“A Couple of Distinguished Guests!”
“Hipster Hipster Hipster Hipster Hipster Hipster Hipster”. This quote describes the current scene in Portland, self-acclaimed in a literary magazine within first arriving. While many find the term derogatory, it is really just best to say the word over and over so that the connotation is lost. However, while Portland is super-hip, Valerie and I still manage to not quite fit in. We are still sporting the same outfit we’ve been wearing all summer with Valerie in her cute polka-dotted red dress and my red roadkill athletic shirt.
When we got into Portland on Wednesday night, we immediately were brought into a home, handed a guitar, and led a group of locals in a camradarie of “When I Get to the Other Side” of Theillalogical Spoon.
While bicycling in Portland is by far the best and most fun cycling experiences we have had on our trip, biking into and out of Portland was brutal. Coming into Portland we came from The Dalles where we followed Interstate 84 and the Columbia River Gorge, dealing with 20mph headwinds and typical Interstate Traffic.
Biking out of Portland was the worst experience we’ve had with traffic of our entire trip. There were 8 lanes of traffic- four going our way and four going the other way. All quite loud, and none quite expecting bicycles to actually be leaving the attempted Utopian society. We stopped shortly afer the stress of construction, no shoulders, and loud traffic to refresh ourselves mentally at the Oregon Zoo. We thought about taking the bus out, but eventually decided that since we had 8 hours of daylight left and 75 miles to go, we might as well keep cycling. So we cycled from SouthEast Portland to Seaside, OR , around 90 miles in approximately 8 hours.
We were so focused on catching the sunset that we didn’t even realize it was our last ride. We cycled our hearts out, panting and grunting up the 1700 ft. passes on the mountains. This doesn’t sound like that high after our 10,000 foot passes in the Bighorn Mountains, but we started and ended the day at Sea Level. AND we were only expecting 2 passes, both below 1300 feet. Not a huge difference, but a 500 foot climb on a bicycle is much larger than a 500 foot climb in a car.
We arrived at the beach freezing cold, and stared at the Ocean in pure exhuasted amazement.
The variety of emotions the last few days has been so unreal. I think that I’m still kind of in denial that we actually made it across an entire Continent. A big part of this is because we took each day as one day at a time. Even our last day, we focused on our destination just for the day, not really realizing it was the end of the trip.
The Ocean was incredible. We spent a full two days just hanging out in Seaside and Cannon Beach, hanging out on the beach and thinking back to the times where we were melting in South Dakota or parched in the Desert of Eastern Oregon. Idaho? Don’t mention it. We’ll twitch in horror. 😉 This picture is a cool picture of Cannon Beach.
Anyways, the trip in many ways is “officially” over, but life’s journey is never really over is it?
Valerie and I ran into the Ocean and out of the Ocean, yelling “THIS IS THE FARTHEST WEST I’VE EVER BEEN!!!”, which is something Valerie had been saying once every hour since we entered Wyoming. Or crossed the Mississippi, really.
Immediately after this a news reporter of the Seaside Signal news checked us out and interviewed us for the local paper.
Today was unforgettable. This morning we slept in to what felt like 3pm, but was actually only 9:40 AM. We looked up on the iPhone local churches and decided to visit the local United Methodist Church since we had had such blessings along the road with the UMC denomination.
We stuck out from the formal congregation in our red attire and after the service an excited and wonderful man named Glenn came up to us and said “Are you from Illinois?” I said that we were absolutely from Illinois and Michigan. He told us he had worked in Woodstock and was SUPER excited that we were from Woodstock. At some point I will have to do a post regarding my thoughts towards Punxatawney Phil, but that’s for a later post.
As we headed up to “Coffee Hour” we soon discovered that “Coffee Hour” was actually a sort of After Church Brunch. It was practically a meal! We were being served up with what was looking to be delicious Mudpie dessert and Glenn announced dramatically to the church, “We have some distinguished guests with us this morning! This couple rode their bicycle here all the way from the Atlantic Ocean!” This incurred instantaneous applause! Valerie had tears in her eyes and I was speechless. What a wonderful celebration!
So, the trip is over in some sense, but it is certainly not over. I will continue blogging on here regarding thoughts on the trip and I am determined to practice the art of blogging whilst in Guatemala as well.
This news article here chronicles our journey somewhat! It is an honor to be a part of The Dalles Chronicle! We made it into a newspaper!
Who is reading this blog? We are averaging 40-50 hits a day, and boy am I curious! If you’re reading this and would like to comment, that would be just wonderful! Thanks!