We were very lucky to have everyone (and all their gear) arrive safely in Seattle! After a short lunch at the airport we drove out to our first camp site, Lake Sylvia State Park. Ever since this first day we’ve had nothing but great weather for our rides!
Travels on the Road
While our trip includes traveling across many roads, we’re mostly following Route 101. It is one of the most popular biking routes in the country known for its spectacular coastal views and passes through some very friendly bike communities. Besides the ocean views, we’ve found ourselves alone many country roads full of small farms and picturesque landscapes.
Starting with bike fitting and some rules of the road, in Aberdeen, Washington, on our first day of riding, we clocked fifteen miles. The next day we rode through a large swath of cranberry bogs, the road lined with their early flowers for miles. Many of the farmers grow cranberries for the local Ocean Spray factory only a few miles North, and they are busy building new bogs for the upcoming season.
As our trip takes us through marshes, wetlands and other wildlife preserves we have been lucky to see many birds unique to the area. Maud and Dylan have a particular eye for this and have spooted several bald eagles and herons flying above us. Other wildlife includes elk, mule deer, a variety of curious squirrels and an abundance of dogs at our campsite.
All of our campers have been riding incredibly well. Usually Stan and Max take the lead, both great bikers who are determined to improve their speed and endurance. Max has also enjoyed learning a good deal of French from Stan and Andoni, another native French speaker on the trip. Both Ben and Liz have experienced changing tires and tubes on their bikes, proving the patience and attention to detail in this task. We are very happy to have their positive attitudes and great sense of humor along for the journey!
Aside from occasional bike maintenance, it’s been smooth sailing on the road. We are very impressed with Maud who is developing a good pace on her first long bike trip. When she is not pushing herself up some of our 800 foot climbs, she is busy helping up with her drawing and studying flora and fauna of the area.
Dylan, has also shown great perseverance and speed on this trip. He is a super strong rider, always keeping up with the front of the group. No doubt his experience with RAGBRAI was a great precursor to this trip!
On average we have been traveling at 12mph, with days ranging from 15 to ( the most recent and longest day) 58 miles. After passing over the epic Megler Bridge into Astoria, Oregon we started witnessing some of the spectacular coastal views of the state, including Twin Rocks and Cape Foulweather Lookout. Our best time on the beach was definitely our lesson with Ossie’s Surf Shop at Agate beach. Our instructor Mike helped us first time surfers learn how to ride the waves while Dylan and Sam honed their surfing skills. For a first-time surfer, Stan did particularly well with this sport!
In general we are pleasantly surprised by all the friendly people we meet on the road. Not a day has passed without a handful of cars and motorcyclists giving us an encouraging honk or wave as we trek along. And whatever it is, advice from a seasoned bicyclist or just a curious local, the Pacific Coast Bike Brigade always manages to spark conversation on our stops to the grocery stores for lunch. Everyone is always impressed we’re headed all the way to San Francisco.
The friendly encounters continue in our various campgrounds. We’ve been lucky to stay at quite a few with surprisingly great showers and often the sites are just a short walk to the beach. Sometimes we hold evening circle watching the sunset over the ocean and on the 4th of July we enjoyed a fire on the beach at Fort Stevens State Park, watching fireworks explode all down the coast.
One of our more unique campsites included the Jetty Fishery, a campground/restaurant run by the same family for over 34 years. Everyone feasted on fresh caught oysters, crabs, and clams, and all the corn we could eat! The owner even threw in a homemade cake baked by her daughter that day. What a sweet way to end the evening!
Our campers are also quite wonderful cooks! With some instruction from trip leader and walking cookbook, Leif, the students have created some delicious meals, Early on, Maud and Liz gave us a great start to the morning with chocolate chip pancakes and bacon, finishing up with sautéed pork and and vegetables over rice for dinner. The boys have mastered their own creations, as well, including nachos, curry and marshmallow infused cookies for dessert. We are definitely eating well on this trip and looking forward to whatever the campers come up with next!
Between biking , cooking, and sleeping, the boys still find a lot of time to enjoy playing cards, Ben and Stan ironed out the proper rules to ‘Presidents’ and they’ve recently picked up kempts as well. Andoni made it a point to introduce the group to “assassin” a word game he learned on his first Wilderness Ventures trip.
Though were happy to rest our legs for a day at Beverly Beach State Park, we are eager to hit the road tomorrow for our longest day so far- 60 miles to Florence Oregon. If this week is only an indicator of what’s to come, we’re in for a great ride together!