2 AM – stars are out, horse crap still smells, cold AF. Milan, Luke, and Luis were awoken by an army of bantering ‘yippers’ (aka cayotes). David, Cesar, and Gabe slept on.
At 6AM plus one snooze of the alarm clock, the boys drank coffee, ate breakfast and saddled up by 7:30. The initial biking was completely saturated with morning mist running down our helmets and bike frames. Visibility was limited to 100 feet or so.
After the fog burned off, we were greeted by the sun and its warmth. While Milan was recovering from falling down at literally zero miles per hour after a snack break, Cesar gazed into the eyes of a cow resting just 15 feet from us. Like a boy caught looking across the bar at a woman, they remained fixed on each other. Milan saddled back up, and Cesar suggested the idea that “no cow ever dies from natural causes…wtf.” He continued to stress the sadness of the cow’s life, the wrongdoing of the meat production industry, and the need to go vegetarian. However, continuing the bike ride sounded more entertaining so we left while he was talking. Cesar ended up eating thee giant polish hot dogs, two glasses of chocolate milk, and six tablespoons of cream cheese later that night. Just so you know how he is with commitment.
Here’s a synopsis of the lovely “Welcome” that Oregon gave us:
Luke’s managed to get a flat tire right before we climbed a massive bridge over the Columbia River. We sat there trying to change it for 30 minutes while Cesar implored to take another route that didn’t involve heights – no heights for him.
Oregon decided to lull us in with a welcome sign, a dozen dead animals on the bike roads, an unending series of 20-minute hill climbs on 2-foot wide shoulders, and gale force winds that blew us like tumbleweeds.
At lunch, Luis directed himself and David a mile past the meeting location, down a giant hill. Here’s how that went… Reaching the top of the summit, David asks “Do we take this right turn or what?” Luis grabs his phone opening Google Maps, and says “Nah, we go down the hill first bro.” Little did they know that the checkpoint was where David expected, and they consequently had to be shuttled by Gibster McGee back up the hill. The stories of Luis doesn't end just yet… more to come. Additionally at lunch, a new English unit was invented by the one and only, Luke ‘Bulging Tire’ Boksem. While staring down at the Columbia in disbelieve that our elevation was only 656 feet above sea level, Luke exclaimed “If I’m six feet tall, that’s definitely more than 100 Luke's high.”
The afternoon became only slightly more bountiful for the riding boys. Cesar began to feel aches in his back, slowing his pace and falling behind in the peloton. Fortunately, we encountered more horrifyingly long hill climbs and Cesar jolted to the front, actually becoming faster because of the hill. He likes hills. And he also gets the polka-dot jersey for the day for his performance.
Towards the end of the mountain climbing for the day, Luis decided the highway shoulder was a great location to puke up his perfectly undigested and unproperly chewed salami sandwich (with extra mayo and Doritos). This was also while we were frantically racing to the next available restroom because Luis said he was “turtleheading.” Yikes. As Luis rolled up to tell us about his highway adventures, Milan spotted a roadway sign that wrote “Leif Erikson Way.” He then decided to have a teaching moment, explaining to the boys how Leif Erikson was “a baseball player that had a terminal disease and had the disease named after him.” He was oblivious to the fact that this was Lou Gehrig.
The rest of the day’s riding consisted of smooth, winding roads overlooking the Columbia River’s entrance into the ocean. We made it to Astoria and lost Luis for 15 minutes because he decided to not look behind him while the rest of us enjoyed a wonderful gazebo on the water. FYI, this picture will be posted on the cycle4charvat Instagram page so check it out and follow us if you’re a real one.
15 miles and one scary bridge later, we made it to Fort Stevens – and our spirits were lifted with hot showers, no burn ban, and friendly neighbors. Camping is by far the best part of the day. On that note, using his socks as shower shoes, Dave “Don’t worry, I’m a Chemical Engineer” Juergens surprised us by throwing his wet socks onto the grill alongside our dawgs, and centimeters from the flame… Yeah we don’t know either…
The ride continues and tomorrow we will hopefully surpass the 300 mile mark. Fingers are crossed, and don’t worry because we still have