Back, just in time to leave

Written by robert on July 13th, 2017

After myriad technical issues, the blog has finally returned. Just as I’m about to set out for five days of bicycle camping.  I’ll be a ways into Olympic National Forest at an old closed campground.  Sure to be free from cellphone-telephones and the like. What a relief!  So reports of the trip will have to wait upon my return. Check back late last week for the news.  In the meantime, checkout out some new(-ish) photos on Flickr.  If I manage any updates from the road, it’ll be uploading some photos there.

Posted from Seattle, Washington, United States.


SIR Spring Populaire 2017

Written by robert on March 13th, 2017
SIR Spring Populaire 2017 - A wet section of the BGT

A typical stretch of Spring Populaire 2017

This was the third Populaire I’ve done with the Seattle International Randonneurs and the third one where it rained. This was the rainiest of the bunch though.  The ride started 9am at Woodland Park in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle.  It started drizzling a few minutes before the start and was a good steady rain by the time we reached the Burke-Gillman Trail (BGT) heading toward Golden Gardens State Park.  By around mile 15 my cue sheet had completely disintegrated. By mile 21 my bicycle computer konked out.  I pretty much relied on the fact that the route was mostly a there and back to Redmond on the BGT and trying to stick with a group of riders.

SIR Spring Populaire 2017 - Pre-ride announcements

Pre-ride announcements

The downside of that though was that most of the ride was on rail trails.  We rode a stretch of the BGT to Golden Gardens, did the climb up to Loyal Heights, cut across to the Interurban which we rode north to the BGT Connecter.  The Connecter – which is a newly “signed route” – was one of the routes I’d worked out back when I lived on the eastside.  It features a long descent down to Lake Washington in Lake Forest Park.  A soaking wet descent on this day. Then it was pretty much the trail to the Redmond Whole Food Plaza which was a control and place for food/coffee/drying out.  I changed my socks there and grabbed some produce bags to try to keep them dry for the ride back. I also downloaded the route to my phone, but it being so wet I wasn’t sure I could really rely on the phone.  But since it was 11 miles back on the BGT I knew I was set for a while.

SIR Spring Populaire 2017 - Randos disppearing ahead

Randos disappearing ahead on the BGT

It was a slog back on the BGT, though there was a good 20 minutes without rain.  The fresh pair of socks in their shopping bags did a good job keeping my feet dry.  I was alone most of the time, once passed by about 8 randos who’s pace was definitely outstripping mine.  The next group that overtook me, I made a point of sticking with and was able to take advantage of their surviving cue sheets and GPS to get to the finish. This last bit climbed up into Ravenna, made it’s way under I-5 and then the final climb to Phinny Ridge.  As always the ride ended at Zeek’s Pizza where I had my usual Veggie Thai pizza and a couple of pints.

SIR Spring Populaire 2017 - Pumpkin Orange XO-1 at the finish

Pumpkin Orange XO-1 at the finish.

The rain had stopped when I left but a brutal wind out of the south (the direction home of course) had picked up. So I rode to UW and took the Light Rail to Beacon Hill. So good times all in all. Character was built.

Spring Populaire 2017 Route on RideWithGPS

Spring Populaire 2017 Route on RideWithGPS

My Photos here: SIR 2017 Spring Populaire
Ride info here: Spring Populaire
Map here: Ride with GPS map

Posted from Seattle, Washington, United States.


Tourus Interruptus day 3

Written by robert on January 29th, 2017
Tourus Interruptus day 3 - NFE at Salmon la Sac

NFE at Salmon la Sac

Day 3 dawned clear, cool and sunny. It was wonderful being in the midst of the mountains along the talkative Cle Elum River.  I made breakfast and packed up and then enjoyed a second cup of coffee sitting on a rock in the river. The plan today was to ride a trail to Cooper Lake which wasn’t many miles away. There I would setup camp for a few days and hike around the area and spend time in the mountains.

Tourus Interruptus day 3 - Looking north on the Cle Elum River

Looking north on the Cle Elum River

In no particular rush I meandered up the Salmon La Sac road along the Cle Elum River. Stopping frequently to take pictures, checkout trailheads and to monitor the river.  Stopping at the bridge pictured above looking down into the river I spotted bright red spawning salmon! Truly a glorious time in the mountains.  A bit further up the road was the Salmon La Sac Campground, which was a quite large and quite empty campground.

Tourus Interruptus day 3 - Little Salmon La Sac River

Little Salmon La Sac River

From the campground there was a short stretch on a dirt forest road before I reached the Salmon La Sac trailhead.  I stopped for lunch at this point during which time a barefoot woman in a bikini walked out of the trailhead.  Seemed a little casual for hiking into the mountains. However after a short stretch on the trail along the Cooper River, there was a wide bend in the river that created a deep turquoise swimming hole where there was a number of college kids sunbathing, Mystery Solved.

Tourus Interruptus day 3 - Swimming hole on Cooper River

Swimming hole on the Cooper River

The trail along the Cooper River to Cooper Lake was billed as a “mountain bike” trail, but it clear was a horse trail that had been opened up to mountain bikes. I assume that very technical riders with a fully suspended mountain bike and no load could navigate this trail, but it was not rideable on a fully loaded touring bicycle.  Rocks, roots, short super steep sections, torn up trail and so on made for a surface that I pushed the bicycle on more than rode.  After some time of this I decided that several more miles of this wouldn’t be a good time.

Tourus Interruptus day 3 - Horse and Mountain Bike Trail to Cooper Lake

Nice easy stretch of the horse and Mountain Bike Trail to Cooper Lake

Luckily there was an alternative route to the Owhi Campground on Cooper Lake. There was a forest road that took you to the south side of the lake and then you could hike around the lake to the north side where the campground is. I decided to take this, most likely less scenic, but certainly easy to negotiate route.  So I rode back to Salmon La Sac Campground and then Road heading toward that bridge where I was looking at spawning salmon just  few hours earlier.

Tourus Interruptus day 3 - Killer Pothole

Killer Pothole on Salmon La Sac Road

Rounding a corner on the road, gaze on the river or mountains, I glance at the road and spot the above pothole moments before my front wheel entered it. I tried to ride around it, but was two late and I dropped into it and nearly immediately slammed into the far edge.  I popped out, wobbling and miraculously didn’t fall.  My tire had popped of course and the wheel was way out of true. I figured I’d popped a few spokes. I pulled over and noticed how mangled the wheel was.  Taking it off at a picnic table I discovered that I had completely bent the rim at the edge and this wasn’t roadside serviceable.

Tourus Interruptus day 3 - Destroyed front wheel

Destroyed front wheel

There was a woman walking on the road right when I hit the pothole and she came over to see if I needed any help.  As I pulled off the wheel and inspected the damage I allowed as I did.  Her husband was off riding trails on a trials bike (something I was completely unaware of) and she said that after he came back they would haul me into Rosyln which had a bicycle shop. If it was unfixable she offered to take me back to Seattle when the left the next day.  Really generous and friendly I gladly accepted her offer. As we waited, we walked down to the Little Salmon La Sac River which was shallow and rocky at this point.

Tourus Interruptus day 3 - Last view of the Little Salmon la Sac River

Last view of the Little Salmon la Sac River

This would turn out to be my last encounter with the rivers and mountains in the Winatchee-Okanogon National Forest.  Back from the trails, Julie’s husband made some attempts to pound out the dent (but just look at how severe it is) and failing that we loaded my bicycle into their van and drove into Roslyn.  They walked around the town while I took it into the NW Bicycle Improvement bicycle shop. Nice helpful guy there but as I suspected they didn’t have a viable replacement rim in stock.  So I was prepared to return to the campground and stay overnight and return with Julie and her husband tomorrow.  But while I was in the shop they talked it out and decided to just haul me back right away, cutting short their weekend camping.  That was super generous and of course while I said I’d be happy to return the next day, I gladly accepted.  So back into the van with the bicycle and now it was a reverse trip down I-90 back home. I had them drop me off near the Bellevue Transit Center where I was able to take a bus home.

So this is the first tour I’ve been on that got cut short due to mechanical issues.  I’ve had many mechanicals on tour and have fixed most of them in situ, for at least long enough where I could get professional help. But this was unfixable by anyone on the road.  While I was lucky with there being people willing to help immediately on had I have to say at no point was I worried or scared.  To me handling the unexpected is part of what you are training for in each tour.  Just up the road from the accident was the camp host for one of the campgrounds and I knew I could get a ride into Roslyn from them. From Roslyn I could either wait out a replacement wheel, or work out a bus back to Seattle.  So while there definitely would be some much less fun effort involved I never felt that I was stuck.  Too me the biggest downer was that my mountain camping was cut short right at the point I was really interested it: hiking in the Alpine lake regions.  Well I know for sure that I will be back!

Photos taken today: Tourus Interruptus Day 3
Complete Tour photoset: Tourus Interruptus

Posted from Ronald, Washington, United States.


Tourus Interruptus day 2

Written by robert on January 23rd, 2017
Tourus Interruptus day 2 - NFE at Keechelus Lake

NFE at Keechelus Lake

I awoke to a clear, cool morning in the midst of the Cascade Mountains. After making breakfast and breaking down camp I discovered that the outhouse at the Cold Creek Campground was locked.  This didn’t bode well. I wasn’t too far from the Hyak Trailhead so I rode back up there to use the facilities. While there my rear tire went flat. This was not a great shock as the rear tire was quite worn with at least one hole in it which had led to this flat. I patched the tube, booted the tire and ended up having lunch at Hyak.  So it was after noon before I was back on the trail heading east.

Tourus Interruptus day 2 - Second tunnel on the IHT

Second tunnel on the IHT

Just past Snoqualmie Pass you are in the midst of the Cascades on a high plateau surrounded by mountains.  There are a number of reservoirs up here which feed Seattle and other Western Washington cities.  So for several miles the trail winds around Keechelus Lake and is quite level.  The east side of the mountains is dryer, but up this high, it isn’t a drastic change. The underbrush thins out, things are less green, there are more pines than firs and so on. As one travels further and further east the flora changes a lot more dramatically. The valley opens up and there are dry, brown grassland, sparse stands of pines and much less shrubbery. In contrast to the tans, browns and yellows is the deep blue of Lake Easton, the turquoise of the Yakima River and as I left the trail, the rocky green Cle Elum River.

Tourus Interruptus day 2 - Looking east on the Cle Elum River

A dog playing in the Cle Elum River

I left the trail and headed north toward the small town of Roslyn. Best known as the setting of Cicely, Alaska in the TV show Northern Exposure, the town has had a recent resurgence as a hub for mountain recreation.  Getting there by bicycle was pretty straightforward though there was a nice stiff climb up the valley wall.  These are all roads that aren’t designed to accommodate bicycles but generally there were good shoulders. Due to my late start I arrived in town around dinnertime and finding the Roslyn Brewery closed I settled on The Brick Saloon. It was taco night at The Brick, which I didn’t indulge I did partake of a Roslyn Brewery Pale Lager which sure helped wash away forty kilometers of trail dust.

Tourus Interruptus day 2 - The Brick

The Brick, in Roslyn, WA

The sun was low in the sky once I left Roslyn and rode out to Cle Elum Lake. There are campground all around the northern end of the lake (the boundary of the Alpine Lakes wilderness) and I basically planned to just ride until it was near dark.  The road along the lake was all ups and downs and until I entered the Wenatchee National Forest it was pretty dense with upscale “cabins”.  It was pretty deep gloaming by the time I reached Red Mountain Campground and it was a few more miles to the next ‘ground, so I deemed it prudent to stop for the night.


Tourus Interruptus day 2 - Cle Elum Lake

Dry end of Cle Elum Lake

There was only one other group of campers on a Tuesday night in Mid-September.  A group of college age kids they were definitely having a good time. I camped as far away from them as the ‘ground allowed and only heard the occasional exuberant shout.  But it cools right down once the sun is gone and soon enough all of us were in our respective domiciles.

Photos taken today: Tourus Interruptus Day 2
Complete Tour photoset: Tourus Interruptus

Posted from Roslyn, Washington, United States.


Tourus Interruptus day 1

Written by robert on January 16th, 2017

Tourus Interruptus day 1 - Iron Horse State Park

In 2016 I undertook three tours, the last of which end abruptly. This is the tale of that tour. My plan was to take the bus up to North Bend and then ride to the Iron Horse Trail which I would then take nearly to Cle Elum.  From there I’d ride to Roslyn, Cle Elum Lake and then to a campground on the very edge of the Alpine Lakes region.  There I would camp for several days and hike toward The Enchantments.  Finally I’d make my way back.   I also thought if it looked good, that do the Stampede/Tacoma Pass loop off of the Iron Horse Trail. So this was going to be a mixed-terrain, bike packing, hiking adventure in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness region of the Cascades.

Tourus Interruptus day 1 - Dappled woods on the I-P Trail

Issaquah-Preston Trail

I left Beacon Hill in Seattle September 12th for a week long jaunt before 9am.  A good start! I rode a couple of kilometers to a bus stop on I-90 where I caught  Sound Transit 554 to Issaquah. Unfortuently I was too late to make the connection for King County Metro 208 up to North Bend. As that bus only runs every two hours (!) I decided to ride up to it’s last stop before entering I-90 and meet it there.  So I rode through Issaquah and onto the Issaquah-Preston Trail. Absolutely glorious day, with a pure blue sky, and the sun filtering through the trees.  Being mid-September it was comfortably warm but not hot.  Looking to be a great week in the mountains. I made it to High Point where that bus stop was with still more than an hour till the bus would arrive.  Oddly there was a car fully in the ditch in the freeway underpass. I decided that I would give up on the bus and just ride on from here.

Tourus Interruptus day 1 - Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls

I continued on the Issaquah-Preston Trail, to Preston where I then transitioned to the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail.  All familiar routes so far.  But instead of the various ways of working my way up to Snoqualmie Ridge, I instead rode down to Fall City and then up the road to Snoqualmie Falls.  With all the attempts I’ve made to avoid this route with a full touring load, it turned out to really be no big deal. It’d be less fun for sure with dense tourist traffic, but on a Monday morning mid-September, not bad at all. I arrived at Snoqualmie around noon, so of course lunch was at the Snoqualmie Falls Brewery.

Tourus Interruptus day 1 - Rattlesnake Ridge

Rattlesnake Ridge

It was pretty warm in Twin Peaks, err North Bend and I was happy to get back into the woods and make my way further up into the mountains.  I was going to be riding all the way across the back and camping on the east side this night (why I wanted to bus to North Bend and cut out some riding) so there was a lot of miles on gravel ahead.  The ride through the woods was quite enjoyable.  The seasons are always in advance in the mountains and the signs of Autumn was everywhere. Yellow, golden and red trees stand out amidst the bountiful evergreen trees.  People were out, but with it being during the workweek and school back in session, there were no crowds.

Tourus Interruptus day 1 - Foothills 2

Autumn in the Cascades

Long distances on gravel wears you down, the extra resistance, the vibration in your hands, needed to hold on more firmly to the handlebars. Riding the Upper Snoqualmie Trail and then the Iron Horse Trail for around forty kilometers, you definitely feel it. These trails keep to a minimal grade, around 2-3% but it does so for pretty much the whole way. That just adds to the effort required. But it is great to be in the woods, in the foothills and the Cascades. I-90 is always nearby, but you are completely out of traffic and I love it.   The sun sets early in the mountains, even on the longish days of the end of summer.  The shadows were getting longer as I rode through the two mile long Snoqualmie tunnel.

Tourus Interruptus day 1 - Moonrise over Hyak

Moonrise over Hyak

Through the tunnel I was at the Hyak trailhead. I stopped there briefly but soon rode the last few kilometers to Cold Creek Campground.  There I filtered water, made dinner, setup camp and all of the other details of camping out in the woods.  Soon it was dark and cold and I was happy to get into my tent in the moonlight and retire for the night.

Photos taken today: Tourus Interruptus Day 1
Complete Tour photoset: Tourus Interruptus

Posted from Snoqualmie Pass, Washington, United States.


Coastal Contemplations Index

Written by robert on June 21st, 2016
Coast Tour 2016 day 12 - yrs trly at Heceta Head Lighthouse

yr humble narrator at Heceta Head Lighthouse

Coastal Contemplations index
In June 2016 I spent two weeks touring on the Pacific Coast.  A leisurely tour, the emphasize was on the scenery, the environments and contemplation.  As usual I blogged the tour here as it went on the links of which I have collected here. Additionally I took over a thousand photos on this tour and a selection of these from each day have been uploaded to Flickr.  Links to each days photos are included here along with each days report.

day 1: Seattle to Twanoh State Park – report, pictures
day 2: Twanoh State Park to Lake Sylvia State Park – report, pictures
day 3: Lake Sylvia State Park to Cape Disappointment State Park – reportpictures

day 4: Cape Disappointment State Park, WA to Astoria, OR – reportpictures
day 5: Astoria to Nehalem Bay State Park- reportpictures
day 6: Nehalem Bay State Park – reportpictures
day 7: Nehalem Bay State Park to Cape Lookout State Park – reportpictures
day 8: Cape Lookout State Park – reportpictures
day 9: Cape Lookout State Park to Beverly Beach State Park – reportpictures
day 10: Beverly Beach State Park – reportpictures
day 11: Beverly Beach State Park to Beachside State Park – reportpictures
day 12: Beachside State Park to Umpqua Lighthouse State Park – reportpictures
day 13: Umpqua Lighthouse State Park to Honeyman State Park – reportpictures
day 14: Umpqua Lighthouse State Park to Eugene – reportpictures
day 15: Eugene, OR to Seattle, WA  – reportpictures

Tour photo album on Flickr: Coastal Contemplations


Coastal Contemplations day 15

Written by robert on June 20th, 2016
Amtrak Cascade train captured on a stop in Portland

Amtrak Cascade train captured on a stop in Portland

in beads of dew
one by one
my home village


all things must pass
I made one last stop in The Whit at the New Day Bakery – which was great – before I made my way to the Amtrak Station. This being the beginning of the Amtrak Cascades route the train was ready and waiting for me. I pulled off my bicycle bags and helped the porter left it into the baggage car. I found a seat with a table where I would spend the next seven hours.

amidst blue skies
clouds obscure The Mountain —
traveling northwards
It was a fine day with cloud strewn skies and plenty to watch as the train made its way north: Mount Hood, Mount Adams, Mount Saint Helens and finally Mount Rainier.  When I finally got off the train and reattached my bags it was late afternoon. It felt good to do even the short ride home after seven hours on the train.  Back home I unloaded the bicycle, put everything way, cleaned up and cooked some dinner. As the sun set over the city long spine-like clouds lit up with dark purples, reds and oranges. Tomorrow is the first day of summer.
the sinking sun
lights clouds on fire —
last day of spring

Photos on Flickr: todayall days

Posted from Seattle, Washington, United States.


Coastal Contemplations day 14

Written by robert on June 19th, 2016
Crossing the rocky stream

Crossing the rocky stream

in summer cool
ambling down my
road to hell


a step east
On this day I would leave 101 for the first time since joining it in SW Washington.  I was riding to Eugene which was a fair piece and since I desired to spend some time in the city I left early. It was partially blue skids when I left camp but it clouded up as I made my way north (still on 101 for the time being) to Florence.  I began to hear thunder in the distance.  Big, threatening clouds rolled in and fat drops of rain began to fall. I quickly made my way to Natural Market and Cafe, where I had more coffee and a second breakfast. While I was here the storm passed right overhead – lightning flashes followed by thunder almost right away, which would shake the glass of the windows. It poured rain which was whipped around by the winds.  Pretty Dramatic.

Siuslaw River

Siuslaw River

But soon enough it had roared by and the blue skies were back and things began to dry out. I had put my bicycle under an overhang and had missed the bulk of the rain so I was nice and dry.  But I’d lost that early start.  So I hit the road and quickly turned onto Hwy 126 which I’d be following all the way to Eugene.  It began with a flat fifteen miles or so right along the Siuslaw River. The shoulder was good, the road flat but lots of traffic., more heading west than east, but still pretty busy.  But in the main this was good riding.

outlined against
green trees —
a white bird

At the tiny burg of Mapleton hwy 36 split off and the road headed into the, well not quite mountains, hills maybe?  The shoulder faded away and it had the feel of a paved forest road.  If it wasn’t for the traffic, which didn’t really let up, this would be my kind of riding. I still enjoyed being right in the trees and the many little rocky brooks that the road croused over and often followed along. There was a good long ascent, not to any really epic elegation but it went on for a long time.  And then there was a tunnel.  The hill actually crested right at the end of the tunnel.  This of course was followed by a descent into a forest valley.

under fluffy clouds
a profusion of pink roses

I’d almost caught up with the thunderstorm and the roads were wet and ahead I could see the storm clouds ahead and to the north.  But it outpaced me, or moved north and I was riding under blue skies with these big cotton ball like clouds.  The winds were out of the west as usual and helped push me along.  There was another long climb out of the forest valley this one actually had an elevation sign at the top: 756 feet. Made me smile.  This was followed by a long descent into the Wilamette Valley which I’d be riding in the rest of the way to Eugene.

Fern Ridge Wildlife area South Marsh

Fern Ridge Wildlife area South Marsh

The valley was farmland at first and then wineries showed up as I came into Veneta. From that point on it was fast traffic and lots of it and the road both deteriorated in quality and the shoulder bexams rather minimal.  I went through this vast wetland of the  Fern Ridge Wildlife Area which once I exited I was in the edge city portion of Eugene. A sign pointed me toward the Fern Ridge Trail which I was able to ride most of the way to my hotel.  Leaving the trail I rode through residential streets filled with funky little houses and streets with lots of life.

Sunset in The Whit

Sunset in The Whit

My hotel turned out to be right on the edge of the Whiteaker Neighborhood (“The Whit”) of Eugene, which is clearly a funky, happening area. Art, tons of foodie type restaurants,  coffee houses with character, breweries, all in the midst of those unique houses and a lively neighborhood. Nice.  I’d arrived late afternoon and I was able to spend about five hours walking around this area, checking out various places and enjoying the vibe.  As I walked back to my hotel, the sun was setting, lighting up the lingering clouds.  I crossed a set of tracks and as I did the Amtrack Cascades went by. Tomorrow morning I’d be on that train.

fiery sun set over train tracks —
no real road home

Photos on Flickr: todayall days

Posted from Eugene, Oregon, United States.


Coastal Contemplations day 13

Written by robert on June 18th, 2016
Umpqua River Lighthouse

Umpqua River Lighthouse

dancing butterflies—
my journey forgotten
for a while


the butterfly flies anyway
Umpqua Lighthouse State Park was the southern most extent of my journeys.  In fact I had gone beyond the road where I needed to start heading east.  So this day requires back tracking north for a ways.  But I was going to camp just before the turn east so this was going to be a short days ride.  I began by heading down to the Umpqua River Lighthouse.  This was the sixth lighthouse I’ve checked out this trip.  Almost a lighthouse themed tour, which one could easily do in OR as they continue to be present as you move down the coast.

Clearcuts with the coast in the distance

Clearcuts with the coast in the distance

From the lighthouse I found a backroad that let me skip the climb out of the campground, which on reaching 101 would just descend. In steam I took a nice pleasant road to the banks of the Umpqua and rode along the river to Wincehester Bay.  Then it was on 101 with its rolling hills until Reedsport where I stopped at Jitterbug N’ Java. A really interesting coffee shop it had a dance floor and stage fully loaded up with instruments. They did live music and jam sessions along with dancing.  I lingered over lunch there before returning to the road.

the shadow of a bird
crosses my path —
yellow wild flowers

Apart from the typical northerly winds this was excellent riding weather.  Blue skies, clouds blowing by, warm but not hot.  There was the long climb up to the clearcuts and along the way I noticed a tiger swallowtail struggling on the shoulder.  I pulled over and grabbing a stick helped it walk onto it.  Then I transferred it to a stalk of grass – these big winged butterflies can’t take off from the ground.  It immediately flew off and crashed right into the road. I rescued it again, and this time holding the stick aloft it flew off and wobbled across the road. On the other side it randomly encountered another Tiger Swallowtail and they began that timeless dance.

at the far end of the lake
amidst the trees
a lone cabin

At the top of the hill I stopped to look at the clearcuts.  On the other side of the road I go down a short access road and there, beyond the clearcuts is woods and hills as far as I can see.  Nestled in a valley is a lake, the north end completely wooded with the exception of a train trestle running across and one solitary cabin.

Dunes and the last glimpse of the Pacific

Dunes and the last glimpse of the Pacific

Now it was the descent from the hill, and riding in the National Forest land amidst the lakes.  There was also a long stretch of roadwork in progress but like yesterday they were actively working on it.  Then pretty early still in the afternoon I came to Honeyman State Park.  This is on the Oregon Dunes and after situating myself I hiked to the edge up the dunes and up the fine sands.  Far in the distance I was able to see the ocean.  The last sighting of the pacific this trip.

amidst the devastation
stands one lone

Photos on Flickr: todayall days

Posted from Florence, Oregon, United States.


Coastal Contemplations day 12

Written by robert on June 17th, 2016
Fingerpaint the sky

Fingerpaint the sky

where I saw
a pretty bird…
they burn the mountain


without intentions
This day was mostly clear, with an unusual southerly wind blowing white streamers of clouds across the blue canvas. On the road I almost immediately reached Yachats where I stopped at the Bread & Roses Bakery and lingered over their fine coffee and baked goods.  Departing I found my rear tire flat.  I fixed that in Yacharts but all of this found me fairly late on the road.  And this was going to prove to be one of the most memorable stretches of the coast.

Devils Churn

Devils Churn

The route entered the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area and while the traffic was higher, the shoulder smaller, it was just stunning. I climbed for a a spell and was on these rocky outcroppings right on the wave cut edge of the mainland.  The first stop would be at Devils Churn (with Devils Lake,  Punchbowl and now Churn the devil is well represented on the Oregon coast). The last time I was in these parts I was running late so I just took a picture of the churn and moved on. Not this time. I walked the trails right down to the rocks and looked into the narrow passage where white water would shoot up.  There was a little food counter at the info booth where I was able to get a sandwich for lunch which I eNyogen as a picnic at the Churn. On the menu for the counter they had posted a favorite quote:

A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.

-Lao Tzu

I continued to crawl up the cape, which went up and down and had an overlook every quarter mile or so.  One of these had a rocky sealevel shore with a hole in it where the wave action made a natural waterspout.  Another area sealions would come in to rest.  Everywhere there was these stunning views of the rocky shore, the blue ocean, and the white streaked sky.

blue sky
blue waters
no seperation

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Making my way to Heceta Head, there was the turn off for the lighthouse.  This road descended right down to the water and then there was a half mile trail right back up to the headlands.  “No motor vehicles” was posted but it said nothing about bicycles. So I rode the gravel trail up to the lighthouse.  As I arrived the volunteer tour guides noted that was the smart way to do it.  A classic lighthouse right on the edge of the coast, it cuts a dramatic figure against the blue sky. Leaving the lighthouse I found there was a back road from the keepers house to 101 that let me avoid the long descent and climb back up!

The route ahead

The route ahead

Just past the lighthouse 101 crosses a stone bridge and then goes into a short tunnel. Uphill of course!  Then it hugs the coast line for a spell and then climbs up to the Sealion Caves.  I was able to check out the sealions and a lot of birds before the official attraction so I didn’t go in.  But from here the coast dramatically changes. It becomes quite linear and all sand dunes.  101 goes inland and I would be away from the coast for a while.

at the summit of the forest climb –

It had taken me hours to do this 20km stretch of coast so it was pretty late when  came into Florence.  I got some supplies and then had to really make time to my destination.  The road was all through trees now and coastal forest lakes.  A long stretch of National Forest Land there was quite a few campgrounds, boat launches and recreational areas.  There was a good long climb through the trees which culiminated in a massive clearcuts. But then it was a descent to the Umpqua River which I crossed via two bridges into Rockport.  A couple more ascents and descents as 101 cut off the mouth of the river and I came to Umpqua Lighthouse State Park where I would rest after this epic day.

whits cranes
fly away
as I draw near

Photos on Flickr: todayall days

Posted from Reedsport, Oregon, United States.