Day 20 July 7, 2001

Aberdeen, WA to Astoria, OR

81.12 miles
15.13 average speed
5:21.38 travel time
9:00am departed
4:00pm arrived
1283.15 total trek miles

            Our final day in Washington State was a quick one, or at least it seemed that way. Jake's rear wheel has been giving him some problems, so we decided to switch it with Rocky's to see if that might solve the problem. Well, it didn't. Rocky broke a spoke, so as a team it was the third consecutive day that a spoke broke on a wheel. Fortunately, the problems were with the same wheel each day, so replacing that wheel was the solution.

            The spoke broke five miles into the ride on the rolling hills outside of Aberdeen. We called ahead to Astoria, where a bike shop prepared to help us out once we arrived. Our only problem was that the bike shop closed at 6pm so we needed to go the 80 miles rather fast. We couldn't afford any major problems or set backs. We were blessed and we made it by 4 o'clock.

            The ride itself was difficult. Our morning was full of 500-600 foot climbs followed by 500-600 foot descents. Translated into car language, this means that we went through the rolling hills of Southwestern Washington. During past days we never averaged 15mph on hills, so our average speed indicates just how hard we were pushing it in order to arrive at the Astoria bike shop in time.

            Our lunch stop was only a quick one on the side of the road. Afterwards we rode hard for two hours experiencing all sorts of winds. We passed through, Raymond (The oyster capital of the world) and South Bend (A great place to raise a family and a fine place to retire). As you can tell the city slogans stuck with us. Before passing over the Columbia River into Oregon we had a nice 13 mile climb aided by a very pleasant tailwind. The wind pushed us along as we cruised to the top to see the gigantic Columbia River down the hill from us. Nobody on the team ever imagined the Columbia to be so massive. It looked more like a bay than a river!

            The last part of our ride was over the four mile long Columbia Bridge into Astoria, Oregon. Bicyclists are allowed on the bridge, but I wouldn't recommend it as a nice joy ride. The bridge was probably one of the most dangerous times we have had on the ride. The shoulder was about one foot wide, and we had a huge sidewind pushing us into the direction of the passing traffic. I think each one of us feared for our lives, especially when we had to dodge a plastic child seat (who throws a child seat out the window on a bridge?) laying in our narrow path.

            We made it though, safe and sound to the Mortenson's house where a gracious meal was prepared for our devouring. Bye, Washington, I don't think you will ever see the five of us again, on bikes, unsupported, with no other company!

  day 21