Day 1 is in the bag! Despite oppressive heat, last minute gear changes, and a million other minor setbacks my tour officially started around 9:30 AM out of Astoria, OR. The destination is Yorktown, VA over 4200 miles east across mountains, rivers and valleys. Highlights along the way will include the days riding along the Pacific northwest, Yellowstone, the deserts of Colorado, and the historic bike routes in Virginia and other eastern states (I’m not trying to short change the East coast I just really don’t know what the route passes by!). I have 2.5 months to complete it which may be tight. It really depends on the daily mileage. Overall I’m not stressing. Even if I don’t make it all the way this ride is still going to be a hell of an adventure and that’s the thing that matters.
Now, back to today. As previously described it sure was a hot one today. Record breaking in fact, with Portland reaching 112. On the coast it was much more bearable but still reaching up at least to the 90s and above 100 at times. Hydration was therefore key and I went through 2-3 bottles and several lemonades just staying hydrated. Frankly I should have drank more, I can feel a dehydration headache setting in as I write this.
After staying up until 1:15 AM triple checking my gear and finishing up the last bit of work my wakeup time of 5:15 rolled around very quickly. Excitement got me out of bed though and we left the hotel in Portland by 6:30. After a two hour drive to the start point in Astoria and final preflight checks it was time to go. I rolled away around 9:30 and the ride had finally begun:
I looped West then South through Astoria and made my way over Young’s River towards Miles Crossing. I met my support car there (my mom) and confirmed that everything was working well. We said goodbye and she headed South while I headed West towards Lewis and Clark National Historic Monument. It was gorgeous in the park, but I didn’t stop to figure out what it was commemorating:
The route continued south through small farm roads inland. At this point I got my first lesson in Oregon weather: microclimates. While the coast was cool and breezy, inland was over 100 (a rider who passed me said 104). It got so hot that the tar in the roads was bubbling and the bubbles would pop when I rode over them. Suffice to say I was happy when I made it to Seaside for my first stop. I sat by the water and ordered a crab melt and lemonade. After rehydrating it was time to get on 101 and put in some miles. Immediately after Seaside is a large hill located in another microclimate. It was again brutally hot and steep with little shoulder. Persevering rewards you with the town of Cannon Beach where I again stopped for some lemonade and information on overnight stays. Then it was right back onto the 101 for the 20 mile ride to my intended camping spot. The road was up and down but unfailingly gorgeous:
Eventually I made it to my campground at Nehalem Bay State Park and got settled in. A dinner and sunset closed out a spectacular first day. A forecast for cooler weather made it even better.
At camp there were at least 10 other riders in various tours, each nicer than the last. I got some good advice about where to camp in the future from an experience bike tourer. He told me about his many tours, including an attempted Trans America Trail ride that ended in saddle sores.
Anyways I need some sleep see you tomorrow!
- Crab melt and lemonade
- Blackberry lemonade
- REI meal
- 2 cliff bars