Southern States Tour – Day 1

Day 1 route
Day 1 route

The weather started out with clouds, then became rainy later in the morning as I approached the coast. The rain continued for the rest of the day’s ride. The temperatures ranged from 43 to 50 degrees.

Day’s distance: 256 miles

Getting ready to depart
Getting ready to depart

I departed the house just before 8:30am. My route out of Washington took me south on I-5 to Olympia, then west towards Aberdeen on Hwy 101. When 101 turns north, I continued traveling west on Hwy 8.

Just before reaching Elma, I saw a deer crossing the highway. It was maybe 100 yards in front of me, but I slowed way down. This is a best practice as deer often travel in numbers. This time it appeared to be alone and quickly jumped over the guardrail and off the highway.

At Elma, Hwy 8 turns into Hwy 12 and continues west. I turned off Hwy 12 and took Hwy 107 south to avoid Aberdeen traffic. One thing sucks worse than riding in a cold rain. That is being stuck in traffic in cold rain. 🙂  Hwy 107 is a two lane road in good condition with little traffic. This is the type of road I like to travel on my motorcycle, but it is short and I soon found myself on Hwy 101 headed south.

I stopped at the McDonalds in Raymond to take a bathroom break and stopped again at Fort Columbia. I guess it was a combination of two cups of coffee and riding in the rain. 🙂


The Columbia River divides Washington and Oregon and the fort guarded the mouth of the river just to the south of this promontory.

At this point, I was still largely dry, but the rains picked up near Gearhart. Along with the rain coming down, trucks were kicking up mass quantities of water and I started feeling it. So I stopped for lunch at a Subway in Gearhart.

The manager, who was working the register, asked if I was heading north or south. I replied south and he told me about Hwy 53, also known as the Necanicum Highway. It is a short, two-lane road through forest lands and he thought I would enjoy it. I was planning on taking Hwy 26 east to Banks and then take Hwy 6 through the Tillamook State Forest, so put Hwy 53 in the back of my mind.

After I finished lunch, I thanked him and went on my way. The rain continued as I turned inland on Hwy 26. A few miles later, I started thinking I needed to shorten today’s ride – it isn’t all that much fun riding in the rain if you’re wet and getting wetter and I was having to work to keep my visor from fogging up. I saw the sign for Hwy 53 and decided to use it and shorten the ride by about 50 miles.

It was fortuitous that I spoke with the Subway manager.

Hwy 53 rejoins Hwy 101 north of Rockaway Beach. I turned south and finished the day just south of Rockaway in Tillamook. I hoped for nicer weather and with it a chance to stay at Cape Lookout State Park, just outside of town. I camped there on Day 2 of my Western States Tour.  It was a nice campground and I remember setting up my tent on well maintained grass and taking some really nice sunset photos.

Alas, I needed a hot shower and a heater to dry my gear so I am staying at the Western Royal Inn motel. The room is big, with a sofa, desk, and dining table along with a large queen bed. It isn’t fancy but it’s clean, has good water pressure, and a really good heater.

Not many pictures today. I generally don’t feel like stopping as often in the rain. Future posts will likely have fewer words and more pictures.

3 thoughts

    1. It was good to catch up. I’m super happy I stopped by on Friday. The weekend was full of activities and very fun. Best of luck on the rest of the remodel. I’ll want to see pics!

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