Sunday, coming in for a landing

Sunday turned out to be quite a big day, 57 miles with a lot of climbs. I was motivated though because I knew a nice friend and comfortable home were waiting for me at the end of the day.

In the morning I said goodbye to my camping, cycling neighbors at the RV park and set out down the road. One neighbor recommended a detour off highway 101, since that road was a “beautiful ride through rolling hills and avoids the mountain on highway 101.” When people tell you these things, do NOT believe them! But, my adventurecycling map recommended the same route so off I went. I was feeling good at first. The road climbed through beautiful country but not at a rate I couldn’t handle, for a while. One by one I geared down until it was in 1-1 and even then it got tougher. Eventually I was walking, and walking. Like all hills it eventually came to the top, but then I had a hair raising descent through hair pin turns and over road bumps that had me riding the brakes and thanking from the bottom of my heart the Panamanian mechanic who correctly installed my new brakes.

I know some cyclists love the descents, but I don’t need that much excitement in my life. Since this route added at least five miles to my day I was wondering if I shouldn’t have taken 101, but who knows how much more climbing and traffic I would have found there. But, I made it back to sea level and rolling hills safely, stopping at McD’s for a soda and a bit of wifi. Since they had no electric outlets I didn’t linger for long. On my way out though, I passed a homeless man and his dog with a sign asking for help. It puts things in perspective. Maybe I had a big descent which chilled me through, but I have a dollar to go into McD’s, and I have credit cards if I really need to get indoor accommodations. Homeless people are on the street no matter what the weather, and hungry except for the kindness of strangers. I didn’t linger to learn this man’s story but he seemed so appreciative that I even noticed him and stopped to exchange a few words.

The road continued on with rolling hills through Lincoln Beach and Depoe Bay (one of the more favorite towns I’ve passed).

Then I had another recommended detour coming in to Newport, Otter Creek Loop instead of highway 101. This was a very interesting, scenic,  one way road and though it wasn’t as high as the highway that I could see above, it definitely was another good climb.

By this time I was very happy to be approaching Newport and my destination. I was tired enough to be walking up anything but gentle hills, and was ready for a day or two off. I definitely feel like I am gradually getting stronger though. I held up well pretty much all day. I don’t know if I will ever be strong enough to ride a loaded bike instead of walking up the more challenging hills, but if I can make it up by any method and then bike on without fading, I see this as good progress. Who knows how I will be after a couple more weeks of riding.

Right now though, thanks to some very kind and generous friends, I won’t be back on the bike for a little while longer. I have been here since Sunday night, and this afternoon I will be handed off to other friends a few miles south. I hope to hang out there for another day and set out again on Friday. Rain is predicted through Thursday so this will be perfect. Starting Friday there are many days of nice weather coming so it will be a good time to resume my travels.

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Saturday, more woods, water, and coastline

Saturday morning I woke up to find the whole world soaked with dew. I had left my shirts hanging out to dry, but the best I could hope is that they got a dew water rinse. The seals were still on the other side when I woke but it wasn’t long before they were gone. The guy who cooked my breakfast said they were chased off by a coyote.

When I had finished breakfast and packing, I biked off into the cool gray morning. The route started off flat, going mostly along the water and through green farmland.

Before long I came into Tallamook, home of the famous cheese factory, and I decided to stop for a look. I had wanted to replenish my cheese supply anyway so I was happy to pick up a bar of sharp cheddar, my favorite.

Of course flat never lasts, and it wasn’t very long before I found myself climbing. I avoided the three capes scenic route because I know it was also three big climbs, but that didn’t get me out of all of the climbs ahead. But, as always, I was rewarded by viewing points where I could see beautiful scenes of the coast below.

Then, around the Sandlake area I passed an area that looked like a sand desert! There was a lot of noise from many ATVs that were playing in the sand. A guy by the side of the road said people camped out there and the noise went on day and night. I could still hear it for many miles as I pedaled away.

But, eventually the noise faded and I again found myself climbing, and then descending as I got close to Pacific City, my destination.

I planned to stay at an RV park that had been recommended by a friend of a friend and as I was checking in, there was another cyclist and she even had gray hair! It turned out she was one of a group of four who were only on a weekend trip from points east. The guy closest to me said this was a test run for him before he did a tour across the US in May.

I was at the Cape Kiwanda RV park and this pace was huge! There were a ton of RV sites along with tent camping sites, and they also had quite a few cabins for rent. There was a fairly large store, a choice of restaurants, and a pool and spa. I ended up spending the evening by the pool because it was indoors and warm, there were electric outlets, and I could use the free wifi. Eventually though it was time to return to the tent but I passed a very comfortable night. I like having neighbors, and it was really nice starting out warm from spending time in the pool area. Unfortunately though, I was too tired to even think of getting back on the bike even after I had rested for a while, so I never did go into town to see the friend of friends and check out his wines. I would have been under the table with one glass.

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A Friday of Climbing, Scenery, and Seafood

I have landed in a very comfortable apartment for a couple days, thanks to the kindness of a sweet friend. I have some time to rest, regroup, and catch up with photos and blog posts. When I am on the road biking all day I don’t get much else done. In the evening all I want to do is catch up with family and dive into my sleeping bag, and rest up for the next day.

Friday was a big day of sorts. I only covered 33 miles but it was constant up and down, climbing up hills, hanging on for dear life on descent, and then climbing again. There were hardly any flat parts the entire day. But, the things I saw! I have tried to pare down the photos but there are still a lot because there was just too much beauty.

I set out from Seaside fairly early, stopping for a hot breakfast before I left town. I wasn’t too far along before the recommended road took a detour through Cannon Beach. I could see the sun shining on the bright sand so of course had to stop. This was only the first of many stops in spectacularly beautiful area! It was a perfect sunny day and the beaches were beautiful, and I especially loved the rugged rocky formations off shore.

The scenery continued to be amazing as I biked along. I wasn’t crazy about climbing so many hills but at the top of each one was another gorgeous view. My route planning has mainly been looking at the adventurecycling maps, picking a destination town, and letting the nice google navigation lady guide me there. Today though, the Google lady had her hands full trying to keep me on course as I kept taking detour after detour to look at another beach or another view.

Another new adventure after Cape Arch was a tunnel. There is no shoulder or space for a cyclist so there is a button you need to push before entering. This turns on flashing lights to alert the drivers that there is a cyclist in the tunnel. So, I turned on my own lights, waited for a break I traffic, and went for it. To make it more challenging it was an uphill climb within the tunnel so it wasn’t long before traffic caught up to me. The first car though, a big black SUV, turned on his flashers and patiently followed me through the tunnel. How nice was that! I was sure glad for the space at the other end though where I could pull over and catch my breath.

The day went on and I continued biking through pine forests, up steep hills to find more amazing views, and down yet more scary descents. I walked up the more challenging hills which weren’t that easy even walking. I figure otherwise though, I would quickly exhaust myself and I wouldn’t see the scenery either, being more intent on just moving forward.

I had my eye on a place in Rockaway Beach but I rolled by a marina with a sign out front – tent space available, and I wasn’t a minute past it when I made the decision to turn around. I was really tired and the thought of another 6-8 miles wasn’t appealing.

I ended up at the Jetty Fishery Marina and RV park. It was on the water with an island or sand bar on the other side, but I could hear the surf pounding beyond the sand bar. They had crab, clams, and oysters which they would sell you raw or cooked, so I ordered a crab. I was going to order 1/2 pound of crab but I had no idea that these crabs were 1 1/2 – 2 pounds apiece! Yes, I got one crab and I ate the whole thing, every delicious little bite. They cook them in seawater so it was salty, briny, sweet goodness!

It was a rather lonely and chilly night though. I was the only tent camper, and there were two RVs waaaay at the other end of the property so when the staff went home, I was out there on my own. The wind was blowing like crazy so I put my tent in the most protected spot I could find, and hid in a small shack for a while to get out of the wind and enjoy the working electric outlets. The shack was just as cold though so when the wind died down, I went back to the tent and pulled the silver emergency blanket that is usually under me over the top of my sleeping bag. This helped but it not only keeps in the heat, it keeps in moisture so everything was a bit damp when I woke up. That was nothing compared to outside though where everything was soaking wet with dew.

I had made a joke that I wanted crab for breakfast, but they took me seriously and left a note for the day guy to fire up the cook pot asap. The biker wants breakfast! He was expecting some burley scary biker guy so he was pretty surprised when I ambled over. We decided on oysters since they cook fast, and I had a half dozen. Pretty good breakfast, huh?! I joked that they have ruined me because now I’ll want to spend all my money on seafood everywhere I go.

But, it was time to move on and begin another day, which will be the subject of the next blog post when I get it together. Stand by for more……

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Thursday, and unexpected things

Thursday morning started out as planned. I woke up around seven, packed up, got some coffee (put some juice and yogurt in a pannier because it was too early for food, especially after the big pizza dinner of the night before), and hit the road.

I wasn’t sure how the ferry thing worked but I soon discovered that there is a bridge to the island out in the river, and the ferry leaves from the other side of the island.

Do you see those big hills in the last few photos? Ahh yes, they would be waiting for me. I set off at a good clip for a little while, and then the road went up, and up, and up, and up. I am a bit encouraged though. I seemed to be doing better with the climbing today, and first thing in the morning even.

Even after I climbed the main hill, their continued to be more hills. Up and down and up and down I went, sometimes picking up considerable speed to take advantage of the downhills. Then as I was peddling up a small incline at a slower speed…. pooooofst!  Noooooo! My front tire immediately went flat as a pancake. I walked for a while but there weren’t any shady spots ahead so I just stopped by the side of the road. It seemed like a big enough blowout that a new tube was a much better option than a patch, but I went digging through my panniers and found all the bike tools, but no tube! Where the heck was it??

Next plan – I was only 4-5 miles from Astoria where there were bike shops, much more inviting than wrestling my tire and trying to successfully patch it by the side of the road in the hot sun. I tried flagging down a ride but no one would stop. No one would even slow down. I walked to a farmhouse but she was babysitting and couldn’t leave, but suggested I go to the boat ramp up the road where there are always people coming and going.

I walked on just a little but more and there was a guy across the street weeding his yard. I explained my situation and he said he would be happy to take me to Astoria. He was due for some shopping anyway so he could get his things done at the same time.

He got on line and found info on bike shops, printed out maps, offered me lunch (I had just stopped for a sandwich and couldn’t eat another thing), and then loaded up my bike and my stuff and we headed out. He helped me get my bike and stuff into the bike shop, and asked me to come have lunch with him next door while we waited. I was still too full but had a great strawberry lemonade in a very cool trendy little restaurant. (of course I picked up the tab, least I could do)

The bike was done in a little while, and the guy said he couldn’t see any reason for the flat. Nothing had come through the tire that he could find. While he was at it, he also adjusted my squeaky front brake. He told me that was one of the roughest bikes he had seen on tour, and I really needed to have the whole bike gone over because it has a number of issues. Huh? Other than the squeaky brake the bike has been doing fine, and it was gone over in Panama and again in Seattle. Ok, whatever, but I was back in business again so that was all I needed, that and a couple spare tubes for emergencies.

My new friend then announced that he was driving me all the way to Seaside! He insisted it wasn’t that far, which in a truck probably isn’t and that would save me arriving in the dark. He was a retired engineer living alone and I think he was actually very happy to have some company, and wanted to make it last a bit longer. I was very discouraged when no one stop to help, but now one kind person totally turned everything around and made a huge difference in my day.

So, after a bumpy bit the day ended well and my new friend took me right to the door of my host. I had plans to stay with this Warmshowers host I heard about from some cyclists we hosted in Panama. Tonight I am in a comfortable house with all the important things, and a bed too. There is also a young French girl here who is hitchhiking around the western US. She and our host talked for a long time about their travel experiences all over the world! Amazing. Way out of my league for sure.

Tomorrow I head down the coast, and I have a couple camping possibilities in mind so we’ll see how it goes.

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Tuesday, more farmland, and the Columbia River

Tuesday was a long but good day. I slept well in the city park and woke up early. It was after eight though by the time I packed, ate, and got on the road. It was a weekday but the town was strangely quiet with no cars on the road and no signs of activity in the houses.

I have been checking my adventure cycling maps for the next destination and then letting the google maps lady navigate me there. Today they both agreed today and led me along back roads through farmland, much like yesterday. There was a numbered road I could have taken but this was much quieter and more scenic – and again very quiet with almost no traffic or signs of activity in the farms.

About the half way point of this segment I had to gear down, and then gear down more. The road looked flat. My tires looked fine. What was going on? Why was it getting more and more difficult? Then, I realized the tree tops in the distance were getting lower and lower, and I was obviously climbing. And, I climbed, and climbed, grinding my way up until I decided this was crazy. My knee had been bothering me a bit and especially hated climbing so I decided to take a break and walk. So, I walked, and walked, and walked, probably about two miles! Sheesh, it felt like I was climbing the Panama mountain to Boquete. But, I had planned a shorter day and I had time, so no problem.

Of course whatever goes up eventually comes back down, and did it ever! What seemed like a sweaty two hour climb came down in an intense, chilly two minute descent (not exactly but it felt like it). But, if I hadn’t taken this route I never would have seen the bald eagles, and they were magnificent.

I eventually made it to highway 4, close to my destination. I detoured a little to do some grocery shopping and then headed to the RV park. No, we don’t have tent camping here! We are not licensed for that. But, how can you have people writing reviews about your tent sites? I don’t know. I’ve only been here nine days. *sigh* not this again. She said she had seen tents on the beach though and recommended I go there, only a mile up the road. I was anxious to see the Columbia River and camping on the beach sounded like great fun, so I set off.

It was a pretty ride to the beach which turned out to be 3 1/2 miles, and posted with no overnight camping. I could have chanced it but just my luck I would be discovered and run out at the end of the day in the dark with nowhere else to go, not a good prospect. I hadn’t seen any other possibilities either between there and Cathlamet, my destination for the next day. I was feeling good, it was 22 miles, and it seemed the best plan was to cycle on. I also knew there was a hotel in Cathlamet, so I enlisted one of my daughters to call and be sure they had a room.

You would think a road that follows a river would be flat. But, noooo, there were some serious hills and though I felt a lot stronger than I had in the morning, I still ended up walking up a couple of them. Of course more fast, chilling downhills followed. The rest of the time though I zoomed along the flat portions and made good time. Nothing like the reward of a hotel at the other end to keep you going. The ride was so beautiful! The river and the scenery were spectacular, and I was excited to have come so far that I could see Oregon on the other side.

Today is Wednesday and there is nothing to report. I have been in the hotel overcome with inertia. But, my bags have been emptied and sorted, my clothes and myself are washed, my photos, blog and correspondence are caught up, and I finally made it out the door for some pizza.

Tomorrow, I will be out the door and headed for Oregon!

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Monday, riding through the farmland

Monday, what was that? Day 4? I would lose track except leaving on the 1st of the month makes it easier.

It rained a lot during the night. This was the first test of the tent in the rain with the tarp over it and I’m happy to say it worked out very well and the test stayed dry. The forecast called for more rain ending around noon and since I had a short day planned, I spent the morning in the bath house enjoying the four walls and electric outlet which gave me a chance to catch up with my family, blog, and other on line activities.

The morning had intermittent sun and light showers, and by noon it looked better so I decided to pack up and hit the road. Of course I was hardly down the road when it started to rain again, and I continued to get rained on throughout the day but nothing hard or long so it wasn’t bad.

Today’s route took me on back roads through beautiful, lush, green farmland and it was a very enjoyable ride with good roads, but almost no traffic. It was almost eery that I was passed by so few vehicles and there was no sign of activities at the farms.

My destination for the day was Lewis and Clark state park which had great reviews on line, tent space, RV hookups, beautiful scenery, etc. When I arrived though – closed for winter! Not again. I would have camped anyway but a ranger working in one of the buildings saw me and told me I couldn’t stay there. She recommended the city park in Toledo, maybe 10 miles down the road.

So, off I went again but for some reason, the ride was fantastic. The road was flat, I felt strong, and I made great time. I got poured on for a little if the ride so maybe that helped motivate me. When I got to Toledo I asked someone on the street and was directed to the city park.

This actually turned out way better than the state park would have been. There was a picnic pavilion and I was going to set up there but the caretaker arrived and said that wasn’t allowed. The surveillance cameras would see me and he would be in hot water with the mayor, so I went to the designated camping area. He also said that this park was closed but when I said the ranger had sent me there he didn’t object to me staying.

My home in the city park

My home in the city park

It was a nice park with the pavilion, a playground, and rest rooms with working electric outlets where I could recharge my devices. The caretaker lived in a camper on site with two little dogs who watched the area at night so I felt very safe. I spent a good night, stayed warm all night and slept quite well.

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Sunday Pictures

Here is yesterday’s pictures!

The sun is coming out, though the weather report says it could still rain more. I am very tempted to pack up and maybe find a place to hang out for some lunch. The Lewis and Clark state park is about 25 miles away, so reasonable destination for today. I’m glad to be caught up with photos and correspondence, so time to make more stories and take more photos!

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Saturday Pictures

The weather is a bit iffy and rainy today so I am using this morning to enjoy the wash house building with walls and electric outlets, and to catch up on some of my on line things. The story of Saturday, my second day, is in the previous post. There are photos to go with it which I am sharing below.

drag and reorder doesn’t seem to work on my tablet so excuse the slight out of order

That was Saturday. Sunday photos will be coming soon.

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Catching Up, a lot of words

I wrote this yesterday but had no internet last night, so it was still sitting here waiting for me to do something with it. I also fell behind answering emails and comments. It looks like I am only biking a few hours a day but altogether it is taking most of my day. Then when I land it’s time to set up camp, regroup a bit, check in with family etc so when there is no internet I’m terribly behind! Please know that all of you encouraging and supporting and following mean so much to me!  I am reading even when I don’t always have time to answer.


Day two was a challenging day. 


I woke up early but had to wait until I was light enough to get up and pack up. I set off along a pretty lake with nice homes lining the shore. Then my google maps directed me to a shortcut road which was some of the most beautiful scenery I have seen! There was a river, trees covered with moss, and no houses or other evidence of people, just untouched beauty. I had to stop a lot to enjoy it and take photos. 


I needed to remember this for the rest of the day because the rest wasn’t nearly as fun. On bike tours though, there are also the less interesting parts and the more challenging parts. I was so glad for all the friends who are following me, sending messages of support, encouraging comments, and letting me know in many ways that they are thinking of me. Thinking of them really helped me stay on course.


I went in to Sheldon because I figured they would have a McDonald’s and I was wanting a cup of coffee. I was not disappointed and enjoyed the coffee, the free wifi, a delightful little four year old girl, and the electric outlets though I’m not sure if they were actually charging my stuff. 


From here I planned to go on to Elma, figuring it was maybe another 25 miles. When I brought up google maps though, it said 42 miles to the park just past Elma where I wanted to spend the night. Yikes! This would mean a 62 mile day, but I didn’t want to spend the day in Shelton and I didn’t see any camping between Shelton and my destination so I figured I’d give it my best effort.


I biked through endless pine trees, pine forests, areas that looked like Christmas tree farms, areas that looked like the pine trees had been harvested, more pine forests, and on and on with no houses and minimal evidence of people or cars passing, just endless pine forests. There were challenging hills and a relentless headwind that was the most discouraging of all. It was impossible to get any speed going. Was I going to make my destination before dark, or at all? 


Along the way I saw a sign for Schafer state park, 22 miles, which was 14 miles less than the park past Elma. I wanted to go to Elma but this seemed a lot more sensible. I looked on line – known for fishing, has camping, RV parking, etc., sounded good. 


I stopped whining quite so much and concentrated on going down the road. I counted my way up the hills, 10 breaths in and out, next finger, 10 more breaths, and so on until all 10 fingers were used, take a break, catch breath, and repeat. I biked for 15 minutes and then took a break to get off the seat for a moment and get a drink of water. Bike another 15 minutes, another short break. 15 minutes at a time is far less intimidating and eventually an hour passed, and another. 


Finally, later in the afternoon, the wind started to die down and I was able to make better time. Still though, I knew it wouldn’t be sensible to push on to Elma. I was too tired and it was too late in the day, so I headed down the road to Schafer state park. Closed!!  It was open to day visitors but the sign said closed at dusk, and the camping area was gated off with a sign that said closed for the winter. What now?? It was too late in the day and there was nothing else close, and I was very tired. So, I decided to take my chances anyway and found a quiet spot behind the rest room building and put up my tent. 


So, here I am alone in the park. I have been out of Internet range for a while so hopefully no one is concerned. I’ll check in as soon as I can, probably from Elma in the morning. It feels very strange to be out here all by myself, no one around, just me and the birds and a very noisy bumblebee, and then silence as dark fell. There are some houses down the road and I occasionally hear a car, but there are no camping neighbors. This is the most alone I have felt in a very long time. I think this, and the cold are the hardest things for me at this point. It’s going to be a long time though before I am south enough to be much warmer. 


Day three 


Since I’m on a roll I may as well continue while the day is fresh in my mind. I will go through the pictures later and hopefully be able to share some soon. 


I went to sleep too early last night but what else is there to do with no internet and decreasing battery power? I woke up fairly often, still creeped out by being so alone, and by 5am I knew there was no more going back to sleep. But it was dark, cold, and getting out of the sleeping bag was not an option. So, I listened to my book until it got light, and until I was alarmed to see my iPad had less than 20% remaining power. 


But, it was light now so I started breaking down camp and packing. There was a heavy dew and everything was really wet, and it was still so cold I put on my bike shorts, and then back in the sleeping clothes – the thermal underwear, heavier pants, two shirts, rain jacket, etc. I was still cold for the first couple hours on the bike.


I set off down the road in the direction I was sure led to Elma but I had no internet, no GPS, and it was early Sunday morning. No on was out and there were very few cars passing me. I tried to wave down a few to confirm my route but they just waved back and kept on driving. So, I kept on biking. It was so beautiful though! – Green fields and forests, bits of morning fog hovering over the ground, picturesque farms, and sun coming through the trees. I was thankful for the blue sky and the sun which promised warm times to come. 


It all worked out. Eventually I heard traffic, and then came to the intersection of highway 12. There was even a convenience store with coffee and electric outlets outside!! I sat on the curb enjoying my coffee while my equipment charged, and I was delighted to see I was back in Internet range so I could tell my family that all was well. 


I saw that Centralia was within a reasonable distance so I skirted Elma and continued down highway 12. Thanks to the gods of roads or bikers or whatever it was, the road was pretty much flat and the headwinds were mild enough to have no effect. The ride was very pretty following a river and taking me through green forests, fields, and farms. 


It was almost a 50 mile day though, and after the fourth hour I started to fade. 15 minutes and a break turned into 10 minutes the last hour, and sometimes less than that. I finally limped into the Harrison Tent and RV park to find the office closed. The sign said pay and put the envelope in the slot, tent sites $15, summer only. It was good there was no one in the office to tell me it wasn’t summer because I didn’t have it in me to move on. 


I set up camp, had an interesting conversation with the lady nearby, and then visited the “washroom”. There is a building with laundry facilities, showers, bathrooms, and an open area with electric outlets!! Yeah!! My solar charger had done quite well on this sunny day but to have outlets and not worry about battery power, what a wonderful thing. I am learning quickly about the priorities of life in the road – water, power, internet, and a place to sleep that is tolerably warm. Food? For some reason I have very little appetite but I am trying to eat some because I know I need to. 


My heart went out to the lady nearby. She is living in this funky old camper trailer. The roof leaks, the electric doesn’t work so she has an extension cord from somewhere that gives her a couple outlets. The toilet leaked and threatened to go through the floor so they took it out and got a potty chair. She lives with her grandson who is in some sort of special training program that is supposed to make him employable soon. Hopefully it works out because he will lose his food stamps when he turns 21, which I gathered is not too far off. She thought this situation would be only short term but the section 8 low income housing program has been shut down and now she has nowhere else to go or hope of changing her circumstances. She only has her $730/month social security to live on. It seems like a damn shame that people have to live like that in our prosperous country!!  I wish I could take her to Panama where she would be fine on that income. 


Anyway, I am comfy in my tent. It is raining outside but the tarp over the tent seems to be doing the job. My devices are powered up and I have internet. I don’t know what I will do tomorrow. Rain is predicted in the morning and I am quite tired. I could stay here another day, rest, and enjoy the building with walls and electric outlets. I would like to make it to Longview on the Oregon border but it’s 52 miles and probably not realistic. There is a camp area midway though with good reviews, so that’s a possibility if the rain doesn’t last long. 


Well I have run on quite enough for one evening. I will get to the photos when I can, but it’s getting late tonight. I’ll be back soon though. Thank you all again so much for following me, and for all your support and encouragement! It keeps me going through those tough moments and I really appreciate it. 



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First day on the road

I’m in my tent in Twanoh state park. There are a lot of other people here in RVs, and others in tents though most of them arrived in cars. I don’t see any bikers, only another couple with a very noisy motorcycle.

My first day camping, not in the backyard. Thank goodness for my good sleeping bag and all the testing beforehand! It’s very chilly out there and the sun wasn’t even down when I retreated to the tent. Thankfully I am warm and comfortable in here.

The first day went very well! The first leg was Bellevue to the ferry dock in Seattle. Thanks to the gift of Drew’s old iPhone, I had no trouble following the route and all went smoothly. Well except for some road work in Seattle which I passed going over some train tracks, which grabbed my wheel and down I went. Thankfully I only have a skinned knee and elbow, very minor things but I did something to my rear view mirror and it will no longer stay in position. Thank goodness for the bright orange duct tape I bought.

I got to the dock just in time for the ferry. By the time I made it to the auto entrance, where they also send bikes, I was the last one on. I hadn’t even parked the bike before they were off. It was a beautiful ride on a really gorgeous day, and in about an hour we were in Bremerton. I was anxious to be on my way so I didn’t explore the town but felt I saw enough to get the general feel as I biked through.

I did pass a navy yard on the way out of town and it was interesting to see the huge ships parked there. There was a lot of traffic on the road but there were good shoulders excellent for a bike so I didn’t have any trouble. There was a challenging hill past Bremerton though, and I think I spent more than a half hour in lowest gear climbing and climbing. I was happy when the road finally leveled out with some gentle downhills.

I stopped at a Safeway in Belfair for some food and a rest. It wasn’t the most scenic place but the sun was bright and I could put a little more charge in my tired iPhone. I was going to stop at a state park near here, but there was Twanoh only 10 miles away and I thought I could make it ok since I will still feeling good.

The road through here was narrower with less shoulder but it was still rideable almost all the time, so all was well. There was also less traffic and the area was prettier. Soon I was passing a beautiful lake with snow capped mountains in the distance, and many lovely lake front homes. One guy yelled at me – it’s not safe up there!  Ok….  So I should ride in the lake?? It was fine and the ride went well, though I was tired by the time I got to the park and was glad to call it a day. I was also glad to see the park is right on the route, not a few miles away like it looked on the map. I only need to bike down the path and through a parking lot and I will be on my way again.

Tomorrow, again, will depend on how I feel to determine how far I bike. The next stop is Shelton, and then on to Elma where it says there is camping just out of town. That should be 41 miles according to google maps, a good goal for tomorrow. Today was 36 miles and though I was a bit tired towards the end I feel generally quite good.

For a first day, I am very encouraged! I can do this.


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