Saturday, October 3, 2015

Washington to Oregon

Friday morning marked out final day in Washington until we return on December 15th. Our tour south along the coast has been extraordinary! Each day we are adjusting to life on the road as our bodies and minds get used to riding every day.
We left Thompson Custom Bicycles late on Friday after a final packing extravaganza. Neither Sierra or I could believe that all of our belongings would actually fit into our four Ortlieb panniers, but when we looked around, there wasn't anything left. Our first arduous task was to get this heavy load up to the top of the steep driveway. We were quickly out of breath, but without a pause, we gave a final wave and set off down the street (and up another hill). 
And we're off!

We weren't in any hurry to get out of town and wound our way through the trail on Evergreen Parkway with a dappled sun piercing through the trees. The day was warm and sunny and after days of sorting, packing and stressing, we were on the road.
Pacing is important on tour. The rhythm of the ride is different from that of everyday life. Sometimes I feel like I'm in a bubble looking out into the busy days people are having and feel like I too should be in a hurry to get somewhere. Then I realize that here and now are the only place and time I need to be. 
Riding South to Raymond WA

We pedal at our own slower pace and eventually we find ourselves at the top the hill and are ready to coast down the other side. It is exciting to see familiar roads at this slow pace and we stop and explore places that I have never taken the time to see before, like a sunny lunch break at a park in McCleary. There is an old steam locomotive on display. It reminded me of our tandem loaded down with gear. The sign indicated that the old engine was reduced to a yard worker because of its faulty designed breaks that weren't powerful enough to stop on the steep grades of the logging operations. This was a fate I hoped our tandem wouldn't share.
Dusk from Bush County Park, with a panoramic view of the day's ride

We have adapted our lives to the sun and haven't needed an alarm clock to get up a 7am each morning. The ocean air is usually thick with fog until late so we warm ourselves with a hot cup of tea and hot breakfast each morning. After a few hours of riding, the sun is out and our bodies are warm and our stomachs start grumbling. Hunger seems to be a constant battle and snacks are a requirement to keep the energy levels high. We break again at noon for lunch and usually again in the afternoon for another snack. Our goal is to get into camp before 4pm to have some time to go for a small walk and start making dinner before it gets dark. We sit out and watch the sun set and warm ourselves next to a fire and watch the stars come out.
Bush County Park

This blissful experience is balanced with the growing pains of riding a bicycle every day. Each morning we put on a damp bicycle clothes, still sweaty from the previous day. Saddle sores and hot spots challenge the time we can spend without a break from riding and our muscles still burn when the climbing starts. We are constantly spurred on with each friendly wave we get and the thumbs up and cheers of encouragement from people we see along the way.
Snack stop in Seaside, Oregon

So far, our trip has been broken down into the following days:
1. Olympia to Lake Sylvia State Park, 45 miles, highlights: beautiful 1.5 mile hike around the lake and awoken by a loud owl in the night.
2. Lake Sylvia to Two Harbors Sate Park, 35 miles, highlights: sunny nap on the beach, beer and pizza at Bog Water Brewing. For those traveling to Westport, we highly recommend a visit.
3. Two Harbors to Bush County Park, 52 miles, highlights: Grayland Cranberry Museum, cycling through cranberry bogs at harvest, pelicans at Tokeland Point.
4. Bush County Park to Cape Disappointment State Park 46 miles, highlights: Willapa Bay, 2.4 mile hike to Lewis and Clark Museum, North Head Lighthouse, Cape Disappointment Lightouse
5. Cape Disappointment to Cannon Beach, 40 miles, highlights: Surviving Astoria bridge, meeting a new friend Jay at
Columbia River Coffee Roasters (bought our coffee and swapped stories of bicycle touring), surviving our first rain showers and arriving at Alan Woods' beach house.
6. Rest Day in Cannon beach. Walk along beach to Silver Point and haystack rock. Good food, clean laundry and excellent company!
The weather forecast looks sunny and the winds are out of the north as we pack up and prepare to continue south. Until next time...

Our wonderful hosts Diane and Alan!

Willapa Bay

Cannon Beach

Plenty of sea anemones in the tide pools

North Head lighthouse at Cape Disappointment


  1. That lighthouse is one of my favorite spots on the coast! Reminds me of Bar Harbor, Maine.

  2. Sounds like a lot of highlights!

  3. Visit again!
    Jay R and Cathy, Astoria, OR