Day 5 - A Long Haul
June 21, Rainbow Falls State Park to Kalama, 71 miles, 2200 elevation gain
Why did I decide to ride 71 miles on a fully loaded bike weight total of close to 70 pounds? Well, I don't really know. It was actually less tiring than Day 1 somehow. The weather was good, traffic light on the route I chose. I was dreading a section of the route, a one mile climb just short of the end, named by Kalama Century alumni, That Bitch Carroll. Yeah, it was hard. I survived and began thinking about my next tour.
Day 4 - Bill & Bea's Burgers
June 20, Millersylvania to Rainbow Falls State Park, 39 miles
The rain didn't stop in the morning but it wasn't cold and I had rain gear. As I departed, I could see that the campground had filled up overnight. Kids everywhere on their bikes; the smell of bacon and pancakes mixed with the wood smoke, made my mouth and eyes water.
I couldn't resist stopping at Bill & Bea's Burgers on the outskirts of Centralia. I was not disappointed. Although navigating through Centralia wasn't fun, the fun did begin when I got onto a pleasant, hilly country road dotted with horses, cows, sheep, and John Deere tractors. The last 15 miles to Rainbow SP is on the Willapa Trail, which I mentioned having traveled last year.
Day 2 - A Beer Garden?
June 18 Lewis & Clark to Millersylvania State Park, 42 miles, 990 elevation gain
More sun today, but rain's on the way I'm told. Leaving Lewis & Clark, I stopped to check out the Jackson House State Park (first state park in Washington), a historic site just down the road. It became a welcome stop over for people following the Oregon Trail to Puget Sound.
I could not find an alternative to Hwy 99 north, and even though there's adequate shoulder, it's busy with large trucks and fast traffic. On the plus side, I pulled into the Great Wolf Lodge/Waterpark and connected to their wi fi while having a break.
In spite of having a pre departure checklist, I always forget a thing or two. This trip was no exception. I didn't bring a pump. Feeling this is a necessity, I was able to navigate to a retail store and buy a pump for insurance, guaranteeing I wouldn't get a flat.
Millersylvania SP is a very large and very popular destination. I decided to stay two days. There's a small lake where one can rent boats, several miles of trails, lots of day use areas, and if you can believe it, a beer garden! Maybe I'm living a sheltered life, but I never expected a beer garden in a state park.
I spent the next day doing a lot of nothing. I found an empty campsite with electricity, sat in my fantastic Helinox Zero chair with a book, and got stuff all charged up. Anticipating rain on my second night, I scoped out a shelter near my campsite which I moved to so as not to have to pack up wet stuff.
Day 1 - Distance to Empty...zero
June 17: Kalama to Lewis & Clark State Park, 45 miles, 2000 elevation gain
Today was the start of a short tour, beginning in Kalama, WA, a short drive from home. The Port of Kalama lets you park in the McMenamins lot, which is patrolled 24/7, if you request a permit.
Yeah, you are probably thinking that 45 miles isn't so far. Well I didn't think it was either until I started climbing some hills that I wouldn't want to do on my road bike. I swear I will never ride Bond Road again for anything! I found a paved bike path that runs the length of the town of Kelso, a welcome change from the climbing and the traffic.
By the time I got to the campground, it was late and no one was around, so I found my own spot and tracked down the ranger in the morning as I was leaving. I love hiker/biker sites - no reservations and cheaper than regular tent sites. Washington and Oregon and a few other states have a no turn away policy for hikers/bikers, reducing the stress of where to camp the next night.
Paddling Estacada Lake
Out today with my paddle buddy, Alain, on Estacada Lake, Oregon, a short 40 minute drive from home. The lake is actually a large dammed section of the Clackamas River and is part of the Milo McIver State Park. The water is calm except for approaching the upper dam, our turn around spot, 3 miles up. Small power boats allowed but most were there for fishing, not that anybody was catching anything. We saw a couple of bald eagles and an osprey tending its nest high atop a dead tree. Alain and I always have a contest to see who can collect the most and sometimes unusual, trash. He won, no contest, as you'll see in the photos.
Stanley is beside himself with excitement as I organize for a small bike tour, now that Washington has opened some state parks for camping. Oh, and the Gypsea is a bit excited also. YAY!