I can’t honestly say riding along the coast of Washington and Oregon on a Harley was ever on my bucket list, but along about March of this year it struck us as a pretty good idea. And that’s how it turned out to be, as Ellen and Reid found out last week.
The Washington coast was a little disappointing in that the two lane highway takes you close to the coast but you only see it in a few spots. Routes 16, 112 and 101 in Washington were virtually deserted of traffic. That was really surprising at the height of the tourist season but quite pleasant for us. But the best beach view, Ruby Beach, was in Washington. Maybe the visual highlight of the whole week, although I thought an expansive inland tidal basin for the oyster trade was pretty good too, in its own stark way. Oregon was totally different in that you saw much of the coast and ocean views but was considerably more crowded. Once we crossed the border bridge into Astoria, Oregon, the traffic really picked up which was a downer. So, as my cousin Tom alluded to, once you’ve seen the coast you’ve seen the coast, so we ditched the idea of biking the entire length of Oregon and went inland at Newport at Route 20 and rode to Bend to see
and stay with my good friends Sue and Rand. They’ve been there for about 10 years and like it very much. It is one hell of a town. Lots to do and see but I’m not sure what people do there for work since the industry is light, and
Sue said for every job posting there are 100 qualified job applicants. They continue to make a go of Thin Book Publishing. Ellen, tell Tim we rode alongside the broad and expansive Umpqua River just as anglers were trying to catch steelheads. Wish we could have dipped a line in there.
They’ve got a good spot, too, near a big park and not overly far from the statehouse and such. She’s a prolific author under her own name, Jessica Maxwell, and Tom is doing pretty wellin the legal trade, having gone into private practice from working for the state. It was great to see them. They are literal world travelers. We took a fairly pedestrian path up I-5 to Portland to see my aunt Mary, and Tom’s sons Ben and Eli. They’re doing pretty well, too.
Eli showed us his hand crafted board he used to paddle down the west coast of Vancouver Island. We had a nice dinner at Mary’s place, then got back on the bike for another 60 miles or so just across the Columbia River into Washington. The next morning was more of the same pedestrian (I-5) route up to Seattle. We were going to make an off road pass by Mount St. Helens but the morning clouds had yet to burn off and there wasn’t much to see. And by that time anyway we were mostly fried and tired of sitting on the bike. We returned it back to the Harley dealer about 1 p.m., then headed to downtown Seattle in a rental car. I was just exhausted. The bike demands constant attention, and once you’re off it there is a noticeable letdown. I came this close to snoozing at lunch.
We found some fleabag no-tell/motel near the airport and called it a night until the time for our flight home.