Route: Rainier to Astoria, OR
Progress to date (in red):
Quote of the day by Saya (age 6) upon reaching Astoria, OR, the end of our 1700-mile bike trip: “We made it. We really made it! Can I have some ice cream?”
The highlight of today’s (and yesterday’s) ride was the fact that my wife Eiko was with us. Saya gave her hugs at every opportunity, telling her with a serious face, “I don’t want to be away from you that long again.” Since Eiko met us in Portland, Sho has said, “I love you, Mommy” more times than I can count. I feel the same.
The most unexpected experience on today’s ride came as we cycled on Highway 30 out of the town of Clatskanie. A police car raced past us, lights flashing, and pulled to the side of the road just ahead at the edge of a cow-filled pasture. I could see three more police cars positioned along the perimeter of the field further up the road. Just as we passed the second car, the police officer inside announced through a bullhorn, “Give yourself up! We have you surrounded and are bringing out a dog to sniff you out. You have no chance of escape. Please turn yourself in now.” Several cows nearby paused mid-chew and looked up as if to say, “What? I didn’t do anything.” We continued pedaling and never found out if the fugitive was caught. But Sho and Saya talked about the event for the rest of the ride, pointing out potential culprits and speculating on the details of the unfolding drama.
When he first saw the Pacific Ocean on November 7, 1805, William Clark famously wrote in his journal, “Ocian in view! O! The joy.” He was actually at the Columbia River estuary and needed a couple more weeks to reach the ocean, but it’s the sentiment that counts. I enjoyed a similar sense of elation upon reaching Astoria, the end of over 1700 miles and nearly two months of cycling along the Lewis & Clark Trail with my kids. When I asked Saya how she felt about her accomplishment, including pedaling over the Rocky Mountains, she said, “I already told you before, I knew I could do it.” Sho said, “I was confident we’d make it, but the trip was really hard.”
For extra credit, we plan to ride another 20 miles tomorrow to Seaside (the official end of the Lewis & Clark Trail), stopping on the way at the replica of Fort Clatsop, where the Corps of Discovery spent the winter of 1805-6. They stayed along the Pacific coast for 106 days, and it rained all but twelve of those days. Fittingly, the air was damp and cool, and the sky was full of clouds throughout today’s hilly ride. We were greeted in Astoria by a misty rain typical of the Pacific Northwest.
The barks of harbor seals filled the air, as we stared out at the mighty Pacific Ocean. Gray clouds covered the sky and darkened the water. I pulled my family close and smiled at the scene, a fleeting moment that would soon pass. But one made sweet by the effort it took to arrive here.
Here are some pics:
Eiko and Saya taking a break during a climb
With Sho and Saya during the ride
Reaching the top of several long climbs today
In Astoria with Eiko, Sho and Saya
We made it!