~ Day 8 – Astoria, the mighty Columbia, a bridge to nowhere ~

06/07/2010 – 59.8 miles

What peace there is in the bed of a decent establishment and the wonderful scents of perfumed sheets. Arose about 10:00, peacefully, and slowly set about morning tasks. Made coffee, showered, returned to prepared coffee, checked the weather, slowly repacked everything, leisurely. This was a good place I holed up in.

Out by noon, stopped for the first meal of the day at the first place I encountered. Had a hot turkey club w/ mashed potatoes and gravy. Mmmm. Trucked on along the coast, met two nice girls from Idaho on their way to Colorado (in a round about way). They were lovely. They asked about having a beer in Astoria, but said I didn’t have the wherewithal, and wished them well. Continued on through mountainous terrain and beautiful weather. My right leg, however, is in a very bad way. The knee is grinding and the lower shin is constantly aching. Consequently, I’ve been favoring my left knee and stopping often. It strikes me that Bill was so correct in warning that after 6-7 days of consecutive exertion, the body starts to break down. Yet I’m stubborn and can’t take a day off. Money is short and I’m finding it impossible to justify a day without travel. Its also addictive. Instead I’ve been going at about 75 percent. Went down to the beach today, all the way, for perhaps the first time since the Lost Coast. I believe that speaks to my will to keep moving.

Astoria has been on my mind for quite some time, for several reasons, not least of which because it’s the last stop out of Oregon. But it also has a mystique – the beautiful name, the incredible setting, and of course The Goonies. So I’d been excited to get here for some time. And today was the day. On the way I rolled over a truck weigh station, to discover that my cumulative load is 250 lbs. Not sure what than means.. 185 + 25(bike) + 40(load)? Something like that.

Astoria is olden, salty, sparkling, quaint. A jewel on the mouth of the mighty Columbia. One of the largest original Finnish settlementson the entire west coast, it turns out. Cruised around town, through lovely neighborhoods, admittedly looking for Goonie clues. Not much doing. Eventually crossed the mammoth bridge that spans 4 miles across the Columbia River to bridge Oregon and Washington. The feat of this bridge is stunning, especially when considering what it bridges – Astoria, to absolutely nothing on the Washington side for miles and miles in any direction. What a capital project, what a rich nation.

Once in Washington, rode some beautiful river shore stretch along the Columbia to eventually find a suitable side-of-the-road camp set up. Here it is, in the middle of nowhere, with no cell reception and a moaning forest. I am all alone, and feel OK. Veggie chile and avocado, coke, yogurt, and an orange for dinner. I feel very, very much alive.


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