ASTORIA, OR TO ARCATA, CA
711 MILES IN, 1,064 TO GO
The sunset as viewed from the highest point in Astoria was one of the most beautiful any of us had ever experienced. A brilliant red sky reflected across the wide panorama of the mouth of the Columbia River. It seemed to last forever and was a fitting conclusion to our first day in Oregon.
The next morning, we crossed a long bridge and headed south to phenomenal coastal scenery. Huge rocks protruding from a foaming ocean offering views not visible on the east coast. Tall cliffs rising above long sandy beaches beckoned us to come down and stay awhile. The road took us down and close to the shore at one point and then lead us away and over high and heavily forested hills before offering a fast downhill back to another beach. What a ride!
The welcome downhills, of course, are followed or preceded by seriously difficult uphill pedaling which is not necessarily enjoyable. At first, I resented the hills because we do not encounter them in Florida. However, I soon thought "Get over it. Every other state has hills so just get used to them." Soon after that point, it was decided that the uphills are worth it to experience those great downhill runs.
Along with the amazing natural scenery, we have spotted 8-10 whales and several seals and sea lions. There undoubtedly were many more but we had to move on each time. It was enjoyable reading the names of various spots along the way. Seal Point. Otter Cove. Sea Lion Cave. Salmon Harbor. And we could not think of a nicer home address than Pacific Sands Drive. The cutest name of all was Lois Lane.
The weather has been quite cool. We have not seen the warm California sun referred to in song since entering the state several days ago. Temperatures yesterday never rose above the mid-50's. Brrr. At noon today, it was only 57 with a forecast for low 60's later in the day. Again, quite a contrast to the heat and humidity of the southeastern US.
One of the pleasures of bicycling is to be able to stop at a second's notice to observe any possibility that may arise. A particular joy is to stop and pick blackberries which have been in abundance along our path. On last year's ride, the easy pickings usually had been taken and we had to endure countless scratches to secure our harvest. This time, however, there are so many opportunities that we even can enjoy them without getting off the bike. At some point in our ride, all of us have had purple fingers.
Over 40% of our ride has now been completed. The legs are tired but with this being a rest day, we should be ready for tomorrow's hills. I hope so because the first one is over 1,800' tall with an 800 and several smaller ones to follow. I think we can do it, though--one pedal stroke at a time.
Tip of the day:
Expect great things and great things will happen.