The public (i.e. my mother) has been clamoring for an update, so here goes.
Leaving Seattle, we had forgotten some harsh realities of living on the road and had devised grand plans of a route to Portland that would take us through Rainier National Park. After a rainy first night, which served as a reminder about how unpleasant it can be to be perpetually cold, we all independently decided we didn’t want to go to Mt. Rainier. So we still rode to Portland, but we took a flatter, more direct route. We’ve all been having chain troubles as everything is starting to wear, but besides that we got to Portland mostly without incident, besides a daily rain. Since Seattle, finding free camping has become much more difficult, and in Puyallup we were ejected from a city park for the first time. This turned out to be a great experience, as we learned about Freezing Nights, a winterly program in Puyallup where each night a different church hosts homeless people. We were warmly welcomed, with stew and brownies, and eggs and french toast for breakfast, and an extensive packed lunch. Tom even got a haircut, and Joe a shave. We are very grateful for their help in our time of need.
Upon crossing into Oregon, we again found ourselves without a campsite, so we headed to a local bar to watch the Alabama-LSU football game, with the hopes that someone would rescue us. Sure enough, Bobby and Rhonda gave us their address and offered the use of their back yard. We arrived later in the night to a dark house, so we set up our tents hoping we hadn’t gotten the address wrong. Luckily, it was the right house, and in the morning Rhonda cooked us an amazing fritatta while Bobby showed us a slide show of his trip to Sturgis. Again, our heartiest thanks to Bobby and Rhonda for their amazing hospitality.
We spent two nights in Portland, then set off, keen to finally reach the coast. Oregon has actually been much drier than we were lead to believe. Either everyone else is a bunch of sissies or our string of luck with the weather has continued. It does rain almost every day, but just a sprinkle, and not for long. It does wreak havoc on my chain though, which I have to relube almost daily to prevent it from squeaking.
We hit the coast a few days ago, in Lincoln City, and it was more of a milestone than any so far on the trip. The ocean is so amazing, so beautiful, I don’t think I could tire of watching it. We called it a day early and frolicked on the beach, and ended up camping there too. We’re told that the entire beach of Oregon is public property, the “people’s beach,” and that camping is allowed everywhere. I spoke with a cop who said that technically that’s not true, but that we probably won’t be given any trouble, so that’s good enough.
The coast has been great, though we receive almost daily warnings about an oncoming storm (which never hits). We saw seals and sea lions the other day, playing carefree in the waves. The last couple days have taken us slightly inland, which means riding rolling hills through pine forest – nice enough, but I’m hooked on the coast now. We’ve got another day in Oregon, then we can leave the rain as an unpleasant memory when we hit the sunny beaches of California.
I bought a new camera in Seattle, so new pictures have been posted.