We set off from Portland for the coast, both looking forward to the cool sea breeze after being inland for a couple of warm weeks. We continued opting for backroad routes towards the coast, then joined up with the Highway 101 and the ocean in Tillamook. The bike ride out was through charming countryside towns with plenty of rolling hills and even a few mountains.
We also faced our first flat tyre of the trip, on the back of Rio’s bike, but were pleased that we could fix it without too much worry and were cycling again within the hour.
Our first glimpse of the Pacific in Oregon was on Sunday morning when we cycled down to see a mist covered bay with playful seals swimming around.
Since then, we have been able to follow the coast along the 101 and every corner has felt like it should feature in a picture postcard. The area is well-known for its lighthouses, so we made sure to stop and check out two of them this week; Yaquina Bay Lighthouse near Newport and Heceta Head Light near Florence (which can be seen in the background of the photo below). We’ve also been keeping our eyes on the sea at every stop, after meeting 3 marine mammal observers who told us that Grey Whales were still in the area and could be seen milling off the coast.
During this stretch we’ve been saving money by spending a majority of our nights wild camping. Finding a decently hidden location has added to the excitement of the trip, with some locations being easier than others. Most of our ‘campsites’ have been in forested areas within 10m of the main road, allowing easy access and quick departure in the morning. As of yet we haven’t run into too much trouble, the only downside is having no access to a refreshing shower at the end of the day – but we find the dirt and mud has made us look more tanned than we really are. Our lemon & eucalyptus mosquito spray works wonders as a perfume, if we’re without a shower for a few days.
We’re able to cook and enjoy a warm meal at the end of each day using a small Trangia camp stove, meaning we don’t have to rely on being close to restaurants or towns for our food.
We’re currently having a day off in the beautiful hilly countryside near Coos Bay whilst staying with a friend’s family. They have a wonderfully copious supply of fresh fruit and vegetables from their well looked after garden, which is definitely recharging our batteries in between cycling.
Hattie & Rio
Our first week in America has been wonderful.
We’ve spent a majority of the time with a fellow couchsurfer called Alec. He’s originally from Florida but spending the summer in Washington working as a Park Ranger in Olympic National Park. He’s been a great guide and enabled us to visit ‘secret’ natural hot springs in in the middle of the lush rainforest. We also hiked the stunning Hurricane Ridge (seen in the photo above), saw our first Pacific NorthWest sunset over LaPush Beach & drove through Forks (a small town made famous from the Twilight Saga). We also saw our first ever baseball game – where the Seattle Mariners were playing the Florida Rays in Safeco Fields.
We had planned on heading to Seattle for the weekend and had a list of local buses we could take. However we arrived at the bus stop with 20 mins to spare & decided to stick out our thumbs to test our luck. Within 5 minutes, a car picked us up & said he could drop us 10 miles down the road on the border of Sequim.
Less than 2 minutes after the first ride, a friendly man stopped and said he was heading North of Seattle & would happily give us a ride. He ended up giving us a mini tour of the city, showing us things like the Ballard Locks, the Space Needle and dropping us off right in the centre of downtown next to Pike Place Market.
We found the hitchhiking to be super easy and fun – also it got us into the heart of Seattle within about 2 hours, after a relaxed and informative ride, rather than the 5 and a half the buses would’ve taken.
We’ve stayed with two great couchsurfing hosts this week in two contrasting environments. The first was with a lovely man named Lonnie who lives outside of Port Angeles and specifically builds small cabins for couchsurfers, making his land into a communal and welcoming home for travelers.
The second was with a great guy called Mohamed, who lived in a beautiful apartment overlooking over downtown Seattle, and took us out for tea with his friends and also to a couchsurfing BBQ.
The event was on the rooftop of a building in Belltown and was a cool place to meet local Seattleites as well as fellow travelers to swap stories.
We’re hoping to go to more of these events along the way as it was an interesting and surprising mix of likeminded people.
We’ve found everyone in Washington to be warmly welcoming so far and enjoyed experiencing the extremes; from the natural, quiet rainforest to the hustle & bustle of Seattle.
Hattie & Rio