Monday, September 6, 2010

Portland to Astoria Via Pavement

Day 1
An early September call for a trip from Portland to Astoria prompted 10 of us to load up and ride. Our route was intentionally a bit out of the way to take the best roads that offered more scenery and less motor traffic. It also included one of the few Rails-to-Trails sections in the area, the 25-mile Banks-Vernonia trail. We'd ride 120 miles over two days and stop wherever it looked appealing.

10:00 a.m. meet and greet at the Portland Zoo

Loaded pace line down Skyline Boulevard out of town

Blackberry season was in full swing. Clif Bars not needed.

Look closely, hogs, ducks and egrets in the swamp.

Fruit stand- CLOSED. Bummer.

My trusty Surly Travelers-Check.

Joseph Ahearne on the car-free Banks-Vernonia section

Former rail bridge modified for bike and pedestrian use

Amongst all the beauty therein lies a grocery store

Day 2
After a 65-mile first day and nice night of camping at Big Eddy campgrounds outside of Vernonia, we rolled onward through the beautiful Oregon countryside.

Random Elk grazing valley

General store shopping list-Beefy jerky, can of chicken and some candy

Some locals shot a young buck right through the head with the first arrow. They claimed it ran a mile before their next arrows finally did the fellow in

We reached the peak of the largest summit on our trip through the coastal mountain range. We pulled onto a dirt road and proceeded to have a perfect lunch

Chicken noodle soup. Why does simple stuff taste so good when you're riding and camping?


Sun bleached old growth tree stump, one of many


First signs of water on the approach into Astoria

We finally reached Astoria, where the mighty Columbia river dumps into the Pacific ocean. What a fantastic little town

Day 3
We woke up in a friend's house to rain outside. It prompted us take the bags off the bikes and spin around town to explore the Columbia river boat dock graveyards

After Astoria, the ten of us all went our separate ways. Three pedaled down the coastline of Oregon and one made it to San Francisco a week or so later. Two, including myself due to a sore knee, took the bus home to Portland. Two pedaled home after another day in Astoria. Three took the bus home after another day in Astoria.

Overall, it was a fantastic and simple little trip. There is nothing better than riding bikes and living outside for a few days with a few friends.