Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ride the West - Day 1, Astoria Oregon to Tillamook Oregon

We started the day in the full and final remnants of reunion mode. This would be the final moments of “hi, nice to see you again” and the starting of “let's get this riding together going”. We lined up for a series of pictures based on the year we rode across the country. Our group, the 2010 group was the largest. We have 12 people going all the way down the west coast and another 2 people joining us along the ride.

The reunion picture of AAN 2010 riders

The day was gorgeous. It started out a bit cool, but sunny with no fog. It wasn't long before we were shedding the extra layer of clothing. The sights leaving Astoria were unimpressive, but after about 25 miles that changed dramatically. The coastline is beautiful with rocky crests trailing off down to the ocean shores. Every once in a while, large rock formations could be seen in the water as well, giving each beach its own character. This was a hint of what is to come. Aila and I saw many more of these formations on our travels up from San Francisco. I never get tired of them.

Many beaches with their own unique rock formations

Toronto Mark, one of my cycling buddies from the ride across America in 2010 and fellow Gelding, broke through the first layer of mechanical prowess and in doing so made me proud. I seem to have been a mentor to him during the 2010 ride when it came to fixing bikes, or at least preventing him from doing something unnatural with it. He started out back then not being able to change a tire without great difficulty but today he stopped for John Douglas's flat (John is 73 years old but not related to me) and managed to fix it himself, not because he had to, but because he was ABLE to. Mark's come a long way in the last 2 years and it won't be long before I may be asking him questions. I now know how Mr. Miyagi felt in The Karate Kid.

One of the many spectacular views

Today we arrived almost last out of all of the riders. Joe, Baltimore Mark and I rode together and occasionally with Don and Leo. We set our goals low today: we were trying for last place as we really want to spend time seeing the sights. I think we'll have a really hard time though, coming in last, as a few of the other riders are taking their time too, at least that's what they claim. The ride itself was only 65 miles and with about 3600 feet of climbing. It was an easy ride and an easy pace. Incredibly, we spend 2.5 hours off the bike looking around and seeing the sights. I think this sightseeing time is a personal best for me already, but I hope to beat that record and spend even more time taking in the sights in the upcoming days. When we were riding across the country, there were miles after miles of nothingness. At least here, there is something to see, it seems, after ever corner.

Wheeler is a quaint tourist trap town

Near the end of the ride, we stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Okay, I love cheese, but come on folks, this factory was stuffed with 1000's of tourists lining up for free samples, food and ice cream. There must not be too much else to really do after a day at the beach around here. I guess I'll chalk it up to “we need to do 'something' with the kiddies on this long Labor Day weekend”. It just isn't that interesting.

Yep, that's the place. I still don't get it.

The pool for what day that the Duchess Weisbarth tells Mark to go riding with the Geldings is proceeding. I'm down for Thursday, Joe's down for Friday, Baltimore Mark's down for Sunday and Karen Schroeder's down for Wednesday. It's hard to say who'll be right this soon, but I'm still hopeful that I'll win.

Let's see what tomorrow brings.


  1. Last! I bet that's a first? I am mightily impressed. Please pass on my best wishes to the rest of the alumni and staff.

  2. Wonderful blog Jeff! I feel as though I'm there with you all. Good hearing you're taking time to enjoy the sights.