Resting and Replanning in Vancouver
|Read about our train ride from Centralia to Vancouver|
We awoke to light rain. We decided what to do with our day. We were taking a rest day, the first one we had ever taken. We needed to plot our next leg of the tour. Our modest amount of clothes needed to go through the laundry. And, we needed to food for the 27th, where ever our goal might be.
We had unreliable access the net, using our Kindle, from the motel. We needed high-speed access, and real computers. Both could be found at a public library. A branch was within walking distance. We decided we would rather leave our bikes, secure, in our room. Besides, a short walk to stretch our legs would do us good.
We were not residents of Vancouver, or the County. We pleaded that we were far from home, cycling the Pacific Coast, and trying to replan our trip. The librarian granted us guest privileges. We were given an hour on the system.
We recommitted ourselves to returning to the tour. We wanted to get back to an ACA route as soon as we could. The routes were well mapped, and we could rely on their assessment of resources. We considered our options. Eventually, we picked number three, to ride the north bank of the Columbia River. We wanted to ride as much of the ACA route as we could. We planned to ride to Longview on the first day. On the second day, we planned to ride to, at least, Cathlamet, and possibly go on to Astoria.
|1||Return to San Jose||Too many resources expended, and too few results to know if we liked touring.|
|2||Return to Centralia||Preserved ACA route. No wish to return to Centralia.|
|3||Ride the north bank of the Columbia to Longview and the ACA route||Side roads east of I-5. 76 miles and 5600 feet of climbingSkipped map section 11 entirely, and half of section 12|
|4||Ride US-30 on the south bank of the Columbia to Westport and the ACA route||Much of it on US-30, reputedly narrow and poor sight lines, to Westport. Distance = 76 miles and 3400 feet of climbing.Skipped map sections 11 and 12, entirely.|
|5||Ride US-26, south of US-30 to Seaside and the ACA route||Unknown path, with limited food and lodging opportunities. 92 miles and 7500 feet of climbing.Skipped Astoria and Oregon interior.|
|6||Take a special bus to Tillamook and the ACA route||Skip the rest of Washington State, Astoria, Seaside, and Nehalem.|
Once we decided the route, we developed turn-by-turn directions. We were not permitted to connect the Garmin to library computers. Falling back on our pre-Garmin days, we wrote down our turns and distances. As insurance, we took photos of the directions and emailed them from Marian’s iPhone to the Kindle. We failed to capture an elevation profile. Green Mountain Road, about 25 miles from out start, would surprise us with an 800 foot climb. With that, we went to lunch.
After returning, we did laundry. We had already used our four sets of bike clothes, and had nothing fresh. The final thing we needed, was procure food for breakfast and lunch on the way to Longview. On our walking tour of the downtown area, we had seen no supermarkets. We used Google to find the nearest Safeway, which was on Hayden Island.
We had no idea a large island divided the Columbia River. The larger channel ran beside Vancouver. Hayden Island was directly across from our motel, connected to Vancouver by the I-5 Bridge. While at Vancouver Cyclery, we had discussed ways to get to Portland, should we use Portland as the starting point to get to the Oregon Coast. They recommended riding the west side, saying the west walkway was wider than the east walkway. Had we carried our panniers, that would have been important. As we prepared for our shopping trip, it began to rain, lightly.
The I-5 Bridge offered an unobstructed view of the Columbia River. We were in no particular hurry, so we stopped to admire the view. We relied on the guard rail to protect us from the traffic streaming by. We pulled out our cameras and took pictures.
We continued over the bridge. Streets, parking lots, and large, box stores sprawled across much of Hayden Island. For whatever reason, our iPhone was not working well, and we navigated over a wide part of the shopping district. Eventually, we found Safeway, and bought our food. We returned, taking the east walkway. We noticed no difference in the width of the two sides.
With a time before supper, we rode around, taking in our last looks at the down-town of Vancouver. Near the I-5 approaches to the bridge, we discovered some arches. We tried to find out what they were for, whether they signified anything. We could not find any plaques or signs to shed light on our ignorance.
Satisfied that we had dotted all the i’s, and crossed all the t’s that we could, we went out to supper. Both on foot, and on our bikes, we had wandered about, with an eye toward eating out. After a little more scouting, we settled on Vinnies, a little Italian pizza place. One of the perks of touring is that, within reason, we could eat as we pleased.
We noticed several things about Vancouver. The down-town area was tidy, orderly, and we felt safe after the sun went down. There were also bike lockers, but they required access cards that had to be purchase. Brick was a favorite building material, often using the deep red brick I prefer. We also noticed large numbers of smokers, far more than in Portland or San Jose. As we walked past restaurants and bars, the smokers would be huddled, in large groups, outside the doors. We picked Vinnes, in part, because of the lack of smokers near the doorway.
After a good supper, we returned to our motel. We knew we had a 50 mile ride to Longview. We felt that special thrill of adventure, knowing we had no ACA maps, or lists of resources. We were winging it. And, it felt like fun.
|Read about our ride from Vancouver to Longview / Kelso|