October 17, 2006
I pack up my reorganized items, minus the Nevada, Utah, and Arizona state road maps. Next I clean and lubricate the chain, and adjust the brakes. The wet debris has significantly shredded the brake pads. I have some pancakes next door and I’m off. The weather is supposed to be better today.
Things cleared up yesterday evening, but looking at the sky now, you’d never know it. I wind through some country roads with steep mountainsides – one of which I have to climb. The trailer parks, narrow hill country, and multiple dogs barking remind me of Kentucky. But people keep their dogs fenced-in around here, so that’s not entirely true.
I descend from here to my old friend, The Columbia River, and pedal west along the north shore. The road runs right next to the water. It’s a sweet ride.
I cross a bridge to Puget Island, which is a peaceful little place with so much of its own character that it feels not of this world. I ride maybe two miles across the flat island, and it seems to have its own agricultural community. One of the only stations on the radio has a show with some very old songs, where all the vocalists have voices like opera singers. I’d think if you grew up in the 1950s, then this must be the stuff that your parents liked. It compliments the mood of the island.
On the other end of the island I take a ferry the rest of the way across the Columbia River, and return to Oregon. Again, there’s no “Welcome to Oregon” sign. WTF? I’m 0-2 on Welcome to Oregon signs. The state of Oregon needs to invest in a few of these puppies.
On the south side of the river I climb to a good height, and stop at a viewpoint that looks back toward Puget Island, and the valley I rode up from. It’s a nice view.
The rest of the way to Astoria is all along the river. I reach the town just after dark, and get a motel room. It’s supposed to rain tonight. Imagine that. Life is good.