So I’m Standing with a Strange Man and His Chainsaw…

Image: On the kitchen window ledge at Jimmy’s. Yyyyeeeessss.

Ha ha. But really.

And he is pointing out to me parts of it that determine the width of the cut and the something-something-I-am-not-really-paying-attention-anymore (as I noted, I am not a mechanically minded person).

This is Jimmy, holding the chainsaw, and he operates his home as the Rainforest Hostel somewhere along the 101 between Forks and Kalaloch. He is maybe in his 70s, sun-browned, and gray scraggly-haired, and he has asked me simply to spot him as he downs a dead tree on his property. I stop boiling the water for my dinner (more tuna mac) and join him in the front yard.

Yes, we are alone on his property. Yes, it is large and woodsy. But I’m an over-trusting idiot who, just an hour or so prior, listened to 20 minutes of his praise for Bernie Sanders and related philosophies, did my 15 minutes of yard work as part of my donation to the hostel’s upkeep, and made myself quite at home already in the first indoor space I’d stayed in almost a week.

And I’m writing this, so clearly, everything worked out a-okay. In fact, I wish I’d had more time with Jimmy—and with the other interesting folks who happened upon his hostel that night: my roommate Rose, a Swiss couple, and four kids from Ohio who rolled in late.

I came to the Rainforest Hostel out of necessity, the first snafu in my itinerary coming to fruition when I realized I should have made reservations at the popular Kalaloch Campground. Oops. My younger sister, Celeste, found Jimmy, and set me up for Saturday night. I showered, slept soundly, ate well, and rolled away merrily early this morning to reach the little resort town of Quinault. So it all worked out quite well after all, and I got in some rest I probably needed after two heat-wave-roasted and wildfire-smoke-filled days. Now, a couple of beers in at the Quinault Lodge and anticipating a shower soon, I feel pretty great. Onward, yeah?

Calf cairns, crafted while killing time at the lovely Ruby Beach before check-in at Jimmy’s.
Cairns out of soap bar remains (at Jimmy’s—where else?).
Jimmy’s front door, on the right side of history. Woodpile in the reflection.

6 Replies to “So I’m Standing with a Strange Man and His Chainsaw…”

  1. Another great “story day.” Thanks. Enjoyed the pictures and am pretty sure I’d like Jimmy. And, as it turned out, I’m glad he was there for you.

  2. Some actors/actresses are born to ride a bike like no other, at least in the land of movies. Lamberto Maggiorani comes to mind though I can’t remember if he ever really does any riding while looking for the thoughtless thief who stole his bike. Of course, no acting bicyclist can ever top Margaret Hamilton’s Elmira Gulch. Perfect form. Determined. Impervious to any weather, even a tornado. Neither Jimmy at the hostel nor any other “character” to come along your way would give Elmira pause.

    Other people are born to ride a bike faster and farther, and certainly with more lucrative results but they often tend to have an affinity with PEDs. “Hello, some Tour de France riders.”

    But nobody I’ve read is better than you at this trifecta of riding a bike and writing about riding a bike and, in the process, seamlessly writing so well about one’s human heart.

    1. Thank you, Uncle Dick. That means a lot. And thanks, too, for the Elmira Gulch tip. Gotta look into that seeming badass lady with some of my evening hours….

      1. Don’t bother. You couldn’t ever look, sound or ride like Margaret Hamilton’s Ms. Gulch. And that’s a good thing.

  3. What a story. Things like that happened to me when I was in my 20’s and hitchhiking/hosteling through Europe –tho not on a bike!
    I ran into so many great people and places.
    Go Serena and Go Jimmy!

    PS I have been wondering how you were surviving the heat –but did not know about the fires.

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