Day One!! Done!!
I know you have all been waiting, as we have, to get this trip underway!! And today was the day!! So I guess the best place to start would be the beginning!
Despite the much anticipated start to the trip, we lingered in the hotel much longer than I thought we would! Alarm went off at 6:00 AM, but that hesitation and nerves persisted! Double checking everything, finding a place for those last minute little things you need during the day. We have changed some of the methods we carry things so it will take a while to find a place of convenience for all the little bits. We did plan ahead yesterday and shopped for breakfast to eat this morning before we left since our hotel did not supply it! They did offer a good cup of coffee, that's the next best thing
We finally struggled to get the bicycles out of the room and on the road! First obstacle, was in the room! I had laid my bike (Xena!) against the wall and loaded up my bags . . . Only to find i could not maneuver her around the very narrow corner at the end of the bed and the wall!! Oops! But we managed to just lift her up and over and out the door we went!
We started off with the first stroke of luck on the trip. We booked the hotel close to the airport for ease in returning the rental car. I had worked for several hours trying to get my bearings straight on our location and where exactly we could pick up the Adventurre Cycling Bike Trail. Hard to co-ordinate and figure it out when two different maps show different streets, it was just difficult. So I turned on Google maps . . . Right across the street from the hotel was the Columbia Slough Bicycle Trail which led us directly to where it was easy to pick up the Adventure Cycling route! So we got off to a grand start! Lovely trail, tranquil parks, no cars and no problem! We hooked up with our planned route at the St John's Bridge and carried on from there. It was mostly flat to rolling almost the whole way. It was just what we needed on the first day! The perfect pace to work off the side effects of 4,500 miles in a car for a week!! Stopped for a bit of lunch, Subway always provides a nutritious and enjoyable lunch stop for us! We wowed a few people in line with our story when asked about our bikes! Never get tired of sharing that story or enjoying the look on people's face when they ask "where are you headed"???? Key West Florida!!! It never gets old to share stories!!
We were following highway 30 from Portland, after lunch the traffic seemed to thin down a bit. Ha, but not before some sort of VW Low Rider rally thing went zooming past us! Not one car but somewhere between 50 and sounding like a hundred screaming speeding VW's of various description racing to somewhere! We guessed it must be a rally, and they were all trying to beat a time clock! At least is was a 4 lane highway so there was room for them to pass. Once they passed it got rather quiet and peaceful for a good distance. We pedaled happily along feeling pretty proud of our first day, going a little further than we thought and doing it fairly comfortably! And then . . .
Nothing is that easy right?? Because we had been following the Columbia River Valley, it was nice and rolling . . .until we got to Rainier. Cute little town. Mike suggested a cute little hotel, but I thought we needed to just get on with it and start camping! The campsite we had planned on stopping at was only about another 3 miles up the road. UP being the interesting word here. No more rolling hills as we gasped at the site ahead of us! Where did that come from?? A road that looked like a wall winding upwards a disappearing up and off in the distance.Certainly it would flatten out just around that bend up ahead! It was very very difficult! It was gruelling! Way more than we had hoped for on the first day! It was tough but what made it ugly for me was the racing traffic and very stingy shoulder! It was so nerve wracking as the cars could not or would not slow down even the tiniest bit! We were moving so slow it was hard to hold a straight line with my bike! It took a few stops at the more generous space offered by the overlook viewpoints and a few f*bombs from Mike (what ever it takes Mike! Keep pedaling!) but we were able to push on!!
We finally reached what felt like and looked like the top and make the turn off to our campspot. We immediately left the noisey rushing traffic and entered a tranquil, tree lined lane and peace! A lovely spot!
Now I am not one to complain about sore muscles, but my quads are burning like I can never remember them burning! Mike is feeling the same! Oh dear, this is only the first day!! But we are in a beautiful place for the evening! The tent is up, the bikes under cover and we are all showered fed and ready for a good night's rest! The sound of little girls singing is trickling thru the air, the smell of campfires is floating thru the trees and making me think of marshmallows! The day is ending in a very satisfying and comforting way.
So the two things i learned (or reminded myself of ) today! In no particular order 1) check the topo map for the planned daily route! No more surprises at the end of the day! 2) check the water pressure in all the showers BEFORE you get undressed for the shower!!! That is my funny story for the day! When i turned on the shower it was like all the water of a fire hose forced thru a straw!! The most narrow forced water stream i have ever seen come out of a shower head! It hurt!! I had to laugh!! At least it was hot water! I did put it too good use and let the hard stream of water pummel my poor stiff quads! Like a wonderful warm water pressure therapy! I am sure it worked as my legs have felt better! Dr Di has prescribed for both so us, 2 Tylenol and a good stretching routine to help get us back on the road tomorrow!
Thanks for checking in on the first day! I am sure all the wonderful prayers for safety and well being have been answered! Thank you all for your help!!! Tomorrow should be a lot easier as we are already more than half way to Astoria.
Have a wonderful relaxing night everyone and thanks again for joining us!! Love you all!!