To Astoria 104km
To Nehalem 85km
Yep. I'm excited. Ju arrives in the morning. Myles reckons she will take a couple of hours to get through Immigration, but Brittany reckons we should get there a bit earlier, perhaps 90 minutes after she lands. No problem to me. I hardly sleep. And then Ju rings 45 minutes after she lands.... "I'm through. Where are you?" Oooops. Luckily it's only a 20 minute drive from home....... But then, Ju has told me Terminal 5...... and we can't find her. Another loop, and I spot her outside Terminal 2...... Woohooo.
She's tired, but a breakfast revives her, followed by a walk to the beach..... then it's a long snooze. That gives me time to finish packing Fiona for our flight to Portland. Thank you Myles and Brittany for your wonderful hospitality. You made Ju's arrival so easy.
I've joined Uber, and have ordered a SUV for the early morning trip back to the airport. With two bikes and panniers it seemed the best idea, and in fact it works really well. Then the check in with Southwestern Airlines was really easy as well. Smooth travel. Ju has been in touch with Chris in Portland. "Come and stay at my house. My brother has a Pizza place and sells craft beers...." Sounds great. He also suggests the MAX train, from the airport out to Hillsboro. So easy, and the train travellers in Portland are so polite compared with those in Los Angeles. Our fare is $5, and the ticket machine spits out 15 dollar coins in change..... I didn't even know the USA had dollar coins. My right pocket feels very heavy. We jump off the MAX, and put our bikes together in the shade of some trees next to the platform, and cycle the 3km to Chris's house....so easy.
Chris, Tony, and Jacqueline take us to his brother Zac's pizza and beer place (Pizza Schmiza, I think), then show us around Portland. There has been a huge cycling festival in the city today. There are bicycles everywhere. The whole city has a really cool vibe going on, but before we fall for it, we are warned that it rains seven months of the year. Oh well.
Chris has shown us a route out of the city, and all the way to the coast, but before we leave I need to post our bike bags to LA, Ju needs to buy a sleeping mat, I need a new Sim card, we need to stock up with food, and most importantly, we have a coffee date with Anicka and Coradyn. It's a bit of a rush, but we make it to coffee on time. So great to see Anicka, and meet Coradyn. Perhaps next time will be in NZ. Then Ju gets lost, looking for REI. How could I lose her, when I've just found her???? My fault entirely. I should have known she had gone inside through the back door..... Sorry my love......
Eventually we hit Chris's route. It's fantastic. Very little traffic, scenic, and no hills, following a pretty river. A great way for Ju to get into the groove, and for the first time in a long while, I'm not chasing a deadline. My reason for cycling so fast, is now cycling with me. I just have to get her to slow down.... After 80ish kms, we find a lovely spot near a lake to camp. Ju pretends she's really tired.
Day two is more beautiful scenery, with a little climbing, with once again very little traffic. It takes us to Astoria, the oldest settlement west of the Mississippi. This time Ju really is tired. She's cycled her first 100km day, and there is no where to camp. We find a Motel, and a Mexican restaurant. We are both smiling, me at the fantastic burrito, Ju at the huge margarita. Me at having spent two whole days with my lovely wife. Ju at the hot shower, and comfortable bed. Me at reaching the Pacific Coast again, and at Lisa Carrington winning a Gold Medal, Ju at the coffee machine in the corner, and a guaranteed coffee before cycling tomorrow.
Day three and we start south. But what's this...."Road Closed". Perhaps we will be able to sneak through. ...... Nope. It's a 5km back track, but we find a nice breakfast spot, and meet a Korean cyclist, touring from the Arctic Circle to Patagonia. Hmmmm. Wasn't that my original plan? Yes it was, but I'm really glad to be heading home with my gal. This coastal route is stunning. The weather is really good. Not too warm, and not wet, as it can be here. So far we have been very lucky. Some of the towns are very busy, it's still holidays here, and at times the road is very busy, but mostly we have a good shoulder to ride on. We arrive at Nehalem State Park to our first Hiker/Biker campsite. The campsite is full, but there are special sites for cyclists, and we only pay $6..... what a deal. Oh how lucky am I? I'm doing something I love, and I'm sharing it with my love. Yep. I'm smiling.