Duration: seven days
Average mpd: 72mi
Caught early morning ferry from Seattle to Bremerton. Left Bremerton to ride to Montesanto (near Aberdeen). First leg followed Hood Canal, little traffic, quite scenic. Joined 101 and continued down to Shelton then onto Matlock and finally Montesanto. Here is the route. The back roads via Matlock worked out great, very little traffic, flat. Mileage turned out to be a bit longer than anticipated… from my door to the campsite at Lake Sylvia State Park in Montesanto, so the first day was quite difficult. Was still getting over a cold. Should definitely have done more training rides. In fact, I didn’t really do any. Finished the day exhausted.
Turns out the plan to ride from Montesanto to Astoria in one day was a bit ambitious. Indeed it would have totalled near 90 miles, making it the longest day on my itinerary. I woke up late with many aches in legs and back. So much so that I considered taking a ‘rest day’ after only the first day, given the milage ahead and my condition. However I slowly got myself moving and decided to see how far I could get in the day. Turns out today was the only day with rain, so overall I was quite lucky. Began the ride south on the 107 to Melbourne, then down on the 101 to Raymond. Soon after joining the 101 I noticed my rear wheel was rubbing against my brakes. I pulled over and realized the wheel was severly untrue. I started adjusting the spokes when one snapped, quite easily. Probably, I realized, this was from damage I did to the spokes when overshifting the rear derailliurs when trying out different cassettes earlier in the week. I probably should have known I’d damaged them… pretty stupid. Not knowing how many other spokes were close to giving out, I didn’t want to ride the bike any further. So was stuck half way between Raymond and Melbourne. The rain had ceased by then, at least. I eventually was able to hitch hike. I was picked up by an author/editor, Michael Mohr, who’d spent some months earlier in his life hitch hiking across the country.
There may have been a bike store in Raymond, but I hitched all the way to Astoria. I figured this way I was sure to stay on schedule, and would have a (unplanned, but not entirely unwelcome) rest day. Had my bike fixed at ‘Bike’s and Beyond’. They were quick to fix up the spoke, and didn’t charge me very much for the labor. Was quite happy. They told me I’d damaged a few spokes, and would need to keep an eye on the wheel. I regretted not having front panniers, such that all of my load was on the rear wheel. I continued to the check the wheel throughout the trip – luckily nothing else happened, the wheel and I survived. I made it to the Fort Stevens State Park outside Astoria by 6pm. After eating I had time to explore the park a little bit before dark.
Having had a better night’s sleep and an unplanned rest day yesterday, I felt in much better shape to continue on the trip on schedule. Muscle pain had subsided, and I was fine for the rest of the trip. After reaching Astoria, the remainder of my route would follow the Adventure Cycling/pacific coast route. The entire pacific coastal bike route is signed so that, if you’re really paying attention, in principle you barely need a map. The state parks in most of Oregon also provide hiker/biker campsites for around $6. This is always a great way to meet people doing similar trips to your own. Washington, in contrast, provided no signed bicycle routes (cycling from Seattle to Astoria is obviously not so popular), and provided less well placed and more expensive ($12) ‘primitive’ camp sites, instead of the hiker/biker campsites. Bike tourism seems to be a bigger thing in Oregon than in Washington…
Anyway, ran into a father/son pair who had just completed the
Trans America bike route – from DC to Astoria, some 4200 miles (!). The official TransAm bike ride in fact starts in Astoria and works its way east, having just began a week or two before my trip.
Today was a good day. Rode with wind all day, ran into a couple of cyclists also heading south. Made it to the Cape Lookout State Park without any trouble from my bike. At the park I met a girl, Karen, who had spent the day riding over 100 miles into the wind (coming north). Her goal was to cycle both down and up the pacific coast in her vacation, using it as a way to scope out future towns to live in. Arcada was apparently a candidate… I also ran into an older German man who told me he had spent the last four years on the road. I was unsure exactly what he meant by that, and he proved difficult to get a straight answer from. A short man, sunburnt face, teeth missing, wild hair, drying clothes draped over his bike, broad chest, he definitely looked like a man who lived on his bike. You meet some interested people bike touring.
Continued to ride with wind, made things significantly easier. Travelled with a number of other cycling tourists. A group of three from Seattle, an older Oregonian, George, who had completed the TransAm cycle route in his youth, and was training to do some of again with a friend of his.
Met up with Jenn once made it to Newport/Southbeach. The Southbeach state park was huge, complete with a ‘hospitality station’ serving free coffee throughout the day.
Got started late. Continued on route to Reedsport where met up with Jenn again and had a beer at the Defeat River Brewery. Seemed to be one of the few things going on in the town. Everything else seemed closed up or abandoned. Was pretty exhausted and didn’t feel like riding further after a beer and the fading daylight, so drove with Jenn to a campsite close to Lakeside. As a car camper, William Tugman state park was full. We found a small state forest camp site nearby that was nice, in some of the sandy ecosystems near the dunes.
Checked out some sand dunes before hitting the road around 11am.
Found a campground on BLM land, some 11 miles off the 101. Seemed a little sketchy, with some semi-long term residents and a partrolling police car for some reason.
Rode from near Port Ordford to Brookings. Riding with the wind for the first time. Most scenic part of bike ride.
Rode only a few miles to the CA border before continuing by car.