Sunday 24 September 2023

Day 31: Seattle WA - Larrington Towers

Hung around outside the terminal building at Sea-Tac enjoying the last of the sunshine.  And met Sadie.

Sadie. Seattle. Friday.

Sadie is a Good Dog.  You can tell because her owner told her "Stay" and she did.  Then the usual painful airport Stuffs: check-in with huge queueueueue because the bag drop was closed (thereby removing the point of all the fannying about with online check-in), security with huge queueueueue, lots of sitting about, getting in the Shiny Metal Birb with huge queueueueue, not sleeping much for nine hours, getting off the Shiny Metal Birb with huge queueueueue ect and, moreover, ect.  Amazeballs: no huge queueueueue for black passport control and The Luggage emerged just as I reached the carousel.  27 stops on the Piccalilli Line, change at Finsbury Park and a W15 shows up at Walthamstow Central almost immediately.  Yay!

Larrington Towers still standing though the green things in the front yard have run rampant and constitute a trip hazard to the postie.  Too late and dark to go shopping so make do with a chicken mirchi wala and garlic fried pilau from the takeaway up the road.  This should suffice to nuke any plague germs picked up from diseased FOREIGNS aboard the Shiny Metal Birb...

Friday 22 September 2023

Day 30: Port Townsend WA - Seattle WA

Slow day, or it would have been if someone hadn't thoughtlessly bunged a toll bridge somewhere between Bremerton and Tacoma.  So I had to miss the chance to see the Tacoma Narrows Bridge(s) from the land side.  Port Townsend has Morris Minors.  In it.

This bit of Washington is rather scenic, containing as it does:

  • trees, and
  • mountains, and
  • water

Much of the route south was through the first and close to the third, specifically the Hood Canal.  Which is not a canal as BRITONS know it i.e. no locks, no narrowboats and no cosy canalside pubs, no, it is more of a fjord which runs north-south from the Strait of Juan de Fuca for sixty or seventy miles before turning sharply east for another quite a long way.

Two out of three, Washington, Friday

Hood Canal, looking north

Round the corner and looking west.  Note blue sky and 26 degree temperature.

Not much else to report about today save that I-5 was horrendous again and Messrs Thrifty refunded my three hundred USAnian roubles for the replacement tyre without any questions., outraged desk-banging or or even producing photos of the offending rubberwear.  There is the small matter of the six-hour wait for the Shiny Metal Birb to depart and that hissing noise you can hear is my will to live slowly evaporating.  Final instalment tomoz, unless I forget or fall asleep on the Tube.

Thursday 21 September 2023

Day 29: Montesano WA - Port Townsend WA

Foggy at first but at least I didn't have far to go to fill up with petril.

No, "Rainier Fog" was by Alice In Chains, not Nirvana, and we're nowhere near Mount Rainier either

Should have resisted though as it was 25 cents a gallon cheaper ten miles down the road in Furryboottoon USA.

Though if you use my traffic mod in American Truck Simulator the bottom bit reads "Birthplace of Kurt Cobain"

Kurt Cobain is, of course Aberdeen's most famous export:

He claimed to have slept under this bridge but Krist Novoselic says that's bollocks because the tide would have washed him away

Though the neighbours aren't convinced:

Once out of Aberdeen and Hoquiam US-101 is almost empty save for the logging trucks.  These do not get in the way, however, since they are the second fastest vehicles ever to hit the public highway, behind only the Bedford Astramax van.  Occasional stops for roadworks - including the set wher I arrived just as the light turned red and had to wait ten minutes - were not actually the rage-inducing occurrence they might have been elsewhere.  And where else could you find one of these:


The name Humptulips was the name of a band of the Chehalis tribe who lived in the area. The name comes from a local Native American language, meaning 'hard to pole', referring to the difficulty local Native Americans had poling their canoes along the Humptulips River. According to other sources the word means 'chilly region'. It has frequently been noted on lists of unusual place names.

As you can see, 'twas a luvverly day once the fog burned off.  The 101 bogs off inland for no readily apparent reason but then changes its mind and returns to the seaside, which looks like this:

A the Pacific Ocean, Thursday

And also this:

Destruction Island

Ruby Beach

If you get bored with US-101 you can turn northwest on WA-113, which subsequently turns into WA-112 without due care or attention and leads ultimately to Neah Bay.  At this point Giffgaff thought I was actually in Canada.  Durrr!

Them hills in the background are Canada

The crappy road atlas says this is the end of the road but you can drive a few miles further until a cheery chap from the Makah tribe will give you a hangy-dangy thing to go in your window and a map.  In exchange for twenty of your Earth dollars, obv.  Then you can drive a few more miles until the road really does stop, because it has run out of USAnia to be in.

Time to turn round and drive to Key West

From here you can, as the sign suggests, walk to the Mighty Pacific Ocean.  If the trail were on Federal or State land The Man would probably have bulldozed a path through the forest and installed concrete steps, but this is the Makah Reservation so the locals can give Whitey the finger.

Once you get to the end of the trail the views are stunning, albeit tempered by the fact that you still have to get back to the car park and it's uphill all the way chiz.

Tatoosh Island

Back to the 101 via the three-dimensional but bouncy WA-112 and then through Port Angeles before turning off to Port Townsend.  Only 150-odd miles to Sea-Tac tomorrow and I've lined up a petril station nearby which isn't the one that wouldn't accept my cards in 2015.  The downside is the Several of hours between dropping off the Cranky Old Grid (which papers in the glovebox suggest may have originally been registered in Hawaii before emigrating to Arizona!) and the Shiny Metal Birb wafting me back to the delights of LHR and the Piccalilli Line.  I may post an update from the airport tomorrow, depending on what sort of wifi access they offer, but I ent paying for it.

Wednesday 20 September 2023

Day 28: Albany OR - Montesano WA

Nice Motel Lady, unlike the rabble present in Battle Mountain, complimented me on my luvverly flowing locks this morning so yar boo sucks!

So, yes, cyclists.  Now in some of the more remote parts of this vasty and varied land cyclists are permitted to ride on the hard shoulder of Interstate highways, because there's no alternative route.  However, I'm pretty sure than Oregon's Willamette Valley is nowhere near remote enough.  So what the blazes was that chap doing on the northbound cabbageway of I-5 near Salem, and how on earth did he wind up on the central reservation1 without being killed utterly to DETH?

It rained and Portland was fairly be-trafficked, though these facts are not connected.  Over the Mighty Columbia, north a bit and then up WA-503 to Cougar2 before turning off onto NF-83 with is a bit like the Aufderheide Scenic Byway but with an occasionally terrible surface.  At the end of it you can get a fab view of Mount St Helens, or at least you could if the clouds hadn't got there first chiz.

Mount St Helens.  There.  Behind that cloud!

Lower down than the clouds are some remains of what happened when it went KABLOOEY in May 1980.

Volcanic mess.

There is also a trailhead to Ape Canyon where, it is said, a group of miners fought a running battle with some, or more, Bigfoot in 1924.  And a Several of lakes, which are rather more credible than tales of giant Munkehs because you can walk down the jetty and take pictures of Yale Reservoir.  Like zis:

If you turn left at the bottom of NF-83 you can get to Windy Point on the other side of the mountain but as that would have added another 120 miles to the trip, I didn't.  Instead I went back to I-5 and up to Longview, where they like sqrls.  No, wait!  Come back!  They have (at least) four bridges slung across the roads, that the sqrls might cross without being smooshed by a three tonne pickup truck.

Nutty Narrows bridge, Longview



And they have a giant sqrl:

And some life-size ones:

Sqrl.  Longview. Wednesday.

But also Horrible Gooses:

And an Interesting Locomotive:

Someone posted a video of one of these in action on Farcebok the other day but I can't remember who...

Enough about Longview.  To Station Camp!  The quickest way to get there is actually to cross the Lewis & Clark bridge back to the Oregon side of the Mighty Columbia, go west on US-30 to Astoria and then return to Washington via the Astoria-Megler bridge.  Because the road on the Washington side wanders around willy-nilly.  On the Astoria-Megler bridge there was a squadron of low-flying pelicans, albeit not as numerous as the veritable flotilla that mobbed my grate frends Marieke and Arnold down in California the other day.  Sadly you can't stop on the Astoria-Megler bridge.  Not even for pelicans.

Station Camp, where Lewis, Clark & co stayed to dry out after escaping from Dismal Nitch a few miles upriver, is a bit of a letdown for L&C fanZ0rZ because it seems mostly to ignore them in favour of the Chinook.  Though in all fairness the Chinook got there first.

Chinook canoes

There was also a rather elegant green and gold snek, looking a bit like a very thin Australian rugby player, but he slid off into a hole in the wall before I could point the camera at him.  Teh Internets suggests he was probably some kind of garter snek.

Adios, Mighty Columbia!

From here the Idiot TwatNav tried to direct me back to WA-401 and WA-4 to get onto the northward-trending US-101.  Because she hadn't seen the signs saying the 401 was closed. But she did manage to figure out the closure of eastbound US-30 the other week.  What's that all about, eh?

US-101 is rather scenic in these parts with forests and bits of the sea and not many towns replete with traffic lights and stop signs.  Though it did have the usual quota of motons who can't decide whether to drive at 35 mph, 45 or 60, so randomly shift between all three.  US-101 in this parts is very twisty and therefore difficult to overtake on and I hate everybody, or at least the tube with small SUV and the two Van Moof bikes hanging on the back, thereby obscuring his rear number plate and back lights.

I am now in Montesano, as you can tell from what it says up there ^^^^.  The motel has a black and white cat called Figaro who, in the mnner of cats everywhere, stalked off disdainfully when I tried to tickle his ears.  Also the Port Townsend-Coupeville ferry is fully booked on Friday chiz, thereby thwarting my plan to, er, use it.  Alternative route being sought for getting to Viva! Sea-Tac.

Stop press: Horseybank plc, I've been in USAnia four weeks so fuck off with your suddenly declining payment for tomorrow night's lodging.  You utter shitlarks.  Especially as after two expensive txt msgs and a hopefully not-expensive phone call on this place's landline the payment went through fine.

"Did someone say 'squirrel'?"

  1. Or "median", as the Natives call it.
  2. I shan't tell you again, Rogerzilla.

Tuesday 19 September 2023

Day 27: St Helens OR - Albany OR

Success!  This Unit has finally driven the length of the Aufderheide Scenic Byway!  Of which MOAR shortly.

Last night's motel has gone a bit overboard on the Halloween nonse...

Fortunately USAnians seem to be early risers coz US-30 from St Helens towards Portland was not terribly busy.  Thus affording me the time to observe that were the brakes on the Cranky Old Grid to fail, the towing thingy on the back of the unladen logging truck in front of me wold ride up the bonnet, through the windscreen and straight into my chest which, as it is an enormous lump of steel with Bits attached to it, would do me a power of no good.

Portland was relatively painless and a certain amount of fun was to be had matching features on the ground to those modelled by SCS Software in American Truck Simulator.  They certainly got the bridges and the dangleway.  But not the bloke riding a Vespa at 40 mph surrounded by enormous trucks.  South of Portland I-5 runs more or less up the Willamette valley which, for those interested in hist.1 was the destination of most of the migrants who took the Oregon Trail in the 19th century.  Hence said valley contains lots of people and thus lots of traffic and I-5 doesn't get properly interesting until you get into northern California so it was a relief to turn off onto OR-58 and see some bridges.

Lowell Covered Bridge

Office Covered Bridge.  Longest covered bridge in Oregon.

The Aufderheide Scenic Byway starts at Westfir, or finishes there if you are coming in the opposite direction, and climbs gently up the valley of what is probably the North Fork of the Willamette River for approximately quite a long way until it suddenly turns sharp left, climbs over a ridge and drops sharply into the valley of the South Fork of the McKenzie river, past the somewhat depleted Cougar2 Reservoir and down to OR-126.  On a Tuesday afternoon in mid-September it is almost empty and, after a fortnight or so of mostly high desert, amazingly green and easy on the eye.

Constitution Grove

Road Movie.  It's like this for 58 miles.

Low tide at Cougar Reservoir

OR-126 heads on gently downhill and back to I-5, whence the Cranky Old Grid was turned back north and up to Albany.  Today has been wall to wall sunshine and tolerably warm so natch, at least according to Nice Motel Lady this morning, it will be raining tomorrow, when I shall go and look at a volcano.  And some other Stuffs too.

  1. Which fews boys are.
  2. No, Roger, not that sort of cougar. 

Monday 18 September 2023

Day 26: Hines OR - St Helens OR

This entry is short, because, well, read on...

"Ha!" exclaimed Mr Larrington.  "Burny fiery DETH hath thwarted me the last couple of times I attempted to check out the Aufderheide Scenic Byway but right now the US Forest Service says it's open so I shall at long last visit it!"  Things, however, started badly when the breakfast room was closed for cleaning right when I needed to refill my coffee mug.

Hines has a cool water tower thobut...

Retraced the route from the other week up US-20 for a bit before not turning off it to Bend.  Then this happened:

Tyres that look like this do not work as tyres but do make your hands filthy

The socket on the wheelbrace was chewed to buggery, meaning I could only loosen two of the five wheel nuts.  Attempts to contact Messrs. Thrifty were fraught, as my phone kept dropping its connection and then et all the remaining credit required for international calls.  After much faffage I'd managed to top it up when a Nice Man from the Deschutes Country Sheriff's department appeared, phoned Thrifty on my behalf, opined that the dead tyre was looking marginal on tread depth too, gave me three bottles of water and went on his merry way.  I didn't note his name but thank you, officer.

Resigned to a long wait it was a surprise when Bill the Strolling Spannerman appeared in his pickup truck, got the wheel off with ease, put the spacesaver spare on, gave me a jump start as the battery's condition was as shit as the tyre's and bade me farewell.  Six miles down the road to a branch of Les Schwab in Bend, where Nice Man Mark arranged a replacement duly fitted by Riley.  This cost me $300 so if Thrifty don't want to be subjected to the shittest reviews ever they'd better reimburse when I return their cranky old grid on Friday.

This palaver took four and a half hours so the Aufderheide Scenic Byway had to remain undriven because it's two hundred miles from Bend to St Helens and I didn't get here until 20:30 and I hate everybody.  I will try again tomorrow even though it means a massive detour.

Rugby League joke goes here ==>

Sunday 17 September 2023

Day 25: Battle Mountain NV - Hines OR

I know I said "Burns" to them as asked but Hines and Burns are joined at the hip.  There.  Now you all know.

A whole two extra hours in bed this morning.  Though plenty of the Usual Suspects had departed long before me getting going was still a protracted business, not least because ten days in the same place means you lose the knack of packing.  Still, in spite of the whole thing being over for another twelvemonth there was a bit of good news:

Houston, we have a Mikey!

Once I'd finally extricated myself from the clutches of Battle Mountain the question was: could I get here without having to add MOAR petril.  The "Miles to empty" readout on the motor-car was firmly of the opinion that no, I could not but its worldview was distorted by a week of charging up 305 with my clog to the carpet and as a few economical miles were covered it revised its opinion.  Nevertheless, I stopped in McDermitt as Oregon starts there and petril is a bit cheaper in Nevada.

Todays was merely a reversal of day 16 but 2.743 times more dull because I wasn't going to hook up with chums old and new at the end.  Of it.  Northernmost Nevada still looks like this:

whereas southern Oregon looks more like this:

Anyway, I am now in Rory & Ryan's Inn which sounds like it ought to be:

  • a fake Irish pub, or
  • run by Dublin's answer to Hinge and Bracket
but isn't.  It's got a tremendously enthusiastic lass called Heather on the front desk though.  No phone signal here so I'm going to be swearing a lot in a minute when I try to book somewhere for tomorrow.  Toodle-pip!

Saturday 16 September 2023

Day 24: Battle Mountain NV

 O hai!  Been kinda busy since hours 05:30 and some of what happened this morning is still subject to reporting restrictions.  So there will likely not be a proper entry for today until tomorrow when I shall have leisure time back in Burns OR, IYSWIM.  Here is a photo of Mikey to prove he ate'nt dead:

Edit: I am just in from the awards bash and now need a nice cup of tea and a sit down.  Far too many photos this evening to process and upload now.  D-notice now lifted so it can be reported that Oscar Varney had a big crash when Bilby's front tyre went flat three miles into the run.  Bike too badly damaged to run again but Oscar escaped mostly unscathed, though he's wearing  a neck brace for the next day or two.

Bollocksbollocksbollocks!  I've just spent an hour and a half adding Stuffs to this post and fucking Blogger has eaten it.  A pox on them and the horse they rode in on!  Now, where were we? ["Cursing the natives of Mountain View CA" - Ed.]

Ah, yes, Saturday morning.  The wind proved mostly illegal, immoral and fattening as well as confounding Professor Sir Admiral Viscount Timelord Jun Nogami and his contention that the wind for the later heats is always shite.  Three runners in heat one; none with legal wind.  Matilde reached 71.44 mph, Chris 68.65 and Daniel 53.99.

Drag chute on the Milan RS.  Used to keep Niklas below 110 km/h when dropping off Rocky Mountains.

In the second heat there were no wind-legal runs either.  The Sprockettes managed 61.52 and Diego 51 dead, while as noted above Oscar decked Bilby chiz.

The elusive Brexit unicorn? ["No!" - Ed]

Then the wind decided to play ball allowing Matilde to bag a new PB of 73.97 mph and Will Bill a 53.86.

Final runs of the morning were repeats: the Sprocket Rocket's 61.24 was an improvement but the wind had crept up.  Diego again got tantalisingly close to Ken Talbot's world record with a legal 51.45 mph run, followed, I'm told by a spectacular attempt to:

  • Not run into the stationary Sprocket Rocket, and
  • Kill Scott Wilson utterly to DETH
He missed both and ended in the ditch, undamaged and undeterred.  Back to town for Stuffs.

These signs have, IIRC, been on the side of 305 on the edge of town for at least twenty years.  I have no inkling of the fate of Furtado.  Debrief and presentation of Stuffs to Alyssa (12), as she and the Barnetts are starting the trek back to Oklahoma immediately thereafter.

Alice & Alyssa (12)
2D and 3D Alyssas pose with Teardrop

Former photography professor Danny Guthrie (76) then got shoved up a chimney ladder with Arnold's expensive camera for the photo op.  This involved lots of waiting until the fancy-schmancy display was showing the right graphic.  These, however, are my photos from slightly lower down:
Vehicles and riders, L-R
Alyssa (12), Peter, François, Guillaume, the Sprockettes, Wild Bill, Daniel, Niklas, Al, Kit, Oscar, Chris, Diego, Matilde, Enzo

In the midst of which the rozzers showed up and righteously nicked Denise Mueller for Excessive Pinkness, hauling an oversize load without the correct permit and generally being a wrong 'un1.
Denise does the perp walk while Alyssa (12) tries not to laarrff

Birb remarkably uninterested in proceedings

Lunch was followed by a stroll round the Battle Mountain Runners car show.  Much Yankee muscle on show:

'61 Pontiac Catalina.  A regular sight on the mean streets of Battle Mountain

Subtlety?  We've heard of it!

Ford Galaxie 500 with added Lunch

2022 winner: Jack Stull's '61 Chevrolet Apache pickup

and also

God-Damn Yurrupeen hippie interloper!

The band wuz purdy darn good too.  Guitarists out of shot to the left.

Ah, here they are!  Feller with the Les Paul plays lead.

And so to the races for the final time this year.  François?  Diego?  The Sprockettes?  Or the wind?  The latter had he upper hand for what turned out not be heat one, with all scheduled runners scratching.  Twenty minutes earlier it had been flat calm chiz.

Even The Evil One couldn't make the wind drop...

Only Diego, glutton for punishment that he be, opted to run in heat 2.  Again he got tantalisingly close to Ken Talbot's record with a legal 51.42 mph run.  Marieke opined that the momentary drop in the wind speed was due to the lusty cheering of the entire Monash team who, with Bilby hors de combat, had descended mob-handed on the stands.

Someone has unleashed their inner hoon...

We contrived to squeeze five machines into the year's last heat with - natch - François setting off first.  86.92 mph is yet another PB but not quite enough to scupper that Reichert chap.  Matilde's 75.44 was also a PB, earning her a new hat and - by our reckoning - elevating her to 5th 6th in the women's rankings behind Ilona Peltier, Vittoria Spada, Rosa Bas, Barbara Buatois and Aniek Rooderkerken.  The Sprockettes also fell short of their goal of setting an outright record in their class, with 61.04 mph.  Two three-wheelers concluded the event, with Peter reaching 56.91 mph in the DF.  Alas, Diego was blinded by the setting sun and had to pull up after only a mile.  Bit of an anti-climax, that, though props to the Policumbent gang for extricating Diego and loading Cerberus in double-quick time.

Final launch for François

Trikes wait to close the racing: DF (R) and Cerberus

Quick dash back to the Super 8 for this Unit, mostly to apply the Hairbrush ov Doom to my lush barnet.  The removal of that much tangled mess mad me light-headed and, although no-one remarked on how AWSUM it looked this year, it did, so there.  Thence to ye olde Civic Center for the awards do and more.  Such as:

Marieke and the Posh Frock

A spot of glitz and glamour

Some world-class pointing

The Silliness of the Lems

and Women's overall pwner Matilde receiving her hat and trophy earlier than scheduled as he had to skedaddle for a flight bike to her day job as a rider for pro team Bepink, but I missed that because I was in the queue for the world's most expensive burrito2, albeit behind notorious hungry-guts Larry Lem.

SPESHUL awards for Certain Volunteers:

Marieke and Arnold

Hatses: François, Al, Kit, the Sprockettes, Daniel, Niklas & Diego

We'd just made it through the collegiate presentations - Monash Human Power, IUT Annecy, Team Policumbent finishing 3-2-1 based on how close they'd got to a world record - when Officer Aten rocked up again to issue traffic tickets to all the divers crims, miscreants and Generally Bad Sorts that the event tends to attract.  Speeding, failure to maintain the traffic lane and failure to stop were all covered this time, though Alysaa (12) and Matilde are also in trub for fleeing the jurisdiction.

Good cop, bad cop?

Women's Multitrack Multirider: the Sprockettes

You may imagine The Psychedelic Furs' Richard Butler groaning Pretty In Pink, or not, as you prefer.

Arms-Only: Diego

Men's Multitrack: Wild Bill (3rd), Peter (1st), Daniel (2nd)

Men's Overall: Al (3rd), François (1st), Kit (2nd)
Arnold bigs up indefatigable Organisators Alice'n' Al

And some of our fab flaggers, without whom ect &, moreover, ect.

Emotional farewells - especially to IUT Annecy and François who are abandoning us to do Other Stuffs - and crawl back to the Super 8 for a nice cup of tea and a sit down, though not before hearing the crash tinkle as Will Bill dropped his trophy in the parking lot and came into reception to ask sheepishly whether he might borrow a broom.

Right, that's yer lot from Battle Mountain.  Sunday's quick and to the pointless post will follow after I's et something.
  1. Some of these alleged offences may, in fact, contain traces of Lie.
  2. $30?  Someone's 'avin' a giraffe!