Once we rolled into Astoria, everything was different. This was an actual town. Not a sprawling city, with endless suburbs and strip-malls, but still more than the two-horse towns with maybe a gas-station and a laundromat we kept passing through on the Olympic Peninsula. Here we could actually find such things as a real bakery, a brewery, and a smoke-shop. What's more, during our stay the whole town was bathed in bright sunlight. So notwithstanding how the weather might normally be, for us Astoria will remain forever a wonderful little place of bright light and lovely people.
Taking Warmshowers to a New Level
Our host on warmshowers.org prided himself in not having refused any request in the two years he has been active. And with max. four guests, there was usually enough space to take some more... as it was in our case. We arrived into a beautiful Victorian house with lots of activity: two other bike travelers were hanging out while our host was just about to leave to get some fresh salmon for dinner. “Could you pick up some veggies from the co-op?” was his only request. Of course we did! We even brought beer for everyone from the local brewery. Then we relaxed over some fun chat with our fellow guests, listening to the wonderful tunes of the Grateful Dead, played by our host's home entertainment system.
It turns out that he was a serious deadhead, who also was into Phish, the String Cheese Incident, and of course the Dead and Friends, over which he bonded with my riding companion very well. The best thing about his hosting was the plans for the house: Still under a bit of construction, it is going to be a proper hub for bicyclists, with a place to work on bikes, a large community kitchen, and even a sauna. Wow! But even now, as the basement was being worked on, this was the only place where we could exchange stories with other cyclist who had been on the road for the better part of the year.
On the Goonies Tour
Short Ride to Seaside
Having enjoyed Astoria to the fullest, we bid farewell to our host and fellow guests, and headed on to Seaside to (finally) do some well-deserved beaching. The sun was bright and warm, the ride only 17 miles (28 km) on flat terrain, and we had made arrangements with a host there, just in case.
Before meeting our host, we rode by the End of the Trail statue, right at the beach-end of the tourist promenade, and had a little picnic on the beach. It was way too cold and windy to take off our jackets, let alone going for a swim, but we enjoyed the immensity of the enormous beach, and watched the shark-shaped kites flying above our heads.
Being an electrician, he also gave me competent advice on electronics, as far as rigging up my bike with a solar charger / power-pack, and using an external keyboard to type on my phone. As it turns out, this advice would come in handy much sooner than I expected.
After spending a night in Seaside we loaded up our bikes and were ready to head out to Portland, when suddenly my friend's bike broke. At first it was just a spoke, which was easy enough to change, but when he took his wheel off, the trailer-hitch skewer snapped. This was a more serious issue that needed to be fixed, so we unloaded again, and went to look for a bike-shop.
A bit of running around later it was clear: we'd have to stay for another night. The bike-shop was closed (on Wednesday out of all days) and the one in the next town was only a bike rental place. So we were treated to some more mind-blowing conversations and a walk on the beach in the light of the waxing moon. It was fantastic, all things considered.
We spent the better part of the next day getting ready, hunting down the missing skewer, or at least one that would work, buying food for the two-day ride, and writing reviews on our warmshowers hosts. It was then that I realized my computer was dead.
My little laptop I bought eight years ago and changed many of its software and hardware components was finally at a point where it's screen would not switch on any longer. I would give it a few more chances, but I guess eventually I'd have to let it go. This is when I'd make use of my host's advice and completely switch to using my phone for everything. It is already much more powerful than my laptop has ever been. As you might have guessed, I wrote and posted this article with my new gear. Let's hope it turns out as nice as it would have been on my laptop...
In the end we managed to be back on the road by around 4 pm. We would not get too far that day, but at least we'd be on the road. Instead of sticking to the popular highways 30 or 24, we located an alternative route, hopefully less traveled, and possibly more scenic. As it turns out, the first leg of it followed the aforementioned Lewis and Clark.
If you'd like to read my bike trip in its entirety, check out the rest of my posts in the Cascadia to Aztlan series:
- Origin and Destination
- Rolling Down to Victoria
- Starting out on the Olympic Peninsula
- Into the Hoh Rainforest
- Who'll Stop the Rain?
- Crossing Bridges When We Get There
- Lewis and Clark, the Goonies, and the Grateful Dead
- The Fun Way to Get to Portland
- Recooping in Portland
- Through the Willamette Valley
- Fewer Degrees of Separation in Eugene
- Hills and Mountains of Southern Oregon
- The High Way to California
- The Obligatory Naked German
- Finding Us In Orleans
- Good Fire Ahead
- Two Weeks on The Rivers
- A Night in Afrofornia
- Groving With the Giants
- A Halloween Encounter
- Coasting on the One
- Saying Good-bye to Horizon
- Back to the Urban World
- The Golden Gate to Santa Cruz
- Riding Solo Monterey to Big Sur
- Taking My Time Getting to L.A.
- The Last Leg Into L.A.
- Thanksgiving From Scratch
- On to New Adventures
- Living In and Among Boulders
- Desert Days
- In the City of Angels
- Looking Back at an Amazing Ride
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