June 2, 2013

I continued to follow the coast highway out of Fort Bragg once I had a new tire popped on the back of my bike. I have been stunned by the beauty of the northern California coast from San Francisco to the Oregon border. That stretch of road has become my favorite of any coastal rode I’ve driven anywhere in the world. Before this trip so much of California for me was defined by San Francisco, LA and the coastal highway in between. It is so much more than I imagined despite all the pictures I’ve ever seen of it. But. But it has too many people. If it weren’t for that, Bigfoot and the fact that it’s eventually going to fall in the ocean 😉 I’d put it at the top of my list for places to live in the U.S. Alas, Vermont is still calling me home…

No. California

I turned inland for a short drive through the Humboldt Redwood State Forest before stopping for the night to visit my friend, Lauryn Axelrod, in Eureka. Here are a couple of pictures from my drive through the park.

Northern coastal California suits Lauryn. While Lauryn showed me around downtown Arcata I thought I was walking down a larger version of Brattleboro, Vermont. On my drive into Eureka I even thought the landscape resembled Vermont.

A garden full of greens year-round and no snow in the winter sounds right to me. Lauryn’s garden was lush. She fed me like a king, and I got to sleep in a treehouse surrounded by giant Redwoods. I was also introduced to her chickens and ducks. They all have names. Drats, where was my camera? Here are some shots of Lauryn and Tom in their garden.

Out of Eureka I spotted a lazy herd of elk grazing along the side of the road. They seemed to care less that I stood there for ten minutes taking their pictures.

And one more ride through the Redwoods in the Redwood National Park…

… before entering Oregon.

I landed for the night in Portland, where I visited my old Vermont swim friends, Amy Van Tassel and Chris Bagg. Check out chrisbagg.com for an insight into what it takes to be a professional triathlete. Amy’s no slacker either. She just qualified for Ironman in Kona this year. If you’re ever in Portland, give Amy and Chris a call. They’ll put you up. Guaranteed. Just kidding. But really, if you’re in Portland and have a craving for ice cream, then go to Salt and Straw on 23rd avenue. Once you have some you’ll find yourself booking a return trip just to have another cone. Amy, Chris: You Rock!

With 300 miles ahead of me for the day, I hopped on interstate 5 out of Portland going north to the Olympic peninsula in Washington State. Life has many ironies. The absolutely gorgeous weather I’ve been experiencing along the northwest coast is one of those ironies. I got rained on in the Nevada desert. That I didn’t expect. What I expected was to get wet in the Pacific northwest. Not so. These next few pictures will show you.

Driving up the peninsula toward Port Townshend.

Beach view from my campsite below the Olympic mountains.

Through Port Townsend and the ferry to Whidbey Island, to my campsite tonight at Deception Pass.

Deception Pass: My campsite for tonight before returning to the mainland via Similk Bay to the west and Mount Vernon to the east.

A feast of Salmonberries that I at first thought were Raspberries. They’re juicy delicious. Guess what I’m having for breakfast tomorrow before leaving camp?

My travels westward end here. From now on it’s eastward. But there’s lots of road ahead of me as I approach the 7,000 mile mark on this trip. The forest’s putting me to sleep. The birds are perching, the sky is turning orange through the trees and the air has turned noticeably cooler. It’s time to crawl inside the tent.

Until next time…


All content Copyrighted ©  Stephen Tavella

2 thoughts on “Ramblings

  1. Beautiful, Steve! I worked out in Olympic Park one fall teaching Elder Hostel on Crescent Lake. I loved going to Port Townshend! There was an underground restaurant there that made the best sweet potato biscuits. Sigh…. Exciting that you’re on the return! Vermont is waiting.

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