Atlantis packed up and ready to roll
May Micro-Tour day 4
The last day of the tour is of course the ride home. Now when I was camping at Twin Harbors, just a few miles up the road, I rode back to Olympia in a straight shot, which I intended to repeat. It is a few more miles, but the route I did that time took a rather northeastern jog that added a few miles so I hoped it wouldn’t be too epic. It was going to be about 70 miles regardless, but being that home was the destination it didn’t matter too much when I arrived. I ended up waking up pretty early and was out of the sack before 7am and thus able to cook, pack, cleanup and hit the road by 9am, which is a good start for me.
One last look at the ocean
I bid farewell to the ocean and then I was back on hwy 105 heading north. There was a decent amount of people out and about — primarily people claming at the beach and presumably people heading inland for work or what have you. This route has become pretty familiar to me and there really isn’t too much to tell. The last time I rode it, in October, it was pouring rain, whereas today it began overcast but was pretty clear and warm by 11. The trip has about four distinct legs to it and the first is 105/101 to Aberdeen an undulating route crossing over mudflats and wetlands.
Riding over mudflats
This was in the nice cool morning and riding the mostly gently rolling hills was pleasant enough. At one point a pickup truck was passing three cars and as it came near me a gigantic red buoy flew out of the bed and bounced on the road in front the car he’d just passed. The truck swerved back into his lane and kept on driving. The car behind him, which I was almost parallel to, though on the opposite side of the road happily, swerved, braked but hit the buoy anyway, shooting it across the road. I passed all these cars right after that and was happy to be past the fray. You see crazy things on the roads.
Wending along the Aberdeen to Cosmopolis trail
The next stage is from Aberdeen to Montesano and is mostly on a nice paved trail through Aberdeen an on to the tiny burg of Cosmopolis. I stopped at little park in Cosmopolis to take off my leg warmers and socks and to eat the sandwiches I’d made for lunch. It was only about 11:30 and it was getting hot. Then it is nice back roads around Blue Slough a bit of hwy 107 and then under why 12 and you are in Montesano. From Montesano to Olympia it is pretty much going to be on hwy 12, but my Google Maps route put me on frontage roads as much as possible. I’ve ridden most of these plenty of times but there was a couple of new stretches this time. One of these had me cross 12 and then ride to the south of it in farmland where a very aged dog had a go at chasing me, but clearly the spirit was willing and the flesh weak. As I came round a bend and out of some trees I could see the cooling towers of the mothballed WPPSS (pronounced whoops) nuclear power plant. The landmark in this part of the state.
Farmland under the shadow of WPPSS
Alas shortly after this it was hwy 12 for a long stretch. There is a huge shoulder and not much by the way of on/off ramps and of course the highways stay pretty flat. But it was hot, boring and endless traffic. The scenery was mostly farmland in the valley with the Willapa Hills way in the distance. I was pretty easy to keep up the pace and just grind out the miles. I have to admit that by about 45 miles or so I was feeling pretty tapped out, and I still had 20-30 to go. I pulled off at a rest stop on my 49 and hung out there for a while. Refilled my bottles with cooler water, ate some food and relaxed in the shade. I ran into a woman there who was driving to Olympia to possibly buy a Trek 520 for touring use. She’d toured when she was younger and was getting back into it. Small world.
Crossing over 101
From the rest area on it was all 101 until the nearly Mud Bay. This bit of 12 is pretty interesting as it runs in the foothills of the Capitol Forest hills and is not very developed and is filled with some old trees and babbling brooks. I welcomed the shade for sure! Then the route took me on the “Old Olympic Highway” which allows one to bypass the 12/101 merger and ride in the countryside for a few miles before crossing over 101 and down to Mud Bay. From there its the final hump up the long hill on Mud Bay road into West Olympia and then down again to downtown Olympia. One last hill up toward the capitol and then through neighbors and I was home. Thanks to the early start I made it home around 4:30 in the afternoon. Plenty of time to break down the touring rig and get everything squared away before delving into some beer and food.
221.4 miles ridden for the tour