Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Saturday, October 5, 2013

60 hours of rain, then, Ranier, Oregon to Astoria, Oregon Sept 30

48 miles in about 5 hrs......September 30...... Friday evening, September 27, it began to rain. I had ridden to Oregon,  and Pam came to pick me up and bring me back to Centralia Washington , where the motor home was being worked on. When we got back, the doorstep was fixed, and the rain began falling. This afternoon, right when Pam was dropping me off in Ranier, the rain stopped. It didn't rain off and on for 66 hours, it just rained. Sometimes heavily, sometimes lightly, but it never stopped. Not for 66 hours. Straight. Tornados touched down just up the road from us. Railroad cars were blown off the tracks. Seattle set an all time record for rainfall. It's flooding all around us, as we saw as driving down I-5 from Centralia. Stevens Pass, which I rode through to get to Seattle in the Cascade Mountains, got 22 inches of snow. Mt. Ranier got 34 inches of snow. Holy hell! For the last year, Pam and I have avoided snow, cold, tornados, haboobs, heat waves, and every other type of weather catastrophe. We often have spoken about how lucky we are to always be away from news making weather. Now, we are being repaid! 60 hours of rain! And that was after one nice day preceded by 48 hours of rain in Forks! I have decided that rain will no longer be a deterrent. We've got to get out of here!
     After dealing with the dealer that fixed our doorstep, and stopping for diesel, and driving in a driving rain on I-5, it was about two in the afternoon when it was time to ride. Of course it POURED all the way to Kelso, which made driving quite exciting!  It finally stopped right before we pulled off at Kelso.  We pulled off the interstate in Kelso, Washington, because there is only ONE bridge across the Columbia River. The Lewis and Clark Bridge is where I rode on Friday, but I was happy to go over it again, as Pam went on ahead to find accommodations in Astoria. The sun was actually out, but the roads were still draining from the rain that had just stopped. After getting across the bridge, into Oregon, I picked up US 30 west. The very same US 30 that goes through Pittsburgh. I immediately had a pretty significant climb, up to about  770 ft. That was just the beginning of 48 miles of rolling hills, all the way to Astoria. I basically followed the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean, but I saw very little of it, as I was in and out of the hills and hollows of Oregon. One cool thing is that I found 90 cents at a viewpoint turnout! What a great day! It stayed dry for about 20 miles, or about two hours, as I climbed and descended on wet roads, through mossy forested hills. The shoulder on US 30 was sufficient, but it was covered with leaves and debris from the previous days storms, including slugs, salamanders, snakes, snails, and frogs, who have been displaced by high water in their homes. Just about every drain was clogged with leaves, because no leaves have fallen off trees on their own yet, but were torn off by the rain. Very few trees have begun to change colors. The shoulders, therefore, never dried out. Riding on wet shoulders make my feet very wet and cold, so today I tried something a little different. I wore a pair of socks, put a Walmart plastic bag over the sock, and put another sock over the Walmart bag. I have tried variations on this method before, but never two pairs of  socks. It worked pretty well for a while, as my feet stayed warm for about three of the five hours. The temperature stayed in the 50's until it started to rain. The last three hours of my ride were spent riding in the rain. The temps fell down to about 48 degrees, and the 15 mph headwind that hadn't really been  bothering me, suddenly got cold. Thank God I pulled out another trick for today. Instead of wearing a plastic pancho to stay dry and wind proof, I broke out the frog togs, which are a  waterproof jacket and long pants which we bought for our trip to the Grand Canyon, and they are really warm. When it started to rain, I put on the jacket, but didn't stop to pull on the pants. My legs didn't really get too cold, but my feet finally did. When I used to run, I didn't wear long pants until the temps went below forty. I guess I'll keep carrying them with me, as we go down the Pacific Coast, just in case it goes down to 39 as I ride.
 When I pulled into Astoria, Pam had checked out the town, and our camp sight was on the Columbia River, with ocean going vessels in our back yard, as well as about two dozen sea lions who were sitting on a private dock, and barked the whole night long. It was sort of cool though. When we walked down to see the lions, we saw two guys walking off the dock with a shopping cart full of Albacore Tuna that they had just caught. Welcome back to the Pacific coast!

Looking back down at the Lewis and Clark bridge

That's all logs loaded on the cargo ship!

Our noisy sea lions!  We listened to them all night long!



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