Bike tour 1974 to See the West: Oregon to Seattle

June 14th
odometer start: 1184.3

I'm currently in a place called Gold Beach in Oregon. I'm getting out of the Redwood area finally and have a lot of coast for the next few days. So far, Oregon has been very good cycling-wise. Most of it has been close to flat, or at least nothing to get worked up about. One big hill, but even that was fairly easy because of its length and had a real nice ride down. Spent last night near Harris Beach, just north of Brookings (also Oregon). Should be able to make it past Bandors tonight.

Met two groups of cyclists so far today. The first was two guys going from Portland to San Fran, the other group of 3 aparently was enjoying the ride down the big hill too much to stop.

June 15th, 11:10 AM
odometer start: 1272.5
odometer now: 1293.2

I'm currently in Coos Bay meaning I'm about 1/3 of the way through Oregon. There's a port here - in fact there are ports every 30 miles north of here for a while - so a lot of the logging industry is based here. Oh - I'm beyond the Redwoods but am now in the middle of the pine and fir logging areas! Sigh.

Spent last night in a real state park campsite, guests of school teacher couple who were riding south. Campsites are about $4 for trailers, $2 for backpackers and cyclists. The main advantage of a real camp is that they generally have shower facilities available, which I made full use of!

I think the weather is trying to have a battle above me. Since yesterday afternoon the sun has been trying to break though the clouds and it looks like it might actually make it today. However, it looks like the cold side is going to win, so maybe I'll soon be getting the clear skies and strong NW winds that 68 year old guy warned me about.

My cycling shoes are a big improvement over my old shoes, but the right shoe is trying to wear a hole in my ankle. Such are the disadvantages of breaking in shoes on the road.

Guess I'll be around Roosevelt Beach tonight. Let's see, that's not too far. How about Yachats? Ooops missed 21 miles, Roosevelt is 84 miles. Well, somewhere around there.

You should be getting this same day as yesterday's, as I've forgotten to mail it. Oh well.

June 15th, 4:45 PM, Dunes City

Yerch? After I left the restaurant in Coos Bay, I've been fighting a 15-30 MPH head wind ever since. Right now I'm outside of Florence getting a snack and resting a bit. Forgot to check the odometer, but its not that far. The map says 50 miles, which I guess is pretty good. Hmm. I did ~19 to Coos Bay and have about 2.5 hours of riding time left. Maybe I can do 80-85 miles today after all. I think if I do go to Intel, I'll have to ride this route south, taking a little more time than I've allowed so far. Except for tailwind days.

Hey! My watch still says 1645. Arghh.

June 16 1135, Yachats
odometer start: 1451.0
Now: 1475.4

Less than 25 miles in the last 4 hours. Well, I did spend a fair amount of time at the Cape Perpetua visitors center. A neat place - could have spent all day. I spent last night at a park beach just outside of Florence in sort of a depression fairly well sheltered from the wind, which I expected might let up during the night. It didn't. In fact, it may even be stronger today than yesterday! To try to avoid it, I'm going to head inland and brave the 80 degree heat there in favor of less wind. It may be more mountainous, but at least some of the time I'll be able to coast. Cape Perpetua has a plastic relief topo map of all the area I expect to be going over, so I have some idea of what to expect.

I don't have my map with me, so I can't tell you the route, but I'll be taking route 34? from here.

Not sure what happened to my watch yesterday, but after beating on it a little and manually winding it, it has been behaving itself since.

Guess I'll try finding a phone and try calling you.

1974: It must have been this day, but that night near the beach was one of the most miserable of the trip. I didn't set up the tent, I just had the sleeping bag on top of a thick mat of vegetation. Wind gusts would come through every couple of minutes and blow out all the warm air. After a couple hours of that I just took my jacket, which had been in use as a pillow, and put it over my head and that end of the sleeping bag. That worked well - the wind still forced enough air exchange so it wasn't stuffy, and I stayed warm enough to sleep.

Bicycling into the headwind was also really miserable. There were some downhill stretches where I had to keep pedaling to make any progress. It's quite amazing how little wind it takes to make for a substantial change in bicycling speed, comfort, and mood. Unfortunately, if most of your rides are in a loop, you will likely spend more time bicycling into the wind than downwind even though you may spend equal distance in each.

I'm surprised I didn't mention those in the letter, perhaps I expected to talk about them on the phone.

June 17, 10:30 AM, Philomath, OR
odometer start: 1431.3
now: 1444.5

The stretch from Waldport to Alsea and about five miles after that follows a stream uphill. Very little development, since most of it is in the Siuslaw Natl Forest so all in all, it was a very pleasant ride. I stopped for the night just before the climb over the coastal range and did that this morning. Sort of strange - going up the road was almost straight and pretty open - also 3 lanes - 1 a passing lane so people can pass all the logging trucks. The other side, however is 2 lanes all the way down with a lot of turns and shaded areas - lot of fun. Oh - it was cloudy on the west side and sunny on the east, so I am certainly away from the coast weather.

3:00 PM, Dallas
odometer : 1478.5?

Still have a head wind, not nearly so strong, but enough to make riding difficult. See how it does in the next couple of days. Also warm - according to a bank sign its about 85. Maybe I should get a light and ride at night!

You need my projected route, I guess. From here I'll either go to Rt 22 and then to Rickreal, or perhaps I can find a side road short cut to it. Once there, Follow 99W to 18 to McMinnville. Thigns are confusing from there to 47 ( I think there's a way) and follow that at least to Clatskanie. Can't say beyond that until I get to a Washington map. Almost 1530. Guess I'd better get going - things should get cooler from here on.

June 17, 9:50
odometer now: 1520.3

Would you believe I've now decided that inland headwinds are now too strong? I'm now at McMinnville some place like that - 12 miles north of Amity. I'm going to take the bus from here to Seattle and decide there what I want to do. Oh - from what I hear riding down the Columbia River is also all headwind. Better planning would have prevented all this - I probably would have flown to Seattle. But then again I might have missed a chance of a job at Intel.

Currently, I'm in a laundromat washing just about everything I have. I'm spending the night in a nearby motel, so I'll be clean again once I leave Seattle. Think I won't have any hassle with bike - the bus terminal got a note from Greyhound recently saying bikes must be in boxes, therefore they take bikes. I got a box from an alley behind a Schwinn store, so should be all set.

There are surprising numbers of Mexican descent farm workers here. In Amity, I noticed several signs, including telephone instructions that were bilingual. I'm fast, there is only one other person besides myself in here that speaks English normally. I say this is surprising because this is the first area I've seen with Mexicans around. Oh - another hint - I've noticed a lot of Mexican food offered in restaurants around here.

2009: It's curious how well I remember details about this trip. I didn't recall Klatskanie, but that's not surprising given that I never got there. Until 2003 - we bicycled through there between Portland and Astoria! That was a rather forgettable leg, but looking at the map I few memories are coming back. Oh well, on the bus to Seattle I think a passenger pointed out Mount St. Helens, but I'm not certain. In 1974 it would be just a mountain I had never heard of.

June 18, bus to Seattle
Odometer: 1520.6

1974: This brief note was on a postcard with an picture of the arches in front of the Pacific Science Center and Space Needle.

On the bus I sat with a woman about my age who pointed out some the features of the area. We spent some time talking about Seattle weather and that I was here at the peak sunny time. She mentioned how colleges encouraged students to decorate their dorm rooms with bright colors to keep spirits up.

After I got home, I looked up Seattle in a climate atlas and was impressed at just how cloudy Seattle is.

2009: Climate data is online now and either I was mistaken or data is recorded differently or I was looking at annual data. In Seattle's cloudiest month, December, they have only 23% of the possible sunshine. At home in northeast Ohio lake effect clouds and snow keep it down to 25%. (Still, the difference between 23% and 25% is nearly 9%.) In New England, Concord NH's cloudiest month is November, but we have 42% of the possible sunshine.

Short note today. Got tired of inland headwind, took bus to Seattle, will go to youth hostel or camp on Vashon Island tonight?

June 19th, 1:55 PM, Downtown Vashon

odometer start
June 18: 1520.6
June 19: 1528.1 (Yes! 7.5 total!)
now: 1554.6

The next paragraph refers to the K2 ski company which produced some of the most memorable ski ads in ski magazine history. The best was a parody of the monolith scene from 2001 - A Space Odyssey which depicted skiers jumping and dancing around a monolith that was a large K2 ski tip.

For a place as strange on the outside as K2, it sure is straight around their factory - No K2 monolith outside, no factory tours - rather nonimpressive. Got into Seattle around 1430 and spent the day playing tourist - Space Needle, Pacific Science Center, Food Circus and International Bazaar. (List for my later use in identifying pictures.) The Science Center was sort of neat, but not as up to date as it could be. For example, they showed a picture of Jupiter - one taken from an earth telescope; not the Pioneer 10 version! They did have a lot of kid type play stuff - pendulum art stuff, gyros, some cubes, etc. It's in the building with the gothic arches outside. All the places I went were on the site of the '62 World's Fair, so I didn't go much of anywhere else.

Spent the night at a real AYH in the Seattle YWCA for $2.00. I had a roomate who is from Chicago and attending an Archer's instructor course.

From here, I'll take the ferry to Southworth, 150 - 3 - 303 - 308 - 3 - 104 - 20 - Pt Townsend and take ferry over to continue on 20 and be back on my route.

Continue to the Rest of Washington leg

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