|The view of Astoria, from the Astoria Column|
Wednesday June 6. The original plan for the day was to simply ride the 2.5 miles into Ilwaco and take the bus into Astoria. I’ve done this ride before and it’s nothing special. And taking the bus means not having to ride over the dreaded Astoria Bridge. But then I decided I still wanted to ride the whole way in. Which was good, because when I woke up it was low tide at Waikiki Beach, the small beach next to the hiker-biker campsite. And low tide gave me a chance to explore the sea caves hidden into the cliff!
The fifteen miles from Cape Disappointment to the Astoria Bridge were unexciting and fast, as 101 is pretty flat as it hugs the north shore of the Columbia. And then the bridge.
Ah, the Astoria-Megler Bridge, bane of touring cyclists. There are three main obstacles bemoaned by cyclists on the Pacific Coast, and the bridge is one of them. (The other two are the Crescent City Hills and Leggett Summit, both in California.) Some folks go through great lengths to avoid the bridge, like detouring upstream to the Westport ferry crossing. The ferry is cool, but adds about 70 miles to the route. A lot just to avoid the bridge.
But I’ve already crossed the bridge twice in my life, so it’s no big deal to me. I don’t find it pleasurable. Very few people would find a four-mile long bridge with narrow shoulder, copious amounts of wind, and a climb at the south end pleasurable. I just grit my teeth and push through it. And before I knew it, I was in Oregon. I was in Astoria.
And then I met April!
This was a very recent development. On Tuesday I debated cutting the trip short and riding into Astoria that night to catch the bus home. I felt guilty spending time in Astoria without my sweetie, who also loves this small coastal city. So I hatched a plan: ask April to take the bus out to Astoria Wednesday morn, spend the day with me, and take the bus back Wednesday night. After some back and forth, the plan mutated into spending Wednesday night at a hotel and then the bus back to Portland Thursday evening. A romantic getaway!
The rest of Wednesday was spent off the bike (April didn’t bring hers and Astoria is small enough for walking) and with my baby. We dropped off our stuff at the Commodore Hotel, got lunch at the Blue Scorcher, hiked up Coxcomb Hill to the Astoria Column, and had dinner and beer at Fort George Brewing. All in all a good end to the day!
11.7 mph average speed
1:40 saddle time
320.3 total miles on the trip