Thursday 13 May 2010

"...down in Castle Rock"

Today is the 201st day of our Epic Journey and we began our most perfect ride this morning heading 67 miles east from Astoria, Oregon looking forward to arriving in Castle Rock, Washington.

Our motel in Astoria had lots of plus points; clean, spacious and very comfortable with great views across the mouth of the Columbia River. However when Kat has knowledge that a Coffee Roaster is nearby, it means we have to skip the motel breakfast, and instead make our way across the road to sample the local brew! So this morning, we ended up doing more than sampling the local brew when we were confronted with a glass cabinet full of scrumptious pastries and fine looking Panini. We couldn’t resist and purchased a wide selection of other goodies (quiches, paninis, scones and hand cooked crisps) for lunch later in the day, as well as coffee and cakes for breakfast. Thanks Melissa, Elizabeth and Lea (or Leah) of Columbia River Coffee Roaster.

Packed with enough food to feed a small family of 4 and after taking a few shots of the 3-mile bridge spanning the Columbia River, we set out in the glorious sunshine along a disused railway line converted into a trail. The trail followed the banks of the river and passed through a small marina packed full of vocal, entertaining and smelly Sea Lions, before ending conveniently at the spot where we had to join the road and follow the route.

We won’t go on too much about the road surface, but we must mention that for about 20 miles of the ride, the road was ‘CP’, the remaining 47 miles were near perfect. We had to stop at mile marker 27, eat lunch and catch the ferry across the Columbia to land firmly on Washington state soil. We have often said that crossing a state line is more than just seeing a sign at the side of the road. There are other sensations that excite (or disappoint): sometimes it would be the road surface, other times it can be the people or the vehikkles they drive. But this time, when entering the state of Washington via Puget Island and then onto Cathlamet, your sense of smell is bombarded with the colour green, it’s truly amazing and we loved it!

So cycling along the picture perfect landscape with the mighty river on our right and Evergreen clad sheer mountains on our left, we were lifted to greater heights of euphoria when we saw St. Helens snow white Mount rising high in the distance. Apparently there are days when you can see her red-ring interior with hot steam venting out from the centre …shame we’re not going to see that spectacle.

With a final push up some big hill climbs and hanging on to our bikes as we thundered down the other side, we arrived at our hotel at 6:05pm feeling great. After taking advantage of the guest laundry services and treating ourselves to some hearty Mexican food we retired to our room for some R&R.

Us x

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