[Warnings: a) long, and long overdue, post; b) it’s late, I’m tired there will be mistakes I’ll fix 🙂 ]
Hard to believe that we’ve been on the road for over a month now… this is officially the longest trip Andrea and I have done. The previous one (search New Zealand in this blog for a bit about that trip) was a month long and we’ve now surpassed that. We’re not yet at the half way mark though. More adventures await us.
I’ve written about the first few weeks as we headed west across the U.S. and spent time with friends in Indiana, Seattle and Victoria. And I’ve written about getting back into the States and beginning to get familiar with the Pacific North West. Oceans and incredible forests might sum it up.
You’ve also been treated to a side trip describing how things don’t always go according to plan. We’re still within a couple of days of what we had originally sketched out as a schedule and have even looked ahead to make sure that we’ll be close to on time for meeting friends later in this adventure. For now though… back to the rest of month one.
From Rain Forest to Coastal Sunshine
When we left the rain forest behind it was surprising how delightful the feel of sunshine was. We soaked up as much of it as we could too! Although that didn’t stop Andrea from catching a cold. Something that still affects her weeks later.
We stopped at a couple of places along the way as we headed for our next destination: Cape Disappointment at the mouth of the mighty Columbia River.
From there it was on to Cape Disappointment. We didn’t have a reservation but knew that there were lots of sites available. We ended up with a nice one, close to the ocean for a slight premium. We took advantage of the sunshine to dry things out and to enjoy the beach, the view and the expanse of ocean.
Back to The Interior
From Cape Disappointment we headed back along the Columbia, even dipping from Washington into Oregon for an hour or so before coming back to Washington as we headed toward Mount St. Helens. As a destination this was supposed to be spectacular to see. We were headed here to ride though. The camping we found and the trails we got to ride were stunning. Definitely worth heading out to see (and ride!). Plus… you never know… you might see Big Foot.
From Remote Camping to City Life
It was a short trip from this amazing spot to Portland. And the entire tone of our trip changed overnight.
Babe had been acting up since before we got to Washington the first time and this was an opportunity to try to do something about it. It had been kicking around in my mind for a while and I was determined to do what I could to resolve it. I’ll say up front that it didn’t go well. I did get it taken care of. I was able to do 1/2 of it myself and was able to find a mechanic to do the rest. And I let my frustrations out as I struggled with the contrast from camping mode to living next to a homeless camp and spending the time we had in Portland chasing down this gremlin. Or perhaps it’s a side effect of two people living in a tiny space for weeks. I imagine friends who’ve spent months (or years) traveling can enlighten me and others who are curious.
We had one delightful meal at a restaurant Andrea found… that’s as much positivity as I can muster about Portland. I was happy to leave. And happy with where we headed to next.
Bend is Beautiful
I had put a pin on our travel map at Zig Zag Falls near Mount Hood early in our travel planning. Andrea decided she liked the idea of going there and then on to Bend to ride. She was even able to book us two nights at Tumalo State Park… scoring the last site available and declaring victory (it was!). So off we went and we went from the Columbia through the mountain pass and into the high desert that surrounds Bend. Oh… and the riding was great! A little more that I was ready for but the finish down Phil’s trail was a great way to end the day.
We weren’t planning on being there for the VW campout “Descend on Bend” so we were a week ahead of it. Perhaps that might have been an opportunity to talk through some of the gremlins that were haunting Babe. And my mind. As it was, we headed back to the coast. Didn’t make it to our planned (and reserved) campsite though… Babe had something else in mind. I wrote about that enough already though… moving on.
Sunset Bay and Whiskey Run
We did make it back to the coast. Only one day later than expected thanks to the fabulous network that makes up this VW family. Folks like Chris and Dave and Miles! Talk about saving our veggie bacon 🙂 .
We had planned on two nights at Sunset Bay just outside of Coos Bay and we did enjoy two there. And we did get to ride on some of the trails we hoped to. Andrea has been doing a lot of research looking for great riding as we’ve been traveling and she’s found some amazing spots. The Ape Canyon trails that lead up to Mt. St. Helens is one example. These are another. I’ll have to write a separate tale about those trails. The network at Whiskey Run was built a year ago and those trail builders deserve a lot of credit! Sweet As (as we learned to say in NZ)!
We’ve been here in California for four nights now, each in a different spot. From the coast into the Redwoods and then back to the coast in two different spots. I can’t say which I prefer, both are stellar. And we’ve had different samples of each over these past four days. RV style camping one night and deep in the (red)woods the next. High on a bluff over the ocean to nestled in a beach RV site. And some wild roads along the way! I doubt I’ll ever forget the first part of Highway 1 that branches off of Highway 101 as it heads to the coast. WOW!