I was awoken in the night by the sound of light rain hitting my tent. It was still plenty early so I was able to sleep on. The sound of rain on the tent is one of life’s true joys though. Of course a pleasure that one wants to sparingly indulge in; a few days of rain per tour will suffice. Later I was again woken by this incredible cacophony of bird calls. Most of these were unfamiliar to me, pitched trills of all sorts of durations, intensities and repetitions. The sounds you can hear when you slow down and get just a ways away from things can be amazing.
When I finally did get up I took full advantage of the new shower that had been added to the campground (not listed in the route guide) and then quickly packed up. While they had added a fancy new bathroom there didn’t seem to be a source of drinking water here. So I didn’t make breakfast as I usually do I went back to the Dock on the Bay for breakfast. When I do go out for breakfast on tour I usually get french toast and hash browns and today was no exception. While I drank coffee and ate I was able to listen to the locals opine on the environment, drug use and, most bizarrely, cartoons. Which they were all for, providing they weren’t violent. Oddly they cited Wiley Coyote, Road Runner and the like as the pinnacle of great “non-violent” cartoons. Visiting the local hangouts is always a good time whether it be in Ireland or Bay Center.
As I left I saw three of the other tourons heading up the road; I would see them on and off most of the days ride. While it had rained in the morning and it looked to do so again, the clouds were now breaking up a bit and there was some blue sky visible. I was hoping the wet weather was finally done with but it wasn’t quite finished with me. The road began with a short steep bit (pictured above) and wended around the coast mostly through trees, but sometimes with stunning open views. The wind was present but not too bad at this point. The road turned eastward for a short stretch then it joined the 101.
Today was a short ride, which personally was fine by me. This also was an area I was pretty familiar with — I had spent five days riding the Long Beach area a few years back. I hadn’t ridden this stretch of 101 but I knew what was at the end if the ride. For the most part the riding was quite similar to yesterday: rolling hills, headwind, in trees or clear cuts then along the coast. I did leapfrog the other cyclotouists but after they caught up with me again at a wilderness preserve I’d stopped at I didn’t see them again. After the preserve the road really hugs the coast, dipping in and out of coves, with the water always close at hand. The wind was pretty bad at this point but a nice bit of riding otherwise.
The end of this section was another story, the road became flat across an estuary and the headwind fierce. This was followed by the longest hill to date, which was also fairly steep in parts. I ground up that and the few rollers after it and that was about it for the days ride. The traffic picked up as I rode into Seaview and so did the rain. At this point I’d ridden all but about 5 miles of the days journey and it was only lunchtime. I needed to kill some time so I had lunch and walked around the tourist town of Long Beach. The rain had stopped and it had become sunny and warm. Crazy!
I hadn’t been here in high tourist season since I was a kid and I have to say it’s not really my thing, the boardwalk style tourist town. I did get some good beer and seafood though, and then indulged in some saltwater taffy. I walked to the beach but really the crowds kind of brought me down so I hit the road shortly thereafter. I took some side streets I knew from my previous visit then rejoined the route right before the little town of Ilwaco. I wish I’d remembered that Ilwaco was a big more arty and less tacky than Long Beach and had come here instead. Ah well I’ll stop by tomorrow. I turned back into the woods for the winding and hilly route to Cape Disappointment where the campsite is. On the way I stopped to check out what is apparently the most photographed lighthouse in Washington. Click the link below (or see the header image) to see my additions this statistic.
It was downhill from the lighthouse to the park (which of course I’ll have to ride up tomorrow) and I quickly got into and setup in the camps hiker/biker area. This is a group area at this campground, but on this night I was the only cyclist here. I set up and then set out to the camp store which had a laundry attached, which I took full advantage of. Almost perfect timing for this — an early day, and right about at the end of my clean clothes. Then it was dinner in camp and hiking a bit around the park until night. There is part of an interesting public art project here, The Confluence Project, in which Maya Lin made various pieces involving Lewis and Clark material along with native traditions. A neat thing to see at the state park. I also hiked the short nature trail where again I was overwhelmed by birdsong, so much so I just stood there listening for several minutes. Oh and I encountered that little fellow to the left there. It was nearly dark now so I wrapped things up and returned to camp.
Now I’m in my tent next to obnoxious neighbors, alas. They have quarreling dogs, screaming babies and for the last hour of do been blasting dreadful music. That’s the perils of camping for you.
Miles ridden today: 43
Miles ridden to date: 228.2
A few pictures from this day can be found here