I am no longer in Portland or better said: Beaverton, Oregon, again ashamed of my delay with the blog writings but I must persevere.
From Vancouver Island, I left Kim and his wonderful family in Victoria and caught myself a ferry to Port Angeles in Washington (back to the USA). I arrived in Port Angeles and soon took the highway east toward Port Townsend, a place I had been recommended to visit by various sources. I also had a friend I had made on the ferry from Alaska, inviting me over to show me around.
From Port Townsend, the following day, I headed into the Olympic National Park, finding a discrete camping spot up a steep inclined trail just out of the national park. From there I headed into the Hurricane Ridge Passage and enjoyed the bendy road and the awe-inspiring views. Unfortunately, with my luggage and my riding gear, I was not feeling inclined to hike too far carrying all my valuables on my back. After a couple of miles, hiking in my riding boots, riding pants, riding jacket, a laptop an SLR and other gizmos I was exhausted, I returned to my bike a little frustrated by the place I put myself.
Keep in mind the lighter-weight luggage system I had trialled in Vancouver island had now been defaulted back to the original setup as I didn’t wish to burden Kim and his family with half of my luggage in his garage.
From Hurricane Ridge Passage I headed out the park and re-entered the park through to see Whiskey Bend (this was more like a rainforest), after arriving at the trail head, I promptly turned around and left. Frustrated and a little exhausted I was not in the mood to go trail hiking through a forest with all my wears on my back. I headed from there up to Neah Bay, perhaps I under-estimated the distance, but I spent the rest of the day riding there in the cold and the rain, I persisted then to hike down to see the Look-Through Rock formation on Cape Flattery (furthest north-westerly corner of the peninsula).
That evening in the rain, I struggled to find somewhere eat, my “hangriness” was rife and accompanied with the rain, lack of subsistence and the cold I was now very irritable. I found a restaurant that served me a foul salmon dish that looked like it was taken out of an airline meal. Since arriving on this trip the only decent fish dish I have had has been in Utah, consequential fish meals have been utterly disappointing.
That night, I camped down a disused road, after fighting with many little trails and the light diminishing by the second… the rain was miserable, my core temperature was low and my morale was down. I had to keep on pushing. Thankfully the road leading to the road I camped on was a quiet one and I had enough sleep.
The following day still a little cold I pushed on first to see the Crescent Lake, which I had been highly recommended to see (feeling still quite drained from the rain the previous day my energy and enthusiasm was down). I stopped on a busy lay by and observed people enjoying themselves before turning around and heading into the Hoh Rainforest, again, the rain the place was so exciting, just the entrance was amazing. Sadly, like before the trailhead, bundled with cars and lots of people busy-bodying around was no setting for me to leave my bike unattended, nor was my inclination to go hiking with aforementioned gizmos. I U-turned and rode back feeling a little defeated about this “overlanding” malarkey. I wanted to go hiking dammit!
Toilet humour: the previously mentioned salmon dish the day before was playing havoc with my innards, after a few desperate dashes on the road I managed to keep myself under control using every scrap of paper I could find in my luggage. Just goes to show that even in “civilized” countries you can never trust the food you eat.
From the Hoh rainforest I headed south persevering toward Aberdeen the home town to Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of Nirvana, a band I once was very much into, however the distance was too great, I stopped in a nondescript town and had dinner in an effort to replace some food supplies I had lost and stock up on more toilet paper. As I left the restaurant I got talking to a man on a side-car motorcycle, he was all about adventure riding and soon talking to me about places I could camp. I took his advice and started riding that way, when suddenly out of nowhere the smallest town in the world happened before my eyes with the name Neilton, my natural instinct was on the lines of purchase the whole place, make a metropolis of if. Alas, the reality was to just to pose in front of the road sign pulling silly faces. I soon found myself at the camp spot that I was recommended by my friend from the town before. It was perfect.
The following morning, after a semi-frightening experience with a predator that night, maybe a cougar, maybe a bear (who knows?) I made my way south into Aberdeen had breakfast in an overly air-conditioned diner, keep in mind it’s not been warm this whole time. I then pushed on to discover the Kurt Cobain Memorial Park
From depressing Aberdeen, I continued forward toward a more upbeat childhood film location of the Goonies, in Astoria, the drive was somewhat miserable and wet and eventually after much horrible traffic I managed to get there. I ate a lunch in a Pigs N’ Pancakes, of all things odd I chose to try another fish dish… yes ladies and gentlemen, I’m desperate to be impressed with fish in America, and so far the “Impression” is negative. This time around I went for the Crab Melt, which consisted of crab meat (tinned) with a slice of processed cheese laid over it on a muffin, heated in a microwave. Exquisite America exquisite!
Onward, I found myself racing to see the Goondocks house, drove past the Jail house and the bowling alley before heading south toward Cannon Beach where the ship comes out of at the end. Alas, the temperature that day went from hot to cold to hot to cold, I went from Astoria in a rain suit to Cannon Beach (20 miles away) and I was roasting, arriving on a sunny beach everyone in bikinis and swim suits and I’m there clad for Arctic weather. I tried pacing out into the beach in my biker gear amongst towels and bikinis like a fool and somewhat self-conscious of looking like a pervert trying to photograph the film set location without capturing tanned bodies.
From Cannon Beach, now very tired but still a few hours to go, I raced my way to Portland to find myself with the kind hospitality of Mark Gunnison, whom took me riding and flying last time I was in Portland.
I spent a couple of weeks in Portland resting up and recharging my batteries. While there, I was able to finally finish my luggage set up and implement a few upgrades I had planned for the rest of my journey south. The upgrades included, a new Enduristan tank bag from Black Dog Cycle Works which provided me the sample to be tested down south. I made a couple of upgrades to my hammock, switching my webbing straps to the Dutch Buckle and swapping out my fraying Whoopie Slings. In addition, mark help me manufacture a mount for a tool canister on the side of the bike so I no longer required to carry the spanners and other larger tools in my camping bag. This is not to mention to swap out my Coleman stove for a Jetboil and thus reducing my cooking solution dramatically.