Pacific Shoreline 200km brevet ~ pre-ride report

Date: Saturday September 7th, 2013

Here is a link to the data from my Garmin.  You can see a map of the route, distance, elevation profile and a bunch of other nerdy stuff. To register for the ride online, you can go to RandoPony

The ride starts opposite the Shell gas station at 2712 Island Hwy W, Qualicum Beach.  There is plenty of parking on the waterfront and this is where the start/finish control will be set up.


Disappearing shoulder

Riding out of Qualicum Beach, you are heading north on the old island highway (19A).  You stay on this road for 100.7kms, turn around and head back to where you started.  That is the easy description.  There are a couple of turns in Courtenay/Comox, but it is a simple route to follow.  The course is mainly flat with a few rollers thrown in here and there, but nothing too serious to get concerned about.  When I rode the course there was very little traffic between Qualicum Beach and Royston.  When you get into Courtenay/Comox the traffic is fairly steady until you get through and are on you way north of the city.  The shoulder is narrow in a number of places between Qualicum Beach and Union Bay, but is clean.  Watch out for the disappearing shoulder on a few bridges between this stretch as well.  In this stretch as well are 3 railroad crossings.  Be careful!


From Union Bay to Courtenay there is a nice big shoulder that is fairly clean to ride on.  Once you get into Courtenay/Comox, you are riding on city streets until you cross the 17th street bridge.  From there to Campbell River you have a nice clean shoulder to ride on.

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There are toilets in Rosewall Provincial Park just before Fanny Bay and also at the rest area just past Buckley Bay (40km mark).  There are a number of shops/gas stations along the way if you need them.  In Courtenay at 26th Street there is a Tim Horton’s/Wendy’s/White Spot.  If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, there are a number of places between there and the outskirts of town.  There is a general store in Merville and another in Black Creek.  From Black Creek it’s only 18kms to the 7~11 in Campbell River (also the turn around point).  Across from 7~11 there is a nice stretch of grass to have lunch on and check out the wood carvings as they are quite impressive.


Following the directions on the route sheet are simple and the roads are all well marked. It’s a good course to either enjoy and poke along, or try for a PR.  There are some nice stretches along the ocean with nice views.  It’s a great way to see some of the mid-island and you’ll find it very cycle friendly, other than the narrow shoulder between Qualicum Beach and Union Bay.  With that said, traffic is light at this time of year and I had no problems.


Enjoy the ride and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday September 15th, at 8:00am.


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Day 22 ~ Dosewallips State Park, WA > Port Townsend, WA

Garmin Data can be found here.  (Map, distance, elevation gain…)


Considering how late we were up the night before (almost 11pm), we were on the road just after 7:30am.  The day was grey and there was a mist in the air.  A couple of miles from the campground we came upon a gas station and bought a couple of pastries and were soon pedalling again.  As usual, there was a big climb that we had to ascend early and we were told that that was the only real climb of the day.  (The kiwis didn’t go to Port Townsend, so they didn’t know about those climbs that we would have to do.)  After a 5 mile climb, we had a nice downhill and rolled into Quilcene for a proper breakfast.


From Quilcene to highway 20, where we turned off highway 101 for Port Townsend, we rode through rural farmland that that was mostly flat with a few rollers.  The small towns that we did pass through looked like they had seen better days and had an array of dilapidated vehicles in various stages of decay in the front yards.  I felt like I was just putting in the miles to get to Port Townsend.  When we got to the turnoff for highway 20, I was on familiar roads as I had been to Port Townsend a couple of times before.


On highway 20 we had a long steep climb to start the 20 plus miles to Port Townsend.  If it was sunny, it would have been beautiful as it follows the side of a bay.  The one drawback of this road was that there was very little shoulder to ride on.  We had our lights on as the fog rolled in and with that, raised the tension of the ride.  We were happy to arrive in Port Townsend just as the sun came out and cruised through the downtown area.  We went to the Wooden Boat Foundation and looked around at the various boats they were crafting.  I had been there a couple of times and never tire of checking out the place.  We spend a good hour looking around and decided it was time for lunch.  We asked a lady who worked at the gift shop if she knew of a good fish and chip restaurant in town and she recommended Sea’s Cafe beside the working marina, so we headed over there.  We were told that it was where all the locals went.  It was basically a shack beside the marina where the workers and dockhands had lunch.  It wasn’t bad, but I guess I was expecting more … of everything.  We sat on the patio with a view of the huge marina and met a guy who did enough talking for all of us.

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I really like the downtown area of Port Townsend as the main street has a lot of character, and a lot of it surrounds wooden boats.  There was an acoustic blues festival starting the next day, so there were some good buskers on the corners to watch and listen to.  We were tired so we decided to get some food at the Co-op grocery store and then  head over to Fort Worden State Park.  The Co-op was very upscale looking and was filled with older hippies that smelled of patchouli.  Tai stayed outside and watched the bikes while I went in and when I came out, I told him about the hippies. “Yeah, right” he said.  Not 10 seconds later an older hippie came up and started asking about our trip.  “Far out, man”.  Tai did all he could to keep from bursting out in laughter.


With food in our bags, we headed to Fort Worden State Park where we were told it was full. I guess there were a lot of people in town for the blues festival.  We rode around the park and checked it out as it was an old naval academy at one time.  Lots of whitewashed buildings that looked like they were barracks at one time.  Interesting place but we were off the Jefferson County Fairground where we were told we could camp for the night.  It was basically a field in the fairgrounds that we could pitch our tent.  We found a place in the far corner where we pitched our tent and had some dinner.  The fog rolled in a bit earlier, so it was damp and kind of dismal, we decided to have a nap.  The nap lasted until about 5:30am the next morning.



We saw the hugest pig I ever seen. We ate fish and chips and a guy was talking to us. We saw a lot of hippies at the groshres store and Dad came up and said there were a lot of hippies in there.  I didn’t believe  him and 10 secants later a guy come up to us and said “hay man where are you coming from” Canada “oh far out” and i almost laft out loud. We went to a old  NAVY  ground ~ it was so cool. we slept at aFairground and when we got there we had a big nap and when we woke up we had diner and we went back to bed.  

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Day 21 ~ Olympia, WA > Dosewallips State Park, WA

Garmin Data can be found here.  (Map, Distance, Elevation, etc …)



As you can see from the picture above, we awoke to another grey morning.  They had a complimentary breakfast at the hotel, so we took full advantage of it.  We also took some oatmeal and hot chocolate as our supplies were running low.  It was all you could eat!


We were out the door before 8am and felt well rested.  We were told by the guys at the bike shop that there was a huge hill just on the other side of the river and were expecting the worst.  After crossing the river it was a bit confusing with a roundabout, but we took the right road and soon found the hill they were talking about.  Considering what we had done over the past few days, this hill was a breeze.  Granted it was a bit steep, but we were at the top within a few minutes.  After that it was urban sprawl for a while before we hit highway 101 again ~ it almost felt like home.  It was a 4 lane highway for a bit before it split and then it was down to 2 lanes again.  We rode by a drive in theatre, the first Tai had ever seen.  I remember as a kid going to drive in movies all the time with my parents, but they seem to be a thing of the past now.


Just before noon we came upon the exit for Shelton and heard that there was a Safeway in town, so we took the exit and rode the mile and a half into town for lunch.  We both had a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich for lunch and it hit the spot.  It had been years since I had one, and Tai really enjoyed his.  It was funny because the guys at the bike shop said we should aim for Shelton as there was a campground close by, and here we were just before noon.  I think they underestimated Tai’s riding abilities.  So with lunch down the hatch, we climbed back up to highway 101 and started heading north.


We had to ride through an Indian Reservation before we came upon the Hood Canal, and we saw a lot of fireworks stands.  I thought that it would be kinda fun to pick some up, but none of them were open, and some looked like they haven’t been open for quite some time.  Near the end of the reservation there was a huge casino with plenty of cars in the parking lot.  This was on a Monday afternoon!


Where did the shoulder go?

We had heard a lot about riding along the Hood Canal and it’s narrow shoulder, but for the most part it was pretty good.  There were some narrow spots and of course when you got to a bridge the shoulder disappeared altogether, but that is to be expected in Washington state. By this time the weather had also cleared and it turned into a beautiful day.  We spent a pleasant afternoon riding up the Hood Canal and even got to see a car fire on the side of the road.  We stopped and took in the scenery and even managed to get in an ice cream and a glass bottle of Coke.  It was the first time Tai had seen a glass bottle of Coke, so he tucked it into his pannier and kept it as a souvenir.


Near the end of the day, we were closing in on Dosewallips State Park and hoped to camp there for the night.  The road had been fairly flat, but it started to climb up and down the bays ~ nothing too serious, but we were closing in on 100kms and were starting to feel tired.  When we pulled into the entrance of the park, we were greeted by a herd of elk.  They were quite a bit bigger than the deer we have on Denman, so we stopped and took a few pictures before finding a campsite.


We found a nice campsite and set up our tent while having a Mike’s.  We saw 2 recumbent tandems pull into the site beside us and I went over to check them out.  It was a couple from New Zealand travelling with their 2 kids and they asked us where we were from.  I gave them the usual answer of “about halfway up Vancouver Island”, thinking that nobody has heard of Denman Island.  They asked where abouts, and I told them Denman. “I know your wife, Norie” the woman said.  At this point, I hadn’t even told them my name, and they already know I’m married to Norie and my sons names are Tai and Ekou.  Things were starting to get a little strange, but it clicked on me that Norie mentioned that there was a family from New Zealand that were travelling on tandems.  They had stayed a couple of days at Fillongley Park about a week earlier and that’s where the connection was.  After dinner we spent the evening together going over maps and tell tales from the road.  Sometimes you are just meant to meet certain people in your life.

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On the way in to camp we saw a herd of elk and we met a family from New Zealand. It was funny that they stayed  at Fillongley Park and mom and dad work there. Mom was talking to them a week ago. we saw a car fire and big bumble bee. It was huge.  We saw a blue jay flying on the side of the road.  An armoured bank car passed us and it was bullet proof.  We got an old new coke bottle and we drank it.  It was awesome.  We met a couple of Harley bikers and they had a sticker that said “We don’t call 911”.  They were really nice.  The guy at the bike store said there was a never ending climb, but it was short.

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Day 20 ~ Elbe, WA > Olympia, WA

Garmin Data can be found here.  (Map, distance, calories, etc…)



We had guests come visit us for a week and the blog got derailed amongst all the summer fun we were having.  We will now continue with our regular programmed scheduled 😉


When we awoke, there were none of the mosquitoes around from the night before.  This allowed us to peacefully break camp early and head to the gas station/store to get a few things to tide us over until we got a decent breakfast.  At the store we asked if we could fill our water bottles and were informed that they used to have a water fountain outside, but some redneck tied a chain to it one night and dragged it off.  WTF?  They said that the church behind the store had a hose and we could fill our water bottles there ~ and we did.


It was a beautiful morning when we left Elbe, but shortly afterwards the fog started to roll in and greyness stayed with us for the rest of the day.  Not too far out of Elbe we came upon a detour/road closed sign, so we sat down, had “breakfast” and pondered our situation.  After a lengthy discussion and much scratching of our heads, we decided to chance it and go through.  If we took the detour it would have added at least 10 miles to our day so the decision was actually quite easy.  The fog brought a chill so I put on the rain jacket I bought in Portland and I was surprised at how much it took the chill off.  It was really nice riding on a deserted road in the fog and it felt calming ~ I came to the conclusion that we made the right move by taking the closed road and when we came upon the area that was affected by a landslide, we noticed that it was almost cleaned up.  There was some upheavals in the pavement, but nothing that warranted us even touching our brakes to slow down.  The only negative thing was that Tai got bitten by a wasp.  A price I was willing to pay for a quiet road masked in the fog.


Jim Bob’s Chuck Wagon

The ride to McKenna was pretty uneventful and the grey weather made us put our heads down and push out the miles.  It was Sunday and I was surprised at how much traffic we saw.  It then dawned on me that we were getting close to the south end of the Olympia/Tacoma/Seattle megatropolis.  We saw a huge Jehovah Witness church with a lot of cars in the parking lot, confirming that it was indeed Sunday morning.  When we pulled into McKenna/Yelm, the first town of any size since leaving Elbe, we had covered almost 50kms.  Upon seeing that Jim Bob’s Chuck Wagon was serving breakfast, we didn’t hesitate to stop.  How could you pass up a chance like this?  Only in America!  The breakfast was big and the coffee refills came quick, so it got high marks from the both of us.


You snooze, you loose!

After leaving McKenna we passed though Yelm, which is almost a continuation of urban sprawl.  It was nice that they had a bike lane running through the town and we were back in the countryside fairly quickly.  The fog had lifted but it was still grey. The scenery was uninspiring and we decided that we would look into getting a hotel room in Olympia if we could.  Just before we got to Lacey (kind of a suburb of Olympia) we came upon a Thai Buddhist temple/monastery that was a welcome surprise, even if it did feel totally out of place.  We stopped and had a guardrail break and noticed a discarded needle on the shoulder.  Hmm, not cool.


Lacey was actually a fairly nice town that had a big university.  There were lots of shops and we noticed the chain stores and restaurants that we hadn’t seen since leaving Portland.  We remarked at how they lacked the character that the mom and pop shops and restaurants had.  We were back in mainstream America.


Within 5 minutes of arriving

After passing through Lacey and crossing under the I-5 highway, we were soon in Olympia.  It was nice that we had a big downhill in a bike lane right at the end of the day that dropped us right downtown by the river.  We found Old Town Bicycles and stopped in there to get some local information.  We were treated like heroes as they don’t get many bicycle tourists coming through.  I guess they were easily impressed 😉  We chatted with them for a while and they gave us some great advice in regards to hotels and restaurants and the local scene.  It so happened that Olympia was celebrating “hemp day”, so there were more than a couple of baked people wandering around town.  The hotels were close by and we chose one that fit our budget and felt right.  Nice place, but I’m pretty sure the clerk at the desk just came back from the local celebrations.


The clerk had no problem with us bringing our bikes into the room, so that’s what we did.  The first thing I did after getting into the room was hit the bathtub.  Ahhh, the simple pleasures in life are the best.  I must of soaked for a good half hour before I even thought about getting out. By the time the both of us finished taking a bath, there was a nasty ring of dirt that would require a good scrubbing by the unfortunate housemaid.  All spruced up, we were ready to hit the town and find some dinner.


Darby’s Cafe

They guys at the bike shop recommended Darby’s Cafe because they were known for their huge portions and good food.  It also helped that it was just around the corner.  Yep, it lived up to its reputation.  The decor had a Wizzard of Oz theme that somehow fit the place.  Our waiter/waitress was a transvestite that had a 5 o’clock shadow that George Michael would envy.  Tai just looked at me and rolled with it.


After dinner we wandered around the downtown area, but being a Sunday evening there wasn’t much happening.  Downtown Olympia was definitely funky and it kind of reminded me of Queen St. West in Toronto.  We grabbed a coffee and headed back to the hotel where we were able to Skype with Norie and Ekou.  It was great to catch up with them and it was a nice way to end the day.  What was also nice was sleeping in an actual bed.  Granted, we slept in a bed at the Portland Hostel, but that was no comparison to the luxury we found ourselves in tonight.


It was nice in Elbe but soon the fog rolled in. It got cold. It was sooper  fun going down a hill and a wasp bit me on the chin ~ it hert!!! The road was closed but we could go through. In McKenna we had bacon and eggs at Jim Bob chuck wagon. In Olympia we stopped at Old Town Bicycle shop and Dad bought a shirt  the people were really nice. They gave us a lot of information about  Olympia and riding up to Port Townsin. Dad got some FREE stickers. tonight we are staying at the Capitol Plaza Hotel. WE HAD A GREAT BATH!!!!!!!!! The bed is so komfy. We had a huge dinner.  Now we are trying to konekt to mom and it is not working…      

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Day 19 ~ Elk Pass, WA > Elbe, WA

Garmin Data can be found here.  (Map, distance, elevation, etc)


Our first glimpse of Mt. Adams


Today was a special day ~ we actually got to go down a big hill right at the beginning instead of doing a big climb first thing in the morning.  We awoke to another beautiful morning that would turn into another hot day further down the road.  After breaking camp we had about 40kms before the town of Randle, where breakfast awaited us.  The nice thing was that we had 25kms of twisting downhill and another 15kms or so of flat, so we made good time.  On the descent we saw logging helicopters, but mainly we had the roads to ourselves to enjoy the scenery and swift speed.


Logging helicopter

When we pulled into to Randle, we stopped at the Mt. Adams Cafe for breakfast.  It wasn’t too busy and we ordered breakfast and kinda freaked out the staff there.  I was hungry so I ordered 2 breakfasts and the nice waitress informed me that they plates were quite large.  “That’s what I was hoping” I responded.  She later told me that they were betting that I couldn’t finish back in the kitchen.  I proved them wrong.  That is one of the great things of bike touring ~ you can eat like a horse and still burn off the calories by the end of the day.  Just after the food arrived the first Harleys started arriving and by the time we left there were close to 30 bikes in the parking lot.  I guess it was a popular spot for bikers to have breakfast and meet other riders.  Good people and lots of eye candy to look at.


Breakfast fit for a touring cyclist


From Randle we took highway 112 towards Morton and had a slight headwind most of the way.  It was funny because one of the waitresses said that there were some big hills between Randle and Morton, but after what we had done the last couple of day, they just seemed like rollers to us.  At one of our guardrail breaks, a cyclist came by and told us about his trip down the coast a few years earlier.  The more I hear about it, the more I want to do it some day.  Some day!


In Morton we stopped for some drinks and snacks and we met a couple that were coming back from a Phish show at the Gorge.  They saw Tai’s NWSS shirt and started talking to him.  They were from Portland and had been a few times and were heading back to do a show (they were also musicians).  Tai told them that he got to play up on stage and they were really encouraging.


Mt. Adams

From Morton we headed north on a quiet winding road towards the town of Elbe, where we would bush camp again.  The road had a good deal of climbing at the beginning, but the grade wasn’t that bad.  It was a fairly scenic and quiet ride that was broken by the sound of gunshots.  I wasn’t that surprised as a lot of the signs in Washington state were shot to hell.  There were at least 3 people in the woods shooting at something and there were a couple of semi-automatics that could be heard.  I think this made Tai a little nervous as he picked up his pace until we were out of earshot.  It was also the first time we got a good view of Mt. Rainier.


Mt. Rainier


When we got into Elbe we tried a couple of campgrounds, but they were all full so we had another night of bush camping.  Elbe was kind of touristy and had a running steam train running up to Mt. Rainier and back.  We hung out for a bit checking them out before finding a flat camping spot beside a water tower in the state forest.  There were a lot of mosquitos, so we set up camp fast, had dinner and were in the tent quickly.  This was the first day we did over 100kms in a day since we left Portland and it felt good to put a good distance.  Tired, we would sleep well.



It’s getting dark and there are millions of mosquitos, so I will write more tomorrow.  Today we heard people shooting guns in the woods.  I was nervous.  We had a big breakfast and saw a lot of motorcycles.  In Elbe we saw a steam train.  It was so cool!!!  I am tired tonight.  Today was so hot again!  Today was beautiful and we got to ride down a huge long hill.  We saw logging helicopters.

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Day 18 ~ Paradise Creek Campground, WA > Elk Pass, WA

Garmin Data can be found here.  (Map, distance, Calories, etc….)


Mt St. Helens in the background

I had a bunch of writing done, but somehow I lost it and am starting over again…

We woke early enough but we had a problem.  The night before we chased away some chipmunks when they came to our site as they can chew through panniers and get at whatever crumbs or food you may have, and they took revenge while we were sleeping.  I always put my socks in my cycling shoes when I arrive at camp and put them under the table.  Yesterday was no different but I awoke and one of my socks were missing.  The damn chipmunks stole one of my socks!  We searched the area with no luck so we just chalked it up for experience and had a quick breakfast.


We ate a quick breakfast and started climbing right when we left the campground.  It seems like a lot of mornings start with a big climb … this would be our biggest climbing day on the trip so far.  The road was twisty and all you could see is the next curve ahead of you.  This went on for about 9kms or so before reaching the top.  The nice thing was that there was very little traffic, but a Sheriff’s van with a work crew passed us and sparked Tai’s interest.  Many questions followed about prisons, prisoners and chain gangs.  When we reached the top (just over 3000 feet) we had about a kilometer of flat road before turning and this is what we saw.


Mount St. Helens

After taking a few pictures and hanging out at the rest area for a bit, we had the best downhill of the trip so far.  5 miles of steep, big sweeping turns that got me up to about 74kmh.  It was such a rush as you couldn’t have asked for a better downhill ~ fresh pavement, clean roads and big sweeping turns that you didn’t have to use your brakes on. Near the bottom I started worrying because we came down so much and I knew that we would have to climb back up to at least the same hight on our net climb.  It dropped us down on a nice country road and we followed that for a few kms before hitting the only store for the next 50 miles.  We got there just before 11am and stopped and bought some snacks and some supplies for tonights dinner.  The sign in the store said “No electricity, No phone ~ you’re in the woods”. 6 bikers from Texas on Harleys came in we we started talking.  One guy came out with a 6 pack and popped the caps off all the beers. They offered me one and I figured that since it was Saturday and I had already done a big climb … why not.  I’m not really a fan of Pale Ales, but it was cold on this hot day.  When they were leaving, they had one beer left over, so they gave it to me and were on their way.  Big mistake.  Yep, I drank it.  When I got on my bike my legs were like lead.  We went about 10kms before finding a little rest area and decided to take a snooze in the shade and beat the mid-day heat.


After the rest, I felt much better ~ but it was still as hot as Dante’s hell.  We started climbing again and wouldn’t stop for most of the day.  We saw a sign and gate that said the road was closed during the winter.  You could tell because the road was in pretty bad shape with all the freezing and thawing, causing cracks and upheavals in the pavement.  There wasn’t too much traffic on this road other than us and a lot of Harleys.  We climbed and sweated for what seemed like forever, with the occasional view of Mt. St. Helens and the valleys below.  We reached the top of another 3000 ft. pass and then dropped down for a bit before climbing again. We started getting more and better views, but we had to get up to over 4000 ft for the next pass.  Water was becoming an issue and we stopped at a mountain stream/waterfall and refilled our water bottles and were on our way.


We pushed on and finally made it to the top of Elk Pass (4080 feet) around 6:15pm.  It was a beautiful evening and we decided to stop there for the night.  Tai and I were tired and hungry so we found an out of the way spot to pitch our tent and make some dinner.  We were in our sleeping bags before the sun went down and didn’t hear a thing all night.



I’m to tired to write anything tonight and dad said it was OK

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Day 17 ~ Ainsworth S.P., OR > Paradise Creek S.P. WA

Garmin Data can be found here.  (Map, distance, Temp. Calories …)



Today we were up early and on the road by 7am.  We only had a few more kms on the Historic Columbia River Highway before joining up with the I-84 East.  We rode this for a while until we came to an exit ramp indicating that bike should get off and take the “old road” around the tunnel ~ so that’s what we did.  Beautiful old road that hardly sees any use these days, but at the end was a set of stairs … .  There was a groove that bike tires could fit into along the railing, and they worked well enough.  It’s always a bit dicy when you have to manoeuvre a loaded touring bike in tight places and this was no exception.  Once down the stairs it was just a short way to Cascade Locks, the town where “Bridge of the Gods” is located and breakfast awaited.  We had a good breakfast served by a yappy waitress and were on our way across the bridge and back into Washington State.



Bridge of the Gods

Going across the bridge was a little nerving as even the “road” was made of metal and you could look down through the holes and see the water below.  On top of that, the bridge bounced and swayed a bit when traffic went by.  It felt good to be back on the Washington  state side and you could notice a difference in the amount of traffic (less).  We stopped in Stephenson and got some supplies then rode east to Carson.  From Carson we turned left into the mountains and started climbing right from the get go.  It was turning into a really hot day so we stopped to get some ice cream and a map. From Carson the road climbs steadily and had some long straight stretches without any shade.  It was getting so hot that the tar on the road was melting and sticking to our tires.



We didn’t want to stop and have a break in the sun so we rode on until we found some shade and a guardrail.  After the break we continued on until we found a stream and I dunked my cycling cap and shirt into the river.  Let’s say that wool shirts don’t smell the best when they are wet.  They are great in regards to sweat, but the sweat mixed with water brought the funk out.  It wasn’t so bad because the shirt was dry within 10 minutes.


We got off the road fairly early as there wasn’t another campsite for quite a while and it was also so hot.  On top of that tomorrow we would have to climb about 500~600 meters right from the start, so we decided to have an early day and rest up for tomorrow as it would be a monster day of climbing for us.  Paradise Creek campground had big sites so we set up our tent and had a short nap before dinner.  It was nice to be in the shade and by a cool stream.  The only drawback to this campsite was that there were chipmunks running around and I have a feeling they would play havoc during the night.  Dinner was nothing special and we went to bed before it was dark.  No fly on the tent tonight as it was still quite warm in the evening.



IT WAS SO HOT!!!!!!!  When we woke up it was worm and we knew it was going to be hot. It was a straight road. It was so hot that the tar was melting!!! There was alot of climbing  today. We stopped at a river and soked Dad’s shirt.  Dad said it was refreshing. We are at Paradise Creek C.G  We were so tired that we had a nap when we got there and we are having chicken vindaloo.  The guy in Carson lied to us about the distance ~ he said it was only 2 miles but it was more like 12. There was a sign that said frost but it was 40 degrees C. -Bull shit!!!! We took the Bridge Of  The Gods to cross the COLUMBA RIVER!!!!!!! We ate ece creme!!! 

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Day 16 ~ Portland, OR > Ainsworth State Park, OR (Historic Columbia River Highway)

Garmin Data can be found here.  (Map, distance, graphs…)


After a good sleep in a bed again, we were on the road early.  I didn’t know how far we would get today, but the helpful staff at the hostel said that we should aim for Ainsworth State Park.  I thought the distance was shy of what we wanted to get behind us at the end of the day, but he just nodded and smiled knowingly.  Getting out of Portland to Troutdale (which is basically the outskirts of the city) was kind of boring urban sprawl.  It was distance we had to cover before getting on the start of the Historic Columbia River Highway.  Nobody could confuse Portland as a beautiful city, but that changed once we got to Troutdale.


We stopped in Troutdale for a snack and got information about the rest of today’s ride ahead of us.  We had a steady climb ahead of us for about 10 kms before reaching the first lookout.  After we grunted up that hill in the blazing hot sun, it would mostly be downhill for the rest of the day.  We stopped that the Women’s Forum Viewpoint and had our pictures taken before starting the downhill section of today’s ride.


The rest of the day we would be stopping along the road at different lookouts and waterfalls before making it to Ainsworth State Park.  This is a really beautiful part of the country and the old historic Columbia River Highway takes in all the viewpoints that you miss on the I-84 that skirts the Columbia River below.  The road was in excellent condition and had fresh pavement making it a cyclist’s dream.  It was narrow and windy, so that meant we could keep up with traffic and nobody was behind us.  It was by far the most scenic day of the trip so far and both Tai and I really enjoyed the afternoon.


Next we stopped at the Vista House Lookout and had a peak about before pushing off and heading down to Bridal Vail and Multnomah Falls.  Yes, these were breathtaking views of nature at some of its finest.  Another nice thing about this highway (other than it being all downhill) was that it was shaded for the most part on this very hot day.  At one of the waterfalls that we stopped at we met 4 cyclists that had been riding across the country and were heading to finish up in Portland.  They were impressed with Tai’s riding and were blown away when he started playing mandolin.  Tai had impressed/surprised/shocked quite a few people on this trip so far so we had a little talk about that after they left.  To us it just felt natural and no big deal riding everyday with loaded touring bikes, but a lot of people thought otherwise.  Tai was a magnet for people and I heard more than a few times that I was “raising him right”.  In all truth, it really isn’t that big of a deal to ride this route we have chosen, but it does happen at a much slower pace than in a car.  Tai and I have been able to spend a lot of time together on this trip and I must say that he is a pretty cool kid.  We felt that it came down to luck and opportunity, and this being important to us, we made it happen.  The world is such a fast place now, and it feels good to slow down and simplify.  All the things you need are on your bike and things like food, drink, lodging and riding become central to everything else.  With that said, I’m convinced that a lot more people (including kids) could easily do this (with some training), but it comes down to personal priorities and what you want out of life.


Multnomah Falls was probably the highlight for me today.  It could easily be the backdrop for Rivendell from Lord of the Rings.  Beautiful waterfall with a bridge before it.  With that said, there were a lot of people this on this mid week afternoon.  It was late in the afternoon when we got there and the sun had that magical quality to it.  It was also near the end of the day and we didn’t have that much further to go to Ainsworth State Park, where we would camp for the evening.  At one of the waterfalls Tai decided he wanted to go swimming, so he did.


Multnomah Falls ~ Historic Columbia River Highway

When we got to Ainsworth State Park and set up our tent in the hiker/biker area, it felt good to have a fairly short day (distance wise).  I was thinking that we would make it across the Columbia and be in Washington State, but I am glad that we took the time today to explore all the Historic Columbia River Highway had to offer.  It was built about a hundred years ago for the 1st cars that started appearing on the roads way back when.  We would sleep below the stars this evening and tomorrow morning we would hopefully be crossing the Columbia River and back into Washington State.  I’ll stop writing here and let the pictures do the talking…


Swimming time!


On the last day of the festival the sound system crashed.  We had to wait 30-40 minutes, but I get to play hacky sack with some people.  It was sooper fun!!!  We went to Portland and cruised around on our bikes.  I got a free hat at River City Bicycles.  I got a map case for my handlebar bag.  We slept in a bed for the first time in 13 days!.  We did not have to pay for the showers at the hostel.  It was amazing.  Cool place and we got to meet some amazing travellers.  We slept in bunk beds and one guy snored LOUD!!!

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Rest day

When you are on a long bike tour, you need rest days to recuperate, eat, and have fun.  We’ll this blogger is having a rest day and will be back tomorrow with a great ride to share with you.

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Day 15 ~ Portland, OR

Garmin Data can be found here for today (Map, distance etc…)



We woke just after 7am and met Rodney shortly afterwards in the kitchen.  We cooked breakfast together and he told us about his motorcycle trip starting in NYC.  Really nice guy that is working his way towards the Burning Man festival.  A few others came in and we had a nice breakfast before heading out to explore Portland.  We wanted to hit a few bike shops and also stop by REI to pick up some supplies.  We went to Clever Cycles first, but they weren’t open yet, so we went to River City Bicycles next.


I had heard a lot about River City Bicycles and this would be my first time checking it out.  I was truly impressed!  They had a huge selection and the staff were great.  I got my headset tightened and they installed a new connector for my front light while we were looking around.  We bought a few shop t~shirts, a couple of caps and a jersey for me.  As we were leaving they gave Tai a free shop hat.  Being a bicycle tourist has its perks sometimes when you tell a few stories 😉

After leaving River City Bicycles, we wanted to head towards REI on the other side of the Willamette River.  We crossed on the Burnside bridge which dropped us right in the neighbourhood of Voodoo Donuts, so we had to stop and sample their wares.  Their maple bar donuts with a strip of bacon on top got my nod and Tai got a chocolate oreo donut.  You had to buy your coffee on the other side of the alley ~ what’s up with that???  Not having a good coffee and donut together since leaving, it hit the spot.  Good donuts but not worth the 20~25 minute wait in line.  They were also a bit pricy.  In Canada you see donut shops everywhere, but they have been scarce so far on this trip. Maybe if we were in civilization more often we would see them … and is it donut or doughnut?


After eating we rode up Burnside to 14th and took a right to REI.  They let us bring our bikes in and we wandered around in 2 stories of outdoor accessory heaven.  We bought some dried food, a new cup as mine broke at NWSS, and a rain jacket.  Everywhere I looked, Shower Pass jackets have all been the same price, but Oregon doesn’t have sales tax … easy decision as I have been running on luck so far this trip.  Before I left on this trip, it was the one item I wanted to find while down here in Portland.  Goal met, we turned around and headed back towards Clever Cycles while checking out the downtown area.


We crossed out of downtown on the Hawthorne Bridge and stopped at Clever Cycles.  I have been here a few times before and really like this shop.  Big selection of Brooks saddles and cargo bikes.  We were looking for a map case for Tai’s Ortlieb handlebar bag, and nobody has had the newest version that fits hit bag.  Clever also didn’t have any, but they found a shop nearby that had them in stock and sent us off with directions.  We found Universal Cycle and they indeed did have them in stock.  Goals of the day met, we headed back to the hostel and hung out a bit before going out for dinner and stopping by Safeway to get a few more supplies that we would need for the next few days.

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We had breakfast with Rodney. We went to River City Bicycle, Dad had to fix something  on is bike and I got a free hat and dad got a Rapha hat. Then we went to Voodoo Donuts and the line up was huge it toke like 15 mints I got a Oreo cooky donut and dad got a maple baking bar. Then we went over the bridge to go REI and dad got a slick new rain coat and some food and a new cup. After that we went to Universal Cycle and I got a map kace for my front bag and it works grate and some T-shorts then we went back to the hostel. We had diner at a restaurant and we had eggs benedict and we went around and we went back to the hostel and we video chat with mom it was a  fun day!!! 

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