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very much looking forward to Christmas

We went for breakfast at a cafe in Pacific City, and had what may be our most unusual Raccoon encounter. There, at the end of the deck half a dozen cats of doubtful pedigree were sharing their morning cat food with two raccoons. I mentioned it to the owner as we ordered, “Yes, they get along really well with the cats”. They had a chalk board counting down the days till Christmas, 188 to go and I wondered if they would make it that far without being shut down on hygiene grounds.

Pacific City sea view

Cape Kiwanda State Park

mailbox on Highway 871

We turned left, and made our way along the coast on Highway 871 away from the dreaded 101 and yes, things improved a great deal. Golden beaches to our left alternating with small tree lined climbs and the joy that is a sunny day. We cut through the Netarts HWY alternative to miss out on the rougher surfaced coastal section, and made Tillamook just after midday. Tillamook is famous for its cheese and with such a great name should be famous for a limerick.” There once was a young lady of  Tillamook” and if you can think of the rest let me know.

Great name for a town, and a cheese

flower mannequin on a bike, HWY 101

Nehalem Bay

We camped at Nahalem Bay State Park after a good day in the saddle. Over night it rained, which is fine, but also overnight we had more raccoon trouble. The blasted things opened my pannier and were chewing into the potato powder when caught in the beam of my head torch. Four of them stared back with glowing green eyes and made no attempt to run off. I hate them with an intensity just short of blood lust.

camp chores

We rode out through Manzanita and wanted to buy almost every one of the Cedar Shingled houses. Cannon Beach and a second breakfast at the Sleepy Monk Coffee House were making this our favorite stretch of Oregon coast so far, even if we were back to riding on the 101 it was spectacular.

Arch Cape

HWY 101, finally justifying the sign

View back to Cape Falcon

It was a Monday, and we had logging trucks for company in numbers for the first time since New Zealand. They are professionals and until I am forced to eat my words, have my greatest respect. They give us more room than the RV’s ever do and present me with a opportunity to tell you my only logging truck joke.

Two dogs are standing by the side of the road having a friendly chat. A massive logging truck pulls past them with a dog driving and the two dogs turn and wave, with one of them turning to the other “Yes, he’s done very well for himself, just used to fetch sticks and he built the company up from there.”

Seaside, the posh end

6 "nuns " on a bike

not one of the Great Railway Journeys

We passed through the rather unchallengingly  named Seaside, with enough time on our hands to watch six nuns pedal passed on a single bike, and take a photograph of the most boring model train ride in the world. It had a posh end which was spectacularly lovely and a socially challenged end which was a typical seaside town. We pressed on, keen to get to Astoria.

Astoria Bridge

We had done a whole series of 50 mile days trying to get back on schedule. We needed a rest. A comfy, cheapish motel and a day of doing next to nothing were in order. Passing under the Astoria Bridge along South Prom we pulled into The Lamplighter Motel and negotiated a two night stay. It is, as always worth doing a bit of negotiating and wincing visibly at the first price always helps.

An email to Big Agnes about the zips on our inner tent failing to stay closed as you pull the zipper. Fatigue is to blame now that we have done over 100 nights in the tent. Twenty minutes later and a new inner is sent FedEx to Seattle, which is amazing.

Art Deco building and wall, Astoria

man on a trike, Astoria

A bit of shopping for bike socks and I end up buying brown. I did not like it at all when Lance wore black in his last two tour wins. I have the excuse of laundering infrequency for my choice of black. They still look wrong on a bike, and I am unconvinced that brown is any better even if it is less wrong.

Highway 30 would be our early morning path out of Astoria for our last miles in Oregon. This is easy riding and scenic too. Knappa Junction for second breakfast, a climb and then we dropped down to Westport to catch a small ferry across the Columbia River into Washington State. A ferry and a bike are a good fit in transport terms. We use them a great deal back home to hop between Scotland’s West Coast islands. Here at just $2 each the short trip is magical.

ferry at Westport, OR

Puget Island, WA ( Osprey nest on navigation pole! )

Airstream, Puget Island

Cathlamet, WA

Eagles and Osprey overhead as we made the short ferry crossing to Washington, made our day. A few miles further on a sign saying ‘campsite full, did rather ruin it a bit. Two tent pitches and about thirty RV standings combined with a rather inflexible camp host to give us an extra twenty miles to do. Bugger.

campsite at Cowlitz County border

Longview Washington and a Best Western Motel and another bit of price negotiation at the front desk for a 10% discount. Today has been good but we had to work at it.