Day 16 – Rain. My first day of rain on this trip. I guess I’m pretty lucky I made it this long, being the Pacific Northwest is known for how rainy it is. I woke up to a drizzle. The radar showed it was going to pass and I’d have at least a window of a few hours before the next rain band would pass through. I waited, all cooped up in my tent, until 9am, when the rain finally relented. I hurried out of the tent, washed my face, packed up and ate a quick PB&J before pushing off toward Hudson Parcher County Park. It was going to be an easy 40 mile day if I could miss the rain.
I rolled past some open fields, with rolling purple mountains in the distance. I turned right onto Mandy Rd and rode parallel to a river for a while. It took me past some horse and cow farms that stretched out for acres. The farm houses that went along with the property looked like they came straight out of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. They were falling over, dilapidated, and surround by fences, which all seemed to hold back their own version of Cujo.
About 15 miles in I notice a large rain cloud in the distance. I even heard the distant rumble of thunder. Oh, no. Here comes the rain. I started scoping out places where I could duck for cover. The homes didn’t look too friendly where I was at so I pedaled faster. Eventually I got to a nicer neighborhood, where I’d have felt comfortable ducking under a porch. Luckily I seemed to be skirting the rain and managed to avoid it for another 5 miles.
I made it to the north side of Castle Rock, WA. I rolled up to Papa Pete’s Pizza and the rain started coming down. I figured that was a sign that I should have pizza for lunch. I ate the better part of a large pepperoni and cheese pizza, while monitoring the weather and deciding what to do for the night. It looked like the rain was going to break for a bit and then get worse. I found a Travelodge in Longview as a backup to the campground and decided to hit the road when the rain stopped.
There were a couple of hills that slowed me down a bit, but I kept pushing knowing that the rain could start up at any moment. It seems like every time I struggle with a hill, I consider giving the whole trip up. But then I make it over, recover and I’m fine. Crazy how your mind can play games with you. I have to keep pulling it back and focusing on what I’m doing at the time, or I’ll start speculating about how hard it’s going to get two weeks out. One obstacle at a time, John!
Anyway, I quickly made it to Longview, Wa. I pulled under a storefront awning to decide what to do for the night. I tried finding a place on couchsurfer.org, but no luck. It was too last minute. The campgrounds were only 5 miles away, but I was already wet. My tent was wet. It was going to rain all night… I decided, screw it, I’ll stay at the Travelodge.
I checked in and the room was decent. I unpacked my tent and hung it to dry out. I showered, washed my clothes in the sink and then did some searching for a place to stay in Portland. No luck yet. After getting everything in order I went to a little pub down the road and had a beer. It was only 8:45pm but they were closing, so I finished and went to an Irish bar further down the road.
It was a cold rainy walk and I was glad I had a warm room to sleep in. I got to the bar. It was almost empty as well, but there was a rough looking couple playing pool and a gent at the bar. I ordered a burger and fries and another beer. The food reminded me of my family’s bar a bit. Not as good, but same style of burger. I finished the food and half the beer before walking back to my palace.
I checked the computer again and then passed out. Hopefully I’ll have better luck with the rain tomorrow. This photo is more Old Growth Forest from Lewis and Clark State Park at sunset.
(Repost of my 2014 Pacific Coast Tour Instagrams)