Today, we woke up in Astoria, again. We had hoped to be out of here on Monday, but it didn't work out. It turned out for the better though, because I'm pretty sure I was getting a cold, but with a slow day yesterday and a good night's sleep, it's gone now! I'm so glad.
Bright and early, Nathan and I organized our stuff, divided it into our 8 panniers, and headed out to find a parking lot to practice in. Figuring out what to wear was kind-of a challenge. We have all spandex and other sporty clothing, and it all feels a little weird to wear. Nathan picked out his outfit not problem, but I think I changed clothes at least 3 times!
Walking our fully loaded bikes to a parking lot was an adventure in itself. They feel SO different all loaded down with gear. We think each bike weighs 65 lbs...pretty different from the 20 lbs the bikes weigh when they're unloaded. I began having second thoughts almost immediately. The bikes just felt so heavy and tipsy; I was sure I would fall. Nathan, my rock, felt fine. It turns out my fears were premature, and after just a few minutes of riding around the parking lot, we both felt great and ready to start our ride!
So we took off over a big bridge and headed West towards the Pacific ocean. It turns out Astoria is not actually on the coast, it's about 4 or so miles from it. So we started our Easterly trip by heading West (haha).
Our maps didn't take us to the Pacific, so we had to find our own way. Nathan decided to take a street that looked like a pretty straight shot to the ocean. The good news is: it was definitely a straight shot to the ocean. The bad news....well, check out the video:
SAND DUNES...is that crazy or what?! It's the first day and we already had to push our bikes through sand dunes!
As soon as we finished cleaning the sand out of our shoes (and helped the RV back up and turn around), we headed back over the big bridge into Astoria for our first repair stop. Yup, my bike was already acting up. The gears were skipping, which means instead of shifting nicely one gear at a time, they skipped gears and shifted on their own and were generally very annoying. We got a quick tune up and we were on our way.
By the coast, we saw a sign I've never seen before:
We want to average 60 miles per day, but we only made it 35.6 miles today. The thing that made it so hard is that Oregon is REALLY HILLY! All we did was ride up and down hills. One hill was a mile long! Can you even imagine pedaling a bike uphill for a MILE?! It was hard - nothing like Texas - but we did it.
At the top of the mile-long hill, we saw another biker on the other side of the road heading West. We stopped and shouted across the road at each other between passing cars. It was kind-of fun. We told him he had a big down-hill ahead of him, and he told us that up by Rainier (many miles away), we had a big uphill ahead of us. I think we gave him better news.
Only part way through the day today, I was totally wiped out. Here's a picture of me in the middle of the day.
By the time we got to our campground, we were both exhausted! We pushed our bikes up the gravel driveway only to find that all of the campsites were full. Then, these two really nice ladies let us use their site for the night, so we set up our tent in their site. They are both widows and are part of a singles adventure group. They've been all over biking, hiking, kayaking, you name it. They felt like heroes to us :-)
They shared their food with us and "oohed" and "ahhed" over our panniers and all of our gear. It was some good mothering, and, especially after a long, hard day, we ate it all up! Here they are admiring Nathan's sewing skills :-)
Oh, and today is our monthly anniversary; woo-hoo! It's our 50th monthly anniversary, to be exact. 50 good months.