Potlatch to Westport (128km)
We prepared oatmeal and had our homemade granola (in our camping bowls – the room had a kitchen, but no dishes!) for breakfast. Back on our bikes, we left the Hood Canal and made our way south along the 101, stopping in Shelton for coffee at Steph’s Espresso. If it had not had Yelp’s best reviews we would have probably ignored it. The hut looked battered, but the coffee was very good and Steph was enthusiastic about out trip!
Further on we stopped at the visitor centre for the Squaxin Island People. There is no one left living on the reservation, but they have purchased (back) land where they have built a casino and hotel. The husband of the young woman at the centre was off in a group paddling a traditional freighter style wood canoe up to a canoe gathering this month in Bella Bella. Our route then took us across country and up one very steep hill, to McCleary. The freeway (Hwy 12) had a wide shoulder but was uninteresting and hot and we met the on-shore winds. At Aberdeen we resorted to Starbucks for hot and iced tea. Surprisingly refreshed (!), we were encouraged to find the 105, which followed the south side of Grays Harbour, mostly flat for about 10 km, particularly as we were now battling a gusty westerly wind. But, as we have come to know, one can never hope for an easy end to a hard day – the hills reappeared, the winds continued and we crawled into Westport after 12 hours on the road.
Happily, the Westport Bayside B&B was true to its reviews, a delightful spot with charming owners. Rich drove us to a local restaurant by the harbour for local shrimp, scallops, crab and salmon. Rich and Tracy moved here 2 years ago from Arizona and bought the house and the already established B&B. Because visitors are few in the winter, both have other jobs. Tracy is a nurse and works at the local correctional centre. As she explained her main challenge is not the inmates, but the jaded staff.
We are on the traditional territory of the Chehalis People.