Day 11: Langlois, Oregon to Bellevue, Washington
Monday, January 30, 2017 at 6:58PM
Michael A. Uhl

(January 30, 2017) Day 11 took place on Monday, June 20, 2016. I was now more than half-way through my trip, though not having reached the further point from my home. I would reach the furthest point at Everett, Washington a couple of days later, as I turned east onto US 2 from Interstate 5.

On this day, Day 11, the goal was to get to my niece's home in Bellevue, by nightfall is possible. As it was, the day almost ended very badly. It certainly was no fun for the last two or so hours as I rode through a thunderstorm, in the dark, from Mount Rainier National Park to Bellevue, Washington. Fortunately, I arrived at the Lockwood home in Bellevue safely, albeit wet, and was greeted by friendly loving people. I was so tense from the ride I talked non-stop to those poor folks for 30-45 minutes immediately upon my arrival.

I departed the KOA camp site in Langlois, Oregon around 9:30 a.m. and arrived in Bellevue, 13.0 hours later, around 10:30 p.m. The skies were overcast all the way up the coast until just north of Coos Bay. However, the break in the clouds was brief, and the cloudy skies soon returned. The temperature was only in the low 60s--consistent with the way it has been throughout most of this ride.

I took US 101 to Waldport, Oregon where I made a last-minute change in my ride plan. I turned off US 101 and headed inland on Oregon route 34, the Alsea Highway. The skies cleared quickly and the temperature rose from the low 60s to the low 70s. That was a welcome change!

The idea was to accelerate my progress to Bellevue by getting away from slow traffic on US 101 and use I-5 instead; but I knew I needed to get through Portland before rush hour. I figured if I could get through Corvallis and to I-5 quickly and make Portland by 4:00 p.m., I'd get through relatively quickly. Wrong. Portland traffic is very bad even 4:00 p.m. It was very slow getting through the Portland-Vancouver (Washington) area. Thank goodness I was able to use the HOV lane on the north side of the city. The upside of the traffic jam was that I got a good long look at the Columbia River from the I-5 bridge as I crossed from Oregon into Washington. ;-)

The weather was great, so I decided during a dinner break in La Center, OR to stick to my original plan of getting off I-5 at exit 68 onto US 12 east. All was good until I was about 40 miles down the road and the skies darkened ahead of me. Then it began raining, and then pouring rain, and I thought that it would end quickly so I didn't put my rain suit on. After 15-20 minutes it did finally stop. Of course, I was wet, but not to the skin. I opened my vents to try to dry out as quickly as I could -- at the expense of being chilled -- so I could avoid getting really cold on the mountain pass I expected to take in Mount Rainier. This turned out to be a good call because I did dry out and I did ride on a mountain pass so high up that there was still snow along the side of the road. (By the way, I love the way my bike protects me so well from wind and rain.) 

As I departed Mount Rainier National Park, the skies darkened once again and I could see sheets of rain falling from the skies. I stopped and put on my full battle gear, including my balaclava. This was another good call because for the next two and a half hours, I found myself riding through a widespread thunderstorm as I worked my way west and north to Bellevue. It was soon very dark and riding in a thunderstorm in rural darkness is as about as scary as riding gets for me. I took WA 410 for a long ways because I knew from memory this was the road I wanted. (I vaguely recalled that I need to take it to OR 167; so when I arrived at 167 based on the navigation system's directions, I was relieved.)

During a short period when the rain let up a little, I stopped and keyed in the Lockwood home address into my onboard navigation system and a gentle female voice guided me through the rain, lightning, and thunder to my destination. I was quite nervous entrusting my life to a computer, but the nav system came through for me. It would have been hard navigating by sight, i.e., reading street signs, in such adverse conditions.



More Photos

Here's a sign you don't see on the east coast. In North Carolina, we have hurricane evacuatiion signs that look very similar. 

My photo of these sand dunes are actually a poor representation of how huge they get in places. I saw dunes that were at least 50 feet high with forests of trees growing in them. They are very odd looking phenomena. 


The beautiful Alsea River in western Oregon. I was very happy to leave the overcast skies along the coast and soak in the sunshine inland.

I've wanted to ride to Corvallis, Oregon for many years because EPA has a lab there and I heard great things about the natural beauty of the area.


If I had the time, I would have loved to turn right and see Mount Saint Helens!

Washington route 123 takes you into Mount Rainier National Park from the south.


The snow along route 123 gives you an idea how chilly it got as I approached Mount Rainier. More snow...



The peak of Mount Rainier is often obscured by clouds, as it was for me.





Campfire at Langlois


Muriel O. Ponsler Memorial Wayside, OR 1 of 2


Muriel O. Ponsler Memorial Wayside, OR 2 of 2


Oregon Beach - 1 of 2


Oregon Beach - 2 of 2


Alsea River


(June 20, 2016) On Day 11 of my 17-day ride roundtrip from Cary, NC to Bellevue, Washington by way of San Francisco, I turned inland at Waldport, Oregon. My goal was to get to Bellevue, WA ASAP by way of I-5. If the weather was good, I would take a chance and ride to Mount Rainier on the way and hope to make it to Bellevue before Dark. (I wasn’t even close, and in fact, got caught in a widespread thunderstorm, just to make the ride in the dark extra fun.)

Mount Rainier 1 of 3


Mount Rainier 2 of 3


Mount Rainier 3 of 3


Only Alaska Remains

With my ride through Oregon, I have now ridden a motorcycle to and through all of the Lower 48 States from my home. Only Alaska remains as a ride destination. 

Day 11 Mileage Summary:

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