Day 72 – Welcome to Washington! – Portland, OR to Longview, WA to Kent,WA

Miles biked – 52

Total miles biked – 3371

Days to Party: 3
11/10/2009 We left Portland like a herd of turtles.  It was a late night out for everyone, so an early morning alarm was not enough motivation to get out of bed at sunrise.  This was the first sunny day since Eugene, and our hope was to get 95 miles in for the day and stop in Centralia.  However, there was an 80% chance of rain and a high of 41 degrees for the next day – so we weren’t confident we’d be able to ride out of Centralia even if we made it.

When we finally got packed up and out the door at 9:45am, we had a feeling Centralia was a long-shot. The sun was setting around 4:15 PM, giving us roughly six and a half hours for 95 miles – and we usually estimate our speed at about 10 miles per hour including stops. Plus, we couldn’t leave Portland without going to a bike shop.  Caroline had ridden her back tire down to the threads and we had a feeling she wouldn’t make it to Seattle without a major blowout.

It was an amusing visit to the shop.  The guy who opened the doors at 10am was not excited to see us and didn’t pay us any attention after Caroline purchased her tire. Then, just as she had the bike all back together and the tube pumped, she pulled the nozzle off and the valve for the tube came with it.  The tire was immediately flat.  How annoying.  After a little “you’re kidding me” moment Caroline pulled it together and changed the tube again- in record time. It was possible that this could be our last day of riding, so nothing was going to dampen our mood now!

By the time Caroline changed her tire (twice) and we had our morning coffees, it was nearly time for second breakfast. (No one wants a hungry biker on the road)  So we took one last stop at a cute little café just on the edge of the city and had some fruit and granola, yogurt, pancakes and a donut top muffin.  Sustainable organic of course?

Back on the road AGAIN we made great time.  It was slight rolling hills all the way to the Washington border, where we planned to cross into Longview and activate our evacuation plan  (Sara’s mom picking us up) before the rain began.  Forty-eight miles in and with about half an hour of daylight left we rolled up to the large bridge over the Columbia River that we had been dreading all day.  It was long, steep and not very bike friendly.  Oh, and right as we starting pedaling up, it started HAILING.  We had a sort of maniacal laughter moment while we cursed the timing of the hail/downpour. After being beautiful and sunny all day it just HAD to storm exactly when we were crossing an already scary and heavily trafficked bridge. The shoulder was covered with logging flotsam and jetsam, and with puddles up to our pedals it was hard to tell what we were riding over.  But we strove on and made it across the bridge while the water ran like a small river down both sides. What a welcome to Washington!

We felt pretty bad ass (in that New York City drenched rat sort of way) walking into the Triangle Bowl in Longview and explaining that we need to bring our wet bikes and gear into the bowling alley while we played a game to wait out the rain.  Turns out none of us are as good as we thought we were, but a great time was still had by all.  They had Fat Tire on tap and chili dogs and of course nachos, so we were wanting for nothing.  Sara’s mom arrived right as league bowling took over and we took our ride to Kent feeling satisfied that if this was the weather we were up against for the next day, we had made the right decision.

Carolines tire - worn through

Caroline's tire - worn through

Just before the hail, scary bridge to Washington in the background

Just before the hail, scary bridge to Washington in the background

Sara and Anders letting loose on skee ball post-ride

Sara and Anders letting loose on skee ball post-ride


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