Giving In To The Rain and Returning to Longview / Kelso
|Read about our ride from Longview / Kelso to Cathlamet|
We awoke in Cathlamet. We were 101 air miles from Bremerton. We were not far from Astoria, just 21 air and 25 Surly miles away, with 2300 feet of climbing on US-30. Our morning was soggy, grey and overcast. Each time I woke up in the night, it was raining. Hoping for the best, we logged on to the net. The forecast was for rain in Astoria, Nehalem, and Tillamook for the next four days. We had not planned for rain. Had we come two weeks sooner, or two weeks later, we would have missed most of IT. It was unfortunate, but we ran into a June that had 200% of normal precipitation. We had prepared and trained for many things. But the persistent rain surprised us. Marian bore it pretty well, but I found the rain depressing.
We had started in rain, at the beginning of our trip, and we were on course for another long stretch. Our expenses worried me. We had counted on camping to keep our expenses down. But we hadn’t done any camping, all the while, lugging a lot of useless weight around. Marian and I discussed whether to stay put, ride on to Astoria, turn back, or find some other option. Marian objected when I bit the bullet and opined that we should return to Longview, and ask David to pick us up. Only reluctantly, did she give in.
We called David. We surprised him. Although we talked every few days, he had no inkling we would decide to suspend our tour. He had settled in for the long haul. He thought he would be alone, with the pets, for a month or two, not a couple of weeks. As luck would have it, he did not have to work for the next several days. The good sport that he was he agreed to meet us in Longview that evening. Elizabeth, our daughter, agreed to take care of our dog and three cats while David was away.
As we got ready to leave, one of the family members, owning the hotel, greeted us, and ushered us to the, heretofore unsuspected break room / kitchen. We ate oatmeal and muffins. We chatted with him. We told him about ACA,. He had not considered bikers as guests. We gave him the web site, after he expressed interest in getting on the ACA list. Finally, we took our bikes down the elevator and pedaled out-of-town.
We rewound the tape, biking back to Kelso, from Cathlamet. The route was easier than it had been the prior day. We knew what we were facing. Our legs were fresh. Our hearts were not. We did the climbs, early in the ride. We stopped, again, at County Line Park. We passed Coal Creek Road, riding up onto the sidewalk. The furrows of the auto accident were still in the lawn. We made it back to the motel ahead of David. He joined us that evening. We returned to San Jose the next day, stopping in Albany, Oregon, to have an ice cream cone with Susan and Charlie.
I am still surprised at my experience. I began my trip, thinking I was going on an extended bike ride. I my mind, I was going to places, not going on a journey.
Our trip was so much more rich than that. What we were doing, was traveling. We were traveling at a pace forgotten by almost everyone in this day and age. I rode a train, three times, something I had not done since I was a small child, in a time I am not even sure I can remember. I rode on a large ferry, over more open water than I had ever done. I saw, at ground level, Portland and Seattle, two cities I had never visited. I experienced the rain and unending forests of Washington State. And, in my favorite part, we got to ride along the Columbia River for mile after mile, soaking in the magnitude of this marvelous river.
Our bikes brought us to many of the adventures we faced, but the bikes were only part of the story. Some of the most interesting people we met came as a result of bike problems. When Marian’s tire failed, Dave rescued us, and took us to Elma. Terry had the tires we needed, and met me half way in Monteseno. Later, when Marian’s hub started to fail, John put the wheel back together, at almost no cost.
For the most part, the AMTRAK people were amazing, starting with Tom in San Jose. Scott, in Portland was a life saver. The unnamed ticket agent in Centralia restored our faith in the citizens o
f his town when it was most needed. And Linda and her partner in Vancouver steered us to the bike shop we needed.
In other words, we had an adventure. It wasn’t the one we planned, but we wouldn’t trade it for anything. Had our touring ended at this point, I wonder if it would have been worth all the trouble and effort. Our next adventure, the Oregon Coast, redeemed our faith in touring.
|Read our Washington State Daily Logs, which were the source notes for the Washington State articles.|