© 2015 The Nielsens

Dogdander
Day Eight: I Am Not Your Ferry Godmother. Clatskanie to Astoria, Oregon Today’s mileage: 41 miles includes messing around in town Total bike mileage so far: 307 Local Gas Prices: $3.05 big city pricing Weather: So cool we wore jackets part of the day Saddle Sore-o-meter reading: 1.0 Animals for the day: Hawks, cows, and loud sea lions Crises Averted: What ferry? We don’t need no stinkin ferry!      Our Adventure Cycling maps recommend cycling on the Washington side of the Columbia River between Longview and Cathlamet. West of there, they suggest the southern bank of the River out to the coast at Astoria, Oregon. To connect those legs, you take the ferry from Westport, Oregon to Cathlamet, Washington. Considering our progress had been slow this trip and that Highway 30 is way too busy for our taste, we decided to forego the trip out to the coast and to take the ferry to Washington. Berta checked online for the schedule. The ferry makes the round trip once per hour every day all year round. They got a new ferry boat just this year that can handle more traffic. Berta also saw a notice that the ferry would be closed for repair for a few days. The brand new boat needs service in the last weeks of summer? Yep, just when we needed it. But that can’t be—they’ll put the old ferry in service for a few days, right? They can’t just close a ferry that runs 18 times a day 365 days per year.      Yes, they can. And not only that, there was not another boat or person anywhere to be seen. John asked a guy up the road about any private boats for hire. The guy was completely unsympathetic to us and said there wasn’t anything he knew of. No “sorry”, no “bummer, dude”, nothing. We stopped at the food mart to get some juice for the detour. A man in a beater truck with scrap metal piled high in the bed let his friend out to go inside. He sat in the driver’s seat asking us about our trip. He pointed out that the ferry is just a quick trip across the river here. We told him the ferry is out of service today. “Oh. Huh,” he said. Then he asked what we are riding. We showed him our bikes. He has a custom-made Strawberry road bike with Campagnolo components. From the description, it is probably worth more than his truck and everything in it.      The Ferry in Disrepair meant we needed to pedal another 24 miles to Astoria to cross the bridge there. We dismissed the idea of going back to Longview because we had already seen that road and hoped the road ahead would be better. The divided highway on the Oregon side of the Columbia River near St Helens climbs some long hills. There are passing lanes for all of the RVs and semis trying to get over the grades. When the highway planners put in a passing lane, they normally take over most of the shoulder and they often put Armco on the edge of the pavement. The bike lane is reduced to almost nothing just at the time when people lose their minds speeding uphill. Even conscientious drivers get in that “I better floor it to get past that slow moving vehicle I see in the distance” mode. We were grateful for the turnouts on the road and used them to recover from the tense cycling. As we left one of the turnouts, we heard “POW!” behind us. A large pickup towing a fifth-wheel camper had blown a tire on the trailer and dove into the ample turnout. Good timing for them, and a reminder to us to rest at the end of turnouts. We chugged up the last segment of this large hill. When we saw a sign for a viewpoint rest area, we welcomed the respite.      The viewpoint gave us a grand perspective of the ferry we missed. We gazed on Puget Island, which is more than seven square miles and has a population of more than 800 people. The ferry takes passengers and cars from Westport to the island, across a small fork of the Columbia. There is a bridge over the main river from the Island to mainland Washington on the other side. We stood on this bluff, hundreds of feet above the river, bedazzled by the morning sun reflecting off the river. We shared this view with five or six people. It seemed like the women were sisters, one from New Orleans who was visiting one who lives here. Two older men got out of a new Kia Soul. Berta saw the paper plate on the front of the car and commented “Taking the new car out for a spin, huh?” Just as she saw the dealer plate on the back of the car, one of the men replied, “Trade your bikes in, I’ll sell it to you”.      Astoria is a beautiful town. We stayed at one of the first places we saw, but also took the packs off the bikes and rode into town. We admired the many old buildings and rode up a gravel hill (that was exciting) to see the remains of old Fort Astoria. On the way back, we rolled out on a pier to videotape a riot of sea lions packed onto a hundred-foot long dock. We watched as one persistent fellow tried to jump onto the dock only to be rejected by another male who didn’t want to share his spot. The sea lions barked all day and all night. Good thing the hotel had nicely insulated windows.      The closest option for dinner was a pizza place again. They had a salad bar, so we both loaded up on the veg. It was a once through thing, so we rolled the Thousand Island dressing dice and ladled it on. There are two types of Thousand Island dressing, the sweet stuff and the tangy stuff. And then beyond that there are good sweet ones and good tangy ones. We took a bite and both groaned. The sweet kind, and not a great version of it. Oh well. The pizza came next and our server announced the cook had made an error in our favor. Our small order had become a large in the translation. We ate more than we should, packed up some for tomorrow’s lunch, and offered the last three slices to some guys in the corner. They accepted it with enthusiasm, explaining that they had been on a fishing boat all day and wouldn’t turn down extra food.

© 2015 The Nielsens

Day Eight: I Am Not Your Ferry Godmother. Clatskanie to Astoria, Oregon Today’s mileage: 41 miles includes messing around in town Total bike mileage so far: 307 Local Gas Prices: $3.05 big city pricing Weather: So cool we wore jackets part of the day Saddle Sore-o-meter reading: 1.0 Animals for the day: Hawks, cows, and loud sea lions Crises Averted: What ferry? We don’t need no stinkin ferry!      Our Adventure Cycling maps recommend cycling on the Washington side of the Columbia River between Longview and Cathlamet. West of there, they suggest the southern bank of the River out to the coast at Astoria, Oregon. To connect those legs, you take the ferry from Westport, Oregon to Cathlamet, Washington. Considering our progress had been slow this trip and that Highway 30 is way too busy for our taste, we decided to forego the trip out to the coast and to take the ferry to Washington. Berta checked online for the schedule. The ferry makes the round trip once per hour every day all year round. They got a new ferry boat just this year that can handle more traffic. Berta also saw a notice that the ferry would be closed for repair for a few days. The brand new boat needs service in the last weeks of summer? Yep, just when we needed it. But that can’t be—they’ll put the old ferry in service for a few days, right? They can’t just close a ferry that runs 18 times a day 365 days per year.      Yes, they can. And not only that, there was not another boat or person anywhere to be seen. John asked a guy up the road about any private boats for hire. The guy was completely unsympathetic to us and said there wasn’t anything he knew of. No “sorry”, no “bummer, dude”, nothing. We stopped at the food mart to get some juice for the detour. A man in a beater truck with scrap metal piled high in the bed let his friend out to go inside. He sat in the driver’s seat asking us about our trip. He pointed out that the ferry is just a quick trip across the river here. We told him the ferry is out of service today. “Oh. Huh,” he said. Then he asked what we are riding. We showed him our bikes. He has a custom-made Strawberry road bike with Campagnolo components. From the description, it is probably worth more than his truck and everything in it.      The Ferry in Disrepair meant we needed to pedal another 24 miles to Astoria to cross the bridge there. We dismissed the idea of going back to Longview because we had already seen that road and hoped the road ahead would be better. The divided highway on the Oregon side of the Columbia River near St Helens climbs some long hills. There are passing lanes for all of the RVs and semis trying to get over the grades. When the highway planners put in a passing lane, they normally take over most of the shoulder and they often put Armco on the edge of the pavement. The bike lane is reduced to almost nothing just at the time when people lose their minds speeding uphill. Even conscientious drivers get in that “I better floor it to get past that slow moving vehicle I see in the distance” mode. We were grateful for the turnouts on the road and used them to recover from the tense cycling. As we left one of the turnouts, we heard “POW!” behind us. A large pickup towing a fifth-wheel camper had blown a tire on the trailer and dove into the ample turnout. Good timing for them, and a reminder to us to rest at the end of turnouts. We chugged up the last segment of this large hill. When we saw a sign for a viewpoint rest area, we welcomed the respite.      The viewpoint gave us a grand perspective of the ferry we missed. We gazed on Puget Island, which is more than seven square miles and has a population of more than 800 people. The ferry takes passengers and cars from Westport to the island, across a small fork of the Columbia. There is a bridge over the main river from the Island to mainland Washington on the other side. We stood on this bluff, hundreds of feet above the river, bedazzled by the morning sun reflecting off the river. We shared this view with five or six people. It seemed like the women were sisters, one from New Orleans who was visiting one who lives here. Two older men got out of a new Kia Soul. Berta saw the paper plate on the front of the car and commented “Taking the new car out for a spin, huh?” Just as she saw the dealer plate on the back of the car, one of the men replied, “Trade your bikes in, I’ll sell it to you”.      Astoria is a beautiful town. We stayed at one of the first places we saw, but also took the packs off the bikes and rode into town. We admired the many old buildings and rode up a gravel hill (that was exciting) to see the remains of old Fort Astoria. On the way back, we rolled out on a pier to videotape a riot of sea lions packed onto a hundred-foot long dock. We watched as one persistent fellow tried to jump onto the dock only to be rejected by another male who didn’t want to share his spot. The sea lions barked all day and all night. Good thing the hotel had nicely insulated windows.      The closest option for dinner was a pizza place again. They had a salad bar, so we both loaded up on the veg. It was a once through thing, so we rolled the Thousand Island dressing dice and ladled it on. There are two types of Thousand Island dressing, the sweet stuff and the tangy stuff. And then beyond that there are good sweet ones and good tangy ones. We took a bite and both groaned. The sweet kind, and not a great version of it. Oh well. The pizza came next and our server announced the cook had made an error in our favor. Our small order had become a large in the translation. We ate more than we should, packed up some for tomorrow’s lunch, and offered the last three slices to some guys in the corner. They accepted it with enthusiasm, explaining that they had been on a fishing boat all day and wouldn’t turn down extra food.