changing into dry clothes, settling into a booth there with food, coffee and wine was almost bordering on ecstasy.

What's making these cold, miserable, wet rides almost worth it is what has become the nearly transcendent pleasure of changing into dry clothes and consuming (warm!) food and drink.

Tomorrow I'll leave for Lincoln City.

Still in Portland

Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010
I had a couple of things I needed to pick up in Portland, so I asked Sarah and Jason if they wouldn't mind me staying one more day. They reluctantly obliged. I'm kidding; they graciously obliged. No, enthusiastically obliged. No, generously. Anyway, they obliged.

So today I went to a great sporting goods/ outdoor gear store called Next Adventure. If you're in Portland, it's definitely worth a visit. (It's like REI, but with better prices.) I needed to get a lighter-weight sleeping bag––one that was smaller, too. Purchased the Marmot Helium bag.

I also had made the naïve choice to bring my Nikon N90 SLR camera with an extra lens and 6 rolls of film as well as my digital camera. Oops. So at a photo store in Portland I picked up a Canon S95 that would replace both.

I figure the lighter gear as well as the decision to shed my water filter drops about 6 or 7 lbs. from my total weight. And, it allowed me to get that Thermarest off my front rack and into the trunk bag, thereby making my front end a bit less wobbly. Ahh.

While in downtown Portland I found a whole block that had a wooden sidewalk (or is it a boardwalk?):

When I saw this street sign I remembered hearing that Matt Groening, creator of the Simpsons, had grown up in Portland and used some of the street names and locations for characters and places in the show:

Tonight we all went to a bistro that had great food and probably the best french fries in the world!

Here's a picture I took of Jason with Irie and Ruah:

Bike City, USA!

Monday, Nov. 15, 2010
The big Lewis and Clark Bridge spans the Columbia River between Longview, WA and Rainier, OR. Here 'tis:

Riding up the Washington side of the bridge, I took this photo of logs waiting to be loaded onto ships, trucks and trains:

At around 10:40AM I crossed from Washington into Oregon. There's a simple sign over the roadway at the apex of the bridge that says "Entering Oregon." Unfortunately, because of the rain and the dangerous conditions (narrow shoulder with traffic whizzing past), I was unable to get a photo of the sign. So I got the next best thing; the 'Welcome to Oregon' sign at the south end of the bridge:

Arriving in Oregon, one suddenly finds beautiful, wide, designated bike lanes:
I'll enjoy these while I have them!

Just out of Rainier, found this log train:

Then the drenching mist began and lasted for about an hour and a half as I rode US-30 toward Portland. The rain let up around the town of St. Helens and it was quite nice when I rode into BIKE CITY, USA!

Portland prides itself on being the most bike-friendly city in the United States and riding through town, it's hard not to notice: Most roads have designated bike lanes. Approaching intersections, many bike lanes become green, alerting drivers to stay away. (Seattle now has a couple of these.) Nearly every business has bike racks out front and many street corners even have rows of bike racks taking up a whole car-size, curbside spot on the street. Lots of bike shops. Lots of people on bikes (although nothing like some European cities). And cars and trucks seem to be more cognizant and respectful of bicyclists than in Seattle.

I rode over the Willamette River heading east on Burnside to the Laurelhurst neighborhood where my sister's friends Sarah and Jason live with their two daughters, Ruah and Irie.

Jason and I walked over to Whole Foods to get ingredients for dinner and he gave me a tour of all the cool little businesses and establishments in their neighborhood.

Back at the house Jason made a fantastic stir-fry for dinner and they introduced me to a wonderful WA wine called Rusty Boar. (Currently available at your local Whole Foods for only $10!)

A big problem with this trip, I'm finding, is that after working so hard to get to a destination it is exceedingly difficult to pick up and move again the next morning! I'm finding myself wanting to stay and enjoy the area.

Portland is especially hard to leave. Partly thanks to Sarah and Jason's hospitality.

Chehalis to Longview

Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010
After my brief recuperation in Chehalis, I set out for Longview. The night before, I had written out turn-by-turn directions to Longview, but just a few miles south of Chehalis I found one of the major routes on my itinerary closed for construction. No problem, I'll just go down this road which looks like it runs in a southerly direction. Oops. It started off southerly but soon veered east, and because of the cloudy (occasionally rainy) conditions I was unable to use the sun to determine east from south.  After a while of going the wrong way, I asked a man in his yard what was up ahead. "Onalaska. You're going east." Crap. Fortunately, he gave me directions back to my intended route, and after 11 extra miles, I was back on track toward Toledo, Castle Rock and Longview.

Passing under I-5, here was a different perspective of the familiar bridge over the Cowlitz river:

Under the bridge there was this little outhouse:
Wait, what's that on the concrete block down to the left?







Why, it's the lower third of a deer leg!! (I suppose status quo for this part of the country?)

And then there was lots of this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

And cattle feeding alongside the road:

And here's downtown Toledo (during rush hour):

Entering Castle Rock:
(The second sign says "Churches of Castle Rock" and lists 11 churches! I think that's more churches than Seattle has.)

Here's downtown Castle Rock:

The Cowlitz river (w/ fishermen):

Passed this 'fixer-upper' a few miles north of Longview:
Fascinating to me to think that decades ago (110 years?), somebody took great pains to build this house (with ornamentation), maybe in it raised a family or two, cared for it, had Thanksgiving dinners, etc. And now it's nothing but shelter for a few wild critters.

Arrived in Longview at the Hudson Inn motel. Will leave Washington tomorrow.

Hunkered down in Chehalis

Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010
Friday morning, under cold, sunny skies, after getting a late start due to mapping (Writing down all the turn-by-turn directions from Google Maps is time-consuming! Try it yourself: Get [Bicycle] directions in Google Maps from Olympia to Chehalis. See?) and a brake adjustment at Bike Stand (Great bike shop, by the way, if you're in Olympia.), I set out for Chehalis.

Oh, but first I took a photo of Dana and Sadie out in front of their house:
(Reminds me of a Lands' End catalog photo.)

Dana was absolutely terrific. I swear there must be a warmshowers.org protocol that all hosts must abide by! Each one has been so gracious, accommodating and friendly. Amazing.

I'd originally planned on going 63 miles to Castle Rock but when I rolled out of Olympia at noon-ish, I decided I'd find a place to stop in Chehalis, about half the distance to Castle Rock. Besides, I was feeling a bit spent from my 70+ mile ride the day before. I'm still not in very good shape and my bottom hasn't toughened up yet.

Passing through Centralia, I stopped to get a photo of Campbell Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge, which was my grandfather's, then uncle's car dealership:.

Don't know who owns it now, but I've fond memories of visiting my grandpa at this dealership 30-some years ago. Back then it was Campbell Chevrolet/Cadillac.

Seems odd, me being sort of anti-car, that I have family in the car business. The other "Campbell" dealership is my other uncle and cousins' Campbell Nelson VW/Nissan dealership in Edmonds.

Truth be told, I have a love-hate relationship with cars; I love driving, love road-trips, love tooling down the road with a cup of coffee while listening to This American Life, love the new-car smell, love classic cars, etc. At the same time I hate what cars do to us; isolating us from each other––perpetuating the chronic social isolation in our society, enabling us to avoid exercise in the form of walking or bicycling, contributing to our laziness and obesity. Too, I hate what cars do to the environment; polluting the air, scarring the landscape with freeways and gas stations and drive-thrus and Aurora Ave. and Walmart parking lots and bridges and tunnels and parking garages and scrap yards and Jiffy Lubes and Car Toys and used-car lots, contaminating the ground and water with oil and gasoline and anti-freeze and millions of tons of tiny tire bits (Ever think about how much tire you've lost when your tires are worn down? And where do those millions of tons of rubber and petroleum crap go?), creating constant noise (How increasingly rare it is to be somewhere where the ubiquitous white noise of cars and trucks is not audible.)

Sometimes I fantasize about what a car-less culture would look and sound and feel like. Would people ride horses? Would there be huge indoor or sheltered bicycle-parking areas? Covered walking and biking paths everywhere? More food vendor carts and restaurants with storefront seating? Thinner, fitter people?

Anyway, I arrived at the Relax Inn in Chehalis and decided, partly because of the good rates and the clean condition of the motel, that I'd spend an extra day here letting my body and butt recuperate.

So Saturday (today) I slept in, had a late breakfast, mapped my route to Longview, bought groceries at Safeway, watched Raising Arizona and updated the blog. Tomorrow morning I'll leave for Longview, ~46 miles away and the last stop before leaving Washington.

Departure Day 2.0

Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010
After two days of procrastination (I was originally planning on leaving Tuesday, the 9th), I rallied my will, took a deep breath and set out again.  It was SO difficult to leave! The thought that I could delay the departure just one more day was painfully enticing. What helped was the knowledge that so many people are expecting me to do it; like I'd somehow be letting them (you!) down.

So, with the mercury hovering right around 36°F, at 8:20AM, I set out.

You don't know how close I came to turning around and going back home; mulling excuses for why I couldn't go: There's a problem with my bike; I'm just not cut out for a journey like this; It isn't the right time of year, etc.

But I kept going. In spite of the fact that I've got a weight problem––not personally, but on my bike. I'm going to have to ship some stuff back home. I'm carrying about 70 lbs. of gear, approximately 15 lbs. of it in camping gear I didn't have with me on the Olympic Peninsula leg. It's a problem. When I get to Portland I'm going to have to trim some fat: get a smaller, lighter tent and sleeping bag, shed the water filter and camping knife, etc.  I figure I can probably safely cut about 10 lbs. of weight. 60 lbs. is not unreasonable for a solo, self-contained tour.

Here's a photo of me as I set out:

Despite the cold, the morning was beautiful. Riding through old Puyallup, I passed the Meeker Mansion. Completed in 1890, this is the home where Ezra Meeker and his wife lived for about 20 years:

Ezra is one fascinating character. We have Ezra Meeker to thank for the remnants of the Oregon Trail being preserved and protected to this day. Read more about him here.

About 4.5 hours into my ride today, it started raining. But about 5 minutes before, I snapped these pics in downtown Roy, WA:



After a miserable 2.5-hour ride in the chilling rain, along highways 507 and 510, with cars and trucks spraying me with water and road grime, the rain abated and I shot this video:
video

As soon as I'd shot that video, I realized that today is Veteran's Day and the statue in the background is dedicated to the fallen soldiers of WWI. Here's a photo of the statue:

The inscription on the pedestal reads;
TO THE MEMORY OF THE CITIZENS OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN THE SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES DURING THE WORLD WAR 1917-1918

Tonight I'm in the guest room of Dana and Dudley Doss just a few blocks from the capital building here in Olympia. Tomorrow I ride to Castle Rock. Supposed to be better weather tomorrow. I hope!

Save the Boobs

Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010
At our company party on Saturday, Kim revealed that in addition to being a (phenomenal) tour guide, she makes uniforms and outfits for dance squads and the like. She brought a pair of hot pink hot-pants to show and mentioned that she thought Bryan should wear them on his bike trip to raise awareness for breast cancer. This got big laughs, of course, but put me in the awkward position of appearing unwilling to support breast cancer awareness because I said I wouldn't wear them on my ride.

Of course, I do support breast cancer awareness (Almost as much as I support breast awareness. And breast support awareness.), so I decided for the sake of the worthy cause, I would post a picture of myself wearing the shorts. But I went one further: I got a full back tattoo to support breast cancer awareness.

Don't believe me? Here's the proof:
In all seriousness, please do consider becoming involved in helping to find a cure for breast cancer! Susan G. Komen For the Cure is a great organization. Click the link, then 'Get Involved' or 'Donate'.

Back home

Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010
Fortunately, Saturday morning dawned cloudy but dry. After a great pancake breakfast (Kate had gone out that morning and picked up gluten-free pancake mix! She knew I try to avoid gluten and dairy––more on that later.), I set off for Seattle and SeaTac.

Rather than ride all the way around Puget Sound, I rode to Bainbridge Island and took the ferry (Is that cheating?) across to downtown Seattle.

I was trying to make it back by Saturday afternoon because the Tours NW end-of-season/holiday party was that evening. It started raining during the last 45 minutes before arriving home, but after a quick shower, I made it to the party. Here I am apparently enjoying my buddy Lance. I seem to be having a better time than Joe:
And these are the Mt. Rainier tour guides:

Sequim to Poulsbo

Friday, Nov. 5, 2010
Friday morning, I set out on the 43 mile trip to Poulsbo.

About two hours in, the rain began. Not so much rain as drenching mist. And because it increased so gradually, I never stopped to put on my rain pants, so that by the time I reached Poulsbo I was completely soaked to the skin. I guess this is what I signed up for.

I found the Nunes' house a few blocks off (quaint) Front Street in Poulsbo and Kate, Ron and Elizabeth to welcome me. Oh, and Dart, the most energetic dog I'd ever seen!  Dart is a French Brittany, and here he is gamely modeling his Halloween costume:
The Nune family could not possibly have been more gracious, easygoing, friendly and accommodating. What a treat after such a wet, miserable ride. Kate cooked an amazing meal and over dinner they told me all about their 2006 cross-country bike trip on a triple-tandem! They were moving from Jacksonville, FL to Poulsbo, WA and instead of driving or flying out like most people would, they decided to ride a bicycle! Hurray! They have a gorgeous hardback photo-book documenting their amazing trip and after dinner they shared it with me. Very inspiring!

Here are Ron, Kate, Elizabeth and Dart:
Such great people.

This is the thing that has most thrilled me on this trip; the great people along the way: Jim, Larry, Debbie, Jackie, Courtney, the Nunes. If this is a harbinger of what's to come, I'm in for an incredible next few months!

Here're a few photos of the Norwegian-themed Front St. in Poulsbo:

Warmshowers.org

Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010
Before leaving Port Angeles on Thursday morning I tooled around a bit downtown snapping a few photos of the waterfront area. This is where the Port Angeles to Victoria ferry departs:
Just as I was about to set out for Sequim, I stopped at the Visitor Center along the waterfront to grab a brochure about local Olympic Peninsula activities when an elderly gentleman walked up to me and said, "I had to come talk to you because you're on a bicycle.  I used to do quite a bit of bicycling myself when I was younger." We got to talking about bicycling and all the changes in equipment and clothing, then the history of P.A. (as the locals refer to Port Angeles) and the logging industry, then aircraft from B-29s to the Spruce Goose to U2s and SR-71s to Boeing 747s and 787s, then Seattle and the region's super-wealthy like the McCaws and the Gates.

The gentleman's name was Larry and he was quite the incredible character. He had been in the Air Force and served as the Flight Engineer on B29s out of England during the Korean War.

He was very proud of his two kids who had done very well for themselves: His son was a cameraman for CNN with intimate contact with the President and the Oval Office. His daughter was married to a powerful (wealthy) attorney (One of the Exxon Valdez oil-spill attorneys!) who was friends with Bruce McCaw.

Larry told me about his Segway transport (!) on which he's travelled about 1,000 miles (!?) and about his long career with the highway department operating road graders and tractors. But best of all, his birthday had been a few days prior and some friends had given him a birthday card, so he was carrying it around and showing it to people. He loved that the cover had a picture of a dog on a bike. Here's a picture of me with Larry proudly displaying his beloved birthday card (and that pristine Toyota truck is Larry's, too):
So, much delayed (but for good reason), I set out for Sequim.

The Olympic Discovery Trail runs from P.A. all the way to and through Sequim and is a nice paved trail first along the waterfront, then through rolling hills and farms.

Leaving P.A. along the Trail, I noticed three river otters in the water curiously observing me as I passed. When I stopped, they came closer, obviously very intrigued with this odd wheeled creature. I got a couple of good photos of them as they kept coming closer:

When I'd arrived in P.A. Wednesday evening, I had emailed a couple of people on a website called warmshowers.org. This is a networking site set up for touring cyclists whereby members offer lodging and services to fellow cyclists. My co-worker, Robb, had hipped me to it a while ago and I decided I'd give it a shot. So on Wednesday evening I emailed the only person in Sequim who was listed on warmshowers.org: A woman named Courtney. She replied right away and said, "Sure, I've a couch you can use. Come on over." Wow; suddenly I had a place to stay in Sequim! I emailed a couple of people in Poulsbo regarding Friday evening. Kate replied: "Yes, we're available and have a guestroom you can use. We'll also plan on dinner if that's okay with you. Just let me know if you have any dietary restrictions." Wow! This was unbelievable. Thanks Robb!

The ride from P.A. to Sequim was only about 20 miles. Here's a video of me on the Olympic Discovery Trail passing through farmland:
video
I'd seen something online about a coffee shop in Sequim called 'The Buzz' and arriving in town, suddenly there it was:
Inside, I met Jackie the local customer (actually a care-giver from P.A.) and Debbie the barista, two of the friendliest, most adorable gals. I really enjoyed talking to them. Here they are:
A couple of miles out of town I found Courtney's house. Courtney was very laid-back and affable. She poured me a much-appreciated glass of wine, served me a bowl of great vegetable/lentil soup (What do you mean you can't cook?!) and we talked of travel and Africa and the sea-changes towns like Sequim are experiencing. If this is what warmshowers.org offers, I'm completely sold.

Here're Courtney and Emma: