Looking for the same experience as the last ride is perhaps the wrong attitude to have taken this time around but it proved to be no less magical a second time around.
I did manage to ride with a fellow from Canada for a few days starting from Humbug mountain on through the redwood forests. Patrick was a guy who in many ways seemed to be mirroring my first ride down with constant bike problems and not having the right gear for the time of year. Luckily for him I had a spare set of long johns and other warm clothes to help him get through the colder nights. According to rangers I spoke to on the way through Oregon the number of cyclists had certainly started to dwindle in the week before I got there, which I wasn’t very surprised at.
Much of Oregon is as I remembered it, except the hills got a lot easier a second time through. It is just as beautiful as I thought, which is a good thing since I encourage just about everyone I meet that they should do the Pacific Coast on a bike and especially Oregon. I thought I might have been more prepared for the attack of raccoons this time around always securing my bags at night before going to sleep. This didn’t deter them very much getting a few of my bagels one night and some of my granola bars. I hate raccoons. Another night they put some small holes into my panniers, which was probably one of my worst fears. Which means that one of my waterproof panniers is no longer water proof. I can see people laughing at me on this one, and on the whole I can see why. I just wish that Oregon put in bear boxes on their campgrounds like California does, it would make life so much easier and less frustrating.
I have to thank Mr. Ed from Oregon for dinner and all the smoked salmon he shared. I met Mr. Ed as he was cycling into the park and we got to talking about travels and he invited me to dinner which was really great. He had just landed a 48lbs salmon a few days previously and had been busy smoking it. He talked a lot about Spain as he’d had 14 trips there so far and I got to share a lot about other countries. He loaded me up with some salmon steaks and a heap of smoked salmon which I shared with some other campers when I got back to camp.
Getting to the Drury Parkway in Northern California is probably the best stretch to cycle down, for those that have gone down this particular stretch they probably remember it well. It’s one of the first tastes of the redwood forests and probably the most magical. There is very little traffic on this road and you coast downhill for almost 10 minutes in the quiet hush of the redwoods. I don’t think I would ever get tired of this road as the magic there is only interrupted occasionally by a passing car. I almost get annoyed by being intruded upon but their sight and sound is quickly swallowed by the forest and again your alone in the forest of Endor.
One more update for the rest of the way down the coast and some pictures.
Quick note to say that I’ve arrived at the end safely. I’ll post my thoughts in the next few days, the short daylight and long rides left me little time to post while riding so hopefully I can catch up soon. Things may be crazy in LA for a while so bear with me.
Thanks goes to Angie, Matthew, and Sam for hosting me in Seattle. I see again why I could live there, it just has a good energy and having friends there helps. The beer, food, and company was good. Two weeks went by far too quickly and it was time to hit the road once again. Of course I was already worried that I would be behind the cold as it’s already over a week after I had left last time.
Riding the pacific coast a second time I won’t lie and say I’m not looking for a similar experience to what I had the last time through riding with 4 great people. I almost found a piece of it starting the trail north of Seattle I ran into a British couple who treated me to dinner at the Public House in celebration of finishing the Northern Tier (or my version of it.) Unfortunately the next day I was heading into Seattle while they continued on south.
Speaking of looking for a similar experince of last ride I did get a chance to catch up with Jay who met me at Lincoln City and shared a pizza while he recounted to me his exploits of the last couple of years and I talked about riding around the world. Great to catch up with one of the gang from the last ride.
I found the hills of Washington to be the hardest yet and Oregon to be pretty easy compared to last time where I started each day agonizing over the many hills I’d have to crest. I do find myself thinking about where I took breaks last time and hills I had to walk my bike up, I’ve come a way from back then. It’s weird but the weather has been strangely similar to what it was last time, riding into Astoria dripping from head to toe was exactly how I rode through last time and riding into Cape Lookout to a cloudless night is just how I remember it. If things continue this way I’ll be soaked to the bone once again riding through Crescent City.
The first day riding out of Seattle it settled on me that this was the end, quite the depressing thought and something I don’t dwell on much but it’s the truth. Time for reality very quickly.
I have to give Alastair a lot of credit, I’ve now climbed the hills that lie between Canada and Seattle and they are a rough reminder of what Washington offers. I say this even after climbing all the mountains across America; Washington hills for whatever reason have me lower and lower on the cogs at a time when I didn’t think I really needed them any more. Had I started in Vancouver last time who knows how it would have went for me last time.
I’m happy to be back in Seattle, it’s probably one of the big cities I can be in and not feel overwhelmed. Though I do have the feeling I’d be pretty happy anywhere with a roof over my head, but it’s always nice to be sharing time and food with friends again. We managed to hit all of my favorite spots in town and get introduced to a few others now that Matt and Angie have had time to scout the area out properly.
I only have a few states left in this whole ride and it’s crashing to an end. I added a few pictures, I know I’ve seriously been slacking in the photo department but when I’m riding 10 hours a day it leaves little time to shoot around.