Any Road Tour: Day 58 – Getting there

Last night at the Motel 6 I watched the All Star game. The best part was when the crowd cheered for Wilson Ramos during the player introductions.

I slept in and had another diner breakfast. I am burning out on diner food. I am really looking forward to cereal with bananas when I get home.

The road now leads south and I followed my maps faithfully. There were a couple of small hills but, even with a headwind, hills are no longer annoying me. Lower gears. Stand up and pedal. Over the top. NBD.

The scenery was a mix of small farms, exurban homes with some livestock in the yard, and a few wooded stretches.

I rode about 35 miles west of Mt. St. Helens. I declined the opportunity to climb 35 miles to see some exhibits. It was once big. Not so much anymore. The end.

Maybe I’m getting numb to the scenery but man made stuff is getting more of my attention. This dude graced the water tower in Toledo.

This was in someone’s front lawn. Looked more like King Kong than Sasquatch.

Here’s the turn off to volcanic doom.

I followed the Cowlitz River as it slowly descends to the Columbia. I saw a few freight trains go by. The noise from I-5 killed the country vibe a bit.

I saw two separate northbound bicycle tourists today. Neither encounter occurred where we could chat. I also learned that last weekend was the annual STP ride, a 200+ mile trek from Seattle to Portland.

I rode into Longview in search of a bike shop to pump up my tires. A local bike rider saw me and escorted me to a Proper Cycle Works. He also offered me a camping spot in his yard because people did the same for him on his bike tour to and from San Francisco. His name is Alex and he’s a nice guy but I had motel-on-the-brain today.

The bike shop guy told me my tires were running at 60 psi. Low but not too bad. He pumped them up to 80. Then he gave me directions to the motels in Kelso across the Cowlitz from town. He also told me that the Adventure Cycling route to Oregon is not on a safe road. He advised me to cross the Columbia River on the bridge just outside Longview and ride US 30 to the coast. There’s only one big hill, he said. We’ll see.

At the end of the day, I found out that #bikedc friends Megan and Nate are on the coast driving a hippy van and doing drugs. Okay, I made the drugs up. Anyway there is an outside chance that our paths will intersect in the next day or two.

Miles: 60.5

Tour Miles: 4,088

Any Road Tour: Day 57 – Good form after 4,000 miles

A little breakfast. A little chain maintenance. Good bye Shelton.

The first 28 miles featured rolling hills, cool temperatures, a headwind, and chip seal roads. This is logging country. Large swaths of the woods have been cut down. Others are recovering from being cut. I saw one tract that was cut in 1984 and the trees are still nowhere near the size of the forest around them.

I stopped for a mid morning snack which I shared with the store’s dog. I’m not sure she was crazy about the nacho cheese Duritos I gave here.

The store owner and a customer were chatting about wild life in the area. Cougars, bears, wolves, and coyotes. Suddenly I am less than enthusiastic about camping.

I stopped in Elma for lunch. When I walked outside, I found that the wind was now at my back and the roads were level.

Looming over the town were two cooling towers from a nuclear power plant. The plant was never completed. It’s now an office park for several businesses including cannibis production.

The next 34 miles were easy. Along the way, I passed the 4,000 mile point of the tour.

As I waited at a traffic light entering Centralia, a woman lean out her car window and said that I had good form. Sadly I didn’t have a witty comeback.

I suppose it’s easy to look good with a tailwind pushing you on level ground.

I am told that I am getting close to Mt. Saint Helens.

Eek.

Miles: 62

Tour miles: 4,027.5