Day 43: Astoria to Raymond Washington
We went out for breakfast with Mark and Ryan before parting ways. A big pancake breakfast started the day before we took off in different directions.
Jesse and I hadn’t yet decided our route north from Astoria. The Adventure Cycling map had us going east and avoiding the dreaded Astoria Bridge, but the Pacific Coast book and Mark and Ryan’s route would have us going straight north and over the bridge. The rainy day also brought Jesse and I major tailwinds, and with Mark and Ryan’s encouragement to ‘experience’ the bridge, we decided to go north to maximize the wind. A scenic route isn’t too scenic in the rain.
The bridge started one block from breakfast, so immediately we started climbing. A lot of our climbing was over land rather than over the river as the road curled around, so it didn’t seem so bad. There was not a lot of traffic behind us and so far it seemed to be the right decision. There was construction being done on the bridge, an advantage we were aware of. Right near highest point we reached the construction. The person managing the traffic waved us forward and told us what the final car of oncoming traffic was and told us to get a head start. Once that car passed we started pedaling to reach the top, and with the major tailwinds at our back it wasn’t too difficult, we were able to get a very good head start on the traffic behind us. However being a 6.6km bridge, they did catch up with us and once we were out on the very exposed river, the wind affected us far more, and made it even more difficult to deal with as a car would pass and alter the wind for a second. So we decided to stop and let the chain of traffic pass before the next break in traffic. The beginning of the rain also made this decision seem to be a good one.
Finally we made it off the bridge and quickly turned off into a rest stop and stayed there a while to see if the rain would ease up. When it seemed a bit lighter, we set off, and for the first time using the rain gear we had been carrying with us.
An afternoon of riding in the rain was made enjoyable by the lack of effort thanks to the tailwinds. We ran into a couple southbound tourers taking cover in an abandoned house, so we pulled over to chat with them for a bit. With no where proper to stop in the very underpopulated area, we kept going until the town of Raymond where we decided to finish the day, even though the idea of pushing on to the next town was tempting.
We found our way into the local bar, the Pitchwood, and were greeted with a loud “Hello!” At first we were taken aback, not sure in the sincerely of the greeting, but we quickly realized everyone was very friendly and soon found ourselves sitting with one of the staff discussing our route for the next day. He was a bit disappointed we wouldn’t be able to see more of the area. They had great food and an interesting menu as well. I ordered a veggie burger with a variety of interesting toppings, but when it arrived it looked a little too ‘authentic’ so I looked at it a bit longer. Rather quickly the server ran over and asked if in fact I had ordered a veggie patty, and then profusely apologized and ran away with my plate. The other staff/owners (everyone just seemed to hang out here) seemed very concerned that there was a problem, quietly talking amongst themselves. The server made me a really tasty mixed drink to apologize, and quickly my meal came back again with the new patty. Overall we had a great experience in Raymond, the friendliest town we’d been in so far.