Thursday morning started out as planned. I woke up around seven, packed up, got some coffee (put some juice and yogurt in a pannier because it was too early for food, especially after the big pizza dinner of the night before), and hit the road.
I wasn’t sure how the ferry thing worked but I soon discovered that there is a bridge to the island out in the river, and the ferry leaves from the other side of the island.
Do you see those big hills in the last few photos? Ahh yes, they would be waiting for me. I set off at a good clip for a little while, and then the road went up, and up, and up, and up. I am a bit encouraged though. I seemed to be doing better with the climbing today, and first thing in the morning even.
Even after I climbed the main hill, their continued to be more hills. Up and down and up and down I went, sometimes picking up considerable speed to take advantage of the downhills. Then as I was peddling up a small incline at a slower speed…. pooooofst! Noooooo! My front tire immediately went flat as a pancake. I walked for a while but there weren’t any shady spots ahead so I just stopped by the side of the road. It seemed like a big enough blowout that a new tube was a much better option than a patch, but I went digging through my panniers and found all the bike tools, but no tube! Where the heck was it??
Next plan – I was only 4-5 miles from Astoria where there were bike shops, much more inviting than wrestling my tire and trying to successfully patch it by the side of the road in the hot sun. I tried flagging down a ride but no one would stop. No one would even slow down. I walked to a farmhouse but she was babysitting and couldn’t leave, but suggested I go to the boat ramp up the road where there are always people coming and going.
I walked on just a little but more and there was a guy across the street weeding his yard. I explained my situation and he said he would be happy to take me to Astoria. He was due for some shopping anyway so he could get his things done at the same time.
He got on line and found info on bike shops, printed out maps, offered me lunch (I had just stopped for a sandwich and couldn’t eat another thing), and then loaded up my bike and my stuff and we headed out. He helped me get my bike and stuff into the bike shop, and asked me to come have lunch with him next door while we waited. I was still too full but had a great strawberry lemonade in a very cool trendy little restaurant. (of course I picked up the tab, least I could do)
The bike was done in a little while, and the guy said he couldn’t see any reason for the flat. Nothing had come through the tire that he could find. While he was at it, he also adjusted my squeaky front brake. He told me that was one of the roughest bikes he had seen on tour, and I really needed to have the whole bike gone over because it has a number of issues. Huh? Other than the squeaky brake the bike has been doing fine, and it was gone over in Panama and again in Seattle. Ok, whatever, but I was back in business again so that was all I needed, that and a couple spare tubes for emergencies.
My new friend then announced that he was driving me all the way to Seaside! He insisted it wasn’t that far, which in a truck probably isn’t and that would save me arriving in the dark. He was a retired engineer living alone and I think he was actually very happy to have some company, and wanted to make it last a bit longer. I was very discouraged when no one stop to help, but now one kind person totally turned everything around and made a huge difference in my day.
So, after a bumpy bit the day ended well and my new friend took me right to the door of my host. I had plans to stay with this Warmshowers host I heard about from some cyclists we hosted in Panama. Tonight I am in a comfortable house with all the important things, and a bed too. There is also a young French girl here who is hitchhiking around the western US. She and our host talked for a long time about their travel experiences all over the world! Amazing. Way out of my league for sure.
Tomorrow I head down the coast, and I have a couple camping possibilities in mind so we’ll see how it goes.