TFTD: Good day for a ride!
After lunch we drove to Kona Bike Shop, arriving about 3:30-ish. Our old friend the blue Cannondale tandem was there waiting for us. This is the fourth cross county trip for that bike. We rode to the Hampton Inn at Bellingham airport. Don, along with all our gear, went to the old Hampton Inn, which is now a Best Western, where we stayed at the end of our Sierra Cascades bike ride. We had a couple of nervous moments when the clerk said “Nope, no bags here for you”… Don arrived five minutes later, and we were reunited with our gear. It was an easy four-mile ride to the hotel in our street clothes, which look a lot like our bike clothes. Hmmm, might need to think about that.We started our flight to SeaTac at 9:35 am, and arrived at Sea-Tac 20 minutes early! We then hopped on the Link train to University of Washington to meet Glynn Baxter. Glynn drove us to Tulalip Casino, and we arrived there at 1:18pm, and switched all our gear to Don Witten’s car for the remaining miles to Bellingham. On the way we stopped at Bob’s Burgers and Brew for a late lunch.
Tomorrow, we go to the border and back – about 32 miles for a nice warm-up. Let the Sound-to-Sand trip begin!
Day 2 - 8/24/21 (32 miles)
TFTD: Are those blueberries?
We made good time today, as the route was very flat and we had no bags on the bike. Probably the only day of five cross-country rides we’ve done with no bags and started and stopped in the same town. Weird! Highlight of the day was stopping and Ed & Aileen’s Dairy between Lynden and the border.
Great ice cream and huge scoops!Bellingham, Canada, Bellingham…today was a 32 mile out-and-back to the Canadian border from the Hampton Inn in Bellingham. Perfect Day – mid 60’s, no smoke, no wind, no clouds, no problems. Once we cleared the outskirts of Bellingham, we cruised past blueberry fields and dairies (lots of cows), and through Lynden – “a little piece of Holland in Washington State”.
Got back to the hotel at about 11:30, walked to lunch, picking lots of wild blackberries on the way, and also walked to the Fred Myers store in the afternoon. Reminded us of a giant SPD of old where one can buy groceries, clothes, shoes, and even TVs and jewelry. Tomorrow the
“real” biking will start.
TFTD: Whidbey Island is gorgeous
Today was Bellingham to Coupeville… we left the Hampton at about 7:30 and worked our way through central Bellingham to the harbor. Bellingham looks like a town that has been through a rough stretch, but is now poised to be a happening place. Lots of hip shops, interesting restaurants, and much activity.
We made our way around the waterfront and ended-up on Chuckanut Drive, part of the original road from San Diego to Vancouver, BC. VERY scenic as we followed it along the coastline and through the mountains between Bellingham and the Skagit Valley. Spectacular views out over the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We saw loads of people camped-out along the road on bluffs overlooking coves, islands, and bays. We then hit the flats of the Skagit Valley, and rode past cows, wheat fields, and bean fields.
Soon, we had the town of Anacortes in view, as we turned west on Highway 20 and joined a “million” cars and trucks. Luckily, we were only on the busy section of Highway 20 for a mile or so, until we got to a huge roundabout that pointed us to Deception Pass and Whidbey Island. Near the roundabout, we stopped at the Corner Restaurant for much needed refueling and rest.
It was a difficult morning, mostly because there were wild blackberries along the road in several places. We didn’t stop, since we know, from walking to lunch yesterday with blackberries all along the sidewalk, that once you start eating them, it is very tough to walk away.
About two miles from lunch, we had the joy of taking a selfie at Wisteria Gardens, a wedding venue on Fildago Island, where son Alex, married Kristin two years ago. Excellent memories revisited! From there, we continued on to Deception Pass, which is a ridiculously high off the water bridge over a ridiculously raging torrent of water when the tide changes. The bridge is very narrow, so we walked the bike on the super-narrow sidewalk. There was about six inches on each side of the panniers as we waddled across the bridge. Every time a car went by, which was often, the whole bridge would shake. As we peered over the railing to the water about 300 feet below, we thought “Let’s keep moving!” We finally made it to the other side and were very happy to be back on solid ground.
We got through the congestion, beauty, and ridiculousness of Deception Pass, and back into rural Whidbey Island and… ice cream?! Yep, we pulled over into a farm stand that had ice cream and shave ice. We went for the shave ice this time, and ended-up chatting a bit with a cyclist couple from Sand Point, Idaho. We actually pedaled through Sand Point over our truncated ride last year. They were headed around the Olympic Peninsula, “someplace where there isn’t smoke”… Amen.
The farm stand was RIGHT in the flight path of the very nearby Whidbey Naval Air Station. Great show, as it appeared the Top Gun style jets were doing touch-and-goes, with at least two jets in the pattern. Your tax dollars at practice.
Shortly after the farm stand, we left the main highway, and took a lovely, newly resurfaced, road out to the bay. Glorious ride on a quiet street along the water for a couple of miles, but then we had a short, steep climb up the bluff and then several hills as we crossed the island to the Coupeville side.
We arrived at Coupeville just as the team was running out of gas. Some tourists pointed us to a nearby restaurant, and all was well! Another great day of good weather, smooth roads, courteous drivers, and fabulous scenery. Tomorrow, we’ll take the ferry off the island, and head to Bremerton.
TFTD: Taking the ferry is a good way to bike!
Coupeville to Bremerton
How many times, in the course of a normal day, do you think “What I REALLY need right NOW is a 20.4 oz bottle of root beer and a small bag of Cool Ranch Doritos!”? Well, we had that thought as the team was beginning to flag at mile 55. So, the ride is for real now: our bodies are demanding calories when the reserves get low. On these rides, we have learned to trust our body’s demand for junk food, even though the brain is saying “Soda and chips? Really?” Nothing is quite as satisfying as sitting on the curb outside a mini-mart eating absolute junk, yet knowing this is the right thing to do; and it will enable us to ride the remaining 8 miles to the Hampton Inn in Bremerton, WA. Did we mention these islands are hilly?
The day started off rather early, as we wanted to make the 7:15am ferry to Port Townsend, and we had five miles to pedal to get to the ferry terminal. We left our “room” ($109.57…cash-only) at 6:30am, and easily made the ferry.
We were entertained on the ride to Port Townsend, by a fishing crew that was mostly complaining about supply-chain issues. When we got to Port Townsend and tried to get a quick breakfast at McDonalds, we experienced “supply issues” ourselves as, like every eatery we’ve been to in the last 9 months, they were short of staff, and only the drive-thru was open. Took about half an hour to order and receive 3 McMuffins and coffee. Continuing proof that fast food isn’t.
The guy on the street corner near the McDonalds with the sign that read “Anything will help”, yelled over to us to download the free ap, and they will bring the food to you…”super-fast”, he claimed. We rely a lot on the kindness of strangers. From there, we mini-marted our way along the scenic Admiralty Inlet, going through Port Hadlock, Port Ludlow, and Paradise Bay, all lovely little towns that are similar to the coastal towns of New England. And, reminded us of our pedal along the Maine coast but with more hills.
The day was punctuated by the ~ 1.5 mile crossing of the Hood Canal Bridge. These long bridge crossings are…what’s the word… terrifying? It’s always loud, tons of traffic, tons of trucks, the bridge shakes, the wind is howling, it’s a very long way down to the water, and the shoulder is littered with who knows what. Neither of us has been shot at and missed (that we know of) but, when we got to the other side, we have a bit of that sensation – good to have ourselves back on Terra Firma.
Thanks to our junk food binge/refueling, we cruised the rest of the HILLY way to Bremerton, where we dined at a sports bar (Andy: Has there ever been a better invention?) and watched (again) the Little League World Series, Packers vs Jets, Dodgers vs Padres, a Tom Hanks movie co-starring a dog, and Bark in the Park – an compellingly intense agility competition for athletic canines; all at the same time! We love this country.
Tomorrow is probably another HILLY day, out to Elma, WA – getting closer to the Pacific!
TFTD: Progress, progress, progress
Bremerton to Elma
One of our favorite parts of these trips is getting to meet other cyclists that are out exploring America. We didn’t meet any today, but in addition to the couple we met on Wednesday, from Sand Point, Idaho (he said of the deafening jets roaring overhead, “we used to call that the sound of freedom”) we also met a guy from Phoenix, escaping the heat and heading down the coast from Vancouver, BC to San Diego, basically following our same route. These folks were all camping and carrying fairly large loads, while we are relatively light. We did bring a tent, just in case, but in contrast to most of the other cross-country people, we go rather quickly to the motel, shower, find some food within walking distance, and catch-up on emails and phone calls. To each his own.
We left the cozy confines of the Bremerton Hampton, with a great view of the Turner Joy destroyer, to another no wind, great cycling day. We rode our way up and over the stupid hill in the middle of town, to a delightful boulevard that went right by a massive aircraft carrier that was either decommissioned or under major repairs. What a HUGE ship – gotta be tough to parallel-park something like that!
Next was about four miles on a 4-lane highway in Bremerton rush-hour. Sometimes the Adventure Cycling routes really border on adventure… Over hill and dale, we went until we reached Oakland Bay, which was a very scenic and FLAT route for four miles along Oakland Bay. No wind, partially sunny skies, with big cotton-ball clouds, so just a nice cruise to the Dairy Queen in Shelton.
Once again, only the drive-thru was open at this fast food joint, so we wheeled the bike thru the drive-thru and ordered our fuel…er food. Had a nice sit-down in the outdoor seating area, and took a much needed, extended rest. Back on the bike, we dealt with some heavy traffic, and got our first taste of Highway 101. Wow…but it had a pristine fifteen-foot shoulder, so really not that bad. Plus, we only had three miles of it before we peeled of on another smaller road.
Very pretty mix of evergreens and pastures and on one roadside rest, a little Shetland pony came to visit with us, or try to get some cashews… not sure which.
When the Garmin told us we’d been cycling for sixty miles, we knew we must be close to the hotel. But, what are those two giant buildings in the distance, here in the middle of nowhere? And – by gosh – they have that distinctive hour-glass shape. They couldn’t be nukes, could they? As I’m writing this, I can see one of the huge cooling towers about a mile away. How weird. Google assured us that they are permanently closed, so it must be true, and we can sleep easier tonight.
Dinner at the Rusty Tractor restaurant, which is the only restaurant within walking distance, if you don’t count the bowling alley “restaurant” (we didn’t) and we are set for tomorrow. Forty-two hilly miles to South Bend, WA, home of the “world’s largest oyster”. Can’t wait!
TFTD: X-Country cycling: An eating event, with exercise thrown-in
Elma to South Bend
You’d think by now we’d have this figured out: instead of thinking about the miles and the elevation gain and the calories, and how drinking soda is wrong; we’d remember that these long days of pedaling are really an “eating event”…with some exercise included. Today, we finally hit our stride.
We leisurely started-out from the Stay Beyond Inn & Suites at around 8am. The Rusty Tractor restaurant was not open, so we made due with the breakfast offerings at the Inn. Foggy morning, which was good, as we could not see the nuclear power plant (permanently shut down…according to Google!) that was near Elma. So strange to see the massive cooling tower from our hotel window.
We cruised along the flat Monte-Elma Road for about eleven miles to Montesano. Thanks to our friend, Bob Haley, we knew that the locals called it “Monte”. We used that info early and often so as to appear as locals. We arrived at the only stop light in Monte where we were to turn left toward South Bend, but the “bike” turned right into All Wrapped Up Bakery. The baked goods and coffee were excellent, and owner, Judy, reminded us to be good people. We always try to be good, and if we’re not good, we’ll certainly be sweet after eating those cinnamon rolls!
The fog was beginning to lift, so we took off our outer-layers and dug into the ride: a terrific roller-coaster through the woods of Washington to Highway 101 (yikes!). But, when we got to 101, we remembered there’s not much north of 101 at this point, and it was a very docile road with a great shoulder. By this time the fog was gone and the day turned into, perhaps, the best cycling weather we have ever experienced! Tailwind (if any), BLUE skies, and mid 60’s! Could not have asked for better weather.
Just when we thought “this is the best day ever”, there appeared the universal sign for better times ahead: a GIANT plywood cutout of an ice cream cone. So, of course, the bike made the turn and we had “home-made” soft serve, which sounds like an oxymoron, but that didn’t stop us. We took a nice, long stop and debated whether “soft serve” is ice cream. At the risk of dividing the country even further, we dropped the subject…(it isn’t). And, we’ll stay away from the question of whether a hot dog is a sandwich. (It’s not.)
Nourished with our soft serve (not ice cream) we pushed over hill and dale to Raymond (Nephew in-law Tyler’s hometown!) and stopped for lunch at “Sheila’s Kountry Kitchen”, famous for their clam chowder and oysters – of which they had none. That made for an “unkomfortable” moment for the server, as he tried to explain how it was they had no oysters, in the “oyster capital of the world”. Luckily, breakfast (served all day!) worked for us, and we loaded-up on eggs and French Toast.
From Raymond, it was an idyllic ride on a bike-path for five miles to our motel, which is across the street from the World’s Largest Oyster! Truly a perfect day. Tomorrow, we ride to Oregon, and visit with our friends, Dorothy and Bob Haley. Our Dorothy and Bob visit is under-written by Lindsey and Ted Haley. Thanks for the use of the condo Lindsey and Ted! (PS – all that stuff was broken when we got there…:-)
TFTD: X-Country cycling: An eating event, with exercise thrown-in
South Bend to Seaside
We started off from the Seaquest motel at about 7am. We decided to take the longer way on Highway 101, rather than the shortcut Mr. Google recommended. A couple of locals informed us that the “shortcut” had 5-6 miles of gravel, so we aborted that plan. It pays to ask around!
Nice flat start then… as we got closer to the coast, it became very FOGGY, so foggy that we were soon dripping wet, and glasses were of no use, since they were covered with water droplets. Still, the riding was good, with smooth shoulders, light traffic, and great views of the 50 yards we could see.
We left Highway 101 after about 25 miles and headed inland on Highway 4. At this point, the fog was clearing-up and we began to dry out. At Naselle (home of the Comets!) we hung a right on Highway 401, and stopped at a drive-thru coffee hut, where a young cyclist admired our tandem.
Next stop was the Astoria-Megler Bridge which we had heard was a 4.1-mile nightmare crossing of the Columbia River from Washington to Astoria, Oregon. We expected high winds, lots of traffic, a narrow and dirty shoulder, and just unpleasant conditions – in a word: terrifying. Instead, it was a scenic, though intense crossing. The wind was a “non-event”, traffic was light, the shoulder was smooth concrete all the way across, and no open grate span!
The weird thing was all the dead birds on the shoulder. We probably passed twenty dead geese, ravens, and ducks. Seems like they zoom around the bridge and get conked by the trucks and RVs.
We crossed a much shorter (only 1.5 mile) bridge coming out of Astoria, and it was actually worse – windy, dirty shoulders – and now we were on the section of Highway 101 that was far more busy. As it was lunchtime, we looked around for a café, which is “hit-and-miss” in this Covid world. Spotting a DQ in the distance, our hearts jumped, and we made a bee-line for the junk food awaiting us. Once again, the lobby and bathrooms were closed, so we ordered at the drive-thru and ate at the picnic table in front of the DQ. Thank goodness the weather happens to be perfect for outdoor dining
From there, it was a delightful cruise down 101 to Seaside, where Ted and Lindsey Haley happen to have a house just one block from our route. We met Dorothy and Bob Haley there, and had a remarkably mediocre Thai take-out dniner, but the company (and the scotch!) was great. A perfect way to end another pedaling day in fantastic weather.
TFTD: Room with a view
Seaside to Rockway Beach
The road called, and we answered. We were supposed to rest today, but we thought we should break-up a seventy-four mile Tuesday into a thirty-five mile Monday and a forty mile Tuesday. So, we started with a leisurely morning of resetting passwords (Andy’s favorite), visiting with the Haleys while Bob occasionally worked, dined on terrific blueberry pancakes, strawberries, and grapes. After we “solved” all the world’s problems with Dorothy and Bob, we loaded-up the bike around noon, and hit the road.
Up and over a 500-foot hill to Cannon Beach, the bike turned right towards a brewpub. We had a quick lunch of clam chowder and a bean burger, and headed into the teeth of today’s ride: a couple of 1st gear grinders up to Oswald Rock, a rock-face about 600 feet above the Pacific Ocean, with great views to the south. We are finally getting those great Oregon Coast views and… no wind. Hooray!!
We leap-frogged a couple of X-country cyclists and then passed 3 more. As we passed, the guy in the front said “Hey, that’s not fair!” when he saw we were on a tandem. I guess that’s the first “reverse shouter” we’ve had. Proof that Kim does indeed pedal.
We reach the Silver Sands Motel in Rockaway Beach at about 4:00-ish, and were treated to a corner, ocean front, 2nd story room, with a wonderful view of the Arch Rock and Oswald Rock where we stopped earlier. The Silver Sands is a classic early 60s motel that is certainly dated but the room in clean, big, and has a terrific view.
Good to get the climbing out of the way today, and tomorrow should be a flatter, and low-mileage day. Hopefully, we’ll get to have dinner with niece Ella and her family tomorrow night in Pacific City.
TFTD: Beach-walking is sandy
Rockaway Beach to Pacific City
Short miles today, so we had a leisurely, in-room breakfast of yogurt with trail mix and a bottled berry-smoothies. A bit chilly, but not too foggy this morning. After breakfast, we followed a not too busy, and flat Highway 101 along Tillamook Bay, through Girabaldi and Bay City on the way to Tillamook town.
Fishing boats were headed out on the glassy bay (did we mention there has been no wind?) past the miniature hay stack rocks rising out of the water. Just before Tillamook, and across from the giant Tillamook Creamery, we spied a coffee shop that was open, so, of course, we had to stop and checkout their fare. Good choice on this one – great coffee and tasty scones and chocolate-chip cookies, which aren’t just for breakfast anymore. When is the best time for a chocolate-chip cookie? Whenever! We have scientifically proven this over several bike rides. No science, no chocolate-chip cookies.
We’ve really noticed what’s missing on these Covid-era rides is that the small diners, coffee shops, and bakeries, with the server named Midge, that were barely hanging on, are now gone. Very sad, and a large bummer for cross-country cyclists that love to stop-in at those places of yesteryear, and catch-up on local gossip. We wonder if the local breakfast place / café will ever come back. We hope so!
In Tillamook, we had to decide whether to take the trafficy, but shorter and flatter Highway 101, or the scenic, hillier route along the bay and ocean. Since we had the time, we went for the scenic route, with the annoying two miles of first-gear hill. Good choice! Great views of the bay, smooth road, minimal traffic, and the hill – well… we’ve been through worse. Plus, we got to stop at Sand Lake (home of the Bobcats! – but, we didn’t see their home…) after the speedy downhill side of the climb. Sand Lake was a tiny convenience store, with everything one needs, if you happen to like knives, camo sweatshirts, and t-shirts that say: “Sand Lake – Gear, guns, and guts”. Luckily, the dogs, a Chihuahua and a Rottweiler were very friendly. The Chihuahua especially liked Andy.
We loaded-up our gear and guts (no guns) and headed off for he last seven miles to Pacific City, with the Pacific Ocean roaring away on our right. A couple of whop-de-do hills later, we coasted into the Pelican Brewpub for lunch – again… Great spot! Killer view of the hay-stack rock out in the surf, and also the massive sand dune/headland to the North.
After another terrific lunch of chowder and bean burgers, we soft-pedaled the mile over to the Anchorage Motel, which is one of those motels that was clearly a dump, that someone bought, remodeled, cutified it, and then charge a hefty fee. Still, a great place, and we’re happy to rest here for the night.
Later, we met the Behnouds for dinner. Hooray!! And… just like that – tomorrow is September, on to Newport, OR!
Pacific City to Newport
We left the super-cool little town of Pacific City with zero fog this morning…just a blue sky and a windless morning. Yippee! We cruised along Nestucca Bay on a flat road (another Yippee!) out to Highway 101, took a right turn, and headed South. The road was smooth, and there was a
wide shoulder, so very, very good Oregon pedaling. About seven miles into 101 we had to stop at a café that claimed to have the “best” bakery and espresso, so we stopped at The North Coast Trading Company, and checked it out. Definitely the best baked goods we had this morning, and the coffee was pretty good, too.
Appropriately caffeinated, we were able to go up, and over, a steep 800-foot climb to Lincoln City, where we stopped at Pig ‘n’ Pancakes for a couple of omelets. The place was still packed when we left at 10:00 AM probably because all the little diners and eateries were closed…even the nearby Taco Bell. Strange times indeed when the Taco Bell can’t field a team.
After Lincoln City, we started to see the classic views of the Oregon Coast. Then at Lincoln Beach and Depoe Bay (the world’s smallest harbor!) we had the terrific panoramas of the coastline. Simply stunning. We opted for another scenic, closer to the Pacific, three-mile ride, along the basalt headlands, past Cape Foulweather (named by Capitan Cook – yes, that Cook) and Devil’s Punch Bowl. The road was one-way and there was a special lane for bikes. A lovely ride through woods and ferns and breath-taking views straight down to the rocks, surf, and beaches.
We were, pretty much, right on the beach the rest of the way to Newport, and our hotel room has a great view of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse and Agate Beach. Looking forward to Crossing the Yaquina Bridge and riding along the coast tomorrow to Florence.
Newport to Florence
We left early this morning, as Andy is going to try to Zoom into the CASA court at 1:00pm. We also wanted to have breakfast (number two) at the Hill Top Café in Waldport. We saw an ad for the Hill Top in one of the flyers at the Best Western Plus, and it said they featured “Cycle Town Coffee”. Our kind of place, so we had breakfast (number one) consisting of trail mix, bars, and water in the room, and headed to the elevator at about 6:45. The bike didn’t fit too well in the elevator, so we had to tip it on just the back tire, to get it to fit. In these situations, we usually have the elevator all to ourselves…
We pedaled along the ocean through the deserted streets of Newport and Nye Beach (very hip place), and ended up at the Yaquina Bay Park under the huge bridge across the Yaquina Bay. So cool, and great views! We still had fifteen miles to go for breakfast number two, but it went by quickly as we cruised along the beach, taking in coast views, and stopped to take pictures at several of the turn-outs. Most of the time, we had a great view of the Pacific: sea birds, and the rocks below, often the road was a little too close to the cliffs, and all we could see was the surf. But, at those spots, we were well guarded from the cliffs by all the stone walls built along the road during the 1930’s work projects. Not only a guardrail but a work of art.
Breakfast number two at Hill Top was outstanding: crab and veggie omelets, and terrific coffee. We were even treated to three classic cars (and their owners) as we left for the rest of the thirty-four miles to Florence. Relatively cool ride today, as we were right on the coast, almost all day. Fog was blowing in from the Pacific and gave a fairy-tale look when the sun beams came through the thick forest on our left (East) side.
We continued on our misty, scenic, wind-breaker weather through Yachats and other sea-side towns, up to the headlands of Hecata Head (home of the world’s largest sea caves!) and great views of the Hecata Lighthouse. At that view point, we met a couple from Ohio that had crafted a tent platform on the roof of their Subaru Outback. “The project was probably better than the resulting functionality.”, said the innovative owner. The innovative wife simply rolled her eyes. Another couple from Boston that didn’t drink Sam Adams because “…there are just too many other choices” had come up the coast from Sonoma, CA. After chatting with these vagabonds, we hit the downhill to Florence, and stopped at The Little Brown Hen for lunch. Great food, but slow service (short-staffed!). Seems like every place we have stopped for food, or anything else, they are short-staffed and harried.
In Florence, we road over yet another great Oregon bridge, this time the Siuslaw River Bridge over the Siuslaw River. Another spectacular crossing, and our hotel was just on the other side. Tomorrow will be the last (bittersweet) pedal day for Chapter 1, as we expect to arrive in Coos Bay tomorrow.
Florence to Coos Bay
Early start out of Florence with a “meh” breakfast number one this morning. We have, pretty much, stayed in the same kit for every day this trip: leg and arm warmers and a windbreaker for Andy, and long jersey and knickers with a windbreaker for Kim. The windbreakers come off at around 11AM, but we are pretty well covered-up for the mid 60-degree temp, wind-chill, and mist/fog.
This morning was no different as we started up a significant hill out of the Best Western. The good news is that pedaling up the hill first-thing is a good warm-up. And, the bad news is…it’s a hill right out of the gate! Not much to see this morning, due to the fog – not so bad that we had to ditch the glasses but only about seventy-five yards of visibility. Luckily, the shoulder was wide and clean, and the drivers kind. It was an extra busy day, since today is the Friday before Labor Day.
Shortly into the ride, we passed Dune City, which explained all the toy-haulers and sand-toys that passed us. Every kind of vehicle one would want to use, and abuse, on a sand dune passed us by. The coast now had a decidedly different look – fewer trees, headlands, ferns, and plenty of sand dunes. We headed inland, uphill, and out of the fog, as we made our way over the hills before arriving in Gardiner and Reedsport. It was like emerging from a dream, as the mist thinned and we could see out of the blankets of fog spread-out over the valleys.
Once into the flats around the Umpqua River, we made good time to Reedsport for breakfast number two. We tried to follow our noses to the excellent café and coffee shop (see Hill Top Café from yesterday) and ended up at Leona’s, next to Safeway. They were short-staffed, but the bacon and eggs were good. And… off we went to finish our trip.
One of the great things about these trips is that we can go for thirty, forty, or fifty miles without a stop-sign or stop-light. Of course, we don’t go that far without a stop, but sometimes we’ll click-off seven to eight miles at a time. This is when the team goes into sled-dog mode and we just reel off the miles while enjoying the scenery and the fresh air. Riding along the Pacific is magical – especially when we can see it!
About three miles from another major bridge-crossing, this time the Coos Bay bridge, we came across a terrible RV/pick-up/travel-trailer accident that had the RV pushed, almost, into the slough near the road, and the pick-up and trailer all smashed-up into it. Luckily, it looked like no one was hurt. We slowly road up the shoulder past about thirty vehicles, when a sheriff asked us if we wanted to walk around “the scene” when he stopped the traffic. We answered “yes, thank you!”. We pushed the bike around “the scene” (what a mess – traffic stopped both ways on highway 101, three totaled vehicles) and started pedaling – with no traffic! We pedaled as quickly as we could to the bridge, since this would be an exceedingly save time to cross, with no traffic in our lane. We zipped past the stopped traffic in the northbound lane, all the way to the bridge.
When we arrived at the bridge, we recognized some of the vehicles passing us – dang, a little too late, but still a kind bunch that passed us over another exhilarating bridge crossing – akin to crossing the Mississippi River. A quarter-mile past the end of the bridge is Moe’s Bike Shop. We stopped there and confirmed with Moe that he would care for our bike until we resume the ride.
Then we pedaled another mile to the hotel, dropped the bags, and rode the bike back to Moe’s, where he and Andy hoisted it to the rafters, where it will (hopefully) stay until we return in two or eight months. Chapter 1, Sound-to-Sand. Done!