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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Bike Ride Begins







And so it begins...

With a single swirl of the pedal...








...we whisk out of Astoria...







Wait!


...stop at Speedway to pick up a donut!



And off we go up the foothills of the Cascades!


Within a few miles Al spots a bald eagle - a majestic bird flying low over the river.




A few miles later, Al spots our mascot...

...a snail!

We may not be the fastest bikers in the pack...




...but we
see
the beauty
by the sides
of the
road.






I stop to picture blackberries...

... reminders of home....




Barry has sponsored us
$1 for every red-tailed hawk we see...




If he'd sponsored us for vultures I would have gotten $4 for this tree.

Maybe someone should sponsor us for the snails we spot along the road?

At the rest stop we are happy we've handled the hills so well....




Then Al looks at the elevation maps!



We haven't even begun to climb!



We need a bit of a rest....





I wander back
to enjoy
the woods...




Bright green and dark....





Al stops to visit
with
the salmon farmers....






Live young salmon ready to release into the river....

But we need to get back on the road...






This is the big climb...

We huff and we puff...

Can we do it?




This is a higher climb than
Turtle Crossing
back home in Indiana.

The other bikers scoff...

-My driveway is steeper than this!



But Al and I plug away...



...and finally we see the sign
for the summit....


We've made it!


One major hill down! One to go!






Whew!

Time for lunch at the Humps Restaurant in Clacksonie....






And then another huge hill challenges our flatland muscles...

Breathing hard - we drive those pedals...

pushing...

pushing...

hoping to see the top....

praying to see the top...

And yes! We make it over the top and down the other side....





Careening down the slope...

too scared to even check our speed...



Whoosh! we make it to the bottom...

...all in one piece...







Now the ride is more tame.

A few little slopes...




Time to enjoy the scenery...

Friendly horsetails with their ancient design...







...magnificent trees -
tall and straight...

..mountains and valleys
stretch to the right...





....while to the left the Columbia River harvests the trees and pulps them into paper.





Logging trucks thunder by us...

....their rumble practically knocks us off the road.






A healthy snack at the last Sag stop...





And a chance to visit
with fellow riders...




We bike on...

We know we should be getting to the hotel...




.....but the pond is so peaceful...

It's just nine miles to the hotel...




but we're wearing out...

...another break
by the side
of the
road...








And as we bike we have to stop when we see such color!

But we bike on and on...





...and
finally
we reach
the
hotel!





Time
to wash up
the bikes....






.....tend to their care....




...and settle down
to a restful evening
on
Skype...
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