Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Day 58 Daunted Courage, August 26, 2013

Quote of the day:  Rolling his eyes and making a face, Sho (age 12) described his sister Saya: “She's so blechhh.”  Saya (age 6) responded about Sho: “He's so blechhh.”  Ah, siblings…

National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel blog just published a piece I wrote about this trip, which includes a short video with excerpts from our ride up Lemhi Pass.  You can check it out here:

My friends Brad and Lisa live on Portland’s NW Skyline Drive in a glorious home that sits along a ridgeline with stunning views of the Columbia River Gorge and the Cascades mountain chain.  I awoke this morning in a second story guest room and watched the sun slowly climb over mist-covered fir trees, its rays illuminating the distant snow-covered mountains.  I marveled at how quickly the summer had passed, how this exhausting, stimulating, overwhelming, amazing bike trip with my kids would soon become just a collection of memories.  With 100 miles to go before reaching the end of our ride at the Pacific Ocean, I’ve already started to miss the trip.  But my body is also ready to take a break from the bike.  Sho and Saya seem to feel the same.  Early on today’s ride, Saya said, “Daddy, I just don’t feel like sitting on a bicycle right now.”

The ride from Brad and Lisa’s house down Cornelius Pass Road was dangerous, a fairly steep descent with no shoulder, lots of blind curves and steady traffic.  We stopped frequently to allow cars and trucks to pass, made it down safely and soon were on Highway 30, which runs parallel to the Columbia River and will take us to Astoria, our final destination on the Oregon coast.  The shoulder was broad enough to keep us perfectly safe, and the quiet, tree-lined river flowing to our right offered a pleasant distraction.  But it was not a particularly pleasant road for cyclists, as the loud traffic was nearly constant.  The driver of a pick-up truck revved his engine as he passed, spewing a cloud of black smoke all over us.  “I think he did that on purpose,” Sho said, making a face and fanning away the exhaust.

When a bald eagle soared overhead toward the river, we pulled our bikes to a stop to get a better look.  Just then, a red compact car pulled to a stop behind us, and a short, plump middle-aged woman stepped out.  She wore a t-shirt that said “World’s Best Grandma” and seemed to be missing a few teeth.  She bypassed Eiko and the kids and approached me with a wily grin.  “I’ve run out of gas and wondered if you might be able to help me.”  Living in New York City, I hear variations of that line all the time.  It’s just a scam to try to get money out of you, and I wasn’t going for it.  I gave her a disappointed look and said, “I watched you pull your car to a stop behind us.  I highly doubt that you happened to run out of gas at this very moment.”  She immediately gave up and retreated to her car.  We resumed cycling, and she passed us a few minutes later.

We stopped for the day in Rainier, a small town about 50 miles from the coast, and stayed in a motel.  Before going to bed, we had a video call with Arisa, Sho and Saya’s 22-year-old cousin who is battling cancer and has been in the hospital in Tokyo since January.  She has lost her hair but not the sparkle of fun in her eyes, and she made Saya laugh with her silly jokes, just like always. 

Here are some pics:
Starting today's ride

Eiko and Sho about to leave Brad & Lisa's house

On the road.  Eiko and Sho = happy.  Saya = fussy.

Sho holding a metal piece that was lodged in his tire.  After this discovery, he got to practice changing a flat tire...

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