Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Yep, today started out chilly and cloudy, but it cleared up again mid-morning and became quite warm by mid-afternoon. We didn't see any temperature readings then, but it felt like high 80's by the time we ended the day. We left Longview around 7:30, having had breakfast at a place right next to our motel, and headed back over that really high bridge back into Oregon. The traffic was fairly light this morning so it didn't rattle nearly as much, thankfully. There were huge stacks of logs on the Washington side of the river, maybe even more so than the Oregon side. We followed the Columbia again today, not close enough to see a lot of the time. We did see marshes and valleys and lots of forests, though. At one point, we startled a blue heron who flew off a little ways and settled back down again in the high grasses. We stopped to see if I could get a photo without scaring him off and I did manage to get one before his mate came squawking over and the two of them flew off. Unfortunately, I didn't get one of the two of them in flight.
We passed through a few small towns again today, stopping to eat lunch at one of them. Pat noticed the front tire was soft and we kept riding until we got to the next town, St. Helens, thinking we'd find a good place to sit and change it. What we found was a bike shop and Pat decided it would be nice to let someone else fix it so we went in. After a long struggle (our Kevlar tires are hard to get on and off), we had a new inner tube on and we stopped next door at a Chicago-style sandwich shop for lunch. This was the second time Pat let someone else change a tire for him, the last time being in Tempe, AZ when we had to get a new rim for the front tire, and this time ended the same as the last one - after another 30 miles or so, the tire blew and he had to change it again.
We had a long day today, 68 miles, the longest we've done in a while. The route was mostly quite flat so it went fairly quickly and uneventfully. We approached Portland after about 48 miles and meandered through its residential streets for about 10 more miles, passing a bit of the University of Portland. We began to see glimpses of snow-covered Mount Hood in the distance; it looked quite ethereal, a large white peak hovering against a pale blue sky. We had to go across the St. John's bridge across the Willamette River, an offshoot of the Columbia, to get into Portland. The bridge was a beautiful old bridge, designed by the same person who designed the Golden Gate, we found out later. The road to the bridge and the bridge itself were both quite narrow and had lots of traffic, including a fair number of trucks. The bridge, at least, had two lanes each way but no shoulder, so we had to take up a whole lane. Luckily, it was pretty short. From there, we worked our way back over to the Columbia River and had an early dinner at a place on the river. Then we headed along the river to 205, getting much better views of Mount Hood as well as the Portland airport, which we went right by.
After some difficulty, we found our way onto the bike path for 205. It turned out to be a lane in-between the north- and south-bound lanes of traffic. We were glad to be out of the traffic, because at this point it was rush hour and there were lots of cars zooming both ways between Portland and Vancouver, on the Washington side. The bridge was low on the water (which I liked) but tended uphill towards Washington, the most climb we'd had all day. It was a long bridge, about 2 miles, and crossed an island midway. This bike path is where our tire went, so at least we were out of traffic when we had to change it. We had a little difficulty finding our way around after we reached the Washington side, but we managed to find Dick and Dorothy's home after a bit, arriving around 6 pm. Dorothy had some delicious home-made strawberry cheesecake waiting for us, just the thing after a long, hot day of riding. We quickly felt at home and had a nice chat with the two of them over cheesecake and coffee. Then we set to work on our website and went to bed. We finished the day at 68 miles in 6-1/4 bike hours, a good average considering how long a day it was. Tomorrow, we continue to relax at Dick and Dorothy's for our rest day.