When we looked at our route for today, there wasn’t much at all along the way. We were going to have to ride almost 50 miles to reach Astoria, Oregon. And there’s only one very small town along the way with a possible grocery or convenience store. With that in mind we made an early departure from our motel in South Bend, Washington. The morning was slightly foggy and looking out over the mud flats of Willapa Bay gave the eerie impression that the earth dropped away past the expanse of mud.
Our ride consisted of rolling hills and slight headwinds. We took turns drafting off each other to make things easier. There really wasn’t much out there so when we passed an old school building we took advantage of the benches on the porch to stop for lunch. I tried the door on a whim and it was unlocked. Nice. Now we were able to actually sit at one of the tables inside to make our peanut butter sandwiches. Caroline opted for her usual peanut butter and Nutella, I had one PB&J and one peanut butter and banana. Not bad for roadside lunch.
Eventually we came out of the constant trees and had a nice open view of distant hills with fog creeping over the edges of the hills. Then it was back to lots of trees and a long slow climb with a bit of a headwind. Caroline was frustrated with the ride at this point today and asked me if I was having fun. I tried to explain that it’s not exactly “fun”, but I couldn’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing than biking down the coast with her. I usually think of bike touring as a decent amount of work, but with a payoff of great scenery along the way. Well, after this last climb and subsequent downhill, I felt a little vindicated as we reached the Columbia River.
The Columbia River was incredibly wide at this point and the panoramic views were really scenic. Looking across the river we could barely see the tops of some Oregon hills above a layer of fog. One our side of the river, the sun was shining and the contrast of the blue sky and the white fog was really nice. We turned west and headed towards the bridge that took us across into Oregon. We rode into a light fog as we approached the bridge and started across. There was a small shoulder so we stopped a few times to lean towards the curb when large trucks passed us from behind. We also stopped once when Caroline spotted a seal splashing in the water next to the bridge. The most remarkable part of crossing the 4.1 mile bridge was that when we were in the middle we couldn’t see either end due to the fog. It was an eerie feeling to see nothing but the water all around and the bridge stretching away in front and behind us. At the south end of the bridge we had to climb a rise in the bridge and navigate a construction zone, but we made it across into Astoria. Whew!
After that slightly stressful bridge crossing we were eager to relax in our hotel. We’ve decided to stay here two nights to rest and sight-see in Astoria. Our friends, Cody and Mary Ann, were here in Astoria earlier this summer and they both recommended it as a nice town to visit. Considering the long day we had I feel pretty good, except for my butt, that is. I’m still breaking in my new leather saddle and so it might be a while before that gets more comfortable. We walked downtown for a dinner overlooking the river before calling it a night.