Olympia, WA to Portland, OR

Look at me, firing out journal updates the day after I arrive! DSL rules. Olympia = cold, Portland = not as cold. But, like the guy in the bike shop told me, ‘What did you expect touring this late in the year?’. True indeed. I wasn’t expecting snow on the ground south of Olympia, thats for sure. My first day out was pretty perfect. Early start, sunny, no wind, flat, low traffic, some small roads that winded through farm communities. I put in 69 miles before doing my ‘arrive in a small town’ routine. It goes something like this: 1. Arrive in town, ask where the grocery store is. 2. Buy tofu, broccoli, ramen noodles (dinner), and bananas (breakfast). 3. Ask the cashier where there is a park with picnic tables. 4. Go to the park, cook dinner, set-up camp, ignore the bewilderment of passer-byers. 5. Go to sleep at some ridiculously early hour. The Thursday night town was Castle Rock and I settled in next to a monument dedicated to Harry Truman. Now if anyone ever asks what Harry Truman has done for me I can say that his monument in Castle Rock, Washington gave me a place to put my tent and sheltered me from passing cars.

My day into Portland was not quite as smooth. It started raining early in the morning; the clouds never lifted, but the rain stopped pretty soon there after. I had to decide where I was going to cross into Oregon, either on the freeway just north of Portland or on a small highway 50 miles to the north. I chose the small highway and I don’t think I made the correct decision. Construction, no sidewalk, no shoulder. Shitty, to say the least. After that drama I had a straight shot on one highway the 50 miles into Portland. I’ve said it before: This is the type of riding people who have never bike toured imagine. 4 lane highway, very few towns, very little to look at. Just me pushing along slowly counting down the mile markers. So in two days I had both extremes of what you experience while touring. Funny. Oh, but to get into Portland I had to cross another bridge. Same circumstance. I just got behind a bus and hammered across. There was enough traffic that the car behind me really had no reason to pass.

Finally get to my friend’s house and chill. We went out to see a skate video premiere and almost every road had a bike lane. This is the Portland I heard so much about. We stopped in a pizza shop and Ryan knew the kid = free vegan pizza. Loving it. By then, of course, it is raining, but we managed to ignore it and happily pedal home. It’s Saturday morning, it’s not raining, and I am stoked to get out and see all the bike and food related things I can do in this city that is well known for its abundance of.

After here it is a 12-day straight shot ride to San Francisco. After this weekend this hang out trip is going to quickly turn into a bike trip.

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