Day 1- Riding from Astoria to Cannon Beach

I took off at noon time. The adventure begins! Left one empty duffel bag with Pat at the bike shop and the other one with The Girl That Never Sleeps at the check-in desk to the Best Western Hotel where I spent the night. They were happily surprised. There’s no way I could I carry the bags. I have 48 lbs. of stuff plus 42 lbs. of the bike itself.

Started following the map… not this easy! I guess a GPS or an Iphone would have made things easier but I have chosen to keep a low budget and go low tech… a map it is,  a gift from Steve, the Mentor of Monsters, my mentor. The truth is that I didn’t have the money for the Iphone… quite expensive, but I guess it’s inescapable in everyone’s future.

On the Lewis & Clarke Road I met Jameson and Laurel, or they met me, not sure. We became best buddies immediately, I guess this is what bike touring does. They also are starting their journey today, but theirs is a lot longer. They are crossing the country from Astoria to Yorktown, VA. They where in South Korea teaching English for one year, then they did some bike touring in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, came back to the US, and 30 days later here they are starting a new journey. I guess the bike touring bug really exists. I will be telling more about them in the future. Lovely human beings!

Laurel and Jemeson
Joining the explorers!

They were very kind with me, waiting for this old and out-of-shape guy. They moved faster but stopped so I could join them. I asked Jameson, “How come you go so fast uphill, and I take so long?” “Five months of bike touring in Southeast Asia!” he replied with a big smile.

We were in Seaside when Laurel said, “I wish I could have some clam chowder.” Three minutes later we were parking our bikes in front of Tsunami where they have the best clam chowder in the entire world (it is a well-known fact!)

Clam Chowder in Sourdough Bread Bowls
I sang "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You" to Valerie. I told her that I loved her. "I love those who feed me with warm food when I am hungry and cold." She laughed!

After that we had to face the hills… ah, the hills!

Torment for those going uphill, but always followed by joy and freedom in the downhill. I guess that everyone has to pay a price for pleasure.

We got to Cannon Beach and decided to call it a day. Enough of biking in the rain. We were looking for a place to stay, so I asked a lady in the parking lot of the grocery store where we stopped to get some groceries if she knew of a campground. She told us about one she knew and then she left.

Meanwhile, I got a few people to join me in singing together “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me, Higher and Higher!” Everybody now! It was a joyful moment.

We called the campground but it was closed and would only open in two weeks. While we were debating what to do, the lady came back with her husband and invited us to stay at their place. They said we could pitch our tents in their backyard. Nice people. Kindness exists! Let’s go!

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Day 1 – Morning in Astoria

A nice little town, full of kind people. Everyone I met was kind with me. Two movies where filmed here “Goonies” (it was filmed more than 25 years ago, and when I go back home I am going to rent and watch it again!) and “Kindergarten Cop.”

The most beautiful little house in Astoria

I woke up and went for some sightseeing. The bike shop would only be open at 10 A.M. so I had time to spare. I went up to the Astoria Column, as Bob had told me to do. Great suggestion!

 

Astoria Column

When I was about to start climbing the 150+ stairs to get to the top, my friend John called me. He loves nature. He calls me every now and then to describe the sky, the clouds, the sun, the birds, the lizards, and how he is in awe. So, I returned the favor: “John I am on the top of a hill and I am looking at the Columbia river. I see hills and mountains covered with pine trees. I see birds flying. There’s water to my left, to my right, and in front of me. Life is good!”

Columbia River

I went to the bike shop and met Scott and Pat. Great guys! My bike was ready and I took it for a test ride. I went to the Riverwalk, and it was a bad idea. The Riverwalk, or at least the section I was in, was made of wood boards. My front wheel got caught on a rail and I went down. Nothing major. Lost some skin in my left knee and hit the palm of my left hand kind of hard; the pain has been uncomfortable, but nor unbearable. Stood up, and on my way back to the bike shop I met two touring bikers, a couple from Germany, who were looking for the bike shop and I said with confidence (that was a little bruised after I went down), “Follow me!” Got to the bike shop and told Scott, “Two good news: I brought you two new customers, and I fell down.” “How this can be good news?” Pat asked. “Well, if I had to fall down during this trip, no better time to do it than when I am riding slowly, on the first day, actually in the first minutes.”  

Bikes and Beyond, Astoria - The Good Guys: Pat and Scott

They rechecked the bike. Everything was fine and I was ready to go! I am heading to the hotel now. I plan to start biking at noon time.

Wish me luck!

 

www.pierofalci.com