Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Other Ocean

Portland to St. Helens, OR

We spent our time in Portland with our good friend, Abigail Tjaden. She took us out to an awesome Indian street food restaurant called Bollywood. Afterwards, she treated us to ice cream at Salt & Straw. It was a very "Portland" establishment, the kind where they name their dairy cows, experiment with flavors like lavender with honey and pear with blue cheese, and make a product that is 1% milk fat away from being butter. It was awesome!
Highway 30: Like a dream!

We spent the night in "Fort Awesome" where she lives. No joke - she lives in a house with a name, and a historical (sort of) sign to vouch for it!

The next morning was a slower start after Abby made a couple of fresh quiches for her neighbors, and even shared with us. We had an easy day out of Portland and made the most of the designated bike lanes and bridges as we left town. Our route took us by the University of Portland, where I had attended my freshman year of college. The area was also familiar to me because we followed about miles 19-24 of the Portland Marathon - something I remember all too well from running it with my friend, Kristin, in 2007. As we biked, we would remain on Highway 30 until we were nearly at the ocean. Highway 30 has an awesome shoulder, and the stretch we were on is actually part of the Seattle to Portland annual bike ride.

As we approached our destination of St. Helens, WA a strange car pulled in front of us and waved us down. It was, of course, David's parents who would be joining us for the remainder of the trip. We were so glad to see more familiar faces, and maybe a little excited to hand them our heavy bags and trailer. Over dinner I explained to everyone how St. Helens is actually the hometown of my good friend, Katee Sackhoff, who you might know as Starbuck from Battlestar Gallactica. So yeah, I was pretty stoked about that.

St. Helens to Seaside, OR

The next morning we made quick work of the 70 miles to Astoria. We felt great and were FAST on the relatively flat and wide-shouldered Highway 30. We met my dad and step-mom in Astoria, where my dad was saddled up and ready to join us for our FINAL leg of 23 miles to Seaside, OR and the Pacific Ocean. Earlier that day, a truck driver asked us where we were biking to. "The ocean," I said. When he asked where we had biked from, I couldn't help but grin. "The other ocean." Yep, the glee was finally starting to sink in!
Our final mileage was 3,060 miles

My dad kept pretty good pace with us as we took off, eager to see our journey's end. The only thing louder than his protests at how fast we were was our own bike's screams of agony. We had opted out of a pricey and lengthy repair in Portland and our bike was hurting because of it. She kept jumping gears, especially as we climbed the bigger hills, and the grinding ca-thunk of metal on metal had me shuddering every time. Towards the end I began stroking her frame and coaxing her towards the ocean. "We're so close, girl! I'll carry you if that's what it takes, but we are making it to that ocean!" Once we hit our last hill and began our fast downhill cruise into town, I knew we were golden.

The Pacific Ocean

It felt fitting to have our picture taken at the statue of Lewis and Clark gazing upon the Pacific. The statue marked their journeys end, and after following their route for so many miles, I felt a little bit of comradery with them. We were at our journey's end too. Except we had a room in a Shiloh Inn. And that inn (this is for you, Rita!) had a steam room. So yeah, maybe a little better off than good ol' Meriwether - who probably also didn't have parents to take him out for scallops and champagne.

Anyway, it felt weird, being done. Some people have likened our arrival at the Pacific Ocean to the end of Forest Gump's jog across the country, where he stops in his tracks and says "I'm pretty tired... I think I'll go home now." We had run out of country to cross, so we supposed might as well go home. And we did. Keep an eye out for a future post: "We're Done... What Now?!"