Hello from Astoria,
We arrived here just before 6pm Pacific time last night. To get here we had to fly to Vancouver and then connect with a flight to Portland. Then a car service picked us up and drove us to Astoria. Everything went smoothly, the whole thing just took a long time. As we pulled up to the front of the hotel, we were greeted by some of Mark's buddies from the cross country ride. It was really nice to see them all.
We walked to a really nice restaurant near the hotel and had dinner with Gary, Jeff and his wife Aila, Baltimore Mark, Joe and Leo. We had a very good dinner, shared some laughs and fell asleep by 9:15!!! My only excuse is that it's 12:15am body time.
I'm exhausted from this ride already, and it hasn't even started!
This morning we were wide awake by 4:30, so Mark and I went for an early morning walk along the waterfront here. We walked until we found a coffee shop that was open. Astoria is a pretty town on the Columbia River and it's dominated by a large bridge that connects Astoria (in the state of Oregon) with the state of Washington. We had breakfast at the hotel when we got back, and then we had bike assembly. It was pretty stressful especially for Mark as both of his wheels were damaged in shipping. The tour company is loaning him wheels until the new ones we ordered can be delivered. Then Mark's seat post fastener broke, which would be a major problem except that the handy folks who run this ride figured out a solution. Watching Mark today with his bike problems was like watching him play golf or play craps at a casino. In other words, not pretty. Not pretty at all.
This afternoon was dominated by bike safety checks and a 2 hour orientation and safety briefing. The tour staff led by Mike Munk are extremely safety conscious (I'm not just saying this cause my mom is reading). They must have spent 75% of the time today talking about safety and how to avoid accidents by being smart. Tonight the group went to a Mexican buffet (mmm mmm good) and we were back at the hotel and in bed by 7pm. We are sure living the wild life on this vacation. Tomorrow we start riding.
I'm looking forward to starting this ride. It's enough talking about it, it's time to start doing. In ten years, I wonder what I am going to remember about the way I feel right now. I think the thing I'll remember is how there's nothing to watch on TV in Astoria. I know something more profound should be in my head but honestly, this hotel TV really sucks.
I'm not sure what we'll encounter along the way but I think it's cool that all I have to do is get on my bike, and tomorrow night we'll be in another town. Sounds simple but there are 110 kms and a s--tload of hills to ride. At least the weather forecast looks good for the first few days. There are a couple of people here who have done this ride before and they all rave about the scenery. I'll take pictures and post the good ones tomorrow.