Day 8, Artic Park to Ilwaco KOA, 60 miles
I wake rested, eager to ride. I’m shooting for Cape Disappointment, so it will be a long ride. A big bowl of oats, dates and hazelnuts will serve as fuel for the first hills. And there are hills! Four in a row, not a tall as the one yesterday afternoon, but long and steady. Still so small compared to what is ahead in California.
California! Seems like a world away. And another world. One of try, arid sagebrush covered landscapes, as compared to the Evergreen State, Washington. Here everything is so wet! Moss and algae grow along the highway, on bridge railings, rip rap, even on the asphalt of the roadbed.
Hills behind me, I descent into Raymond and cross the Willapa River, the beginning of the hug Willapa Bay. I’m following the 101, around the bay and down towards Oregon. A stop of course for some Willapa Bay oysters, all as good as they are known to be. Then back on the road, still over 40 miles to go, and already into the afternoon.
The ride is easy, and refreshing. I love cycling by water! I cross countless sloughs, cycle by vast tidal mudflats and peer out at the even more massive bay. I wonder at the first peoples to live along this water, to reap of its rewards of food and ease of transport.
The 101 enters the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge. Beautiful sky and vistas, truly breathtaking! I meet another cyclist, traveling with much less gear and even less cash. Bivy sack, stealth camping, a fast carbon fiber bicycle. Rob, from New York. Fun to trade stories of my NY days, of politics, of religion (or not, he being an atheist Jew). Another cyclist rolls by, Jacek, from Poland, riding north. We yell greetings across the highway.
Time to move on. The afternoon is waning, along with the daylight hours. Still 28 miles to Cape Disappointment. Another change of plans, I’ll stop at the Ilwaco KOA, friendly host checking me in for a tent site. The hot shower is a balm for weary muscles. Another Mountain House dinner, courtesy Ale and Tiffany back home in Corvallis, beef stroganoff. Delicious!
More sweet texting with Jennifer, then at last time to sleep. A well earned rest.