Author Topic: Seattle to Astoria  (Read 3833 times)

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Offline jeff.trueman@gmail.com

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  • British cyclist, planning to ride TransAm in 2018
Seattle to Astoria
« on: September 13, 2017, 05:11:01 am »
I'm planing to ride the Trans Am next year.  I will be flying from the UK to Seattle, spending a few days there and then would like to cycle to Astoria to start the big ride.  I'm looking for advice on a good route to take between the two places. I plan to camp when possible, Warmshowers if possible and motels only if I have to, cook for myself or eat in cheaper restaurants.  I imagine doing 40 or so miles per day. 

I'm thinking of arriving in Seattle towards the end of May, so that I can start the Trans Am at the beginning of June.  I've heard that the passes over the Rockies are closed by snow, until mid June.  Again, advice on this would be helpful. 

Also, I'm really nervous about bears. Should I be?

Thanks for your help

Jeff

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Seattle to Astoria
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2017, 09:15:30 am »
Easy.  Take the ferry from Seattle to Bremerton then head south on the Pacific Coast route, Map #1.

Regarding the passes, some passes may be closed, it all depends on the snow pack at that time.  However, other than 1 pass in western Oregon (which has the Santiam alternate if it is closed), you should not have too many issues.  I started June 5 from Astoria and did fine.

Obviously, a heavy snow pack can alter the plans but you "should" be OK. 

Enjoy the ride!

Offline Patco

Re: Seattle to Astoria
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2017, 10:45:54 am »
In my rides from Seattle I have taken the the ferry to Bremerton and I have also taken the ferry to Southworth. I like the ride from Southworth much better than from Bremerton. From Southworth I took route 160 west to SW Lake Flora Road to State Route 3. I followed State Route 3 through Shelton to U.S. 101. A short time on 101 then I took State Route 108 to McCleary and then followed the McCleary/Elma road to Elma and the Monte/Elma road to Montesano (those roads parallel U.S. Highway 12). From Montesano I took State Route 107 to U.S. 101 to Astoria. Not much traffic, small towns. A nice ride.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Seattle to Astoria
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2017, 05:43:11 pm »
I'm thinking of arriving in Seattle towards the end of May, so that I can start the Trans Am at the beginning of June.  I've heard that the passes over the Rockies are closed by snow, until mid June.  Again, advice on this would be helpful. 
It would be a very rare year that the passes in the Colorado Rockies would be closed until mid June, especially a major pass like Hoosier Pass. Besides, on your schedule, it will be late July before you get to Hoosier Pass. The Rockies aren't your problem. You're more likely to run into snow in the Cascades. A mid-June start from Astoria would be safer, and would probably avoid some rain too.

Offline jamawani

Re: Seattle to Astoria
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2017, 09:44:10 pm »
Jeff -

If you are leaving from Astoria on June 1, there is only one pass that you have to be concerned with - McKenzie Pass in Oregon which is east of Eugene. At the pace you describe, you should not be hitting McKenzie until June 10-12. In previous years the pass usually opens by mid June unless there is major construction or a massive snowpack. In addition, cyclists are often permitted to use the road a couple of weeks early. So there is a good chance you will be able to cross McKenzie Pass. If McKenzie is still closed, the detour is via Santiam Pass 0 a little further, a little lower, a good deal more traffic, but with shoulders. No problema.

As for Seattle to Astoria -
The ACA Pacific Coast map section between Centralia and Longview is rather meh. And Hwy 4 between Longview and Cathlamet is somewhat busy and narrow - but scenic. (I did graduate research in Cathlamet.) A more direct route is to cut west from Elwa to South Aberdeen on back roads, then US 101 South to the Astoria Bridge. The Astoria Bridge is 4 miles long (6.5 km) without shoulders - some cyclists take the bus across, instead.  Two good extras on the US 101 option - a) Take Hwy 105 from South Aberdeen to Westport and then follow around Willapa Bay, the Willapa Bay ride is stunning. b) Instead of taking the Astoria Bridge, ride east on Hwy 4 thru Skamokawa to Cathlamet and take the ferry across the Columbia River. Skamokawa has a county park with the finest views of the Lower Columbia, you can ride along the river's edge thru the Columbia White-Tailed Deer Refuge, and Cathlamet is an old river/fishing town.

And bears -
I never worry and have ridden solo up to the Yukon and Alaska, lived in Wyoming for 25 years. Two key points, though - 1) Never, ever eat in your tent - even if you are not going to be in bear country for weeks. 2) Always store your food and aromatic items in bear boxes or hanging from poles. Carry 50 ft. of nylon cord and learn how to hang when boxes/poles not available. Even if you don't take these precautions, your risks are minuscule. However, if a bear does learn to steal human food, it will be destroyed - - not you.

Have a great trip.

Jama

Offline jamawani

Re: Seattle to Astoria
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2017, 09:55:27 pm »
PS - Pronunciation Guide

The town of Cathlamet and the river and valley named Willamette are NOT from the French.
Nor should they be pronounced "Cath-la-MAY" or "Wil-la-METTE" - - yikes!
They are Chinookan words with the middle syllable stressed - rhyming with "God damn it!"

So it is "Cath-LAMM-it" and Wil-LAMM-it".

Most Chinook and Salish names have stressed middle syllables.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Seattle to Astoria
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2017, 12:33:03 pm »
The ACA Pacific Coast map section between Centralia and Longview is rather meh.

My experience differs. Part of this is on Mandy Road which is so serene that it will make your whole day. I also really liked Woodside Drive in Cowlitz County.

Hwy 4 between Longview and Cathlamet is somewhat busy and narrow - but scenic.

This part I will agree with. It's a narrow, busy road that isn't much fun on a bicycle. But I did enjoy camping right on the banks of the Columbia River and watching the salmon fishermen bring in big ones and the barges going up and down the river.

Offline jeff.trueman@gmail.com

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Re: Seattle to Astoria
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2017, 12:50:58 pm »
Thanks for your help with this. I've now booked my flight to arrive on Tuesday 22nd May. I plan to stay in Seattle until the Friday of Memorial Day weekend and then set off.  Is this wise?  Will traffic be busier or quieter?  Will camping sites or motels be full?

Jeff

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Seattle to Astoria
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2017, 01:01:03 pm »
My guess is that the CGs will be full.  I personally would try to be off the road the late afternoons of Friday and Monday (Memorial Day) since that is when everyone is driving like idiots to get to/from their destination, whether a CG or Grandma.  You might consider taking a short loop around the San Juan islands during that time before heading south.  Just some thoughts.  Best, John

Offline cgarch

Re: Seattle to Astoria
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2017, 05:56:47 pm »
As for Seattle to Astoria -
<snip> The Astoria Bridge is 4 miles long (6.5 km) without shoulders - some cyclists take the bus across, instead. <snip>

Well, it does lack 8-10' wide shoulders, true, but there is sufficient space between the fog line and the bridgeworks to safely ride across. That all goes to hell with cross-winds (likely).

Craig
Santa Rosa, CA

Offline preston uk

Re: Seattle to Astoria
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2017, 03:17:42 pm »
Greetings, I rode the transam last year  east - west finishing in Seattle. If you arrive at a reasonable time the ride out of the airport is easy (check google maps), cross by ferry from Fauntleroy to Southworth and camp at the state park at Manchester. I followed the aca Atlantic route from Astoria to Seattle, camping and using warmshowers. Do a lot of training ! The Rockies have big climbs but are fantastic. Two other bits of advice : The humidity on the plains is awful , ride early . Be prepared for temps up to 100f . If you are setting off early and finishing by lunchtime be prepared for long and sometimes lonely hours on city parks. Best wishes. Its a fantastic ride and the Americans I met were great people.