Mark spent some time adjusting brakes and lubricating gears to get our bikes into better shape for a long ride. We got on the Discovery Trail and took off towards the south. It was a delightful trail that followed the ups and downs of the sand dunes that run parallel with the ocean beach.
There were stops that educated us on the Corp of Discovery's journey through this area. One day they found a dead whale on the beach, and wrote in their journals about its size and bone structure. So when the same thing happened in Long Beach 200 years later, some of the whale bones were saved to exhibit them here along the trail.
There was also a carved wooden statue of whales beside the skeleton. This is another great place to see the whale migration, but it was too cloudy for that today.
We had just mentioned what a great paved bike path this was, and at how well our bikes were performing after Mark's work on them. Then it happened. Mark saw bright green stuff shooting out of Denisa's rear tire. We knew that tire was going to give way soon. In fact, Mark has already patched it up with gorilla tape. But here we were in the middle of no where and it was losing the bright green "fix-a-flat" liquid on the trail.
It's at this point that we can start the advertisement for fix-a-flat. We rotated the obvious hole to the bottom of the tire, and allowed this gooey green slime to do its job to seal the hole. We waited a few minutes, and then we took off on our bikes again. The trail took us close to the Pacific coast at times.
We got another mile down the trail before the the bright green started spewing again. So we rotated the tire again, waited a little longer . . . and rode on.
Our destination today is Cape Disappointment State Park. We should explain the interesting name of this state park. When British Captain Meares was sailing his ship along the west coast in hopes of finding the mouth of the Columbia River, he missed it. He did find this area just off the river, so he named it Cape Disappointment. As the bike path got closer to the state park, it became more forested and more littered with pine cones and leaf litter. Denisa is weaving between the chunks on the trail, hoping not to puncture through that fragile layer of fix-a-flat.
We were not disappointed when we finally made it to Cape Disappointment! It's at this point that Denisa has a spot to park her bike, while Mark has the unenviable task of riding his bike back to get the car. We had both planned to be riding this section back to the car, but now Mark had it by himself. That's when he discovered that we had been enjoying a 5% downhill grade and the wind at our backs. So now Mark got the up-hill ride against the wind, and it started sprinkling. It looks like Denisa picked a good time to have her tire blow.
So while Mark struggled with that bike ride home, Denisa was checking out the state park. Denisa understands that feeling of Captain Meares' disappointment just a little. First her bicycle tire gave out. Then she hiked to the North Head Lighthouse, only to find that it was being repainted this spring. She took a picture of it encapsulated while it was being refurbished.
According to the nearby sign, this 66-foot lighthouse has been on this point on the Pacific coast since 1898. It's probably time it was refurbished. There was also a picture of what Denisa was supposed to be seeing.
The lighthouse keeper's house has already been refurbished, and is available as a vacation rental here at the state park.
While Mark was pedaling hard, Denisa was leisurely strolling among the wildflowers. She is fascinated by these large plants with fist-sized bundles on tall stems.
When the bundle is ripe, is suddenly bursts open to reveal hundreds of blooms inside.
That's an interesting process to bring the large bloom of the cow parsnip out in the open.
Mark showed up with the car so we could load up Denisa's limping bike. This is actually a Walmart bike that we purchased around fifteen years ago when our youngest son was in grade school. We had decided that when that back tire blew, it was probably time to replace the bike. But it was performing so well after Mark's work on it that Denisa is having second thoughts about getting a new one. It's hard on a bike to be subjected to the road grime and weather every day. Besides, she's ridden a lot of miles on that bike!
We finished our exploration of Cape Disappointment State Park in the car, so we got to use our Washington state Discovery Pass again. We parked next to the trail for the other lighthouse in this park. This coastline is so treacherous that it required two beacons to guide the ships. This is the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. We hiked a steep trail to get to its lovely setting on top of the head. Based on the peeling paint, it looks like this guy might be next in line for refurbishment.
It was built here to provide guidance around the treacherous Columbia River bar, known as the "graveyard of the Pacific."
Commissioned in 1856, it is still a working lighthouse. Just steps away is a coastguard station that is providing more modern services of weather and water monitoring for the area.
On our way down that steep trail, we decided to take the even steeper and muddier trail all the way down to the protected beach at the foot of the lighthouse.
This narrow cove was a beautiful place to be on a windy day that had been threatening rain. The tall rock walls around us are sheltering us from the wind, and there's a tiny sliver of blue in the sky above us.
Another walk uphill took us to the rock wall that houses the park's interpretive center. That is where the Lewis and Clark Discovery Corp stood to see the Pacific Ocean back in 1805.
Their trip to this cape lookout was their most westerly point of travel on their discovery mission. It's a beautiful view from there over those yellow wildflowers.
So even though our bicycle trip didn't turn out the way we had planned, we still had a great time exploring Cape Disappointment State Park. Now we have to figure out our options for battling the disappointment of being bike-less.