Monthly Archives: June 2015

West Coast Ride – Day 28

Cape Lookout led us to the Three Capes Scenic Route. We were advised by south going cyclists (there is an advantage to going the opposite way of the hoardes) that, while the road is closed, it can be navigated by bike. Another slight liberty with the law.

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The Threes Capes checked around Tilamook bay, one of the largest estuaries. And into Tillamook. The rodeo was in town but we were focused on food and laundry. That taken care of, all that was left was to stop at the Tillamook Cheese factory. This place was a circus. People lined up for free cheese samples, souvenirs and ice cream. I opted for two of those.

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We hit Rockaway Beach just as they were folding up the tents from the weekend Pirate Festival. Dang!

I liked they’re beach view, looked like the Loch Ness monster.
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Nehalem Beach State Park was our destination. We stopped for bar food while brain had the soul food special, of fried chicken collard greens and yams. Seemed better than my fish and chips.

Set up at camp, I went on an electric outlet search to recharge my fading devices. I plugged into an outlet at a vacant RV slot and walked to the beach to see the sunset. Just my luck, when I returned there was a vacant VW Vanagon at the slot and my charger/battery were removed. I sat at their picnic table, reading my book until the owners returned. They handed over my adapter and battery, whew. Then I realized I was missing one of my sucks I had taken off at the beach. Crap, it was a long walk to the beach and I had bushwhacked my way back through a campsite with an ornery dog. I went back to look for my sock, as I only have two pair, and was happy to find out close to the crabby dog site. Whew! Back to camp only to realize my adapter was missing. Crap! Oh, well, I’ll deal with that in the morning.

West Coast Ride – Day 29

Woke up and went searching for my charger/adapter. Backtracked all the way to the campsite with the Rottweiler. Shouldn’t you know, laying where I picked up my sock. Extra bonus, found Brian’s missing sock in the jersey I took out to wear. Laundry mishap from the day before. All was right.

The bike/ybike site had thirteen tents and lots of couples, probably 20 or more total. They were all getting a slow start, I was the only one up until 7:30, but they all headed out by about 8:30. We got on the road at the usual 9:00.

Right out of Manzanita, we had the biggest climb. Ugh! Then the 101 became a series of rolling hills until we turned off into Seaside. This town was hopping like a weekend. We were drawn into the Pig n Pancake for brunch. Pecan sourdough (award winning) pancakes, eight of them, with maple and Marion berry syrup. Delicious.

We jumped off the 101 onto Lewis and Clark Road. What a relief! Despite the hills, it was scenic and few cars buzzing by. They only danger was the deer in the road that stopped Brian. My bell spooked it. Brian is the only one eschewing a bell. Maybe be should have called out “On your left”!

Along the L&C road is Fort Clatsop. An outpost started by Lewis and Clark. I got to use my Senior Passport for National Parks for the first time, saved us $12 and about paid for the card.
Sacagawea. Critical member, but zero compensation

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It was a short detour, literally, to Astoria. The looooong bridge across the Columbus River starts there.

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The Adventure Cycling maps take you 30 miles east to take a ferry. We talked to cyclists and the local bike shop who said it wouldn’t be a problem (5 to 12 people do it every day was the less than reassuring quote from the bike shop dude). We had a couple of fun things in mind in Astoria, the Maritime Museum, Buoy brewery, dinner and ice cream. We only had an hour to take in the museum, a little more for beer and food. The riverfront had trolley tracks and planks with gaps about perfect to trap a bike tire, as the sign warned…

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Only Bob, who has the fattest tires, got caught.

Looking at the bridge from the museum. The low clouds are Washington…

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As soon add we crossed over (not a problem), we got our taste of Washington, a misty drizzle that won’t get you wet but will cause drops to form on your glasses and drips from your helmet.

Even the sign is disappointing… isn’t that two umbrellas crossed on the lower right corner?

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We went about a dozen miles and made camp at a KOA. About the same price as hike/bike at Cape Disappointment.

Once we crossed the bridge, we were officially off of the Adventure Cycling maps as they go further east towards Seattle. Our plan is to circle the Olympic Peninsula, ferry to Victoria Island and then to Vancouver, eventually making our way back to Seattle, time allowing. That will probably be my plan regardless, as I don’t have the wedding constraint.

West Coast Ride – Day 27

Beach Day…

Up near dawn, ate breakfast and broke camp by 7:00. It was a very nice morning to ride.

On the road for less than a mile, there was a side trip to Otter Rock and the Devil’s Punchbowl. There were no otters and the punchbowl wasn’t punching, not high tide I guess.

Punchless Bowl…

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The road climbed up along Cape Fearless. Nice view.

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It was really soothing to ride without traffic and with a canopy of trees with light fog drifting across the road.

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The first town was Depoe Bay, claim to fame, World’s smallest deep water port. What drew my attention was the Pirate Coffee Company. I stopped in and had a chocolate chip scone the size of a slice of pie, and made a new friend.

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The riding was good, perhaps a tailwind??

Lincoln City was busy, roads under construction and it was hostng a kite festival, couldn’t get past it fast enough. The tour detoured off of the 101 to Old  Scenic Hwy 101. Hint: when the map says scenic, get out your camera, and your climbing legs.

This is for Bob, a Jurassic Park mail truck.

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The drop down from the climb takes you to Neskowin. Good fortune, farmers market Saturday. I got some Ranier Cherries and a dory caught Ling Cod sandwich from the dory fisherman. A great surprise bonus lunch. That meant I could ride last Pacific City, where I had intended to stop. I stopped anyway because the whole town was a traffic jam as everyone in Portland was there trying to avoid the triple digit heat. There was Slingball (the game where you toss little bolo’s and try to get then to wrap around a little ladder) tournament to support MS.

The beach scene panorama:

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There were sand surfers on a huge dune. Those are people, not ants.

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I rode the last climb to Cape Lookout, our home for the night. I got in about 3:00 and spent a couple hours on the beach, nice.

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The park and beach were full. It seemed like most were speaking some eastern European language, possibly Russian. Things didn’t settle down until 9:00 when the day-use people were ushered out.

There were 15 campsites for hiker/bikers under tall pines. I had to eat covering my food to keep the pine needles that were falling like rain out of my freeze dried three cheese lasagna.

Tomorrow, a short day and laundry…

West Coast Ride – Day 26

I got up relatively early (compared to the boys), made my oatmeal, hot chocolate, trail mix bar and a peach for breakfast. The winds were pretty calm so I decided to pack up and get on the road. I rolled out at 8:00. The winds start picking up around 10:00. That gave me a couple of hours to ride and explore before the riding got hard. 

Fortunately, the sun was out and the marine layer was offshore, making the vistas great. Still in the dunes area.
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I took a break at aptly named Rock Beach.
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One of the things that seems surreal to a Midwesterner…
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I like the Oregon bike route sign.
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Of course, the winds did start to howl, 20+ mph in my face. Hard to hold 11 mph while the southbound riders were seemingly coasting up hills. When I got to Newport, I got off and walked my bike across the long bridge. I was custom I’d get blown into the traffic which was laden with inland people trying to escape the 100+ degree temps.
The bridge of Death
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I found the local bike shop and bought two new tires, hoping to end my tire troubles. I also got a cleat screw for my site to replace the one that went missing. That is a good thing to prevent an embarrassing tipover, or worse.

Dinner and 7 more miles to Beverly Beach campground. I was the only one here when I arrived and a huge area. One other hiker besides the boys in the site. nice amenity, electrical outlets in the raccoon lockers.

Beverly Beach.
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I’m planning an even earlier start tomorrow, depending on if there is fog or not.

OotD: No empty can of Skoal nor used plastic dental pick/floss has ever made it to a trash can…

West Coast Ride – Day 25

We’re approaching half-way across Oregon, in Heceta Junction at Harbor Vista State Park.

No drama or exciting things happening today. We pedaled past Charleston across a lift bridge. There were ocean going fishing boats on the harbor. That explains the guys with the knee high rubber boots at the fine dining gas station last night. I

Our first stop was 12 miles in for brunch at Taco Hell. By the time we got moving again, it was after 11:00 , and the winds were starting to pick up, directly on our face.

Most of the day was along the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. The shoreline reminded me of the eastern shore of Lake Michigan from my motorcycle trip last year. There were tall dunes with minimal vegetation clinging to them. The area attracts dune buggies and ATV riders. The shops along the road sold sand boards, which looked like snowboards made out of wood. Surfing the sand dunes?

On the east side of the 101 were lakes. They reminded me of northern Minnesota and the BWCA. This is Tahkenitch, which we were told is Native American for “Many Fingers”. The National Forest campground host said it is the second largest lake in Oregon.

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When we got to Florence, the winds were probably 25 mph against us and we decided, over DQ Bizzards, that this was far enough.

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The campground doesn’t have hike/bike sites, so we’re in an RV slot. The good news: electrical box and free showers. All recharged. We cooked the usual “dog” meal, spiced up with chili and shredded cheese plus a couple Rainer beers.

The harbor Vista was a little foggy.

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The wind is still howling, fortunately our site is recessed and our tents aren’t getting blown around. I’m hoping for calmer winds and an earlier start tomorrow…

OotD: While Oregon scenery and campgrounds seem nicer, I can’t say the same for the drivers. Two honkers and one screamer, with several that refused to give room for the bikes. nothing close, but closer than anything we saw in California.

West Coast Ride – Day 24

The day started out so fine… sunny, tailwind, warm. Then, about 10-12 miles outside of Bandon, Brian popped another spoke. Rear wheel, drive side. He also noticed that his rear track bolt had sheared off. Brian was not about to let me try my tool again so we offloaded his gear to me and Bob and I put a Velcro strap around his rack stay and the frame to hold it in place. We figured we could limp to Bandon where there was a bike shop listed on my map.

Well, about two miles later, another spoke broke (that’s four for those of you counting). It was close to the other broken spoke and on the non-drive side so, despite Brian’s lack of trust in my mechanic skills, I pulled out the spare and made the repair.

The bike shop in Bandon was a Specialized dealer and was well stocked. After a heart-to-heart conversation with the owner/mechanic, Brian opted for a new wheel, New cassette and new chain. We walked a few blocks to downtown for lunch and shopping while the repairs were being made. The owner let us park or bikes on the show floor, probably entertaining for customers.

We found a used book store to browse (but three, get the fourth free). Four books and a trucker cap for Bob.

We had to scoot Gerry dinner in Charleston (crappy convenience store/dinner) and back to our campground, Sunrise in time for the sunset. The bike/hike due was a swamp and already full so we negotiated a regular campsite which was closer to the showers and a dollar cheaper.

We’re hopeful the mechanial troubled are behind us but I do have a bulge in my rear tire that is worrying me…

Tomorrow is another day.

The view at our brunch spot, commemorated for another mistreatment of the native Americans…

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West Coast Ride – Day 23

So long Brookings. Just out of town was the lumber milling operation we heard all night. I hoped that once we were past it all the logging trucks coming up behind us would be empty and the bark slash along the road would decrease. Nope.

The temperature was about 55 degrees and it was overcast. The good news, it seemed like a little tailwind, the bad news, the fog obscured the ocean from view. We passed scenic overlooks for arched rocks and other features along the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. We couldn’t see a hundred yards. We went over the tallest bridge in Oregon at something like 374 feet, we could only see 74 feet. Blinky lights on but it was still a little risky riding.

It finally cleared up by the Pistol River. A riding shot.

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I had another flat, same spot on the rear wheel. I put my biggest patch on the inside of the tire casing, put in a new tube, and I’ll see how that works. Not happy with these Conti tires.

We couldn’t pass by the Prehistoric Gardens because there was a T-Rex out front. I guess that is how you support yourself in remote areas, fake dinosaurs.

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Scared me… Bob got a sticker for his bike and we headed on towards our destination, Humbug Mountain State Beach. We took a break at Sisters Rock. The boys went for a hike out on the rock. I took a break and rested my sore ankle. We met two girls and a guy heading south as we were about to leave. The dude was riding a single speed bike, fully loaded for touring… that takes the cake.

Can you spot the boys? Hint… they are wearing yellow.

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Humbug is pretty nice. The boys elected to hike to the peak at over 1700 feet, I elected to hike to the beach. A good choice. I don’t think you can spot the boys in this shot.

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A warm, free shower (nicer than many hotels), a fire and a dinner of “dogs” to round out the day.  Pretty nice.

Tomorrow Coos Bay?

OotD: Added this ride to my motorcycle bucket list… sorry Carol.

West Coast Ride – Day 22

Woke up in Al’s tent Camp and made my usual breakfast. The oatmeal assortment I bought had a flax version, I spiced it up with sliced banana. RV Park Bob, with his unlit spiced cigarette, waked his dog by and said he should have charged us more because our tents were taking up three spots. There were no other tent campers… He said he wasn’t the owner, and had “rules”. I politely ignored his attempt to extract more money from us.

We were on the road “early” at 8:30, the winds light, but mostly cross to tail. I led the ride as I knew that we’d soon start climbing to Crescent City and I wanted to spin at my pace. Just north of Klamath is the abomination all Minnesotan’s hate, a giant Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. We stopped to spit on them in honor of  Bemidji and every other Minnesota town which claims true ownership.

They, literally, have the balls to construct these…

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The climb on the way to Crescent City was winding and the shoulder was slim to none. Add in a light fog and the ride up was nearly as nerve-wracking as all the RV-ers had warned. After a couple false summits, and a stop so Bob could pen some philosophical thoughts, we crested at about 1200 feet. Luckily, no cars were overtaking us on the long, fast descent, all being held up by a logging truck.

I peed here….

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Entering Crescent City, we stopped at Subway for brunch and I tried to fix a flat rear tire. Good thing it didn’t go on the decent… I couldn’t find the cause, again, so tube replacement and prayer.

Naturally God wasn’t listening and it went flat again, same spot. Seems my  other Continental tire also has a metal cord poking… really disappointing. I put a Skab boot on the inside of the tire, patched two tubes and put my new tube in. More praying.

The next section was past Fort Dick and pretty nondescript. God’s answer to my prayers was to give Brian another broken spoke. Yes, rear wheel drive side. We, once again, offloaded his gear to me and Bob as we were only 7 miles from Brooking and a bike shop. Brooking is the Easter Lily capital of the world. Lots of plants and some fields which were full of white flowers. Also nice, we crossed the border into Oregon.

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Farewell California..

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This shop was semi-competent, fixed the spoke, blew up Brian’s tube, literally, and provided us with a spare spoke. I bought a couple for me, just because God is not on my side.

Turns out, there was a taproom, Chetco, that is run by a guy with family in Chanhassen, Minnesota only for blocks from the shop.

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I had an Imperial Stout that win silver at the world competition last year. Thai food at the restaurant next door and one mile to camp.

As advertised, free showers in Oregon, the ranger admonished us when we asked, saying “You’re not in California anymore”.

We set up camp and took a short hike to an overlook to see the sunset (and down three pints of ice cream).

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We watched in complete silence.

Tomorrow, maybe Humbug State Park.

OotD: Every RV comes equipped with a barking dog.

West Coast Ride – Day 21

I awoke to the squealing of piglets fighting to get at sleepy mom for breakfast. I slept on the outside deck, I’ll call it, on the shack we stayed in. It was actually a good place to sleep, no bugs bothered me, stars to look at, no snoring roommate.

I made myself breakfast using the stove in the outdoor kitchen to boil water for my oatmeal and hot chocolate. I added fresh blueberries picked from the garden. Our host, Albert, was up doing chores, which meant feeding animals and milking the three cows. Bob got up and began chugging the raw milk jug he started last night. Their helper, Donald, had offered me fresh (still warm) milk from the milking last night, but being a believer in Louis Pasteur, I refrained. Bob got permission from Albert to fry up a dozen eggs from their chickens, using butter made from their milk. That I did try and they were very good.

The outdoor kitchen. Presumably a lot like my kitchen at home is currently looking like…

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We said a final farewell to Albert and Blue Blossom Farms. Milk and butter provider in the background.
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Our ride today was back along the coast, with a rare tailwind, and through more redwoods. This time Redwood State and National Parks, which are combined. The riding was great, even with a flat for Brian on the busy 101.
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At least the view was nice.

We also happened upon the Trinidad Fish Festival. Not much to see and do, but a demonstration of local civic pride. We waited in a line for 45 minutes to get (locally caught) fish and chips. At least there was a very mediocre band playing 60’s and 70’s music. 

We rode to Klamath to spend the night. We were recommended to the Chinook RV camp a mile, or so, north of town. I found the proprietor,  Bob, out at the “fire deck”. He said we could camp in the tent area for $20 each. I pointed out that the RV sites were $30. On the end, Bob offered $20 for all four of us and invited us to join some of the guests for chili on the fire deck. So, I guess we stayed for free, because you know the boys ate $5 worth of chili, and marshmallows. Plus… no charge hot showers! The salmon run is only a week or so away and this RV park gets a little more exciting, we were told.
Big Al’s tent camping
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Tomorrow, we head up the hill to Crescent City and, hopefully, into Oregon. Let’s hope for more tailwinds. I like to see the southbound riders grimacing…

West Coast Ride – Day 20

Waking up amongst tall redwoods is a great start to a day. I made breakfast while the others slept. I talked for a while with David from Calgary. He works in the Canadian oil fields for $18/hour through the winter (dark and cold) months and travels in the summer months. 

Once up and moving, we had another 12-15 miles on the Avenue. Also a great start to the day, even with the added weight. The new plan, since getting to Fortuna required detouring and riding 10 miles on the 101 which may not be allowed, was to ride 55 miles to Eureka where there were three listed bike shops. The ride was okay, with a couple stiff climbs (up to 12%), and into an increasing wind, no surprise.

We got to the shop about 2:00, and pleaded for help. Our mechanic, Stella, had been working as a wrench for the past 20 years, starting in her parents store. She let us try her whip and cassette tool, but I couldn’t break it. She tried with a bigger whip, the tool mounted in a vise and using a big honking fork straightening tool for extra leverage, no luck. As a final effort, I took the wheel outside, lit my Jetboil stove, torched the cassette until the grease started smoking and the spoke protector melted, then brought back to Stella to try again. Success!! If that hasn’t worked, we were hosed.

Stella replaced the spoke, trued the wheel and put the cassette back on… $21.
Our Guardian Angel in her element.
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We stopped for a deserved brew at Lost Coast Brewing. They had a surfboard on the wall that had a huge shark bite out of it. Seemed for real, they had newspaper clippings.
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We had a warm showers host outside of Eureka, Albert. Albert has an organic farm, Blue Blossom Farm It is really basic. Hogs, cows, chickens, vegetables. 
Big sow:
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The view from my (outdoor) sleeping perch.
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Tomorrow,  Klammath, too stage ourselves for the next big climb to Crescent City, and our exit from California. We’re looking forward to Oregon.

OotD: I could cover our entire yard in the redwood bark pieces we dodge which fall off of the logging trucks along the shoulder of the road each day…