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Out to the sea I go, to the sea


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It's been a typical winter here in the PNW, with our one snowfall and sub-freezing temps keeping me off my bike as I related in my earlier post. But all that has passed, and this weekend dawned today with some sun and expectations of relatively dry weather and highs of 45. I got my new Shoei Neotec II today, so that was all the excuse I needed to hop on the old stead and head off. I often do this, where I'm on the bike and leaving the garage before I give any real thought to where I'm going. Do you folks do that too? 

My first thought was to ride an old favorite, but I found in my absent mindedness the wheels had kept going straight instead of turning where they should while leaving the neighborhood, and the door on that option closed. So now I had reassess, and seeing that I was headed to I5, I faced other choices. Hopping on 5 south to 101 north out of Olympia, it hit me that what I wanted to do was to see the sea. 

The sea. In all her majesty. Not the tame sea of our inland variety, called by those who know the Salish Sea. No, I wanted the wild and wonderful and rugged sea of the outer coast. To get there from here you take Highway 8 off of 101 toward the coast and the birthplace of Kurt Cobain in Aberdeen. The ride to Aberdeen is as pleasant as slab can be here in the rainforest. Nice country. Time flies. Stretches without places for the police to hide, so one can pass reckless cages with less concern with the speedo. But as you enter Aberdeen, it is a portrait of depressed America. The downtown is so far past it's prime that it looks far more at home in the industrial midwest than here in otherwise thriving Western Washington. Though Aberdeen still processes a lot of lumber, it is nothing like the last 100 years. I'm sure those who call it home know it's charms, but when passing through, you are left feeling deeply sad for the place and people. It's no accident Nirvana had angry songs of despair. 

But once through Aberdeen it gets nicer and nicer. You soon end up along the shores of Grays Harbor, and the amazing tidal flats of that great protected place. There is a National Wildlife Refuge and it's quite magical, if you have an appreciation for estuaries and mudflats. About 20 miles further and you pop out onto Ocean Shores, or can go north and enter Olympic National Park. 

I just went to the nearest State Park, parked the bike, and walked through a short but nice coastal zone of salal and pine and willow. Not more than 400 yards later and you are at the sea. OH the sea. The waves were roaring, the sound was loud. I took a few bad photos, and a video. But these can't provide the smells of the beach. I need that so much in my life. My year living in Colorado taught me many things, and though I lived adventurously, I soon came back to the great Pacific Ocean. My home. My birthplace. 

It's 73 miles from Olympia to Ocean Shores. 90 minutes each way. 

I must again and again go to the sea, and my Tracer 900 and my new Shoei Neotec II made it a comfortable, quick and smooth voyage. 




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