We begrudgingly left the campsite by the beach and headed slightly inland to ride around a bay before we would rejoin the open ocean. The low tide on the bay revealed green sludge stretching all the way to the horizon. Signs near by warned that shellfish found in the area was not safe to eat and the offensive, fishy, odor confirmed. Brenton picked up a rock and threw it into the cesspool. It landed with a sucking plop into the muck and about an inch away from where the rock had disappeared from view a thin fountain of water squirted from what must have been a clam startled by the stone.
It was chilly, misty, gray; the type of day that you would expect on the Washington coast and that we had grown used to. We had lucked out the night before, with the sunshine on the beach in a state park. Now we only had the promise of a long day of riding and another K.O.A. at the end.
We found a bike path that took us in the direction that we wanted to go, and a gentleman riding in the opposite direction called out, "You guys passing through?" We warily replied yes, without slowing down, but he stopped and asked if we knew where we were camping yet. We said we weren't sure. He proceeded to tell us about a campsite at the edge of the next town that had tent camping for five dollars, and we thanked him sincerely and rode on with smiles on our faces. Things were looking up.
Across the road, I spotted a sign for fresh seafood and called out to Brenton that we should get some fish. Without hesitation, he darted left and we ended up with a two pounds of fresh tuna for twelve dollars that had just been caught that afternoon and had come into the store thirty minutes prior to our purchase. We had happened upon this little market just in time, as the amiable woman at counter was just about to close up.
We rode a short distance and found the campsite, just as the friendly local on the bike path had described it. It was a long boat dock stretching into the bay; a grassy area with a picnic table under a tree in between the water and the large, gravel parking lot. Sure enough, a sign advertised tent camping for five dollars and we gratefully put a five in an envelope and into the drop box.
We cooked our fish and let the girls run around freely as there was no one else around. Only one fisherman used the dock all evening. He politely inquired after our ride and wished us luck. Dinner was delicious and the sun broke through the cloud cover.
There was no where to build a fire, so our entertainment for the evening was watching Mary dive off the dock after her ball. As the tide went out, we could actually see the current swiftly moving water and debris out of the bay, and with it, MJ's momentarily forgotten ball. She caught sight of it floating towards the sun in the distance and whimpered, at first softly, but as the ball floated further and further away from the dock, she became more and more agitated and finally decided that she wasn't going to let it go. After pacing the dock and leaning over the side hesitantly with frantic yipping and whining, she belly flopped into the water and kicked with the tide, her tail swishing from side to side at the surface of the water like a rudder. Mary loves to swim and would paddle around all day if we let her, but I have to admit I was a little bit nervous with the distance that she swam that night. She recovered the ball a ways down bank from us and triumphantly trotted back on to the dock, shaking water off with an extra flutter of her hind end, just in case I wasn't wet enough already.
We watched the sun set over the bay with a pastel display like I had never seen before that no picture could capture. The water glowed with the pink reflection of the sky and drenched everything to the west with a baby blanket but left the town to the east to fade into the hills with the soft and sleepy grays of establishments built only for the ocean that themselves seem to sway with the lapping of salt water at the edges of the docks.
As the sun put on his fantastical disappearing act, it sucked all the warmth in the air behind the trees with it and the coldest night of the trip made the wet dogs shiver as they laid on the dock next to us, huddled in all our warmest clothing. A sea lion popped his head out of the water every now and then, looking right at me with dark eyes. Although he eluded our camera, I had a feeling he would be back in the morning.