It’s become a habit that I keep it slowly in the morning when I stay at a warm shower host. Marnie has already left for work when I finally enter the kitchen that morning. I chat a little with her husband Jon while I have breakfast and pack my bike for the today’s stage. Further times pasts by and it’s almost noon when I push my bike out of the garage and start pedaling further south.
Since it’s already been a while since I had breakfast I stop already pretty early today at Clarks. Jon recommended me this restaurant and on mondays is chili-day. So I order that and also chose the pumpkin-spiced ice cream for desert. That should be sufficient to continue cycling till end of the day. I wait for a short, heavy rain shower to end before I jump back into the saddle. Since the weather forecast in general is not too positive I’ve decided to stay on highway 101 from Aberdeen to Raymond. The alternative route (highway 105) along the coast is supposed to be prettier but also way longer. Since it’s misty and chances of rain remain high I think it’s not worth it. There will be plenty of coastline for me to see when I cycle further along the coast.
I do another stop in Raymond to have an early dinner. Since I will camp somewhere along the road, I don’t want to bother with cooking after having setup the tent. So, a Subway sandwich must be sufficient for tonight. Halfway saturated I tackle the final km of the day. I cycle till dusk sets in and find a nice and calm spot close the highway at Bone River. After I’ve pitched my tent I discover a sign which forbids camping at this place. Since it’s already dark now and my tent cannot be seen from the road I take the risk and stay in that spot. I anyhow want to leave before sunrise tomorrow morning.
Cycling on the beach
As scheduled I leave my camp spot before sunrise the next morning. As usual for nights where I stealth-camped I leave without breakfast. My plan is to stop somewhere along the road when I spot a nice picnic place. But since it is very cold this morning I shift this several times since I don’t want to cool down again after I warmed up. I wait for the sun to come out. After 25km into the ride I have to decide whether I continue on highway 101 which would be a long but supposedly beautiful detour. The alternative would be highway 4 and 401 which lead straight south and would save me several km. Since I have plenty of time left and it doesn’t look like rain today I opt for the scenic and longer option. Just half an hour later I get surprised by a heavy rain shower including hail. Luckily it’s only very short and my helmet is good cover against the hail. I cycle through the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge which is famous for its bird watching options. I don’t stop but I can also watch a lot of ducks and herons from the road.
It’s about 12pm when I finally reach Seaview and for the first time today the opportunity to enter a store or a café. I buy myself a coffee at Café Abbracci and some pastries. Unfortunately they don’t serve proper breakfast or sandwiches here but I have at least enough to survive the next few hours. I fuel up my water bottles and continue to the beach. The city is claiming to have the “world’s longest beach”. I don’t know if that’s actually true, but I take a picture of the entry gate anyway. Since the locals are entering the beach with there cars I decide to also do that with my bike. The first few meters on the sand are difficult and I have to step of the bike several times but once I reach the wet sand I can cycle for a few hundred meters. After I’m done with shooting the obligatory beach photos I continue on a paved trail towards Cape Disappointment where I visit two lighthouses. After I’m done with that it’s already past 3pm and my hunger has become unbearable so I decide to cook myself a portion of oatmeal before I continue.
It’s still 60km from Cape Disappointment to Seaside in Oregon where I will the night. The track is relatively flat and despite I have some headwinds from time to time I make good progress. The only real obstacle I still need to pass is the bridge crossing the Columbia River at Astoria. The bridge is approx. 6km long and is missing a bike lane and only has a very tiny shoulder. I constantly monitor the traffic coming from behind with the mirror mounted on my helmet. I cycle with full concentration and as fast as I can. Luckily the wind is blowing strong from behind and I can ride with more than 30km/h for most of the time. Towards the end of the bridge it goes uphill and I’m relieved after I also passed this section. The final km towards Seaside are very relaxing afterwards.
In Seaside I stay at Neil. It’s already dark when I reach there as I spend some time at the supermarket in Seaside. After I’ve unloaded my bike and hung my tent to dry I’m happy to take a shower. While I’m preparing my dinner I ask Neil if I could stay one more night at his place. I want to rest a little bit, and at the same time I also would love to watch the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. Neil will be leaving early tomorrow but he doesn’t mind if I stay another night.
Watching TV and eat
The next day I start very relaxed. The broadcasting of the ironman only starts at 9:30am. That leaves enough time for a big breakfast. While I watch the race for the next 9 hours I don’t move a lot, but spend most of the time eating. At the end of the day I ate the following:
– big portion of oatmeal
– 300g chips
– approx. 1 liter ice creme
– 1 Borito
– big portion of pasta
– hamburger and fries
When I finally get to bed I still have the slight feeling of hunger. I will find out tomorrow if it was sufficient.