Since our bikes were stored in trucks since our tour of Portland on Sunday, it was time to reconnect.
The boat docked early this morning at Vista Point Park near Skamokawa, WA. We had initially intended to ride 60 miles, but altered our decision when we were told about the many sights to see in Astoria, our end location. So our bike was transferred from one truck to another and we were bussed to Naselle, WA.
The first miles were through Willapa National Wildlife Refuge and along Willapa Bay. This Bay leads directly into the Pacific Ocean – and it was low tide. Lots of mud visible. Signs suggested it was a popular area for migratory birds, though this isn’t migration season.
After 20 miles we arrived in Long Beach, a good place for some lunch. Long Beach is also the home of Marsh’s Store and Museum of Oddities, not particularly exciting but apparently it has some notoriety. There was a Kite Festival going on in town, but sadly not very many kites in the air as we biked along the beach.
For the next 10 miles or so we followed the Discovery Trail, along beach dunes and through rain forest areas. The trail was named for the Lewis & Clark Expedition of Discovery – very different than anything we have ridden before.
We then rode along the coast through the fishing towns of Chinook and Ilwaco, before crossing the Columbia River on the 4-mile long Astoria-Megler bridge. The first section has a slight rise, followed by a long causeway, before ending in a significant uphill and an equally significant downhill. The road had a slight shoulder, but traffic did give us room. Still a bit of a harrowing end to the day!
We quickly changed our shoes and went to the next-door Maritime Museum, with a 3-D movie about hurricanes and lots of information on the salmon fishing and Coast Guard rescues. The mouth of the Columbia River into the Pacific Ocean can be treacherous due to the sand bar combined with the ocean wave action.
I also wandered into Astoria to see the replica of Fort Astoria and the Liberty Theatre before returning to the boat.
44 miles – 1990 ft of climb, though we started at sea level and ended also at sea level.