Campsite at Cape Lookout State Park
Today we woke up a little unprepared. We discovered that the town we planned on riding to did not have a campground. After a failed attempt to find an alternative, Howard graciously offered us a ride to Tillamook, a town on the coast north of Lincoln City. It turned out to be for the better, as it added an extra day of coastal riding, rather than riding inland to the coast. We got to Tillamook and had a final lunch with Howard. After we ate, Howard dropped us off at the local library and we said our good byes. We were both sad to have left Howard, as he was such a great host and a new friend. We got to the campground, which was probably the worst campground I have ever seen. It was a grass covered parking lot sized field with a circle of RVs; not exactly what we had in mind. We went back to the library and looked up the next campground. It turned out to be Cape Lookout State Park. It was 11 miles south, so we headed off. The ride out there began with a huge hill, which was hard on our untrained legs. We made it up and started our descent into the park. Boy was it beautiful! The park was right on the water with a beach, forest and cliffs. Perfect. The hiker/biker campsites, which are $6 a person, were off to the side behind a brush filled path. It was hands down the best campsite I have ever been to. There were three other bikers at the campsite, all on tours. Reed was our neighbor. He was from Salem, OR and was super nice. There was a guy across the way with a bamboo bike. We never got the chance to talk to him, as he was always disappearing. We called him the cool guy and was the subject of many jokes later on the trip. I like to think that he is always going to pass us in the most random places and flash a peace sign. Never happened… The other guy was Sweden. He was about our age and looked like he was from Sweden. He passed us immediately the next day on the road and we never saw him again. We ended the nigh with some smores with a couple hikers and went to bed. Great first day on the coast!
Today started off with a lot of rain, which we have been lucky enough to avoid during the trip, until now. We decided to visit the famous Multnomah Falls and Mount Hood. The drive to Multnomah Falls was beautiful with the Columbia River to our left and cliffs and small waterfalls to our right. All of a sudden, we reached Multnomah Falls. Right away we could see the picturesque bridges that crosses right in front of the falls. We climbed up and took in all its glory. Then we headed out towards Mount Hood. After climbing up the twisting and steep road, we reached Timberline Lodge. This ski resort was built during the Great Depression under the Works Progress Administration (WPA). It was a grand, old building built with superb craftsmanship and the utmost attention to detail. After watching a video about the construction of the building, I realized what it really took to pull something like this off; Hard Work. There was even a bar that had a Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox stained glass window! Below is theirs and here is MINE. Once back in Portland, Derek and I went to a bike shop I have been wanting to visit for a couple years, Velo Cult. Let me tell you, this is the best bike shop I have ever been in. The layout was super open with tables to sit at and read all of the various books and magazines they have, a bar and cafe, open-air work benches and even a PHOTO BOOTH. To top it off, all of the employees were extremely helpful. Derek got his loose headset fixed for FREE, we got suggestions for the tour from an employee who just finished the same route and got directions from another. We just had to get some shirts! They even hosted a vintage mountain bike rode around town and showed a documentary about how mountain biking's origins, in the shop, which we stayed for part of. Great shop! After this, we went to dinner at Pok Pok. HO - LEE - CRAP! I have been excited to go here since I read on Yahoo News (my favorite news!) that it was ranked one of the best restaurants in the U.S. It is a local Thai and Vietnamese restaurant with crowded seating, a waiting list and a traditional/urban atmosphere. The food was out of this world. We shared their famous fried fish sauce and sugar chicken wings (best food on the earth I think) and the boars collar (sounded weird the the waitress suggested it, and I am glad she did!), with Thai iced tea and a Thai limeade. I WANT MORE!!! What made it even better was that the restaurant was in the middle of the coolest neighborhood we saw. Every house was an old bungalow and was more interesting than the previous. The gardens were fantastic too! One of my favorite things to do is walk around cool neighborhoods with Roxanne. I can't wait to come back and do it again with her! Side note: the hostess at Pok Pok was from St. Pete! Small world.
We woke up with errands to run. We needed to get some last minute supplies and food for our trip. Not much to say about that. We did, however, start the day with a shared half-gallon of local chocolate milk and the Oregon College of the Arts and Crafts (OCAC)! The milk was great, and the school was even better! It turns out, the school is on the same hill that Howard lives on. Crazy. It was in a beautiful location in the woods and had a bunch of neat architecture. We walked around and got to see some of the student's work that was displayed in various rooms and outside. I would love to do one of the RESIDENCIES here one day. After our errands were finished, we got sundaes at McDonald's and drove around some more cool parts of town. We even saw a Honda Element (dream car) from Florida with Satchel's and Dunedin Brewery bumper stickers! We got home and finished packing, or so we thought, for tomorrow.
p.s. Howard has an early Rudio Autio piece from the Archie Bray! So cool.
At the greenhouse in Volunteer Park
Wow. What a great trip this has already been. Derek and I arrived in Seattle at 10:30 pm on Tuesday after over 6 hours of flying from Tampa. We got off the plane, retrieved our bikes and panniers and assembled them in the airport. We hopped on the light rail and met Kristin, of Kristin Schimik ceramics, in downtown Seattle. She took us to a friend's apartment that was letting us stay at (might I add it was two blocks from both the Space Needle and the Olympic Sculpture Park!). Needless to say, at 4:30 am Florida time, we were beat.
The next day, we got up for an early breakfast at Cherry Street Coffee House. An iced chai latte and a tomato, basil, egg and cheese bagel sandwich was the perfect start to the city. After breakfast, we rode down to the sculpture park and were very excited to see a mountain range on the horizon. We were not in Florida anymore… We looked to the left and suddenly there it was: Mount Rainier! WOW! It was a sunny, clear day in Seattle, which I hear is rare, and we were able to see the peak clear as day which was amazing. After we were done gawking at the beauty that is Puget Sound, we rode our bikes up to the Space Needle where we found a nice little concrete skate park. There was just one guy there cruising around. He let us ride around a little on his board which was a nice treat. Let's just say his favorite word rhymed with duck, and was always low and very drawn out. So GrUnGe! After this, we made a trip to the flagship REI store to pick up some supplies for the trip. Derek and I are a little obsessed with this store and are still wondering why there isn't one in Florida (at least we have Bill Jacksons!). What else was there to do but stop at the Patagonia store? We picked up a Patagonia frisbee for the trip. After this, we rode over to the KEXP 90.3 Seattle radio station. The woodshop tech at UF streams this station in the woodshed everyday and I have come to love it! We were taken on a grand tour of the facilities, including the live in studio performance room. It takes a lot more than I thought to run a community supported, local radio station. Listen to it HERE. Up next was the University of Washington. I scheduled a meeting with the professors there to learn more about their graduate program. They have a very interdisciplinary program which I am very interested in called 3D4M. Learn more HERE. Jamie Walker and Doug Jeck were there teaching summer classes that just began. Doug and some of the grad students invited us back for a barbecue later on in the evening which we accepted. Good burgers! Riding to and from the UW was beautiful. We took a trail from downtown that winds around a huge body of water, over a great bridge and past a marina with a ton of boat houses that were nicer than I could believe. Without a bike, this would have been just an average commute in rush hour, but with Seattle's fantastic bicycle infrastructure, it was a dream! Once back downtown, like the tourists that we were, we stopped by the flagship Starbucks in Pikes Place Market just before closing time. It was still bright out at 9 pm. What a day!
Our final day in Seattle greeted us with another day full of sunshine and beautiful weather (I can't say I miss the heat and humidity of Florida). We went to a bakery for breakfast that Kristin had recommended called Macrina. We split and amazing, fancy-pants breakfast sandwich and an orange hazelnut pinwheel. So. Good. After breakfast, we took a trip to the Capitol Hill neighborhood as recommended by Doug. We had to ride up a massive hill, which made me realize what we were really in for on this tour! The neighborhood was really cool with interesting architecture and some fancy houses. We accidentally stumbled upon Volunteer Park which was absolutely amazing. It was a picturesque park that had a huge botanical greenhouse, a historical brick waterpower and the Seattle Asian Art Museum. We went into each of these and were very glad we did. There was a fantastic exhibit of Western Asian ikats. More info on these HERE. There was a HUGE tree, cute dogs and a nice mailman that took a letter for Derek. Straight out of a movie. After a Thai lunch at a restaurant on Broadway in Capitol Hill, we made another stop at REi, just on the bottom of the hill. We love that place… After REI, we decided to go check out Pottery Northwest, where Kristin is an artist in residence. It was a very nice clay center with great facilities (I can't wait to apply!). We had been joking about who was going to be the frost one to fall off our bikes due to our new clipless bike shoes and pedals, and sure enough it was me! We rode back to the sculpture park and went through the paths to see the art up close. What a gem for a city to have open to the public! While taking a break sitting on a hill looking at the Sound, there came a fleet of at least 100 sailboats. Once again, a scene out of a movie. We stopped at Belltown Pizza for dinner and enjoy the wonderful weather outside. After dinner, we decided to go see Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson's new movie, at the movie theatre. This movie has not come out in Florida yet, bummer, so we got to see it here. I have to say, I think it is his best yet! I highly recommend it.
This morning, we woke up at 5:15 am, rode up another massive, long hill to drop off the keys at Kristin's and took off for the train station. We thought we might not make our 7 am train but we just made it in the nick of time. I am sitting on the train as I type on my way to Portland. I couldn't be more exited to see what this trips brings us next!
Peace Seasons! (This is an inside joke, don't worry about it.)