The next leg of our journey started by going out the wrong road. It was such a lovely ride we road for a while before we determined we were in fact going the wrong way. We stopped in at a state park before leaving. It was nice to be in the trees and enjoy the view over Olympia....and it smelled good there.
We managed to find our way to Highway #8 to cross to the coast. It was a nice easy scenic ride. When we got the junction we pulled into the service station for fuel and a coffee break. The sun was out in full force and we had to strip down to the bottom layer. Even at that we were still sweating sitting in the sun.
The ride from that point started to get even more scenic. Making our way to #101 we passed through many small towns. You cannot be in a hurry if you plan to go this route because the speed limit goes down for the towns.
We passed through places like Elma, Montesano, Cosmopolis, Raymond, Willapa, South Bend, Long Beach, Ilwaco, Chinook and finally to the Astoria Bridge.
wow oh wow oh wow!!!
Here is a pic of dr_bar across the road from me. I went across the highway so as to show the road.
I was waiting for traffic to clear so that I could cross the highway again and rejoin dr_bar. I was looking in my mirror and when traffic cleared I started moving. I signalled my intention and then I saw a glimpse of something so I stopped. When I looked again I saw a solo biker....I thought it was dr_bar doing the usual routine of pulling out and blocking traffic. So, I pulled out onto the highway and when suddenly I heard a beep. I glanced again and then I could see that it was not in fact dr_bar, so I rolled on the throttle and got out of his way fast.
He was a 1%er......at least that's what dr_bar said....the rider was showing colours ( and for our southern friends, colors
He was far enough away when I first started to move out that he could have slowed a titch.....but..oh-h-h-h, n-o-o-o-o.....he had to keep speeding and beep at me. I truly thougt it had been dr_bar or I would never had pulled out.
Shortly after that we stopped again to show how wide the Columbia River is....with the bike of course.
If you look carefully you can see a portion of the bridge above the saddle.....
Then I had to stop yet again....
It would be good to be there at a different time of day for better exposure, but sometmes when you're travelling, you don't have a choice.
We then crossed that bridge from Washington into Oregon. Halfway across there is a small sign saying "Entering oregon", but with two hands busy keeping up with traffic flow and no place to pull over, I couldn't get a picture.
The bridge is spectacular to see. It is very, very long and travels low over the river until you get to the Astoria side. While we were crossing the bridge, I spotted a cruise ship and was wondering how on earth it could cross to the ocean. Then suddenly the bridge takes a steep uphill incline and you are no longer travelling near the water. I have never been on a bridge like that before. It was quite an experience.
We wound down the ramps into Astoria. The plan had been to get to Astoria for a lunch break. We cruised slowly through this lovely seaside town glancing side to side looking to see what was here. Suddenly I spotted an old boat up on the grass....It said Bowpicker Fish and Chips. I put my blinker on to let dr_bar I was turning right. I then pulled into the curb and parked. I was going to ask dr_bar how he felt about this quaint little eatery. He pulled up beside me and before I could even ask him, he was smiling from ear to ear.....He had smelled the fish and chips cooking and was thinking how good it would have been to go there when he saw my signal come on. He was ecstatic.......
We got our food and sat out at one of their two picnic tables and were soon joined by others. This turned out to be a very popular place. It seemed like it was well known by the locals and some inlanders as well.
While we were there we all got involved in conversation. The wonderful thing about travelling by motorcycle is how fascinated people are by the whole concept. Everywhere we went, people were chatting to us. First they would notice the out of country licence plates and ask where we were from. Often times women would come by and talk to me saying I was so brave or similar encouraging things.
So far the trip has been great...unless you count all the noisy boneheads at the hotel from the night before who kept traipsing back and forth all night talking too loud
......but I digress......the travelling part has been top notch so far.
While we were crossing the bridge I noticed a tall thin structure on top of a hill in Astoria. When we were at the Bowpicker's I asked the owner what it was. It is called The Astoria Column. It basically shows the history of the area including the trek of Lewis and Clark.
She explained how to get there, so after lunch we headed up the hill. Here is looking down at a small portion of the road. In the background you can see the bridge.
I snapped the column from a couple of different...ummm, angles....considering the thing is round, I suppose angles is the wrong word.
And of course with the blue star...
The column is open for people who feel inclined to climb the stairs. Normally I would be excited to do just that, but I was still battling the chest condition and was a bit short of breath. I was sad to miss it. At the gift shop a person could buy little balsa planes at 3 for 75 cents (I think) and take them to the top of the column to let them fly. A lot of kids were having fun with that.
Of course two bikes loaded down with gear stirred up the usual...all sorts of people coming over to have a chat. I think our visit to the column may have been somewhat quicker if not for all the people wanting to chat with the two Canadians on bikes from the "frozen north".
Finally we made our break and said our good byes, but had to take one last picture before heading down the hill. This one is in the opposite driection from the bridge looking inland over the valley.
We left Astoria to cross another bridge to get to us to the ocean. I must say, they do have some interesting bridges down there. After crossing the bridge, one of the first signs I saw was a Tsunami warning sign.
My first thought was "Is this a knee jerk reaction to world events?" Then I re-evaluated as we rode along. All along the coast at the lower leels were those signs....Entering....and then "Leaving Tsunami zone. Some of them told you to go to higher ground.
I guess they are the same idea as some of our highways here that are in avalanche zones. The signs will tell you "NO STOPPING. avalanche zone. And then later there will he another sign to tell you END AVALANCHE ZONE.
There are a lot of small communities along the coast so I guess it's a good reminder not to get too complacent.
Next.....the coastal shots.......