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An Olympic Bike Tour
Heading inland to the Columbia River

Date Starting Place Ending Place Author Last Update

08-29-11 Naselle,
Washington, United States
Washington, United States
ray 02-12-16 10:19:22

There was no reason to hurry to leave in the morning as I only had 30 miles to ride and I had told Kim, my warm showers host for the night, that I would arrive around 4pm.

I wrote up a trip email, made some coffee, prepared and ate my yogurt breakfast, and checked the Internet. When all that was done, it was close to 11am and I packed up and left.

Hwy 4 was deserted with a vehicle passing every few minutes.

The road was flat along the pretty Naselle River

in a valley surrounded by green hills.

The river meandered in and out of view for the next mile and a half.

After the river veered away, the road upped and downed a bit (this shot is looking back toward Naselle).

Eventually, I crossed the wide Deep River. Here is the view up (to the east) the river.

Looking downstream.

A couple miles past Deep River, the road started to climb out of the valley and the shoulder narrowed significantly.

It seemed the traffic picked up a bit but it was likely just it's speed and how close I was to it. I was now riding east valley vistas.

The climbs were gradual and usually followed by downgrades. I undulated for a few miles through farm land, meadows, and the occasional stream.

The name Rosburg appears on maps of Hwy 4. As I wasn't carrying anything for lunch, I stopped at the store to see if there something I could eat there. But, it contained nothing but manufactured food and I kept riding. Other than this store, there were a few houses.

I had been seeing signs that I was on the Lewis and Clark Trail. In addition to road signs, I would see these informational signs at various places. This one was at Grays River, a couple miles past Rosburg.

The river behind the sign.

The view toward the hills from Grays Harbor.

The further I went, the more concerned I got about carrying only 1 banana and some peanuts and raisins for fuel. I had been told of a cafe in Grays River and that is where I'd hoped to stop. When I got there, the sign on the door said that it only opened Thursday through Sunday.

There was another place to eat in this small village, an Irish Pub, where I took down a garden burger and some homemade potato salad. I took my time and was able to both eat and soak up about 45 minutes.

As I left Grays Harbor, I passed this pretty river view.

Not long after the pub, I started the climb up KM Mountain. I was told it was 2.5 miles up and the same down. It was a steady grade that didn't require rest stops or my lowest gears. Maybe 5 cars passed me on the way up. While I was going up I saw signs that said "Rocks." It struck me that some young people might interpret this as "Cool," so I took a photo to remember the thought.

Some of the views of the surrounding heights were fabulous, though I took no pictures. What did stop me was this vista of recent logging activity.

It topped out at 760 feet and I coasted down without having to apply brakes or pedal on the gentle 5% grade. Here is the view just past the summit.

There was nothing unique in this view, as it was the same green hills in every direction. It was the field of white flowers that drew my attention.

At the bottom was a wide meadow and farm land that was quite attractive.

I rode through a traffic controlled construction area and into the tiny town of Skamokawa. I turned right, into a wildlife preserve that went through sloughs that line the Columbia River.

There were no cars and the views of the river on one side and the trees,

fields and meadows,

and streams

were just stunning.

At one colorful meadow,

I saw a bald eagle sitting on a stump. I stopped to get a photo but as soon as I did, the bird flew off. It was the first time I'd seen a bald eagle in the wild.

The road meandered along and the river changed from wide

to narrow.

I saw various birds and lots of pretty views.

The road dumped me onto Hwy 4 just before the Elochoman River, where I saw this Osprey nest on the bridge trestle.

The town of Cathlamet was just beyond where the road rejoined Hwy 4. Cathlamet has seen better days as the main hotel had a sign out front announcing an auction. The one street town

did have a cafe where I stopped and had a bagel and hot chocolate. While I was sitting there, someone walked in and called my name. I was startled but recovered when I realized this was probably Kim who had seen my bike. We met and she drove ahead as I wasn't yet ready to leave the cafe.

My plan from Cathlamet was to ride east once I crossed the river and then to head up and over the hills toward the coast. This was instead of riding west toward Astoria. I called the motel in the hills where I planned to stay and was told that it would be without power Tuesday morning and the cafe would be closed. I could rent a room but the logistics of food and no lights was a bit much to figure out and I began to think about alternatives.

There are several largish islands in the Columbia river just opposite Cathlamet. There is a trestle bridge

that connects the town with Puget Island, where Kim lives with Steve, her husband.

I got a sense of the size and power of the river while riding across.

Puget Island is flat with farm fields in the northern section and homes on the southern edge. Here is a view looking back over the island toward Cathlamet (homes on the heights in the distance) and the bridge.

Kim and Steve live in a beautiful house right on the water. Steve was busy working on something, as was Kim, so, after showering, I talked with Mike, a friend of theirs from Duluth, Minnesota. He is a Lutheran pastor and we spent about an hour talking about what that was all about. We also talked about my next destination and Mike and Kim convinced me to ride to Astoria, as well.

Kim made a pasta with some basil, broccoli, green beans, and a small salad. It was good and I had seconds on just about everything.

As it turns out, everyone, including me, has to leave the house by 5:30 am tomorrow (sunrise is at 6:30) so there is lots of activity in the house as everyone gets ready. There is a ferry from Puget Island to Westport on the Oregon side of the river that leaves at 6am. Steve assures me that riding on the road there in the dark will not be a problem. I'm not so sure, but it is my only option, as I am not carrying any light stronger than a flashlight.

After while, Steve showed me around the entire house. He first got the idea for the house in high school when in a drafting class he was asked to design his dream house. He drew an octagon and that is what he built. It isn't quite finished but it is very nicely done with lots of interesting detail, fixtures, design features, and other unique quirks, all of it built by Steve himself.

The very interesting tour took about half an hour and at the end of it, we had a brief discussion about money, investing, and the emotions of retirement. It was one of the few conversations about financing a retirement that were well informed and interesting.

After the tour, I went off to bed.

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