From an historic old hotel in downtown Astoria now functioning as a youth hostel:
|Downtown Seattle from Pikes Market|
|A Busker at Pikes Market. He was very|
|The gumwall. Gross|
|Space Needle in your Arm|
|Our Hosts in Seattle Kara and Jeff|
Seattle to Shelton; Our 12th and last Ferry ride!! 35 some odd miles??
A 1 hour ferry takes us From Seattle to Bremerton. We meet three kids trying to ride from Vancouver to San Fran. I think trains and buses are going to play a large role in their success. More than they have yet to come to terms with. We have now moved from communities and areas that have had a large yuppie influence to blue collar Washington. Bremerton has that feel. As we head out the roads funnel us onto a short section of a 4 lane freeway. I don’t know if its tailwind, adrenalin or what but for 3 miles we roll at 18 miles an hour on the flats on a busy highway with a shoulder littered with all kinds of crap! Right as our shoulder begins to merge with way too much traffic an escape route magically appears to the right. That route as it turns out is the old two lane hi-way, no longer in service except for local traffic. We escape the mayhem. Whew!!! The rest of our ride is great. Not the best shoulder but a shoulder indeed with light to moderate traffic. And, a tail wind. We ride like gods. Wow, we love tail winds. Some how we miss the rain and the temperature is just right. The kids; we run into in a small town at precisely 4:20, they are experiencing bike drama but still are rather optimistic of their days destination. In their minds they are going to get to the town of Aberdeen tonight. It looks good on paper, but, they don’t seem to realize that Aberdeen is close to 100 miles away, its 4:20 in the afternoon and they have only covered about 15 miles at this point. We tell them that they better get riding. Later, 20 miles later, at about 7:00 pm, at a crappy cheap hotel in Shelton, as we are booking a room in said hotel, they come rolling in. Perhaps a bus to Portland is their new plan. Thats ok with us as they had a certain recklessness [called youth] about them that seemed as though would pull us in if we couldn’t separate ourselves from them. [ I know, I know, I’m an old crumudgin.]
|Mermaid Sculpture at Winery|
The logging town of Shelton to Montesano and Lake Sylvia State Park. 38 miles, max speed- 29. [Terri and Gregs Big Adventure Grooviness factor 1-5] is a 2 . T&GBAD [Difficulty factor 1-5] is a 3
|Washington state Border w/bridge in background|
Like a lot of the campgrounds; to get in them, require a rather steep climb. Except for Seattle some of the steepest roads we’ve seen are getting into or out of campgrounds and this is no exception. As we have experienced many times though the campground is full, the hiker biker sight is not. And, like alot of the hiker biker sights it is close to the amenities but separate from the campground. This one is on a hill over looking the campground making us lords over the grounds. It is 4:20, phone hits to Flynn, and a couple of women walk by and comment “ wow I’ve always wondered what the primitive campsites look like”. And, I say to Terri under my breath; for $15 I’ll give you a tour. And we begin to joke about how when folks walk by well scratch our underarms and hoot and howl like primates. Which leads to the realization that animals and corporations have more rights than US citizens!….They can poop, pee, and fornicate in public. Scream, yell, and raise hell with out any recourse and pretty much; if, so long as your body is covered in hair, you can damn well do as you please.
|The Oregon side of the great bridge. |
Whew! Glad to be off it.
Lake Sylvia state park in Montesano to Grayland State park via Westport. 44 miles, 29 mph max. [Terri and Gregs Big Adventure Grooviness factor 1-5] is a 2 . T&GBAD [Difficulty factor 1-5] is a 1. The road for the first 10 miles is on a highway to Aberdeen a highway we’ve been able to avoid since leaving Seattle, but now, un-avoidable. The only thing good about it is that we must have a tail wind, and aside from the bridges, nice shoulders to ride. At Aberdeen we cross a fairly long bridge over Grays Harbor w/ no shoulder that leads to what has been fairly consistent in the state of Washington; Perfect road riding. We are now on coastal hi-way 101. Except for a few exceptions, for the rest of the way to San Diego. There is a nice shoulder, the road is flat but curvy and the traffic is light. Nice!! For lunch we wind up at a Winery where we sample, purchase, and lounge before heading to Westport and for the first time; the pacific ocean.
Westport and our introduction to the pacific coast is anti-climatic. A fishing town at the end of a treeless wind swept spit. We eat, say hello to the coast, and head down to our camp for the night.
Grayland state park is set up for RV’s and for the first time since we started this trip there isn’t an empty hiker biker site awaiting our arrival. So, we have to rent an RV site and camp in the neighbor hood! But! There is a trail leading to an endless sandy beach where for the first time on our trip the surf is rolling in. the sound of energy. Not unlike the sound of a far off freeway only---different, better, a wholesome sound. We put our backs to a drift log, drink our wine, and 420.……Kirk Out!
Grayland to Bruceport 35 miles. Max Speed, 23 mph. [Terri and Gregs Big Adventure Grooviness factor 1-5] is a 2 . T&GBAD [Difficulty factor 1-5] is a 1 Nice coastal riding. Very little traffic with nice shoulders, views of the Pacific, and inland marshes and meadows. Wild flowers line the road as it wends its way through old fishing and logging communities. The towns; Raymond and Southbend, definitely have that old school blue collar / roughneck feel but both are well kept, clean and neat. Quaint would be the word to describe them. And a little sleepy. Our camp for the night is the Bruceport county park . It has a super cool feel to it. Its small and sits on a bluff overlooking Willapa harbor on the Pacific ocean and the sunset. The park is surrounded by some old growth with maintained grassy areas for tent camping and, nobodys here!! We like this place. We haven’t camped at a bad place yet but this is at the top of our list so far. The weather has been really nice, we become lackadaisical, we don’t put the rain fly on or put our stuff away, in the middle of the night it begins to rain.
Bruce Port County park to Naselle. 25 miles [Terri and Gregs Big Adventure Grooviness factor 1-5] is a 1 . T&GBAD [Difficulty factor 1-5] is a 4 due to rain and head winds.
The rain is warm. Not like Colorado rain where it comes immediately in torrents and the first drop that hits you is like ice that sends shivers right down the spine. No not like that. Its warm, air temperature warm, and not in torrents but a little heavier than mist. A fine rain. The big rain drops come from the trees. What ever moisture is being stored in the branches and needles of the trees; that comes down in torrents when the wind blows, and the wind is blowing. The wrong direction too. In our face as we try to pedal the last 40 miles or so to Astoria Oregon. Marking the end of Washington and beginning of Oregon riding. We wont get there. Not today. It will have to wait cause we’re over it. The wind and the rain that is and we are renting the first motel room we see. But, we have to get there first. So on we ride keeping our faces down towards the pavement. Partly because of concentration and partly to keep the wind from blowing the rain into your eyes. I count each breath to a hundred, and start over trying not to watch the mileage gauge, trying not to watch the time cause neither the time or miles is going by fast enough. Fortunately for me, cause of the rain, the mileage gauge is not working today.
Naselle To Astoria 17 miles
Today the sun shines the ride into Astoria and out of Washington is, as usual, Beautiful. Crossing the 4 mile bridge over the Columbia river cool, but stressful.
We are diggin Astoria. What an Idyllic location on the banks of the Columbia as it enters the Pacific. An historically and geographically important place. Although the city is small the Downtown is large. Bigger than Boulder and it is intact. Meaning there are no malls so the big box stores like J.C. Pennies and Sears occupy downtown storefronts. No wallmart here! 3 Breweries, several bakeries, and old school businesses that you just don’t see anymore. We like it.
Everywhere we have been up here, including the rural logging and fishing towns people show absolute respect for the bicycle and Pedestrian. If you even approach a cross walk or act like you want to get across the street cars just stop for you! Terri and I can not get used to it. The roads all have good shoulders and as soon as you pull into a town no matter the size bike lanes appear. Bike and Ped. Advocacy is alive and well here and Colorado could sure take some notes!!
It has been an absolute pleasure to Ride all through this great North West.
The State Oregon actually produces a pamphlet promoting riding the coast 101 hi-way!! It’s been explained to me that the wonderful shoulders are not just there for the bikes convenience but for safer driving and that the roads that have wider shoulders have less fatal accidents on them cause cars aren’t falling off the white line!
|the columbia River Bridge|