Day 5: ~40 miles from Bruceport to Cape Disappointment, WA along Highway 101. Decent to poor shoulders.
Sometime during the night at Bruceport it began to rain. We knew it was coming so we were prepared, and our tent served us well. Thankfully, it slowed up in the morning and we were able to pack up camp and hit the road without too much wetness. The ride today was pretty uneventful. The rain held off all day too and we even experienced some sun! Coming into Long Beach I left Lindsey in the dust, as I had to poop. Nothing makes you ride faster than knowing you got a load to drop and several miles to the nearest toilet. I was cruising at 20mph for the last 3 miles, compared to our usual 12-13!
Long Beach (technically Sea View) was our first Brewery stop of the trip. North Jetty Brewing is a small brewery with a tap room that opened just a year or two ago. Outside is Streetside Tacos 2.0, a food truck with a very good burrito bowl – and not just because we were hungry from riding. Between the food and the beer I was feeling real good for the afternoon. We grabbed some supplies at Sid’s Market – man, these small town groceries are expensive! No wonder Americans don’t eat very healthy. For the same amount of calories I could spend $5 for a meal at McDonald’s or $20 for healthy food at Sid’s. Nothing against this particular place…food is expensive in all the little towns. I miss Grocery Outlet and MacPherson’s SO MUCH!
After stocking up (and running into our German friends) we headed to Cape Disappointment State Park at the tip of the Columbia River. While the day was cool and gray, right around 7:00pm the sun broke through for a beautiful sunset on the beach. Alongside a hot shower and a lesson on making arrowheads from an interpretive ranger it was a nice end to a mostly uneventful day. We packed everything away and put our food in the food bins (Racoons are crafty suckers and they can open normal containers) and sure enough I saw them sneaking around before we went to bed. Our container was a bit broken and we didn’t trust it, so a picnic table in front of the door made sure no midnight marauder could get to our snacks!
Rain was on the forecast for the night and boy, did it rain! We awoke to pounding rain hitting our tent so hard it knocked the condensation off the inside of our rain fly and sprayed us with fine mist for a couple of hours. Comfortable in the knowledge that our tent would hold, I listened for a minute of two then dosed off to the steady pitter-patter of drops all night.
Day 6: ~ 35miles from Cape Disappointment to Fort Stevens State Park outside of Astoria, OR. The worst bridge.
“Your Oregon tax dollars at work.” Lies.
Thankfully, once again the rain let up in the morning and we were able to get out and move around without getting too wet. Our strategy so far has been to sleep until the rain stops, which means we’re not getting out of the tent until around 10. I’d love to be on the road earlier sometimes, but a late start beats a wet one. It’s 15-20 miles from Cape Disappointment to the Washington border and we were able to take a longcut detour that got us off of Highway 101 for at least a couple of miles. This section had more traffic than previous sections and there was not a whole lot of shoulder, but at least we did not have to spend a whole lot of time on the road. We met Kat, a nice lady riding down the coast with her two dogs in tow. We chatted for a while and snapped a photo (see, there are other people on our trip) and planned to cross the coming bridge together.
Unfortunately, the Astoria-Megler Bridge, a 4.1 mile behemoth that is bike hell and we pulled ahead of Kat as we rode as quickly as possible toward Oregon. Two lanes of traffic carrying RV’s, big “fuck-off trucks” (maybe I’ll rant another time about these), logging freighters, motorcycles, cars, and a shoulder about a foot wide. Oh, and this “shoulder” is littered with debris, dead birds, and other crap that makes it useless. Thankfully, we crossed around lunch when there was not much traffic, and construction at the highest point (oh yeah, did I mention the last part of it is a huge, steep hill climb?) helped calm traffic. The flaggers were great too – they let us through and then stopped traffic as we crossed the top and gave us a smooth ride down with the road all to ourselves.
As a reward, we hopped on the river walk trail towards Buoy Brewing and grabbed some burgers and beer. I highly recommend this place if you’re passing through – good burgers, beer, and pretzel buns! Plus, after riding that bridge you deserve it!
After demolishing the beers we set out for the laundromat and Fred Meyer to stock up on food. It poured. Since we were soaked, we walked around the laundromat in our socks and long underwear while we washed everything else – all the old ladies were confused. Or scandalized, it’s hard to tell. Unfortunately it did not stop raining all night, so we continued to get soaked on the way to the campground and had to set up the tent in the rain. It was a soggy night…