Route: Roosevelt, WA to The Dalles, OR
Saya’s (age 6) quote of the day: “Daddy, this is my happiest day. I blew a bubblegum bubble for the first time.”
I awoke just as the sun was starting to climb over the riverside bluffs beneath thin drifts of clouds, gentle brush strokes in the sky. I stood by the glistening, quietly lapping waters of the Columbia River, appreciating the scene, and vowed to watch the sun rise more often. If you can slow down long enough and lose yourself in a sunrise, I swear you can hear the universe breathing.
Last night’s full moon was special. It had appeared over the bluffs not far from where the sun was now rising, a full glowing orb demanding your attention. The moon had just been at perigee, the closest point it would get to earth this cycle, when its circumference is noticeably larger than normal, and when it exerts maximum gravitational pull. It was also a blue moon, meaning it was the third of four full moons in a season. That’s rare, as the phrase “once in a blue moon” implies. The next blue moon won’t happen until 2015.
As I stood quietly by the water’s edge, appreciating this beautiful scene, I felt privileged. Not just to enjoy a gorgeous sunrise, but to have spent nearly two months cycling with my children, slowing down time before they grow up and leave home. Our ride will soon end, and I’ve started to savor the fleeting moments that remain.
Sho, Saya and my sister Becky were soon up, and after disassembling our tents and loading gear on our bikes, we shared breakfast with Jim, the other cyclist with whom we had bonded during last night’s battle, which I decided to call “Sprinklermageddon.” Jim, who had recently retired, was headed east, riding solo for a few months across the U.S. He had been diagnosed three years ago with Type 1 diabetes, but didn’t let that keep him from taking this ambitious trek. I love people like that – no excuses. Just figure out how to do what you set out to do.
Becky, Sho, Saya and I cycled around 55 miles today through the Columbia Gorge, spoiled by a series of beautiful vistas. The conical, snow-covered form of Mount Hood came into view, the first mountain in the Cascade chain we’ve seen, drawing appreciative oohs and ahhs from Sho and Saya. We made it to The Dalles, the end of the overland Oregon Trail and where Lewis & Clark set up camp in 1805 and again in 1806. Before then, Native Americans had lived and traded in this area for some ten thousand years.
We were treated to a dramatic sunset, ruddy clouds glowing for a few minutes before finally fading to gray. It was a fitting end to a day that was full of reminders to slow down, quiet your mind and appreciate each moment like a gift.
Here are some pics:
Sunrise over the Columbia River
Sho starting to disassemble the tent
Sho, Saya and I with Jim, our fellow soldier in Sprinklermageddon
View from the road
My sister Becky, Saya and Sho
With Saya and a passing train. Mt. Hood in the distance.
The cycling crew
Sunset from The Dalles