The day dawned damp, overcast and quite foggy. Eager to return to the road after my day off I got up early and quickly packed up. I was nearly out of fuel for my little alcohol stove so I thought I’d only be able to make coffee. However it turned out to have enough juice to boil water aplenty for the last of my instant oatmeal as well. A hot breakfast is always welcome.
It was still plenty foggy as I hit the road which immediately turned upwards. It would climb through the woods in increasing fog for the next two and a half miles. This was of course the road version of the North Shore hike I did yesterday and it ended at that parking lot for the Cape trail. This was a pretty rough climb, I even saw another touron walking his bicycle up it. The descent wasn’t as fun as it should have been what with the wet roads and the low visibility. Reaching the bottom the fog wasn’t present but the gray day remained. This was how today would continue: gray with not much to see from the coast overlooks. Hence I spent most of the day just riding choosing to go off the route several times which added some miles but always proved to be worthwhile. The first time was toward the beginning of the day where I missed s turn and stayed on 101 when the route went back to the coast. However I ended up riding in this scenic valley which was flat and great riding. The traffic was light at this point and the coast was fogged in so this was the way to go at this point IMO. It did add a few extra miles though, but again I felt that would be okay on this day. Rejoining the route it then climbed again, though not as steeply or for quite as long as the earlier climb. At the top while I stopped for a rest and a granola bar three other tourons pulled in and we chatted for a bit about routes and bicycles – the usual pretty much. It turned out they had started in Bothell – only nine miles from where I had started. Also like me these guys were hitting all the brewpubs they could find, in fact a lot more then I was finding. A worthy tour goal to be sure.
The road descended and rolled for a bit and then there was the second point I left the Kirkendall & Spring route today. There was a section where the official OR Coast route took Old Scenic 101 but they recommended staying on 101 which they said proceeded to a) have no shoulder and b) climb 710 feet. Their complaint with the other route? “poor road surface”. Well I took that other route and I have to say it was really great. I saw maybe 3 cars the whole time, it wound through beautiful woods following a babbling brook all the way. It did climb for several miles in the end but at a gentle grade and in shade the whole way (not that shade was important on this day). The road surface was a bit beat but they’d happily had us ride in worse. The only downside, the way I see it, was that once again it was a longer route, but not a major factor for this days ride.
Toward the end of this segment my rear wheel began to feel squishy so I stopped and once again my tire was low; how depressing. I refilled it and rode on but on stopping at a gas station a few miles later for water I decided to change the tube. Once again I couldn’t find a puncture, it seemed to be the valve. Then the tube I replaced it with wouldn’t even hold a few pounds of air and would audibly hiss out the valve when I squeezed it. Basically it turns out that that this whole batch of tubes I bought had crap valves. I replaced it with a tube I had that was not one of that batch and rode on. I’d spent a lot of time at this though. Just as I was putting everything away, a kid asked me why I had Marvin strapped down, to which I replied that was so he wouldn’t fall off. After all he was handling the navigation and I wouldn’t want to lose him now?
From here I rode through several pretty big tourist towns but there was little to tempt me there. Back at the coast the sights were still mostly clouded in and as I did the days final climb up the appropriately named Cape Foulweather the fog returned with a vengeance completely obscuring some “not to be missed” views. The route up this Cape was great, on this little one way road that was below and away from the 101. It was tree lined in parts almost in a valley of trees, at others you were right on the edge of bluffs which you could see the mists rolling over. Really nice. Then it was downhill and I was at Beverly Beach State Campground which was full. Luckily not for hiker/bikers and I paid my US$4 and was the only person in the area. Later those three beerhounds showed up but strangely rode on never to return. Two others did though, a man and a woman both solo who I’d seen at the last campground, I ended up talking to them for a good while about the usual topics.
So that’s it for today, the lesson was I think, don’t slavishly follow others routes, you’ll make it where you are heading and the way you do take may end up suiting you better.
Miles ridden today: 68.6m
Miles ridden so far: 420.6
A few pictures from this day can be found here