The Bikeabout II - US Pacific Coast (Canada-Mexico)

Ten years ago, I set out to cross the country solo on a bicycle, and succeeded - you can read all about that on this archive page.

Now I'm 45 years old and not nearly as young and insane as before, so this time I'll do something a little more reasonable, namely biking down the Pacific Coast. This page will serve as a diary and blog of the trip, along with a photo archive of the journey.

The secondary goal of the trip is to make it from the border of Canada all the way to the border of Mexico, following coastal roads as much as possible. The timing of the trip is mid August to late September which should keep the weather on the mild side. Plus, with school being in session again, vacation traffic should be lighter. I expect to spend about half my nights in hotels, the other half camping. Last time I tried hauling camping gear on a trailer, but this time I have an actual touring bike (not the hybrid I used before) so it should be able to handle the stress of carrying all that stuff, as well as my own considerable bulk. We shall see.

Notice I said the "secondary" goal was to make it from border to border. The PRIMARY goal is to have a fun and enjoyable time and not rush myself. When crossing the country, every day was a race to see how many miles I could go, and I was always worrying about getting finished so I could get back home and back to the office. This time there are no deadlines. I would like to be back by September 25 to see a football game, but if I don't make it I'm not going to worry about it. There's no specific end day set for this trip. It'll take as long as it takes, and that's that. If I need a rest day or want to spend a day just taking a side trip to see something interesting, then that's what I'm going to do.


As I write this (Saturday, August 14, 2010) I've ridden my bike every single day since June 3, 2009 (over 14 months). To qualify I had to ride 10 miles or spend an hour riding indoors on a trainer if the weather made going outside impossible. (By impossible I mean snow and ice...if it was just raining, I'd go out anyway.) Some days here in Ohio this summer were over 95 degrees and almost 100% humidity...went riding anyway. A few days during the winter it was below freezing and I went out anyway. So I'd like to think I've done enough training to get ready for something like this.

On Monday of last week I shipped my bike to Seattle via UPS using a special hard-shell travel case. (Yes, I still rode every day...I have another backup bike to ride if the first one's not around.) I'm told it arrived yesterday. All the panniers (saddlebags) and camping gear went along as well. Once I get out there tonight, I'll put the bike together and make sure it made the trip all right. Sunday, I'll do a short ride just for verification, then spend the rest of the day hanging out with Tom, a friend of mine from Lacey. On Monday morning, another friend, Phil, who lives further north, will drive me up to the Canadian border and I'll start riding from there, but this is really just a preamble to the main event. Once I get back to Lacey, I have one last opportunity to make any fixes to the bike or alter the route, and then it's off to the coast.

Phil says I should go north for a bit around the Olympic penninusla and spend a few days in that area, because it's very scenic, which is what I'm after. We shall see. That'll be my first major decision of the trip, but I don't have to make it for a week or so yet.

Click on the links below for each day's log and photos. Also, daily maps are provided. Note that these show just the actual route taken, not any extra miles added before or after the day's events. Thus, the mileage on the map might not match the daily mileage listed at the top of each page. Some days, I might arrive in a given town, check in to a hotel or campsite, and then ride around for 5-10 more miles (or more) looking for food, exploring, and having a look at the local sights.

Part I: Introduction to Washington State

Day 1 (August 16): Canadian border to Mt Vernon, Washington
Day 2 (August 17): Mt Vernon to Snohomish
Day 3 (August 18): Snohomish to North Bend (Washington)
Day 4 (August 19): North Bend to Lacey

Part II: The Olympic Penninsula

At this point, took a couple days off to recover and plan the next stage. Figuring Phil was right about the Olympic penninsula, that's where I'll be going from here.

Day 5 (August 22): Lacey to Brinnon
Day 6 (August 23): Brinnon to Port Angeles
Day 7 (August 24): Port Angeles to Bear Creek Campground
Day 8 (August 25): Bear Creek to Lake Quinault Campground
Day 9 (August 26): Lake Quinault to Aberdeen
Day 10 (August 27): Aberdeen to Raymond
Day 11 (August 28): Raymond to Astoria, Oregon

Part III: The Oregon Coast

Oregon is a state I've never bicycled in, one of the few left on my list of states to check off the list. This will be the only new state I can add this tour, as I've already been in California and Washington before.

Off Day (August 29): Touring Astoria
Day 12 (August 30): Astoria to Tillamook River Campground
Day 13 (August 31): Tillamook River to Lincoln City
Day 14 (September 1): Lincoln City to Waldport
Day 15 (September 2): Waldport to North Bend (Oregon)
Day 16 (September 3): North Bend to Port Orford
Day 17 (September 4): Port Orford to Brookings

Part IV: Northern California

This is actually about the halfway point of the ride. California is "taller" than Oregon and Washington State combined, so by straight direct miles it shouldn't be halfway quite yet, but remember I racked up some extras on the Olympic penninsula.

Day 18 (September 5): Brookings, Oregon to Orick, California
Day 19 (September 6): Orick to Rio Dell
Day 20 (September 7): Rio Dell to Legett
Day 21 (September 8): Legett to Fort Bragg
Day 22 (September 9): Fort Bragg to Gualala
Day 23 (September 10): Gualala to Doran Beach Campground, Bodega Bay
Day 24 (September 11): Bodega Bay to San Francisco

Part V: Central California

Took a day off here to relax and recover from all the hill climbing, and watch the opening day of NFL action.

Day 25 (September 13): San Francisco to San Jose
Day 26 (September 14): San Jose to Monterey
Day 27 (September 15): Monterey to Big Sur Campground via Carmel
Day 28 (September 16): Big Sur to San Simeon
Day 29 (September 17): San Simeon to Santa Maria
Day 30 (September 18): Santa Maria to Santa Barbara
Day 31 (September 19): Santa Barbara to Santa Monica/Los Angeles

Part VI: Southern California

Well, technically, I've been in SoCal for a couple of days, I suppose, but it still seemed like the Central Coast up until I hit LA.

Day 32 (September 20): Santa Monica to Newport Beach
Day 33 (September 21): Newport Beach to Claremont/San Diego
Day 34 (September 22): Claremont/San Diego to Mexican border
Bonus pictures from the day after the ride

Quest complete.