Once Bitten…

New Plymouth man Vince Moores recently returned home to New Plymouth after cycling down the Pacific Coast Highway from north of Vancouver to the Mexican border, 3420km on push bike. He detailed his journey in five emails, this being the second.

From Salt Spring I caught the ferry across to Anacortes and entered the USA

Came across ancient NZ Galloping Gourmet host Graham Kerr, still alive and well, living in Mount Vernon, just down the road from a town called "Concrete"

Vince Moores recently cycled down the Pacific Coast Highway from north of Vancouver to the Mexican border.
Vince Moores recently cycled down the Pacific Coast Highway from north of Vancouver to the Mexican border.

Both still set in their ways...

Back to Friday Harbor, San Juan Islands, over 170 named islands in the archipelago, a mecca for boaties, cycled around the island to Roche Harbor, stunning views of all the yachts in the bay with the sun setting, camped at San Juan Country Park at 9.00pm cooking dinner by torch light: mosquito casserole

Completed a circumnavigation of San Juan, had lunch at Orcas Island then caught the ferry back to Anacortes and headed down the coast staying

with Warm Showers (WS) hosts, Janine, Bill & Misha their pet poodle

Small pets are an easy target for Eagles and Coyotes so they have to be kept indoors or constantly watched, local Eagle nests are festooned with brightly coloured leads and collars.. possibly ill eagle?

NB: Warm Showers is an international network for touring cyclists with hosts providing free accommodation, shower and often meals

(Not to be confused with Golden Showers which caters to an entirely different type of adventurer...)

Crossed the impressive Deception Pass bridge, past Oak Harbor military base & caught another ferry across to Port Townsend and down to Quilcine at the end of a 120 km day to the only facility in town which I renamed "Barkers Brick Camp Site" it was a shocker, no running water or showers, a disgusting long drop and a $12 Honesty Box, Honest ! Plus it was situated next door to the Dog Pound and covered in Doggy Doos, not impressed

Grueling start to the next day with a 8km climb up Mt Walker then following the Hood Canal along Puget Sound, huge oystergrounds

Finally onto Shelton, Christmas Tree Capital of the West Coast, so many families, so few surnames.... Clause for concern..

Continued onto Elma, Montesano en route to Westport, took one wrong turn up Wynoochee Valley which cost me an extra 20kms, BUGGER !!!

Had a very scary incident and got attacked by a large dog that flew out of a yard, ran right across the road, and went straight for my leg !

I was yelling and shouting to try and scare him off, dropped a cog and pedaled like stink to try and get away and keep my legs moving so as to not give him a stationery target

He had a couple of goes at trying to sink his teeth in and I could feel his teeth and saliva on my leg as he mouthed my calf, very frightening

Fortunately he kept getting knocked by my front and rear panniers and my boot and did not manage to latch on and at 35km per hour I eventually managed to escape with only a few superficial scratches and a very wet calf slimed with froth and doggie saliva !

Into Westport late, a fishing & crabbing industry town with tourist fishing charters chasing Halibut, Salmon & Tuna

A thick fog was rolling in, I doubt even Sigourney Weaver would have found her gorillas in this stuff....

Cold, wet, tired and hungry after a long 130 km day thanks to my detour, I decided to get a motel but the whole town was fully booked for next 2 weeks with a "Good Old Boys" Redneck fishing tournament & a Country Music festival in town

At the 3rd attempt a helpful hotel receptionist rung around & found the last room in town at "Seagulls Nest," 5 km out of town but No Worries ! SOLD !!!

Never been so happy to see a budget hotel, but at $80 US a real rip off , bitten again...

Room filled with mosquito, more bites ! then doing my stretches on floor I was immediately bitten all over by fleas, the carpet was infested !

However, I was NOT moving and after a scalding hot shower I emerged 20 mins later glowing bright pink like a freshly boiled lobster

Interesting bathroom with a purple toilet and a seat with bite marks on it ?  WTF ?

Taxi back into town to local diner " The One Eyed Crab"

I felt a bit out of place as I was the only guy in town without tattoos and in a red cycling jacket stood out like proverbial dogs balls amongst all the baseball cap, denim and checked shirt brigade. Chatted to a guy at the bar whilst quaffing my first beer, he told me that the fishing had been poor, he been out all day without a bite

I told him I had also been out all day but by contrast had over a dozen different bites...and had not even been out on the water !

By the time the meal arrived I had not eaten in 5 hrs and was ravenous

A primeval feeding frenzy then ensued which David Attenborough would have been pleased to have narrated

With great gusto I launched into a steaming bowl of seafood chowder with garlic bread, then onto the main of a whole 3llb Dungeness crab steamed with drawn lemon butter with sides of whole corn on the cob, potato bake, more garlic bread, 2 more beers & finally I finished off with a plate of fries and mayonnaise, son Doug would have been proud of me...

The crab arrived with 2 forks, A pair of scissors? crab crackers, cloth napkin, 2 paper napkins, wash towel and lemon wedges

I hoed into it like a man possessed, shell flying everywhere, remnants on the ceiling, the bar counter and the carpet, everything within a 3 meter radius was littered with shrapnel

I even splattered my adjoining diners, with bits of crab sticking to the fisherman's shirt, and the Gothic tattooed ladies handbag also got pebble dashed

As I got more into it I extended my range and even managed to hit the table behind me, getting a menacing glare from a woman picking crab remnants out of her chocolate nut sundae

When I had finished the whole area around me looked like a bombsite, absolute carnage everywhere

In NZ, OSH would have cordoned off the entire area and designated it as a "Hard Hat Zone" but I was beyond caring and wolfed down everything in sight giggling to myself as I ate

Etiquette Tip: Don't order crab if you are in starving!

From the "Flea Pit" I continued down to Bay Center along the coast where concessions have been given for local Indian Tribes to operate businesses on tribal land that are not allowed in the rest of the state, all quite bizarre..

Casinos, Liquor, Fireworks & Fish Smoking operations were dotted along the coast...

However, I am not sure that mixing Fireworks / Fire Water / Smoke & Gambling is such a good idea....an accident waiting to happen....

Camped at Bay Center, Oyster Town ! at KOA camping, great facilities, No doggie doos, piping hot showers and even internet

Met Andy, a 35 year old Canadian now working in Prague but taking time out to cycle from Comox, Vancouver Island, down to San Francisco

We rode together the next day to Astoria, via the holiday resort Long Beach and the lighthouses of Cape Disappointment and North Head. He unfortunately had 3 punctures, but we still averaged 23 km for the 98 km day which was awesome !

We then left Washington State crossing the mighty Columbia River into Oregon State via the 5 mile long and incredibly high Astoria Bridge, A hairy ride in peak hour traffic with a tiny shoulder and buffeting winds !!!

Currently in Portland enjoying 3 nights in this great city...with 1000+ km of riding now under my belt

Having a couple of days rest to recharge the batteries, enjoy the creature comforts of a 5 star hotel, sprung mattress, hot showers and fluffy towels and to try and eat myself to a standstill to put some weight back on !

Enjoying the cities great range of boutique micro breweries, cafes, a vibrant food culture and some stunning Pinots from the local Willamette Valley

Henry's Brewery with 100 beers on tap, Powell's Books, Clyde Common Eatery, amazing food ! , Ace Hotel, Great coffee shops, pastries, frozen yoghurts, a foodies heaven !

Barman Zach at the Nimes was a legend, guiding me through a journey into the world of Portland beers, Grain Fed beefsteaks and stunning Pinots !

From here I continue down the coast for the next 3 weeks heading for San Francisco where Kathy will be joining me for a couple of weeks 

By then I think I will be ready to once again indulge in some of the luxury lodges, spas, fine wining & dining and comforts of the Napa / Sonoma region

Life is good !

Love to all


For more photos, further information and other travel journals Vince can be contacted at: vincemoores@hotmail.co.nz

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