Since my return home from my Caribbean holiday I’ve been feeling like I’ve been living at work. I have had enough time to eat and sleep and then do it all over again. So exploring or getting up to anything crafty has been put on the back burner the last couple of weeks. Even the housework is starting to mount up.
So I thought I could share with you my adventure down the Oregon coast on my little Yamaha SR400 from a few years back.
I had long since booked the time off and had a pretty good idea of how far I planned to go, and the areas I wanted to check out. Now at this point I didn’t have a lot of experience under my belt on a motorcycle, so I asked my friend, Curtis, if he was interested in the trip. He agreed to join me.
The day to leave arrived, and I rolled down Cutis’ driveway. All packed up, and to be honest, feeling a little nervous. Curtis had the rear tire of his bike pulled apart and explained he had a flat to repair before we could get going. A little hiccup right at the start but not that big a deal right? A new tube and we would be on our way.
We hit the border and headed down the beautiful chuckanut drive into Washington. Because of the delayed start we would not make it as far as I had originally hoped. Improvising the camping situation was going to be a nightly occurrence, as I hadn’t made any reservations at any campsites. As dusk settled in we rolled into Fort Ebey State Park. This was August, so it wasn’t a huge surprise to find out the whole site was full. With no one around to give any guidance we stashed our bikes in the bush and used the “hiker/biker” site. The adventure had started and I was feeling pretty excited!
Getting an early start the next day, we snuck the bikes back out of the bush and headed towards Fort Casey. We planned to catch the ferry over to Port Townsend. I love this beautiful little town (as I do so many coastal Washington towns) so we stopped to grab some breakfast before really getting on our way.
We got on the 101 highway heading south towards Shelton, where just past there we would get on route 108 west. We made our way to Montesano and then headed south on highway 107 which would then connect us back to highway 101 south along the coast.
Crossing the impressive bridge over the Columbia River into Astoria, we headed over to Fort Stevens State Park. Just like the night before it was full. So again we found a cool place to get our bikes tucked away and set up camp. We picked up some food to go from a restaurant and had dinner on the beach.
The next morning we spent some time exploring the park and Curtis got to ride his bike for the first time on an Oregon beach.
We made multiple stops along the coast. One being in Cannon beach. Here we parked the bikes, explored the beaches, relaxed and had a coffee.
The plan was to spend the next night in Nehalem but, as was becoming the norm, finding a place was impossible. We continued on. We chose to detour the highway to take the scenic route through the three capes. Cape Mears, Cape Lookout and Cape Kiwanda. I had heard that the road just beyond Cape Mears had had a large washout and was closed. I figured if we could get our bikes around the barrier we may just find a suitable camping spot. It was a bust, but exploring the closed road was fun!
We were forced to camp in a full hook up site at Cape Lookout State Park. It was getting dark, cold and foggy and I really wanted to get off the road. It wasn’t a bad spot and we hung out on the beach, watching all the beach fires.
As we continued on with our journey we ran into some trouble. Curtis’ rear tire had gone flat. We pulled over to see what we had to deal with. His tube had a hole in it and we needed to patch it up. A cyclist was able to help us and a shop nearby loaned up some tools. Curt got the tire sorted out while I chatted with a hiker who was walking the whole coast. I love to hear the stories of other peoples adventures!
Day 5 would bring us as far south as this trip was going to take us. Into Florence. We actually managed to get two nights at Jessie M. Honeyman State Park! After unloading the bikes we set up and headed back into town. Laundry was in much need of doing and Curtis needed to get his permit to ride his XT500 in the sand dunes.
We had a blast! It was nice to be in the same place for more then a night. Curtis got to have fun in the dunes on his bike. We checked out the Heceta Head Lighthouse and explored some tidal pools. The seals were entertaining to sit and watch and the beauty of the coast was breathtaking. Even more so on a bike.
On the way home we went inland and stopped by the Evergreen Aviation & Space museum. We got to see the Spruce Goose! It was a really interesting, unexpected stop!
We spent the night in a motel in Portland. It was nice to have a bed and a real shower. The next morning was a slow start but we eventually got going heading back towards the Olympic peninsula in Washington.
While on the freeway I checked my mirror only to see Curtis slowing down and heading to the side of the road. It was another flat! And this time the likelihood of a friendly passerby to help us seemed slim. With no tools it was looking like we would have to call a tow truck. Then a man and his wife pulled over on their Harley and offered a hand. He told us he would go and get his truck and we could repair the tire at his house. With little options we agreed. It’s so easy to think the worst and I certainly had some horror movie scenes float through my head, but in reality I think most people are kind. He was very helpful and polite. Curtis threw another patch on the tube and we took off. Waving a huge thank you and goodbye as we went on our way.
We stopped at a diner for dinner and had no real plan as to where we were going to stay. Another kind soul offered to let us camp in his back yard just up the road but we declined. We wanted to head a little further north. We had hopes of finding a great spot to tuck the bikes away and spend our last night in the bush somewhere. But as the hours ticked by and darkness fell on us I started to get impatient.
Then the unbelievable happened. Curtis’ tire went flat again. This time it was late and we were in a town that was fully booked. No motels or hotels had any rooms and no gas stations were open. Fortunately we had a pump and could limp Curt’s bike along while we figured out what to do. We eventually found an available camp site. Situated right next to the highway, a full hook up site. We had no choice. We paid for the site, set up the tent and put off dealing with the bike until the morning.
Shortly after waking, we rode my bike together into the nearest town, Hoodsport. We grabbed some breakfast and some patches and glue. Something was definitely going on inside that tire. But we weren’t really in a position to figure it out. We just needed to get it home.
On the road again finally and everything seemed good. We pulled over at a gas station to fill up and a local approached us. He recommended a small detour to check out some water falls. Made it sound like a locals only kind of place, so we figured we’d give it a try. We got about 5 minutes down the road and my bike started coughing and bucking and eventually died. I tried to kick it over to get it going again but couldn’t. Curtis turned around to tell me his bike was running like garbage too and died as he was saying it. Thankfully it had been mostly up hill so we turned the bikes around and coasted back towards the gas station. As we pushed our bikes along the road we discussed that the only reason for this could be bad gas.
Curtis went in to the gas station pretty angry and came out a little embarrassed. A quick look at the pumps and he realized he’d pumped diesel into our bikes. I give him some credit though, the mistake was easy enough to do. The pumps weren’t well labelled. Anyways, we were given a bucket and had to take the time to empty our tanks and refill them with gas. It was a bit time consuming but fortunately easy enough to do with the bikes. I’d hate to fill a car or truck tank with the wrong fuel and have to deal with that situation!
We did make it to the water falls only to find out that every tourist that passes down the highway must also know about them. It was really pretty but too busy for my liking. We kept moving on.
We went up through Port Townsend again, using the ferry, and rode the Chuckanut towards the border. As we pulled up to the line up, Curtis tells me his tire is flat again! I tell him to push it over to the side and I’d ride home and grab my truck and ramp to get his bike.
Quite the ending to a great road trip! Regardless of the hang ups we had a great time and would love to do this ride again. I realized on this trip how much I love getting on my bike, knowing that I’m riding away for days. It boosted my confidence and helped shape me into a better rider. It started the daily day dreams that float through my head, of all the places I’d like to ride my motorcycles to! Oh the possibilities!