Unplugged in Astoria

Make America Bike Again Tour

One Day to Launch

It’s cool and overcast. We’re hanging around a motel room in Astoria, Oregon, Robert and I, waiting for our cycling buddies to arrive. We’re packed and ready.  Those are my handle bars in the picture above. Below them are bungee cords. They secure the water-proof stuff sack of a sleeping bag to the flat surface of my front rack. My speedometer is set to zero, ready to start rolling.

There’s no sag wagon for this journey. Each cyclist has to carry all his own gear and food. And frankly, Robert likes his luxuries. He’s packed a full-sized air mattress, a small coffee pot, camp stool, and a couple of books. I wonder how long it will take before he starts lightening the load? Don’t misunderstand, I don’t mind carrying it. I’m a touring bicycle. I was made for this and frankly, I’ve been waiting a long time. But, he’s the one that has to pull the weight up all the hills ahead. I’ll provide the pedals and gears and keep the load stable. We’re a team.

Yesterday, Robert flew from our home in Denver to Portland, Oregon, rented a car and drove it to the coast. I was waiting for him at a bicycle shop in Astoria. This small historic town near the mouth of the Columbia River is a hub and a magnet for touring cyclists.

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The Pacific Coast trail passes right through it. The Lewis & Clark bicycle trail begins here, ending in St. Louis and closely following their historic path. For us, it’s a place for beginning. The food and supplies for the first week on the road are already packed away. The suitcase with the extra clothes mailed back home. Each step along the to-do list has been an act of faith…a letting go of the necessities and routines of a daily life…surrendering to the journey.

We’re a thousand miles from home. It took a lot of faith for Robert to turn in that rental car, with no way home except for a bad-ass touring bicycle.

 

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