Day 18

Escape from Aberdeen

A smokey mountain view of the motorbike from the Capitol State Forest, Oregon, USA
A smokey mountain view of the motorbike from the Capitol State Forest, Oregon, USA

Middle Waddel Campground to Gales Creek Campground


Instagram excerpt - See here


I got up early and left the camp without breakfast. The campground host probably never knew I was there. It was another success of avoiding payment. I darted up into the Capitol Forest to see if I could find some trails and vistas. There wasn’t much up there. It was a logging area. There were a couple of forestry trucks. The rest were graded fire trails. It was nice, but not challenging. I exited sometime in the early morning.

I rode to Aberdeen. I wanted to ride down the coast that I missed when I came up. I heard there was a wildfire at Yosamete. I planned to return up the Western mountain range after the Montery Festival of Speed. I made a big mistake. The air became cold, misty and wet. Condensation began to form on the motorbike visor as I rode along the highway. My hands became cold. It was the sea. I stopped to put my warm gloves on and planned to get fuel and coffee at Aberdeen. I noticed a landmark ‘Kurt Cobains House’. I wanted to check it out.

There were a bunch of gas stations outside Aberdeen. I filled up. I punched in the location of Kurt Cobain’s house. It was over a bridge and into the city. I crossed it and navigated to the location of the house. The neighbourhood was decrepit. The houses in poor repair. I rode past the location of the house and did not stop. This was a poor area and likely not fond of tourists. I got onto the main road. Homeless people walked the streets. I decided to get out. I parked next to a shut comic book store and entred my navigation. Some junkies pushing shopping trolleys across the road began to yell and shout in my direction. I quickly put my phone back in its holder and got the hell out of there.

I rode all the way down to South Bend before I found a cafe. It was a cute shop located on the Wilapa River. I parked by the water and walked in. The waitress greeted me and took $5 for my coffee. It was as terrible as it had always been and wasn’t worth the price. The setting was great. I couldn’t understand why the owner setup her office in the best corner of the cafe.

The weather began to turn as I took a scenic route South towards Highway 101. I saw one car on the dirt road down to Astoria. There wasn’t much else on the way besides a shipwreck and spots of rain. That was until I saw the bridge.

The Astoria - Megler bridge is huge. It’s a couple of kilometers long. It strectches across the Columbia river that separates Washington and Oregon. The bridge tapers up when you get to Astoria to allow boats and large vessles through. It was spectacular. It does dominate Astoria and is frankly ugly. I made an effort to get some photos of it from the town. It was difficult as it was an array small dead-end or one-way roads.

I moved away from the coast and towards Portland, Oregon. The coast was straight, boring, cold and wet. This route would get me into the protection of the forest. Where mist wouldn’t wet my visor. It was quiet farming roads until I found a dirt one to turn off. A family watched me as I tore off the tarmac and roared up it. People mustn’t go by often. I found the road closed by a gate further up. I thought about riding around it but decided not to. I didn’t want to get in trouble by the authorities in a foreign country.

It was getting dark. I hadn’t eaten lunch so I made a risky decision to eat the food in the bain mariae. Some filthy fried goods that had been in there far too long. I sat on a chair outside the gas station and savoured my salty treats. I had to get to the campsite soon.

Gales Creek Campground wan’t far away. It was just off the highway. It was a beautiful spot surrounded by greenery, tall trees and the creek nearby. This was again a paid campground so I did my usual trick of taking an envelope, filling it out and leaving it on the picnic table. So when the ranger came by to check, I would tell them that I wanted to setup the tent before it got dark. I would put it in the iron ranger later.

I was tired that night and fell asleep quickly.


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Day 18 - I headed back to the coast. I hit some gnarly dirt through Capitol Forest before being overcome with cold ocean fog around the whole coast from Aberdeen to Raymond. Do not cross the bridge to Aberdeen unless you like junkies or need to see the birthplace of Kurt Cobain. With my valuables secure I took shelter at a cafe in Raymond before crossing the endless Astoria-Megler Bridge over the massive Columbia River into Oregon. I winded around the cute streets of Astoria and turned up a mountain trail only to find it closed due to fires halfway 🙄 I doubled back, grabbed a dirty service station ‘chicken stick’ and headed to Gales Creek Campground for the night 😌

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