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By the time we were up, Jean had headed out to run an errand so we didn’t get to thank her for the Dutch Baby we found waiting for us in the kitchen. It looked like a giant Yorkshire pudding, but a little thicker and lighter. It was served with homemade jams and icing sugar. We sat round and talked to Dennis who then made some French Toast to ensure we were full of delicious carbs. He gave us some hints on reading the skies and forecast the weather based on the direction of the smoke coming out of the factory in the distance. We were happy when he told us that he would be able to ride out with us that day.

It was our first time riding with a recumbent rider since Steady Eddie in Wisconsin. I still find get entertained by watching them next to a regular bicycle, they almost look as bizarre to me as Larry riding his Penny Farthing. Having Dennis come along for the ride was great. He knew exactly where we should go and, knowing the area like the back of his hand, when we got to junctions would offer us alternate routes which he could explain the pros and cons of.

Dennis was also able to stop at what seemed like random points and tell us a story about what we could see. I’ve included a video of part of one of those stops below. It was like having our own personal tour guide and we both really appreciated it. The skies stayed grey and there was a fair amount of rain falling which definitely detracted from the beauty. We should have been able to see Mt St Helens, but like with Mt Rainier further north it proved impossible.

Dennis rode with us as far as the I-5 and then had to turn back. We had the choice of I-5, noisy and busy, and a fairly steep climb. Considering how wet it was we both wanted the faster option and so took I-5. It was a very different experience to riding on the interstate back in South Dakota and Montana. I-5 is the west coast equivalent of I-95 and runs the length of the Pacific Coast from Canada to Mexico and was much busier than riding on I-90 had been. The rain also didn’t help as it made the cars sound like Formula 1 cars flying by. After a few miles of riding, and particularly going across bridges, which as normal had no shoulder, C was eager to get off and I didn’t object. The shoulder we had been riding on was full of debris and before we got off I could feel my rear tyre starting to slowly lose pressure. I was hopeful we could get all the way to our destination before it gave up, and even though it was about 15 miles of riding through the wet, I managed it.

Our destination was a friend of mines place in Vancouver, just over the river from Portland. It was fun to catch up as we’d not spoken for a while. The original idea had been to find a good sandwich shop, but C was hungry and eager to have a buffet. A bit of googling found Mr Chens Buffet and if you take one thing from this blog it would be to never eat there. Chinese buffets are often slated for not being great quality, but we’ve been to a few good ones on the trip. Mr Chens Buffet could not be classed as good. I do not think that I’m that picky when it comes to eating food. I have no problem with having oatmeal for breakfast and instant ramen for lunch, but this food was terrible. I’m not the worlds biggest seafood fan, which didn’t help, but about half of the things I tried tasted so bad I didn’t finish them. The highlight of the menu was the ginger, and yes I do mean the stuff that sits next to the sushi to clean your palate. It’s not that it was great ginger, it’s just it was the best tasting thing they had.

Dennis explaining history

The joys of I-5 – that traffic makes us look so slow!

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