Sunday, July 25, 2010


Last night I arrived in Newport around 5:00pm. The town was interesting enough to keep my attention for the night. It had a normal modern town feel to it (typical corporate b.s.) until you got to the state park and bay front shops. The park was a dinky little area right before the large bridge..really nothing interesting except a good view of the water... and lots of wind.

Now, the bay area shops were pretty touristy, but interesting. I got a handful of photos of some of the odd things I saw. It was mostly a bunch of restaurants and gift shops placed around the existing fish factories(?). It smelled wonderful, especially around the loud ARFing sea lions. Like a beautiful spring day in a field of rotten fish corpses. Mmmmm.

The night progressed, I had some beer and peanuts then ended up in a diner at 4am, just to wake up by 6 and try to sleep at the state park. Clouds mess up traveling. Nothing else was really that interesting..except listening to some old hippies jam at a hippy restaurant, and them letting me play a soprano sax afterwards. Goofy little horn.

The drive from Newport to Florence was nothing short of fuckin' rad. 101 the whole way, winding up and down mountains, while remaining on the cliff edge the majority of the time. It was the 101 I've heard about, and couldn't wait to be on. Totally glorious (after the sun came out). I only really made one photographic expedition while carving through the cliff-side, and that was at Strawberry Hill. Not very hilly, or strawberry-y..just kind of rocky and windy. I felt like my face was going to freeze off within standing there for 10 seconds. Since I'm going to get cut off via the library timer soon, I'll just give the clifnotes version of the trip:

Wind, sand, rocks, awesome waves, sea lions, rocks and a little snake.

Time for Coos Bay...?

The past few days

So, I somehow managed to leave Portland. It was tough saying goodbye
to such a great city, and some great friends, but the journey must
continue. I made my way to Cannon Beach just after sunset (Thank you,
35 minute wait for a Voodoo Donut, delaying my Portland departure) and
found the only place that seemed to have people: a bar. A beer or so
later and a conversation about camping and baseball, and I was headed
back to a little house right on the beach. Brian housed me for the
night, and I'm very lucky for that.

The next morning, I woke up and departed. I probably made it 30 feet
before I was staring at the beauty that is Haystack rock. Dropped the
moped on the ground basically, grabbed my camera and went to work. 150
photos later, and I feel I did a good job photographing the area. The
beach was cold and windy, but really amazing. This whole shoreline is
just littered (bad word, I know) with rock formations either on the
beach, or right off the shore. If a wetsuit were in my posession, I'd
have climbed a mess of them.. but the water is freeeeezing. Maybe

Fast forward a bit, and I arrived in Smuggler's Cove at Oswalt State
Park. To get to the beach, you have to hike about 2 miles through a
neat little jungle on a very maintained trail. The beach was huge and
amazing. The cove seemed to hug the water, with big cliff arms. There
were lots of people, not to my surprise. Tons of children ran around
the little feeder river, while the others stepped into wetsuits and
surfed the small yet consistant waves all along the cove. It was a
secluded water park.

I found a trail that lead to Cape Falcon, which according to the crude
line map, peaked at the top of one of the cove cliffs. Of course I had
to hike it. The trail winded slowly up the hill side, hinting at views
from time to time. Reaching the top required a scraping shuffle
through very dense, low bush. It was worth it though. Despite the
violent wind, the whole cove was visible and awe-inspiring. Photos
wouldn't have done my fear justice when stepping nearer to the edge.
The trail just sort of stopped, and with good cause: a 100ft free fall
into a jagged shore below. It was really awesome, 'til the wind
decided to use my backpack as a battering ram and almost push me over
the edge. It quickly got me in a safer place.

Tillamook was the next stop, and a longer than desired one. It
basically is an old-mentality town based around a cheese factory and
logging company. It was bad, and I got tied into hanging out with some
crazy people. All I know is, the random stick-filled field I ended up
in that night was the best sleeping arrangement.

I'm in a little coffee shop in Pacific City, OR right now, speedily
updating this before I head off again and continue to ride the coast.
Not a single beach has disappointed me (well, Ocean City, WA sucked.
Sorry!) thus far. It's wicked.

Pictures will find their way up some time soonish.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Just uploaded about 104 photos to facebook of my La Push adventure, and a few from my first full day in Portland. Tomorrow will be more exciting in terms of exploration-based photography. Today was just a sight-seeing tour.

This city really has a different feel to it. Despite the hundreds of bicycles on every block, the stores just seem different. It's like the coporate chain world has been mostly filtered out, and small shops reign supreme. This is far from a complaint, just an observation. Too many cool things to see in such a small(ish) area.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The City That Works

This may be a bit scatter-brained, but I'll do my best to organize the past few days, based on region and essentially my path.

Port Angeles/Olympic National Park
So, for my initial southerly route start I decided to head a bit northwest to Port Angeles. That's where it happened..right on US 101: I got pulled over. Well, I should say I just stopped, considering I had been driving on the shoulder already and thus "pulled over". The cop stepped out, asked me where I was going (I sorta lied..I didn't say San Diego. Forks sounded better since it was closer) then told me it's illegal to ride on the shoulder...what? In the state of Washington, mopeds and other small engined vehicles are completely able to ride on ANY road: Interstate, highway ect, but we can't drive on the shoulder. Ever go 30 mph in a car on the interstate and feel like you're going to die? Try it on a moped...not fun. I'll stick to the shoulder. The cop was nice about it though 'cause he knew that I was versed in moped laws (apparently not complete) for the state. A quick exchange of words and some advice later, and he let me on my way. Whew.

Fast forward a bit later, and I arrive in Port Angeles around 7:30pm. The sun was on it's way to bed, and Forks was 57 miles away. I needed a place to stay. Knowing as Port Angeles and, basically every NW Washington town is circling the Olympic National Forest, a place to sleep wasn't far away. A quick google maps search pointed me to a small campground a few miles south of the city. The night passed, pretty uneventful yet peaceful, and I was back on the road the next morning, heading to Forks and La Push. The drive past Lake Crescent rocked my world. 35mph, windy roads, mostly flat or downhill, and it followed the curves of the royal blue glacier-fed lake. Wicked.

Forks/La Push
I'll sort of split this part up, so I can divide my initial disgust of Forks and the unbelievable beauty of La Push.

Forks sucks. It really does. I bet it was a decent little town a few years ago, but this little thing happened involving clumsy hollow-souled girls and scintillating mystical blood-drinking bat men, and Forks went to shit. Let's just say, I saw at least 4 cars pull up to the town sign, only to see a bunch of overweight and/or very young girls hop out of these cars, with their parents following behind with a camera. Yes, we get it.. the city was in a movie. Hooray. Now, here's the disgusting part. The town has Twilight TOURS. It has a shopped based on the movie. The clothing section of the local all-in-one shop is 50% twilight based. The grocery store has a 10x20 section in the front allocated primarily for random Twilight plastic shit. The native american store (quick side note: Forks is located right off an Indian Reservation, so the majority of the locals are Native American) changed it's name to "Native by Twilight". The pharmacy has a large sign outside that says "Bella's First Aid Station". Forks is completely consumed by this stupid movie, and the stupid people who traveled there for the soul reason of seeing the actual town in the movie. Dumb, very dumb. I was glad to head out.

Now, onto La Push. Holy crap. I've never seen a beach so amazing. Now, I've spent my fare share of time on the beach, but nothing anything like this. The most notible difference between an east coast beach and La Push would have to be the huge rock structures about 1/8th of a mile off the sand. They're just massive chunks of earth, some a couple hundred feet tall, with trees and other vegitation growing on (most of) them. This isn't my picture, but decent.

The beach itself was incredibly diverse as well. Near the water was a very fine, dark grey sand..not the yellowy sand I'm used to. Walk about 10 feet, and the sand turns to billions upon billions of perfectly smooth rocks that vary in size from a pencil eraser to an ostrich egg. They form the majority of the beach. Now, at one point in the past, mother nature must have chose La Push beach as a graveyard for trees, because they littered the beach. It was very tricky to navigate some of the ~100 year old trees that had turned white from the countless years of sun and salt water. They must have been on the beach for many, many years (not even going to guess) considering some of the huge trees just sort of disappeared into the sand. It was, to say the least, a breathtaking view. Pictures will be uploaded later, sorry.

That night, I headed to the Mora campground, not too far from the shore. My intention was to simply set up my hammock, and fall asleep as soon as possible. I was beat. Little did I know, but a few short hours later I would be back on the beach. Right as I went to locate the bathroom before my early slumber, a kid intercepted me with a simply but almost unwanted inquiry. "Yo, wanna hang out?". Ugh, At this point I had no intentions of making conversation with a random 17 year old drinking a Rainier beer. Since I'm not a total ass, I obliged and we started talking about random stuff. He offered a beer and well, I drank it. Sue me. His uncle showed up at the camp site a few minutes later after running so errands, and we started talking. Turns out they were trying to do a west coast tour but bouncing from river to river to kayak, but plans changed. Skip ahead to a 12 pack of beer being gone, and we're headed to La Push again with another 12 pack and the intentions of setting things ablaze. At this point the sun had already gone down but the beach was still bright due to the moonlight. Somehow we made it over the piles of dead trees and onto a small clearing where we proceeded to create a huge bonfire and enjoy some beer. I slept well that night, and awoke smelling of bonfires. Never could have seen that coming, but it was truly a good time.

Heading south from Forks was really great. The landscape changes so smoothly here, from small farm to dense woods, to meadows of small wildflowers and lavender. The only thing that ruined the drive, besides the frigid air, were the clear cut forests and mountain sides. Yes, they're replanting the trees, but it ruins the beauty of the area when you suddenly come across the remenants of a forest.

Ocean Shores
Many hours later, I arrived in Ocean City, WA (basically part of Ocean Shores, WA). At first, it was oddly similar: a 2 lane highway right down the middle with a bunch of dinky motels on the side of the road..and a few car shells in yards. Upon reaching the center of the town, I was blown away. It was like somebody had picked OCMD up, got rid of the huge hotels and duplicate shops, smashed it, and threw it across the country. OC WA is a miniature OCMD. Scary. The beaches were cold and the cloud coverage was solid, so there aren't any pictures. Quite frankly, they'd have been extremely boring photos without the assistance of photoshop.

Camping here sucks. All the sites in the state park were consumed by RVs and families with loud smelly children. The hotels in town were asking $100+ a night, and the ones outside town (that basically were sheds with lights) wouldn't go below $60. I'm cold, I'm sore from the 110+ miles I just rode, and I really needed sleep.

The lady at the Best Western saved me though. She pointed me towards this older hotel called the Sands Hotel not more than 3 blocks away, claiming they'll have cheaper rates. I show up and manage to chatter my inquiry on price and room availability to the lady at the front desk, and she said "$58". Sold. I needed the sleep bad. Then she proceeds to point me in the direction of the heated pool, hot tubs, and inform me of the breakfast that'll be waiting for me in the morning. I nearly jumped for joy, considering I'd been sleeping outside for a while and hadn't slept too well. Despite not having a bathing suit, my sorry ass was in that hot tub in no time flat, and what a relief it was. The breakfast wasn't that bad either..nothing fancy, but good. Finally, a nice warm place to sleep without working for it (I cranked the thermo up to 85. Oooh yea). Up early to start a long day.


There isn't too much to say about the first three towns, except I'm mad that Aberdeen changed their sign and removed the Nirvana quote. (It said, "Welcome to Aberdeen - Come as you are") For those of you confused, Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic were both born here and formed Nirvana here. Oh well. Nothing else was too note-worthy, except how lame Tokeland was (minus the llamas!) and the sun drenched field + sausage sandwiches of Raymond. The story gets interesting in Astoria, OR.

After not finding a camp site near Long Beach, I figured I'd keep heading south and hop over into Oregon. Very glad I did. Right as I was coming up to the bridge, I noticed the clouds and how it was odd they just stopped. I pulled over to get a better look, when I saw a great scene: The sun was shining bright to the west, and the clouds were completely covering the sky to the east of me. It was like a great wall of clouds with a very defined edge. The sun was beautifuly reflected off the water, while the moon began to appear while it was still light out. It was like a cheesy painting.

Upon crossing the amazing bridge and arriving in downtown Astoria, my search began. #1 Find a suitable camping area, which I found a few (one on this hill with about 2 occupied houses, and 15 destroyed ones..creepy) and #2 Find a brewery. Good beer was needed. I hunted down Fort George brewery, only a few blocks from where I had stopped, and headed that way. I got some strange looks from the Oregon hip kids as I wheeled my moped onto the sidewalk, but at this point I'm used to it. One excellent IPA later, and the topic of my journey came up while talking to the bartenders. Next thing I know, a regular comes in (well, he new everyone's name so I figured he's either there all the time or really creepy) and comments about live music at the little granola (thanks Mary Lackey) coffee shop next door. Obviously I went over, and glad I did. There were three people backed into the corner of this shop with just 1 microphone, an upright bass, guitar, and an accordian. They played a few originals, and were amazing. They had this beautiful harmonious sound to all of their songs..kinda hard to explain, but in short, they were really good. I began talking to the bass player about music and such, and eventually my journey came up as a topic. Before I knew it, I was getting directions to a local camping area on the beach deemed "stinky beach". Add that to my list of places to stay.

Before I headed off to sleep on redneck ridge, I stopped in to use the restroom at the bar. At this point, one of the bartenders had clocked out and was drinking a beer. He inquired, "So you're really taking that thing down to San Diego?". An obvious answer and a complimentary beer later, and I've been invited to bar hop then go to a party...not to mention two more places to stay that night. I have to admit, it was extremely generous of Caz to allow me to crash at his place that night. Maybe they were just scared for me sleeping in that rundown redneck village!

Portland: My current residence
Another long drive through the woods spit me out in the heart of Portland. I didn't waste much time before zipping around corners and down streets just to see different parts of the city, right around the highway exit. It had been 5 minutes and I was loving it. I finally called August and Emily to let them know of my arrival, then somehow made my way across town to their house. They invited me in, took my bags for me then handed me a nalgene-shaken gin martini. Rad. We ended up discussing nature, religion and existentialism on the porch for an hour or so, before hunger took over and we headed to Whole Foods. (Side-note: The whole foods here are amazing. There are bike themed images strewn through the store, and even a bike hanging from the ceiling). Chicken, BBQ sauce, corn, Kale, local beer and a mini grill consumed the next chunk of time, deliciously so. After hanging out and talking a bit more, August had a great idea to get on the bikes and go catch the sunset on top of this old volcano about two miles away. They let me ride a Kona cyclocross singlespeed, which was awesome. Turns out it's the same bike I WAS going to buy, then decided on the Specialized. The climb up the mountain was quite a work out, but a good one. I'm out of shape already! The scenes from the top were kinda crowded with trees, but still really cool. Seeing the sun set over the whole city, and having Mt Hood in the background is really beautiful. I did have a deep moment while sitting on the grass above the resevoir. I realized I'd LOVE to live in Portland, but the idea of settling in somewhere seems really unattractive to me at this point. Maybe that'll fade, but it really was a powerful dislike at the idea of establishing a permanent resident. But, after bombing down the hills and grabbing a slice of pizza, we made it back home.

Tomorrow will bring a day and night of exploration, but for now it's time to explore my dreams. Goodnight.

p.s. Tunnels are wicked fun

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Seafoam green is in fashion.

There never seems to be enough time in the day. Before I know it, the sun is setting, and I still have a list of things I want to do. Today was no different.

Leaving the house later than I aspired probably didn't help with the whole time thing, but I just felt like sleeping in a bit. My goal was to visit either Cougar Mountain, or West Tiger Mountain. West Tiger won, since I found a trail that lead right to the summit. The only trouble was the method of getting there..

Option #1: Ferry to Seattle, then hop on I-90 east, and take that for 17 miles to the small road with the trailhead.

Option #2: Ferry to Seattle, then take backroads to the aforementioned road..all 41 miles required to get to the little road.

The easier route won. Option #1 it was.. oh my. Let's just say, in the state of Washington, it's perfectly legal for mopeds to travel on highways. Is it a good idea though? NO! Maybe the state didn't find it necessary to outlaw mopeds on the interstate, because they knew only crazy people would attempt it. Just picture driving on 695 at 30mph. You'd get swallowed alive as a car. Now, picture that on a wee moped. Terrifying..yet, time efficient. I made the trip in 35 minutes, vs the hour 15min return trip via backroads.

The tiger mountain hike was more a work-out than a peaceful hike. The trail was around 3.5miles one way, and a brutal climb. I thought I was in decent enough shape, 'til I strapped on my bag and hiked up this mountain. There's a good chance I sweated out about 3 gallons on the way up..but everyone headed up was in about the same condition, without having a 35lb bag on their back.

Highlight of the trip: (quick note: the trail winds through dense forest the entire way) Emerging from the woods onto a cleared landing at the summit. At the very moment I walked out of the tree line, the climax of Sigur Ros' song, Glosoli was playing. The timing was impeccable and completely unintentional. It's like Jonsi was watching me from Iceland and manipulating my zune. There is something truly amazing about looking out over 3 mountains on a beautiful sunny day while a few Icelanders erupt into a musical joygasm.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Elwha Valley Adventure

A few days ago I decided to 'venture to the Olympic National Forest and check out some of the trails. After reading a few warnings about mandatory bear canisters (and the fact that I don't have one) I chose the Elwha Valley trails. Quite a good decision.

85 miles later through the hills of Washington, along highway 101, I arrived 1,850ft up the mountain side... poor moped.

A quick shuffle of gear later, and I was headed up the trail to the Hot Springs, but not before talking to (at the time) kind strangers who were inquiring about the moped.

The first hike was pretty great. 2.4 miles up an old abandoned road, and a few deer sightings.

Eventually I ran into the Hot Springs.. which are just as it sounds. Hot water that smells like eggs. They were pretty cool, but occupied by a few younger kids, so a hot bath wasn't in my morning agenda. (sorry for the lack of organized pictures, Flickr only allows 100mb per month unless I give them money. Curses!)

A quick hike back, and I come across the camp sites that were established in a slight clearing. Already set up for the night were the two people I had talked to at the parking lot, August and Emily, as I learned. We started talking about random stuff, and within what seemed to be 1 hour, we had discussed everything from hiking adventures to philosophy and everything in between. The sun went down at 10pm (!) and a quiet night sleep was overdue for all of us.

The forest was shockingly quiet. I was expecting lots of bugs, maybe some wolves.. but it was nothing (except for the small mammal that thought my hammock rope was a good bridge between the trees). Ear plugs served no purpose.

Morning came, and August & Emily had suggested I go with them on the Appleton Pass trail that started right near the campsite. That was my plan from the other day, and now I realize it was a great idea to go with some experienced hikers. We started off up the mountain side, weaving back and forth around the rivers and waterfalls, crossing streams and eventually resting in a meadow for some salami and cheese sandwiches.

Before I knew it, we were about 100 yards from the summit of Mount Appleton. We started off on a maintained trail, and ended up following a nearly invisible creek up a sloping, snowed over mountain side. Our hiking adventure started to lean on mountain climbing. Someone could have told me I'd be doing this a few hours before, and I'd have called them a liar.

Here is where I'm glad I was with experienced hikers. My initial intention, after seeing how close we were to the summit was "Let's do it!". After a bit of discussion, and analyzing our equipment (mind you, at this point I was wearing t-shirt/shorts and had trail running shoes on, sockless) we decided the risk we faced while attempting to scale the slope was too great. Ice axes and crampons would have changed the decision, but they were many miles away. Though.. leaping down the hill was a heck of a lot of fun.

A quick hike back and some more salami sandwiches ended the day. I've never had a better sleep, despite the cold wind and the annoying early morning turkey-sized crows screaming at everyone. 10 miles up and down a mountain will do that to ya.

Morning comes, and we began packing up all of our gear. After a few conversations, I parted ways with August and Emily, but not before they left me a "survival kit" which was, quite frankly, awesome.

Essentially, the past few days have been amazing, and I have my new portland friends to thank for it. The fact that I didn't have my phone was also very relaxing (though the polar opposite for a few people.. sorry!) Pictures will be askew, 'cause that's how Blogger's uploader works.

Actually, pictures later. blogger failed.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Seattle/Friday Harbor

I visited Seattle for the first time two days ago, and I can say I was only partially impressed (at least of what I saw.. Pike Place Market). The ferry ride over was fun, yet cold.

The Pike Place Market was the only semi-disappointing thing. Everyone hypes it up as this aammaazing market, with incredible things everywhere. This may be true, but the excessive swarms of people (even on a Monday at 1pm) make it nearly impossible to enjoy anything the market may have. Though.. the honey sticks were pretty rad. I plan on making another trip into the city today, but exploring a bit further in.

Friday Harbor was yesterday, and was fantastic. It was the first perfect day Seattle has seen in... a while. Temperatures in the 80s, hardly any clouds in the sky. Our journey from Silverdale to San Juan took about 3.5 hours, but flew by since the scenery changed so much. Jake wasn't a big fan of the first ferry. Eventually we end up in Friday Harbor on San Juan island; a tiny, 9 square block town located right at the ferry drop off. A pretty and very hilly town, but once again swarmed with tourists..oh well. We found Susie's Mopeds a little up the hill, and I found my new mode of transportation. A few conversations later, a scramble to get tags, and a shop visit later, I had my wheels.

The ride back was really long, yet relaxing. Flying through the backroads at a solid 33mph (top speed, 50! Thank you pacific NW hills) is zen-like.. 'til the bugs start hitting you in the face, but that may just be part of the fun.

Pictures can be found on facebook, or

Monday, July 5, 2010

Day 1: Sleep deprivation. Jesus. Bears, and Fireworks. (Much needed) sleep time now.