So I hovered the complementary breakfast. Frosted Flakes, banana, OJ, coffee, toast. Burp.
And so I left Kelso (he wouldn’t tell me who Superman is either) and headed for Oregon using a route suggested by the bike shop dude yesterday. The Longview Bridge flies over the port which seems to ship nothing but enormous logs.
On US 30 in Oregon I climbed for about 500 feet. To put this in normal people terms, DANG!
The road was a high speed two lane truck fest. Riding on it stressed me out but I was on a mission from God: get to the bloody Pacific Ocean!
I rode and rode, up and down, timing my sprints across narrow bridges so as not to become a dead bicycle tourist.
I stopped at a gas station for Diet Coke and a candy bar. The bathrooms were PortaPotties that should have been emptied in May. I chose discomfort over disgust and rode on.
After another ten miles I stopped in Svensen. The town was having its free Senior’s lunch. I chose the market instead. It was owned and run by a Muslim family. I guess we’re not in Montana anymore.
The owner without hesitation let me use the bathroom. I wish I had been hungrier to repay his kindness. I bought some Gatorade and a big cookie.
Friend of the blog Ryan recommended Mo’s. Seafood and Chowder restaurant earlier in the day. All I could think about in the cool headwinds was hot clam chowder.
And so the first thing I did when I got to Astoria was to get chowder at Mo’s. In a bread bowl. A perfect meal after 54 miles of hills and cool headwinds.
All the way to Astoria I was passed within a few feet by huge trucks, campers, and mobile homes. My nerves were a little frayed. I left Mo’s and headed under the Astoria Bridge to Cape Disappointment in Washington. It’s waaay high and waaay wife with not a whole lot of room for bikes.
Rather than go to the hostel, I decided that I’d ride to the ocean and dip my wheel in, the tradition ending if a transcontinental bike ride. I followed my maps. One bridge had a metal grate bridge deck. My nerves were shot so I walked it.
It took me a good 45 minutes to find the biggest body of water on the planet. My frustration was off the charts. Where is the fucking thing!!!
I finally found Fort Stevens State Park. After two more miles I came to a parking lot. The ocean was right over the dunes. So I pushed The Mule over a 15 foot sand dune. It kept sinking in. I kept lifting it out. PUSH!!!
Getting to the top took everything I had. Now I had to go down the beach side of the dude. The Mule kept sinking in which, I suppose, is preferable to having an 80 pound loaded touring bike go screaming down a hill without me.
I pushed the bike across the flat beach and asked a dad to take my picture.
I talked with him and his wife. They were there with their two naked towheaded toddlers. Pale white, tow headed, naked toddlers on a beach for some reason just crack me up.
Mom suggested that I walk my bike two miles down the beach to the site of a shipwreck. The dunes are much lower there.
Off I went. I tried riding but The Mule objected do I walked. Even a ten-foot dune is a bitch to push a touring bike over.
On the other side a mountain biker named Steve led me out of the park. I decide to take the main highway, US 101, back to Astoria.
It went fine until I got to the bridge. It was narrow with strong crosswinds that yanked the front of The Mile all over the place. I made it without incident until a tractor trailer went by me with a foot to spare.
DON’T LOOK AT IT!
I didn’t and managed not to get sicker under its rear wheels.
That pretty much sealed the deal on Cape Disappointment.
My hostel is more of a pensione. I have a private room with a shared bath and a shared shower. It’s expensive but I just crossed the damned country on a bike. I’m staying here two nights. I had to carry The Mule up a flight and a half of stairs. Tomorrow The Mule gets a rest too.
I’m really not usually this messy. Honest.
I sit in the Fort George brewery drinking beer, eating pizza, and watching the white caps on the Columbia River. (Thanks again to Ryan for the suggestion.)
I know my days on the road are coming to an end. As my son used to say when he was a toddler, I want to sleep in my own bed.
Trip miles: 4,170
A final note: Happy birthday, Klarence. Thanks for screwing the lid back on my jar.