The Great Pacific Coast Escape

Day 5: I survived the bridge!!
(Raymond to Ft. Stevens, Oregon)

date: Friday August 9, 2002
daily miles: 79 miles (127 km)
total miles: 449 miles (723 km)

I rolled out of the campground south of the town of Raymond at 8:30am this morning after a good nights sleep. It was foggy outside as I rolled down the highway, but not really that damp. Took my time today to properly warm up and get my body going.

Truly great roads for riding and then add in the sun peeping through the trees this morning – this is what greeted me for the first two hours. Just lots of good riding.

waterway with incredible colors

I detoured through to the town of Long Beach – a cool little area that I wasn't really aware of before. Since I was in town, I of course “cruised” the main drag and I have to say this town has a bit of character. I thought about heading over to Subway for a sandwich, but somehow a little shack that I saw called “The Sand Surfer's Sandwich Shop” appeared. Quite a few people inline outside ordering -- which is always a good sign for good food. I finally got to the window to order what who did I see – literally a Pamela Anderson "look-a-like". My first thought was to get on my cellphone and call my old roommate Adam from Phoenix (who is now in Chicago). He would have gone absolutely gaga over this gal (he has this big crush on Pamela Anderson). Same look. Same talk. Same walk. It was almost déjà vu like in seeing her -- just this one is about ten years younger though.

more small bridges
While I was outside eating my sandwich, she snuck out for a cigarette break. She asked where I was from as I obviously wasn't from Long Beach. I just said I was headed south on the bike and enjoying life. She said she was headed that way some time also -- to Hollywood to become a movie star... Yes, she actually said that! (Note: actually she made a good sandwich -- I was surprised!!)

Made it to the famous (or maybe infamous) bridge across the Columbia River from Washington to Astoria, Oregon. It seems to have scared some bicyclists – it is a couple of miles long and there are no shoulders to ride on – plus there is a lot of elevation to overcome on the Oregon side of it. I turned onto it and wished for the best -- and immediately got a great tailwind that pushed me along – I literally flew along with no trouble at all. OK -- that that was until the final bridge section that got really steep -- that one hurt the legs and is the only time on this trip so far that I had to go deep into my energy reserves to make it without stopping and walking (I will NOT do that if I can possibly help it – I want to ride EVERYTHING on this trip).

Immediately after getting off the bridge, you are in the town of Astoria, Oregon. After almost no traffic all day – this was a traffic jam from hell. The weekend exodus from Portland was obviously just starting. I headed west towards Fort Stevens near the old military fort to find a place to camp. The 2nd bridge across the water on the Astoria side wasn’t any fun at all -- not from the steepness but because of all the litter and having to riding around and over all of it!! (Isn’t Oregon supposed to be a CLEAN place to live??)
great place for a lunch break

The BIG Bridge across the Columbia River
Finally made it to camp though. Nice long hot shower (free!!) and getting into a normal t-shirt and shorts felt good. I headed down to the beach to try and get some sunset pictures -- but the cloud layer had already moved in -- no good sunset pictures will be happening tonight.

Time to go read my book instead. I haven't had a chance for over a year to read anything other than old Ferrari or Bugatti's books (another passion besides bicycles) at times -- or read my computer programming SDK's or programming reference material (can you say YUCK!!)



ps: No problem at all with the logging trucks all through Washington -- they were on their best behavior. Either I am lucky or they just have given me an extra wide birth due to my big American flag waving off the back of my trailer.

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The Great Pacific Coast Escape
Introduction time
Two weeks before - Welcome to "BOB"
One week before - Panic time!
The trip begins! (Bellevue, WA to Sequim)
Awesome sights to be seen (Sequim to Sapho)
The longest day (Sapho to Ocean Shores)
Casual cruise to pavement pain (Ocean Shores to Raymond)
I survived the bridge!! (Raymond to Ft. Stevens, Oregon)
I talked with a real bicycle tourist! (Ft. Stevens to Cape Lookout)
Hills, hills and more hills (Cape Overlook to Newport)
It was slow going today (Newport to Florence)
Kickback, relax and just surf (at Honeyman Camp in Florence)
Time to escape the convention (Florence to Bandon)
Sputter, misfire, detour... and a new direction (Bandon to Brookings)
Please turn off the fog machine!! (Brookings to Prairie Creek Redwoods, California)
Keeping it simple (Prairie Creek Redwoods to KOA in Arcata)
Enter the 'Avenue of the Giants' (KOA in Arcata to Weott)
Running on empty (Weott to Leggett)
Back to the Pacific Ocean (Leggett to Van Damme SP at Mendocino)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Van Damme SP to Stillwater SP)
Just another simple day (Stillwater SP to Samuel Taylor SP in Bodega Bay)
What were you expecting -- Baywatch??? (Samuel Taylor SP to Half Moon Bay SP)
There actually is sunshine in California (Half Moon Bay to Sunset Beach in Watsonville)
Sleeping in late means a late start huh? (Sunset Beach SP to Pfeiffer-Big Sur SP)
Riding above the clouds (Pfeiffer-Big Sur SP to San Simeon SP
The ranger told me that I probably wouldn't want to camp here (San Simeon SP to Oceana SP)
I see cracks!! (Oceana SP to El Capitan SP near Goleta)
Are we there yet? (El Capitan SP to Leo Carillo SP near Malibu)
The “City of Angels” in one day (Leo Carillo SP to Doheny SP at Dana Point)
The end has arrived (Dana Point to San Diego)
Equipment Reflections
Personal Gear Review
Review -- Planning and Maps
Would I do it all again?