Day 8: Shelton to Elma

24 September 2011

I ate breakfast at the diner right next to the inn.

Looking a couple of days ahead, Long Beach, WA was about 120 miles out. Ordinarily I would have felt fine covering that in two days of riding. But a couple of days of rain were coming up, and Long Beach is preceded by a gap of 40 miles with no services, and I would not have wanted to get stuck in the middle of that interval at the end of a day. So I decided to take it easy, taking two days to get to the beginning of the gap, at South Bend, and then taking another day to jump the gap.

This meant that I could stay in Elma tonight. The Grays Harbor Hostel is there, and I was trying to make it a point to hit every hostel I could along the route. Even so, Elma was only 26 mi from Shelton, so I decided to take the scenic route.

Outside of Shelton

I took W Cloquallum Rd, a quiet back road, towards Schafer State Park.

Some lonely trees

I got a small lunch at a grocery and ate at the park. The park is small enough that you can bike across it in about two minutes. I stopped at the picnic tables and read a book for a couple of hours.

Schafer State Park

After descending to the river valley, I backtracked a bit to get to Elma.

Decommissioned nuclear power plant

The Grays Harbor Hostel is run out of the owner's (Jay's) house, and is a nice and quiet place. And the price is certainly right. One of the amenities is an 18-hole disc golf course, which people come from far and away to play on, apparently.

Disc golf course at Grays Harbor Hostel

I walked to the Rusty Tractor Restaurant and ate a huge dinner (pot roast and pie). Pretty regularly now, I would get a remarkable and profound sense of well-being during and after dinner. Such is the life of a cycle tourist.

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