(July 14 – written by Dave)
Great start to today. In fact, one of the best, if not the best brekkie we’ve had on the entire trip. We debated about having brekkie in camp and moving on early but decided to backtrack 1k to the Dock of the Bay restaurant in Bay Center. The owners of the KOA camp said that it had good food but it didn’t open until 8AM. We were actually ready to ride too early and had to meander a little so that we weren’t too early for a feed.
Upon arriving at the Dock of the Bay we found the staff was also just pulling up. We gave them a minute to open up and then went in for a look. We were greeted by a bunch of old fishermen who seemed to have let themselves in and made coffee. They told us to sit anywhere and the girls (their words) would help us once the grill warmed up. We were both now thinking we should have eaten at camp – this could go on for hours – but then again, we don’t really have an agenda so what the heck.
Nancy made a snap decision and picked pancakes and an egg – surprise! I mulled over my normal choices before taking the plunge and ordering the Hang Dog Omelette – 4 eggs, 4 pan fried oysters, bacon and cheese. Ok, you only live once. I wasn’t sure how it would go with riding, in fact we used to not eat brekkie before riding – in our purist days. Well, I’m happy to report that the omelette was fantastic and while fuelling me for hours, it also “stayed down” just fine. So much for those purist ideals!
Oh yeah, we got to ride our bikes eventually as well. We took the southbound country road out of Bay Center, and what a nice road it turned out to be. We had a slight tail wind and were treated to some lovely morning views of Willapa Bay. We had blue skies from the get-go and were soon stopping to take off all of extra layers and putting on some sunscreen.
While we were stopped, two loaded bike pulled up. It turned out to Adam and Amy – the folks we met 4 days ago. We had not seen them since Forks. It was fun catching up on all the different things we’d done and the riders we’d met. There is a real grapevine of riders keeping tabs on each other. Today, I was more on my game getting both a photo and their names. We may see them again as they are taking the Cascades/Sierras route to SFO. We’ll have our break in Portland which could throw us off but you never know.
After leaving Adam and Amy, we had a nice ride out on Highways 101 and 401, down to the small hamlet called Naselle. Nancy spotted a roadside espresso stand so we pulled in for morning tea. The lady working there was very friendly, even asking us to fill out her “Interesting Cyclist” log book that she’d created only the night before. We were the honoured first guests to sign the book. We left one of our business cards – wondering if any others will spot it and find this blog?
Back on 401, which became Highway 4, we cruised on towards our stop for the day. Along the way, we had two trucks in quick succession pass us way too close. They were far enough apart that they could not have seen each other so we don’t think that they were related. I don’t get why people do that but they still only get a wave from me. I’m not taking the bait. We worked up a “say mate” speech together riding the next while in case we came across them at a stop in the road, though we never did see them so didn’t get to use it.
We got off Highway 4 to look at the oldest still in use covered bridge in Washington State. It was on a loop road so it wasn’t really any longer but it was really nice to get off the highway, let our nerves calm down and to get a look at the really cool bridge. For those who don’t know why they cover bridges, it was done in the old days when the decking was wood. In these rainy parts of the world, the decking would not last very long without some sort of covering. They don’t cover them anymore because they don’t use wood decking any longer.
After the bridge we had a 2.5 mile climb up to KM Summit. Our first sustained climb of that length in some time and the first summit sign since up in northern BC. They were chip sealing the road in this section and it was just sprayed with the final oil. It wasn’t slippery but it looked like it would be. We rode a mostly oil free shoulder to the top where we had our lunch break.
By now traffic had really died down – we enjoyed a very fast 3 mile downhill without a single car passing us. We had to stop at the tailend of the oiling operations as they were only driving on one side of the road. We were first at the flagger but had to let all the cars go first. The pilot car driver was really upset at a couple cars that were too slow coming to us so we went as hard as we could behind her and the traffic, we didn’t want her getting any more upset. We got a big cheer from her and the lollipop lady at the far end. We were pretty spent having blasted two miles way too hard to be called touring bike pace.
We eventually made it to Vista Park in Skamokawa. On check-in, we were told that they had nothing free other than out in their dry and dusty field, which looked really hot. Apparently this is one of the busiest weekends in this area because there is some kind of car event and parade and fireworks just down the road in Cathlamet. I did my best “really, can you help two cyclists somehow” and the manager pulled a dodgy for us. She called a semi-permanent camper who was not there yet and that she figured was not coming in that night. Voila, we were in – pitching in a great little spot behind their trailer, complete with table and fire pit. It’s kind of down at the end of the park and pretty much all we needed. So, you see whining a little can work if you try hard enough.
We made black bean and cheese quesadillas for dinner, which went well with an Alameda Admiration IPA that we picked up at the little convenience store down the road. The sun is just starting to go down now, so the temperature is starting to drop – must be time to get in the tent.
I almost forgot, I found my Washington State license plate today. I didn’t get an Alaska but got BC, Yukon and now Washington. Thankfully, I can leave these in Oregon before we head south!
Tomorrow is our last camping night before we hit Portland. We are aiming for a county campground near Vernonia, where we stayed many years ago on a tour. Then on Sunday we will join the riders coming into Portland on the famous STP bike ride for a little while, before heading into the west hills to our temporary home. Should be fun!