I always love planning my bike trips, and usually have spreadsheets and route maps and details coming out of my ears. This trip is a bit different, because we only knew Ben was coming to Seattle for a visit relatively recently. And after that it took a while to decide on taking this trip, and whether we would travel by car or bike. Couple this with the fact that we are just settling in after moving continents, starting new jobs, taking drivers licenses, buying vehicles and a whole bunch more, I am somewhat unprepared.
I did look at routes, and book accommodation along the way, but it was not researched to my usual standards. That said, today has been pretty spectacular – so maybe my obsessive planning approach is not necessary?
Ben and I packed our stuff last night, so we were ready to load up this morning. We had an early start, getting ready, showering and such, loaded the bike, and set off about 5 to 7 in the a.m. I wanted to get out of Seattle and south of Tacoma before the worst of the traffic, as we cleared the major cities before hitting the coast. The tactic worked well, and we were through the pretty Capitol State forest, and onto the 101 Coastal Highway, and stopped for breakfast just before 09:00.
A little diner called Clarks awaited us, just north of a town called Artic. Clark provided a good breakfast, and entertaining conversation. We just earwigged, but there were 3 local couples there, plus the owners, who held a loud conversation about a trailer that someone had just bought (or maybe someone had just sold – it was hard to tell). It seemed like the biggest news to hit the area this year, and there was a lot of excitement and repetition each time a new couple walked in. They all sounded pretty happy with the event, so i am happy with it too.
After breakfast we stayed on Highway 101 pretty much the whole day. It runs close to, or on the coast for much of the Pacific boundary of the contiguous 48. states, and offers very pretty forests, rivers, coast and mountain views. It also offers, like much of the American road that I have experienced so far, a series of lovely and characterful location names. Many are beautiful Native American names which seem so strange to my inexperienced ear. Puyallup or Chinook or Nehalim, Tillamook or Clatsop. There were many fabulous examples of these. There are also many examples of the British influence on the naming of settlements here, and we had breakfast near Aberdeen, got petrol in Lincoln City, and are staying in Newport this evening.
After rising up through the Capitol forest, which actually got pretty cool, the rest of the day was warm, and somewhat overcast in places. The views alternated between forest and coast, though the coast views only revealed ocean from time to time.
At the border with Oregon, we crossed the massive Columbia river. The Astoria-Megler bridge is just over 4 miles long, and takes you over this impressive mass of water. The bridge rises on either side to allow for heavy shipping to pass – we saw some massive container ships upstream of the bridge. It is an impressive piece of engineering.
About 45 minutes in to our Oregon experience, we stopped in the Oswald West state park to take in spectacular views of the coastline. The Neahkahnie viewpoint is about 180m up a sheer cliff that offers views north and south, and was well worth visiting. We took a few pics and headed on.
Lunch was at a lovely coffee shop in the town of Tillamook, which is renowned for its dairy farming and cheeses (though we had sandwiches which were mostly not cheese). More lovely windy coastal roads took us the last 70 miles to Newport, our home for the night. A motel on the dunes overlooking a lovely beach, it is clean and tidy, but the room is a lot warmer than the temperature outside.
The boy is napping while I write this, but I am going to prod him soon and we will head out for a walk and some dinner. Internet connection is poor in the room, will add some pictures at a later date.See you tomorrow