Wednesday, 30 November 2011


On the road in Oregon my life clicked over into my 28th year...........aaarrggghhhh so old!!!! After a brief thought of doing some soul searching I decided that was a waste of time. Instead I enjoyed the sensation of spending my birthday doing something awesome and congratulated myself that I was not standing beside a drill rig in Washdyke like I was last year - good work me!!

It was another rainy Oregon day but I had a birthday treat to look forward to. I promised myself a stay in a yurt at the next campsite. These are warm and dry with heaters and electricity............oooooo flash.

So I rode through the rain and wind and arrived at Harris Beach (last stop in Oregon) in time to bag the last yurt. Then took a quick trip to the grocery store and bought some beer and far too much frivilous food. After a hot shower and basking in the warmth and light in the yurt, which by now was totally covered in all my wet stinky gear, I felt in a very celebratory mood. So I drank up, chowed down, had a good yarn to Bruce and generally had a grand old time.

Not a bad way to celebrate surviving to the ripe old age of 28 methinks.

Very soggy birthday breakfast sheltering beside the bathrooms at Humbug Mountain

Morning tea break and another opportunity to stuff my face

Hard not to have a good day with views (and rocks) like these

Whoa a bit to excited about my birthday dinner and being clean and dry..................simmer down

Farewell lovely yurt and Oregon. Bring on California!

Oregon: South of Newport

Westport to the Oregon-California border was a section of rolling hills, wind, rain, fog, rugged rocks, lighthouses, dunes, wind, rain and fog and then some more rain just for good measure.

First night back camping some animals (dastardly Raccoons I would say but I swear late in the night everything sounds like a bear) got hold of my food pannier, ate half my food and put two holes in it. Lucky duct tape fixes everything!!!

I am told the Oregon Coast if beautiful and the bits I saw were but a lot was shrouded in cloud or torrential rain or just too darn hard to see when cycling into the wind.

Just before I crossed in to California the sun came out.......a good omen?

The number of photos taken also dramatically decreases when the weather is nasty. Therefore, there are not very many sorry!!

Oh woe!!!!......*%^&@#&* raccoons......

........hmmmm not so bad actually once it is cleaned up.......

......hurrah for duct tape!!! (unfortunately it does not actually stand up that well to the constant rain on the west coast and had to be changed several times)

A small part of the Oregon Dunes area

A couple of typical southern Oregon scenes +/- more rain, 'sun', fog, craggy rocks and sea stacks. Wind not included.

Dear Oregon State Parks, I love you. Your cheap campsites, free showers, warm and dry yurts, friendly hosts and lovely locations. Please purchase some food storage boxes for the people with out RVs or cars. I hope to see you again sometime. From Greer

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Oregon: Newport

In Portland I meet a lovely lady called Chris who invited me to stayed with her and her partner in Newport on the coast. After a few days on the road and feeling a little sorry for myself for being sick I arrived at their wicked house by the ocean.

I stayed for a few nights and had a wonderful time. I was given a lovely room, feed loads of delicious food, went for a tiki tour around Newport, picked huckleberries, soaked in the hot tub, visited the lighthouse and had my first try of pumpkin pie (delicious!!!!).

Big thanks to Chris and John for a wonderful time and even though I did not sound it I definitely felt a lot better after a few nights of good sleep and proper food. I hope to see you again in New Zealand or America.

Picking huckleberries

Inside the Yaquina Lighthouse

John and I inside the lighthouse

Enjoying some pumpkin pie (delicious!!)

A photo with my hosts (Chris and John) before I hit the road. Thanks so much guys!!!!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Oregon: North of Newport

After 5 days in Portland doing not much at all I caught the bus back to Seaside on the west coast and hopped back on my bike. I caught a cold in Portland that made cycling very unenjoyable but being the super tough person I am I soldiered on. Spent a few days on the road (by myself as usual) in some sunshine and some rain and then stopped in Newport for a couple of nights.

Sunset at Cape Lookout State Park

Pretty rocks, Cape Kiwanda.

Boiler Bay

Tunnel No 2, Cape Creek

Cycling in the sunshine over Cape Foulweather

View south towards Newport from Cape Foulweather

Thursday, 17 November 2011

MFM and Round-Up: Washington State

Well Washington was pretty sweet. I got to experience what the state looks like in both sunny and rainy weather and both have their merits. Around the Olympic Peninsula it is a very isolated place with very few people and it seems like everyone is just passing through. Often I was the only person in the campgrounds and a lot were closed. I am glad I took my time through the Olympic National Park because it is a very beautiful area that reminds me a lot of the West Coast of New Zealand. Both in terms of scenery and the people that live there.
Olympic National Park

Washington State

Blue lines = cycle route 
Red lines = bus route

Best Campsites: San Jaun Country Park, San Juan Island and  Kalaloch Campground, Olympic National Park.

First Heckle: Well I have been waiting for this for a while and it finally happened. My first day in the Olympic National Park I got my first heckle…….’Get a car!!’ To say I was disappointed is an understatement. C’mon I was hoping for something more original than that!!

Cycling Wisdom: Always wave (even though they probably don’t see) and/or say thank you (even though they definitely cannot hear you) to all the people in cars and trucks who go out of their way to avoid running you over. It is all about the cycling karma. However, save some special swear words for those who do not try and avoid you.
  • Peanut butter goes with everything and is suitable for any meal. But you have to find the right type because a lot of it is gross!!
  • Trying all the different chocolate is not only doing my bit for foreign food research but also an essential part of getting the energy needed to keep going. Oh dear, how sad for me!!
Roadkill Stats: Well this is still very disappointing. Slugs, frogs, caterpillars and other such things still prevail. I have taken to examining the rubbish on the side of the road to gain an insight into American society (I am pretty much the cycling equivalent of David Attenborough). So far I have deduced that the people who throw stuff out of their car window enjoy drinking Bud light, Coors Light, Aquafina water, giant cans of Red Bull and something called Arizona. Poor, poor taste in beer…..tsk tsk.

Distance: more than I had done after Canada but still not very far..........'sigh' Mexico is a REALLY long way away.
Number of rocks collected: 1 from Rialto Beach, it was so dark and mysterious that I could not resist.

  • Olympic National Park (yes all of it!)
  • Camping with some other cyclists at Kalaloch
  • The nice campsite and lovely showers at Cape Disappointment.
  • Cycling the quiet road in the sunshine around the estuary to Cape Disappontment.
For the unbelievers and the only way I can get a photo of myself cycling. Fall sunshine lighting my way up the Sol Duc Valley.

Monday, 7 November 2011

I Heart Portland

Portland is awesome!!! But not for any particular reason, it just seems to be a combination of things that make it a cool and chilled place to hang out.
I stayed longer than I planned and spent my time reading books, wandering and cycling the city, drinking beer, eating donuts and generally being a lazy non-cyclist.

  • Trying to choose a donut at Voodoo Donuts and having an easier choice at Tonalli's
  • Cycling around the city, along the waterfront and across the bridges
  • Spending hours in Powells Books
  • Trying lots of beer but still not getting to all the breweries.........oh well I will just have to come back
  • Hot apple cider, Polish food, cool bands, crazy christians and watching people at the Saturday market. Made trying not to buy all the cool stuff a whole lot easier!!! FYI hot apple cider is like hot, spicy apple juice NOT the cider that we all know and love.
  • Biscuits and mushroom gravy with cheese grits at The Tinshed. First taste of southern food and would not mind some more.
Beer Highlights:
  • Hazelnut Brown Ale at Rogue Brewery
  • Tour of the Widmer Brothers Brewery
  • Black Butte Porter and Chainbreaker White IPA at the Deschutes Brewery
  • A lowlight would have to be the Bacon Maple Ale. A collaboration between Rogue Brewery and Voodoo Donuts........absolute disgustingness with bacon bits!!!!! ecchhhhh
I am pretty sad to leave Portland as it is a very, very cool place and it has been fun hanging out with the people from the hostel and Anona, Gibs and Jonathan, who is stayed with for three nights. However, the road is calling, time is ticking and the calories that I need to burn off are mounting. So back to the coast and back on the bike. I think the Oregon coast should take me about a week and then I will hit California in all its Redwoods, sunshine and bountiful fruit and vege glory. I hear the drivers are not great there though..........

Half demolished Oreo and Peanut Butter topped donut from Voodoo Donuts

Tasting tray at Deschutes Brewery

A pint and a beer cheese soup taster following the Widmer Brothers Brewery tour

Dragon boats at the Riverplace Marina

Hawthorne Bridge and some city skyline

Burnside Bridge

Steel Bridge with the bike and pedestrian path underneath the bridge

Friday, 4 November 2011

The Rest of Washington State

After four nights in the Olympic National Park I had two more nights on the road before I crossed the border into Oregon. On the sixth night I had a shower!!! Absolute bliss!!
I stuck to Highway 101 most of the way and headed inland down through Aberdeen (home of Kurt Cobain) and Raymond and then hit the coast again. I caught a transit bus for about 70 miles of the boring inland bit. Totally worth the $1.50 it cost!!
Had to stealth camp at one place due to it being closed (used to this now) and then had two very leisurely days to travel the further 40 miles to Oregon.
The weather was lovely and sunny with cold frosty mornings. Lots of sea views, two lighthouses, a very well deserved shower, my first tunnel and one very, very, very long bridge and then I was in Oregon!!!

The Astoria-Megler Bridge
This bridge connects Washington and Oregon across the mighty Columbia River and is 4.1 miles (6.6km) long. It has one lane of traffic going each way, no bike lane, a shoulder maybe 1m wide (if you’re lucky!) and a sign at the beginning of the bridge to warn motorists there might be cycles on the bridge.  That is all.

Sooooooooo there were road works at the Washington end of the bridge that made it into one lane, the guy directing traffic said “Start pedalling, go as fast as you can and don’t stop”. So I did. I have never cycled 4 miles so fast!!! Trucks and cars were howling past but I could not get over into shoulder because a furious cross wind would blow me into concrete edging and then I would get squished. At the Oregon end there is a nasty uphill bit (after you have been pedalling like crazy) to get over the part of the bridge that container ships go underneath.

It was intense!!! Soothed nerves afterwards with several nice beers at a brewery in Astoria and swapped stories with the three lads from the UK who I bumped into again = hurrah!! One had ripped a pannier but otherwise they were ok and had not really enjoyed the experience either.

We all survived to cycle another day!!!

An example of a nice bridge, Naselle River.

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.

North Head Lighthouse.

Last day in Washington. North Head Lighthouse.

Astoria-Megler Bridge from the Washington side. An example of an evil bridge.

From the Oregon side.

Containner ships queued on the Columbia River.

Olympic National Park: Coasts

The other two nights I was in the ONP I spent on the west coast in the Mora and Kalaloch campgrounds.
The coast felt a lot more like home that the rainforest did. Big sea stacks, piles of logs and lots of pretty rocks on the beach………hmmmm sounds like I am describing somewhere really familiar………

I was always pleased to escape to the coast because normally the sun shone and I could dry out my gear (well make it marginally drier) and the forest can be a bit oppressive and claustrophobic.

At Kalaloch I caught up with some other cyclists I had seen from afar in Forks a couple of days before. I was so excited it was ridiculous!!!! It was really, really nice to have some other people to camp with and chat too. Three guys from the UK travelling together and one from France, who they meet along the way. All of them on their way to the bottom of South America – crazy buggers!! Fingers crossed I bump into them again along the way somewhere.

Stormy evening at Rialto Beach.

Sunshine at Rialto Beach the following morning.

Sunset at Kalaloch.

Camping with other cyclists at Kalaloch.

Olympic National Park: Rainforest

The Olympic National Park (ONP) in Washington is made up of three different zones: alpine, rainforest and coast. I did not have the opportunity to get a look at the alpine area (except glimpses of the mountains while on the road) but I stayed two nights each in the rainforest and coastal areas so I will give a bit of a spiel on these areas.

My two rainforest nights were spent in the Sol Duc and Hoh Valleys. I cycled up both the valleys in gorgeous autumn sunshine and back down them in the pouring rain. Man it can RAIN!!!! Lucky the area looks gorgeous in both types of weather. The rainforest areas are characterised by huge green trees, rain, swathes of moss covering everything, steamy vapour, red and gold leaves, the kind of darkness you get in a dense forest and silence except for the hiss of rain.

The Sol Duc Valley has a hot spring resort that is closed in the winter (go figure?!) and the Sol Duc Falls, which I visited in the pouring rain before I left.

The Hoh Valley is known for its herd of Roosevelt Elk and the huge green drapes of moss that hang from the trees. Was definitely missing Jane and her photographic skills because my little point and shoot camera just cannot capture the intense greens mixed with the autumn colours.

I really enjoyed the rainforest areas and the ride up the quiet roads that lead off Highway 101. However, I was always happy to leave and head back to the coast for some sea views and sunshine.
Lake Crescent.

Sheltering in the amphitheatre at the Sol Duc Campground for breakfast.

Sol Duc Falls.

Hoh River.

Road up the Hoh Valley.

Sunset at the Hoh Valley campground.

Attempt to take photo of moss - marginal success.

The author amongst the mossy trees sporting the latest in wet weather cycling fashions.

Ann Elk? an Elk. Roosevelt Elk, Hoh Valley.