A hot tub, the Goonies and a scarily long bridge

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Sitting in a hot tub feeling bubbles massaging our weary legs seems a fitting way to celebrate our first week cycling the USA’s Pacific Coast Highway.

The warm water is a luxury we could only have dreamed of over the past seven days as we cycled from Vancouver in Canada, down the length of Washington State for 380 miles.

Today we arrived in Oregon after crossing the spectacular Astoria bridge, which is more than four miles of metal spanning the Columbia River.

We’d been warned about the dangers of cycling across this incredible feat of engineering, particularly as the single lane road has no cycle lane or walkway. We’d also been told crosswinds gusting off the huge river can easily whip cyclists from one side of the road to the other into oncoming traffic.

With trepidation, myself, Pierre and our new friend Jennifer rode single file onto the bridge and were immediately awed by the sight of the huge expanse of water.

As we pedalled forward and braced ourselves ready for the devilish crosswinds, our speed picked up and we were suddenly cruising at an easy 15mph with very little effort.

For a moment I was a child again learning to ride a bike with my dad’s steady hand on my back, propelling me forward while keeping me safe and upright. As a passing pick-up truck brought me back to reality I realised a tail wind was taken us safely and speedily across the bridge. With euphoric smiles all round we pedalled into Oregon, the second state on our bike ride down the west coast of America.

The historic port town of Astoria is famous for a lot of things but to children of the eighties it is likely to be remembered as the setting of the film the Goonies, a tale of a group of children hunting treasure and thwarting bank robbers. So with great excitement, Pierre and I found ‘Mikey’s’ house, reenacted the truffle shuffle and generally looked liked goofy tourists, much to Jennifer’s amusement and dismay.

After scoffing huge burritos the size of our forearms, with cycled to the KOA campground at Fort Steven. After camping in wet, muddy forests at state campgrounds for the past week, we decided to spend an extra few dollars and camp in comfort. And by comfort I mean grass to pitch our tent on, an outside water tap all to ourselves and an electrical socket to charge our iPods. There was also the added bonus of a hot tub, although this was shared with the rest of the campsite.

There were bemused looks from Americans as with a big smile I asked if there was room for a little one in the tub before submerging into warm bubbly bliss. Who said camping had to be a hardship? There’s plenty of that to come.

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9 responses to “A hot tub, the Goonies and a scarily long bridge

  1. hi guys , great to get your up dates, I will be starting my trip July 2 , follow the same route, how were the roads and the camping along the way, lots of hills , is it boring , I was thinking of maybe starting at Bay Centre, would I miss a lot ?
    Thanks for the up dates , good luck
    keep the wheels turning.
    Willard Wood

    • Hi Willard. We really enjoyed Washington. Admittedly it was many miles of tree lined roads and farmland but there were also stunning lakes and exhilarating downhills. The biggest climb was Mount Walker which was three miles long but not too steep. I slipped into my lowest gear and just kept pedalling.
      It’s worth bearing in mind we’re from London, England, so the scenery was a novelty to us throughout. If you are used to cycling in places like Washington you may find it a little samey.
      On the whole we also found the shoulders to be wide and the drivers, particularly the truckers, to be courteous. But again, in England we are used to no shoulders and very angry drivers.
      We camped mainly in the state park hiker biker sites which were primitive. Mostly muddy and rocky ground. I have to admit we spent two nights in KOA’s.
      Hope that helps and safe journey

  2. Great to be following your trip, looks like you’re having and going to have such an amazing adventure!
    P.S James this is Laura Holland who you used to work with at the great Echo.

    • Thanks Laura, we’re having great fun. The riding is incredible and the people are so welcoming. I hope e everything is going well in Bavaria. Next time we get wifi I’ll have a proper read of your blog. James

  3. Hi James, sounds like a great trip. I drove over that bridge during my lap of the States in a VW Camper a few years ago and that was scary enough, before we went to the Goonies’ house. Astoria is a cool place, did you see ‘The Fanny Tanners’ sign? Make sure you go to Cannon Beach. It’s the Goonies beach with the rocks in the sea and you will pass the Point Break beach too (Ecola State Park on the 101), well worth a stop off. Safe travels. Very jealous! Bernie

  4. Looks like you are having an exciting trip so far! The photos look amazing. Looking forward to reading about more adventures.

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