Cycling Adventure Series Day 4 & 5

Day 4 – May 19, 2015 – Tuesday

5:00 a.m. again, and I did not sleep well! I woke up every time a loud truck went by on Hwy 4 or a big barge went up the river, making the Tsunami sounding waves hit the beach. It’s also cold out this morning, but I’m thankful it didn’t rain last night.

I have created this smooth, unzip my tent – toss stuff in – slide myself in – zip it back up, “move” that I have perfected because of my fear of bugs, mainly mosquitos, in my tent! Dun, dun, duuuunn! Although at 5 in the morning, it’s more perfect in my head than in reality.

My morning routine is generally the same. Wake up, grab my bathroom stuff, go get washed up. I get dressed in my tent, organize all my packs, shove my mummy bag into the teeny, tiny little bag it came in, let the air out of and roll up my sleeping mat and pillow, then take everything out of my tent, take down my tent making sure to fold it so I always know what side the door will be on, shake out and roll up my tarp, load all my packs onto my bike, put the remaining stuff into them and viola! Done!

We take pictures. It’s cold this morning so I put on my sweat shirt and rain coat over my bike shirt. I also wear my hat under my bike helmet. I grabbed Marc’s hat last-minute because I couldn’t find mine when I packed my gear at home, and it has been a life saver in this cool weather. I’ve been wearing it sometimes all day and all night.

girl by bicycle and picnic table

Dad decides to leave his 7 lb. chair with the neighbors. This is the 7 lb, $39.00 chair he bought specifically for the trip that he said would be worth it when he needed a place to sit. So far I’m the only one who used it, when I was waiting for him at the bike shop. He says it’s too tall to sit on in his tent and doesn’t fit on his panniers like it did on his trailer. He also says his tent is smaller than he remembers, which is funny because last-minute he decided to bring it with him, and he didn’t test it before coming. Let that be a lesson to you readers as you visualize my dad with his head and feet pushing out the material at both ends of his tent.

We ride into Cathlamet and stop to take our pictures in a pharmacy parking lot. I’m thinking I just want something with the name Cathlamet in the background to help establish a time line for later journal writing. I look up and see “Doughnut Building” in huge letters, then I realize it reads “Doumit Bldg.” Yeah, disappointing. I say “Hey Dad, I want donuts for breakfast.” He says “Did you think that building said Donut?” “Yeah and now I want one.”

picture of building that says Doumit Bldg

As we are riding to the market, we ask a passer-by what time the ferry runs and he says he thinks it’s every hour on the hour. It’s a little before 9:00 and we can’t make the ferry in time so we decide to take our time and shop for breakfast. We park our bikes by the shopping carts, which happens to be next to the entry doors. While we are putting on our walking shoes and securing our bikes, Dad keeps accidentally opening the automatic door. The cashier keeps looking. Then he opens it as he starts to go in, but stops to go back and get his fanny pack (with his wallet). I think this is funny because it’s cold and the cashier is near the door, or maybe it’s just because I keep waking up early and I’m tired so everything is either funny or irritating. 😉

Since the first guy wasn’t absolutely sure, I ask a bread delivery guy inside the store what time the ferry runs and he says he thinks every quarter after. We are taking our time shopping because we thought we couldn’t make “on” the hour, but if we had known “quarter after” earlier, we would have hurried and got food in Westport. Anyway we arrive at the ferry around 9:30 a.m. and find out it’s “on” the hour.

man sitting under sign that says Welcome to Washington

We have some time to kill so I take pictures and we eat our breakfast from the market. When finished we sit and try to keep warm while we wonder if the ferry guy is EVER going to come. He gets there late by a few minutes. He literally, drives up, parks and walks onto the ferry gesturing us to follow him with a very unclear wave. It is just one car and Dad and I. We lock our bikes to a pipe so they won’t fall over and ride inside the cabin area to stay warmer. The guy collects $2.00 per person. Dad pays. When he brings back Dad’s change he asks the usual questions. Where we came from? Where we are going? He also says there are several hills heading toward Astoria, but the first one out of Westport is the biggest. This is very useful information for us. Any idea of what we will face ahead is welcome.

About 15 minutes later, we unload. I’m thankful for an outhouse that is placed right after the ferry, because the bathroom on the ferry wasn’t available. I forgot to get water in Cathlamet, so we ride into Westport to buy some. It’s flat riding out of Westport for a bit, then just as I see the hill in the distance nearing I hear this pop and whoosh. I look down. “Dad, I think you have a flat tire!” We pull over. He looks all over and can’t see what he hit, but whatever it was put a big gash in his tire. “Dad, do you want to use one of my tire boots?” “Yeah, I probably better.” “Here” I say “use my tire kit, because I have perfected my bike tire repair kit.” Dad gets down to the ground with a pretty big moan of pain (it’s hard on one of his knees to sit on the ground). “I think I might have found it.” He says. “Do you have tweezers.” “Yep.” “Nevermind, those are just the tire fibers.” A few minutes later the tire is patched. We start putting his stuff back onto his bike and I put some in my packs because it’s faster. I say “Boy dad, I wish I could get rid of a 7 lb chair and then get someone else to carry some of my stuff so I could race up the hills.” He laughs and we are on our way. I think to myself, “I really should do a YouTube video on the perfect tire repair kit” and “I need to find a place to pee.”

We ride through Knappa Junction and Svensen on Hwy 30. There are a lot of ups and downs, but surprisingly, no place to pee. Dad’s tire is starting to lose air, so we stop and pump it up again, we hear an ambulance coming and I take a picture thinking how perfect that right when we are stopping to pump up the tire an emergency vehicle drives by. We turn onto the Astoria Riverwalk bike path. I always enjoy a good bike path, but this one is crisscrossed with tree roots! Not good since it’s been about 20 plus miles and I STILL have to pee. We stop to pump up dad’s tire again because it’s starting to lose air faster. The bike path smooths out and Dad takes off like a rocket!

man riding bicycle through trees on bike path

In a blur we pass a bunch of noisy sea lions and a beautiful bridge view, a marina, a big boat in the parking lot of the Astoria Aquatic Center, and a young guy with a cat sitting on his backpack, and I am trying to keep up with dad, not pee in my shorts, and take pictures as I’m speeding by everything.

Dad has to pump up his tire again and so he tells me to go ahead to the bike shop. I get to Bikes and Beyond and finding a place to lock my bike with packs on is more difficult than it should be so I momentarily forget I have to pee. Dad rides up. To my great relief I do use the facilities and dad has his bike looked at. He asks them to look at the alignment because he dropped his chain a few times. He buys a new tire, tube, extra tube and new gloves because he mysteriously loses his old ones WHILE he is in the bike shop. (this is the place I roll my eyes). Fortunately, they needed to be replaced anyway.

I have nothing to do now, but wait, so I look around, sit and relax, take artsy pictures of my bike and a bird, and take a hideous selfie (that no one will ever see) while talking on the phone to Marc. Dad walks over and says “the guys in the shop said the nearest campground is 10 miles out-of-town.” Now bear in mind, it’s been cold and cloudy all day so 10 miles sounds like a huge amount. If they were easy miles that’s one thing, but they could be hard miles, so we decide “hotel.” Then we look at each other and laugh about it, feeling a little bit like wimps.

bicycle locked to bike rack

We bike a mile or so to the Lamplighter, recommended by the bike shop people, and settle into room 104. Dad’s paying for all the hotels now, which is a relief to me, because I’m on a budget of $30 per day and my credit cards are only for emergencies. I make a mental note to pay them back, I don’t want to mooch.

Our chains need cleaned and lubed. Dad looks through his bag and realizes he doesn’t have the chain cleaner he thought he packed so he heads back to the bike shop to get cleaner and I head to Subway to pick up our dinner. Subway wont let me go through the drive-thru because they are afraid I might get run over by a car. I get back to the hotel and dad shortly after. We eat and watch TV, then clean our bike chains and despite my best attempt to put paper on the ground to catch the oil we still make a stain in the parking lot.

Now time to study tomorrow’s map!

Bike Stats: Time: 4:39:30   Dist: 42.74     Ave: 9.1     Max: 34.5     Odo: 169

Day 5 – May 20, 2015 – Wednesday

We’re up. We pack and coast to the office for breakfast. Dad eats a pastry and grabs some fruit for the road. Two ladies from California and the hotel manager talk with us about our trip. I eat a banana and grab some fruit to take with me. The hotel manager says if we get on the bike trail we can follow it right to Hwy 101.

We put the extra fruit in our packs and ride across the street, through a parking lot and take a left. It’s cold out and misting on us already. We get on the bike path and stop so I can take a picture of the bridge. Dad sees a dead sea-lion. It’s been cut open and it’s rib cage is sticking up. A nasty odor hits my nose! This guy from the hotel behind us tells us that a marine biologist was out dissecting it yesterday to figure out what killed it and she tried to roll it back into the ocean but it was just her so it didn’t work. Obviously one girl pushing a several hundred pound dead seal is not going to work, especially after she flayed it open. Ick!

We continue riding on the Astoria Riverwalk Bike path and pass an old abandoned train car and an old boat in a boat yard that looks like it would only be good for parts. We start to curve around to the right and realize we probably needed to take a left back at that last road to get to the Hwy. We backtrack and take a right. It’s when we are riding over the bridge toward Warrenton and I’m reminded how dirty Oregon’s road sides are. They are the worst! I remember from our last trip that Washington has relatively clean road sides, but Oregon’s are cluttered with debris and look like they’ve never seen a road crew. I’m thankful I paid the extra $10 per tire and bought the super tough tires for my bike.

We actually are off map at this point. Well, at least off the highlighted route on our maps so we skip Miles Crossing and a big hill, opting for Hyw 26/101 to Seaside where we rejoin the highlighted route.

We are in Cannon Beach, and suddenly Dad takes a right on a dead-end road toward the ocean. It’s such a beautiful view, but I always think that when I can see the sea! I take a picture of Dad and I from a corner of the fence around one of the houses. We look out and see what looks like a whale. We keep staring and then we decide, no it’s probably a rock. This older lady and her friend walk up. She tells us she has lived there for 10 years and it’s been there for ten years so it’s probably a rock. We chat a bit more and the friend tells us a tunnel is coming up that can be dangerous for bikers so to be careful. We ride a bit but end up asking a group of ladies if they know where South Hemlock Street is and even though they are tourists they do know because it happens to be the road their hotel is on and luckily we happen to be heading straight for it.

man and women on beach

Riding along, even though I’m wearing my pink raincoat and hat because it’s cool and damp, I am still loving the ride and enjoying the views and coastal information stops we make. I’m thinking how there are several towns like Seaside that I would like to come back and visit.

We stop at a store for snacks and ask the cashier how long the tunnel is that’s coming up. She says around 100 yards or something.

We start riding again and it’s slightly uphill. I see those tree like plants on the side of the road that were growing through the asphalt. You know, that I was riding over the other day. I snap a picture of them. I regret not taking a picture of them on that other road, part of me thinks I did, but then I think the traffic and wind and rough roads made me forget to actually do it.

small trees or weeds beside road

Dad stops ahead of me. We are nearing the tunnel. We take a second to discuss what we want to do. First of all, its uphill which means we will be going slowly, it’s also longer than the cashier said, probably by double or triple and it curves at the end. We are definitely walking it. We change shoes, then start walking. As we walk by we hit the button to turn the “flashing when bikes in tunnel” flashers on. The ledge to stand just barely fits us and our bikes and packs on it. The tunnel is lit, but still dark compared to outside, narrow, loud and we can’t see the traffic coming as it’s behind us. I hear this huge rumbling and it just gets louder and louder, I’m sure a logging truck is coming, then this little SUV drives by. But it was so loud! Everything echoes back on itself. A big truck passes by. Then this little truck speeds by way faster than the 30 mph that is posted. It hurts our ears. What a jerk! After we get out of the tunnel we take pictures and thank God we survived! My left foot is sore on the bottom. I’ve been walking in my shower shoes, but they aren’t made for walking this long of a distance so I won’t wear them next time I have to walk.

man with bicycle in tunnelman and woman praying outside tunnel

 

We ride a bit more and see another bridge. Since it’s still uphill we decide to walk it. We both walk in our socks because I don’t want to find my walking shoes and I’m not wearing my flip-flops again, my left foot is still hurting, besides I figure I walk barefoot at home all the time. From now on though, I’m going to put my walking shoes where I can get to them quickly.

Outside of Manzanita we encounter a couple of hills. We go from about 100 to 500 feet then down and then from 200 to 800 feet in about a ten-mile span. My legs are feeling fatigued, so I just shift to my lowest gear and prepare to grind it out. I say, “I’m in my lowest gear, I could do this all day.” Dad replies “Yeah, Aaaaall day.”

We near the top and stop at a scenic view-point to take some pictures. A lady volunteers to take our picture for us. I see this Historic Highway sign covered with stickers and think “Hoodlums.”

Historic Highway sign with stickers on it

Then we begin the downhill ride to Nehalem. It’s at Sea Level. We pass through some construction and I stop to use the restroom at the Big Wave Café. We enter Nehalem and I glance at my clock. It’s about 2:15 pm.

We are nearing the turn off for the Nehalem Bay Winery and I am starting to feel tired, almost like I’m bonking. It’s definitely warmer now and the sun is out. Dad offers me some power gel, but it doesn’t sound very appetizing to me so I decline and just drink more Gatorade and water. We ride past Wheeler and Manhattan Beach and get to Rockaway Beach. We get to a store to get snacks and dinner and I say “It looks late outside, because it’s so cloudy.” Dad says “because it is, it’s 4:00.” I’m sure I just looked at my watch and it was 2:15. I say “No it’s around 2:00.” I look down at my speedometer and it reads 4:00 pm. I say, “You’re right, it’s 4:00 pm. Wow, the time flew by!”

We buy food then head out to camp. We see an RV Park sign and I call the phone number, but it’s a private park so they send us 1.5 miles down the road to the Barview Jetty County Park. We ride to the info booth and write down the available sites. Then we ride around until we find site G3, close to the bathroom and showers. Dad sets up camp and I go back to pay for the site. I pull into the info booth and I almost have a heart attack. It says $37.60 per night! I look around at all the information to make sure I am seeing the right price. I fill out the envelope and put $38 into the box and ride back to camp.

“Hey Dad, I had to pay $37.60 for this site! That’s outrageous!” I exclaim. Dad says “What?!? Holy cow! I saw a cheap hotel room back there for $57.00 a night.”

Dad calls mom and chats. Then I set up my tent and Dad goes to shower. I call Marc. Dad comes back and I tell Marc I’ll call him later when I’m settled in my tent. Dad says, “The showers are just barely warm, almost cold. I didn’t even use all my minutes.”

It started cooling off around 4 pm, so I’m not thrilled at the thought of a cold shower. I walk over to the showers. Dad’s right, it’s just barely warm. I shower quickly and skip washing my hair, because wet hair will only increase the likelihood I freeze all night. I get back to the site and dad is eating a sausage dog on a hoagie roll. He cooks me one. I put some spicy mustard dad bought on it and eat it. It’s good because it’s warm but it’s a little bit fatty for me. I eat part of a second one, then stop. Dad eats at least two and the rest of mine.

Now it’s 6:30 pm and I’m in my tent. Why do I keep feeling a cold draft? I think maybe if I put duct tape on my tent to hold the fly closer to my tent it will stop. Overall it was a really good riding day, but this camp is really cold! I can’t take this, I need to fix it. I get out of my tent and get my duct tape out of my bicycle bag. I don’t have much left. I say “Hey dad do you have your duct tape?” “Yeah.” “Can I borrow it?” “Sure, let me find it.” After some tossing of items in his tent, a lone hand with duct tape sticks out of his tent flap. I grab the duct tape and put pieces all around my tent to hold the fly closer. I give his duct tape back and get into my tent, and what do you know, the draft is gone!

Bike Stats: Time: 5:57.51   Dist: 57.0     Ave: 9.5     Max: 36.8     Odo: 226

 

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