Like yesterday, the forecast predicted I would get wet at some point. The French couple I had met yesterday got on the road ahead of me. As I left South Bend, WA, the mental jukebox and Johnny Nash teamed up to challenge and mock me with “I Can See Clearly Now “. Today’s ride summary is here.
About 4 or 5 miles down the road, I caught up with my 2 French friends. Keeping true to my anti-social nature, I passed them and wished them well. Over the next 32 miles, the rain caught up with us. The rain was never heavy or long, but it was regular enough to keep the roads and riders wet. There were no services available any where along the first 31 miles of today’s 68 mile ride. I took a couple of nature breaks in secluded areas along the road. By the time I got to the Shell station at 31 miles, I was wet and tired. Fortunately, I was able to get hot coffee, breakfast sandwich, and a place to sit down. I probably rested, ate, connected, and recovered for more than 45 minutes.
When I got back on the road, I once again caught up with my French friends about 5 miles down the road. Staying true to my namesake, I once again said my peace and went on ahead without them. When I got within 3 miles of Astoria, the bridge came into view. This was not just any bridge. It goes for 4 miles! While bikes are allowed, the shoulder is not especially wide. Even for me, it can be stressful. The final half mile is a fairly steep up hill climb. Because I had stopped for a photo opportunity in a park just before the bridge, the French couple had closed the gap. I thought they might like some pictures as they got on the bridge, so, I waited and let them go ahead of me. When there was a long break in the traffic, I pulled ahead of them for the third time. After all, I am the Lone Rider! Also, I was hoping to get a picture of them at the end of the bridge. Yesterday, they had told me they had planned on staying in Astoria. I took some pictures as they got off the bridge, then we said our goodbyes and I headed down the street for a celebratory beer.
When I have beer, I like to be balanced, so I like to eat something with it. The bowl of chowder and grill cheese needed 2 beers to maintain balance.
It was another 18 miles to my warm showers host, Neil, in Seaside, OR. Because of his location, he is a very popular host. He has everything you need and has instructions for where to find things, how to get wifi, and local resources. For both of us, it was all business. By this time it was already past 6 PM. I showered, started laundry, hooked up my electronics to charge, then spent 30 minutes cleaning up Hidalgo. The rain creates an environment that coats the bike, the panniers, and me with all manner of road debris. Yesterday, the top of my socks were black from road grit. Hidalgo’s wheels need wiped to insure the brakes can grip without a layer of road debris.
Each day has been a little shorter in distance, but I haven’t gotten any more rest. These last 2 days’ weather meant more time needed for Hidalgo maintenance. Today did not have as many hills, but it had a lot of head wind. Even going downhill, I had difficulty going more than 15 mph at times because of the wind. Even though I complain about PUDs (Pointless Ups and Downs), wind is even worse. The final reason the days have been so long is that my anti-social tendencies seem to be waning. There have been several chance encounters and warm showers hosts that have presented wonderfull opportunities to find fast friendships. It’s all part of the adventure!
The Lone Rider