Day #6 – We made it to Duck country
After we are all packed up for the day and ready to ride, we have two morning traditions. The first one is Carl leads us in a Scoop. We find three things we are thankful for and squat down for each one (it is good stretching too) and Scoop it up and then raise our hands high over our head. With the last one we make a bow and arrow and shoot the things we are thankful for up to the heavens and let them rain back down on us. It is a really nice way to start the day. Then we take a group photo with our hosts with the amazing sign that Carl makes the night before and then we are off… heading on down the road – both are fun routines.
Today was scheduled to be a long day with inclement weather and it did not disappoint on either of those. As soon as we got within 20 miles of Oregon, it started raining on us and continued ALL day. Ah yes, that is why I moved to the desert. Sometimes I forget and just have to come visit during rainy or snow season and it is all clear to me again.
Rain poses its own kind of new stress from the drivers point of view. Visibility is not as good, roads are slick, riders are drinking a lot less water but still need to drink, so you have to harass them a bit more. When we headed out, Travis, our amazing host from the First Baptist Church of Toledo joined us for the first couple of hours. It is nice when we pick up riders here and there.
The theme for the day is “Weak Women Day” and it seemed to continue all day. Not only did we see the coolest old barn to start the theme but we found matching trash on the side of the road all day that further strengthened the idea. (g-string among other things I should not mention here but you can use your imagination and probably be accurate)
Early in the day today, we got split up. Thanks to the superstition of not ‘knocking on wood’ yesterday, when Jerry said we had not gotten anyone lost in a while. 4 of the cyclists missed a turn – After stopping for a bit longer than everyone else, Shannon got split up from the group and when he went to catch up, I saw him go past the turn he should have made so I raced up to get him and got him back on the right path. Well, he neglected to tell me that he went straight because he saw the others go that way. So, after driving along this beautiful backwoods road beside the Cowlitz river, I started to panic when I never caught up with the rest of the gang because they should not have been that far ahead of me. I called Jerry and found out he had also not seen them so we called Shane (who can talk on the phone and ride at the same time- impressive since I’ve already told you I cannot listen to music and drive SAG) and found out they went a different way. With the help of Google Maps, Jerry re-routed them and we all met up at an intersection down the road a few miles but it was a bit scary for a while.
I have been noticing a few street name themes the past two days. Yesterday, in Centralia, we passed through the “tree names” streets: plum, magnolia, citrus, pine, redwood, etc. And today was a whole stretch of streets with people names: Mandy, Carl, Scott, Edward, etc. Sure, I miss some scenery going faster than bikes, but I bet they did not pick up on that.
I did not ride alone for most of the day today. Had Pops with me in the late morning and then after our lunch stop at a delicious pizza place in Cathlamet, I got to spend the afternoon with Carl. These two guys continually amaze me. I could not get on a bike and ride one day let alone day after day and they both do it with Parkinson's. You are inspiring!
|Lunch at Sharon's Pizza and More|
From Cathlamet, we took the tiniest ferry into Oregon- It was a little barge and fit about 9 cars total – it was cute. I’ve never taken a ferry across a river before, it was such a short little trip. Made it across and into Duck Country. I have been noticing, the closer we get to Oregon, Trailblazers and Ducks shirts and decals popping up. There are still Seachicken stuff everywhere but that’s cause these poor misguided people in Oregon think they have to root for the closest NFL team rather than pick whichever one they want. Anyway, I have gone off the path again (squirrel, where?)
|It's a Mini Ferry|
|It should say, Leaving Washington!|
|There was a trolley car with us on the ferry|
|Ahhh, Duck Country.|
Made a pic stop at Bradley State park for the view and that is when it started really raining. Shocking since we are now in Oregon and it is raining hard.
|view from Bradley State Park|
We had a 20 mile stretch on the same road today but because of the hills and weather, I stopped about 2 miles ahead of the riders each time just in case they needed food, more clothes, a break. I thought I stopped at the top of the hill one time (remember, never stop right before or in the middle of a hill) but after getting out of the car and standing there for a while, I realized I was still on a hill. Funny how roads look different to you after doing this for a few days. Here comes Jerry’s quote of the day: “They won’t even notice this hill” This from the guy driving a car.
Shannon and Jerry left us early and headed to Astoria to go to the bike shop before it closed. Scott, the bike shop guy had offered to stay late or come back but no one wanted to make him do that on a Saturday (sure, Shannon, whatever excuse you need to stop early ;-) So, I was on my own with POPs and Shane for a the last 20 miles into town. I stopped on the side even more frequently as the weather got worse and the hills were more frequent. They did so great. Just kept rolling.
When we got to town, there was a turn to head to a bike path for the rest of the way. I did not see the bike path when I turned so I drove down to make sure it was there (remember our directions are not always accurate – especially when involving bike paths) and I thought I had time to make this detour but those guys were cruising and when I turned the car back around, I saw them zoom past. I honked to get Shane’s attention and drove up to the corner to let him know about the bike path. Got out of my car and ran up and when I turned the corner I saw POPs laying on the sidewalk. I yelled some expletives and ran faster than I’ve ever run to his side. Shane was with him and said he was fine, he just tumbled when trying to make a u-turn in the rain. He got up and I have never been so relieved for anything in my life. But that does not change the fact that I felt completely responsible for the incident and was shaking like a leaf. I could not believe that I got POPs hurt on my watch and was feeling like I let them down. I could hardly see straight I was so upset with myself and we loaded him into the car. Shane took off down the bike path for the 2 miles to the finish. I went ahead and found Jerry and Shannon. We did not end the ride at the church today because it was up a half mile long 30% or more grade hill. So we loaded Shane in the truck and headed up the hill to the Grace Community Church. After unloading everything (still shaking and crying a bit but no one could tell because it was raining so hard) I took off by myself to go get groceries. I needed some alone time to recover and cried hard the whole way to Safeway. I do not like to let people down and I am still very upset with myself. I appreciate that Shane and Shannon knew how upset I was and tried to tell me it was OK, but it took me a while to get over it and I am just super glad POPs is OK.
The church had a nice kitchen so we (and by we, I mean me) whipped up some spaghetti with meat, garlic bread and Caesar salad. Marsha, our amazing hostess for the evening came by to visit and we hit if off immediately because she might be as big a Duck fan as I am and that is saying A LOT! She is even going to come to San Diego for our finish line at the end of the month. I am continually blown away by the generosity of the people I have met this week. I really do not think I will ever be the same. Thanks, Marsha! See you in SD!
Off to bed…I am pretty sad that this is my last night on the ride. I am going to do everything I can to make it back here for the last week. Ryan, if you are reading this, can I have another week off?