Day 13
June 30, 2001

Yakima, WA to Cle Elum, WA

67.34 miles
13.95 average speed
4:49.37 travel time
9:00am left Yakima
5:00pm arrived in Cle Elum
922.14 total trek miles

Cle Elum is a small valley town in central Washington adorned with pines, log fences, and gravel side roads. We arrived late afternoon after a fine ride from Yakima, whose auto population is not notably topped, as I thought it would be, with racks of the same name. It was nice to arrive early enough to have some time to enjoy the feeling of just sitting and going nowhere. We owe the early arrival to a variety of factors, one of which is not waking up early. I admit our struggle against the rising sun has been completely halfhearted, but I say that only for the convenience of colloquial expression because much more than half our hearts want to sleep in. We've made the conscious mistake of deciding when to wake up when we are the most tired, a habit which will almost always produce a "snooze button" society. It's the same sort of mistake that combines hungry people and grocery shopping: They always end up with too much food in the fridge and we always end up with too much time in the bed, but neither mistake provokes much complaint.

So, with waffles in our stomachs and air in our tires we left the McLaughlin's in Yakima and prepared for what was supposed to be a hilly day. We luckily found an alternate route that avoided the hills of the interstate by following a river up a canyon. That stroke of good fortune made was what was to be a hard day into a happily manageable one. This new road also prohibited large, deadly trucks to profane its pavement, allowing us interrupted contemplation of our fellow rider's back portions. Some of Washington's nature-loving citizens who were floating down the river in rafts and tubes shouted gleeful unintelligibles at us, to which we responded in similar manner, adding perhaps a hoot or a holler for spice.

The day boasted of perfect riding weather: The sun shone through thin, high clouds, producing a cool, passive light. The wind was lightly at our backs, prodding us gently. At Ellensburg, we ate at the local Subway with it seemed half the recently freed high schoolers in the area. From there we took Interstate 90 over a low pass and down into Cle Elum.

A stiff headwind checked our progress down into the valley of Cle Elum, but it was no match for the cold, hard consistency of gravity, which has not yet let us down (forgive the pun). So here we are at the Eastwood family's house, of whom I will tell more later.

  day 14