Surly Pearl wanted her picture taken on this old truss bridge near Castle Rock WA.

U.S. 360 Tour V – Day 64 from Longview WA to Centralia WA (Volcanic Visions)

Latest update on my purpose-driven cycling journey around the American perimeter.

58 miles – Total so far: 3,350 miles

The day was beautiful early-on, the ride was pleasant, the hills were moderate, but I felt a little jilted for a good portion of the day. Two iconic and prominent Washington volcanoes were just out of reach by bicycle all day. As I left Longview Washington, the once notorious Mount St. Helens was barely visible on the Eastern horizon. Throughout the ride, I spent a fair amount of time envisioning what this place must have looked like on May 18, 1980 when the most catastrophic volcanic event in U.S. history wreaked havoc on this region. Later in the day, I saw another active volcano, the beautiful and dramatic Mt. Rainier about 60 miles due East of Centralia Washington. Likewise, while appearing closer than it really was, it was just out of reach by bicycle given my route and aggressive schedule. At an elevation of 14,411 ft and the highest in the entire Cascade Range, Mt. Rainier is thought to be one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. While not nearly ready to “cash it in”, I could think of much worse places to take my last breath if this grand mountain decided to blow it’s stack.

Throughout much of today’s ride I was deeply imbedded in pine trees, a fact easily understood given that this area encompasses one of the last stands of old-growth forests in the state. I had intended to camp in the middle of this fascinating old-growth forest at Lewis and Clark State Park, but unfortunately the park was closed for a reason not widely publicized. Disappointed but determined, I pushed forward into Centralia Washington, where I was inhospitably greeted by a pesky hailstorm just as I arrived in the city limits. After safely waiting the storm out at a Centralia restaurant, I located a private RV campground just North of the town. Assuming the weather cooperates, I will call this place home until morning.

Today I learned that volcanic visions on a bike are the next best thing to actually being there, especially if the volcanoes decide to misbehave.

It’s All Good.

 Surly Pearl wanted her picture taken on this old truss bridge near Castle Rock WA.
Surly Pearl wanted her picture taken on this old truss bridge near Castle Rock WA.
Pearl and me on an old truss bridge near Castle Rock WA.
Pearl and me on an old truss bridge near Castle Rock WA.
Camping near Centralia WA.
Camping near Centralia WA.

2 thoughts on “U.S. 360 Tour V – Day 64 from Longview WA to Centralia WA (Volcanic Visions)”

  1. Actually, the area didn’t look much different when Mt. St. Helens blew. The ash all blew to the east. We had some later small eruptions that blew ash west and south, but nothing like what Eastern Washington was hit with on May 18th. I grew up in Vancouver, WA, and watched the eruption from my parent’s deck.

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