I couldn’t get to Astoria too early today because I was meeting my girlfriend Nadia at the end point. I dawdled getting ready and still had time to kill before I could begin the 20 mile final day.
I wasn’t ready to finish so I didn’t mind getting a late start. I grabbed some breakfast at the local coffee shop and spent longer than I needed to drinking it and reading the news. Heavily caffeinated and itching to move, I decided it was time to hit the road and begin the last ride.
The route took me off the Pacific Coast Highway so it was quiet again and the visibility was much better than it had been near the water. I followed Lewis and Clark Road and enjoyed the terrain even though it was, yet again, much hillier than expected.
The ride felt a little weird as I found myself growing more nostalgic with each pedal stroke. I wasn’t quite ready for the trip to be over and played a lot of the highlights over and over again through my head. I thought back on my riding partners throughout the ride. I thought about the incredible Warm Showers hosts I had the pleasure of meeting and how they had opened their arms and their homes to me. I thought about the random people I had met along the way and how the ride wouldn’t have been the same without them. I thought about the highs – crossing the continental divide for the first time at 11,500 ft and biking through the Tetons with my father – as well as the lows – the day full of mechanical failures and the day I almost passed out. I ran through my favorite towns, bars and restaurants I had visited along the way. I was so lost in thought that I barely noticed it when I crossed the bridge into Astoria.
When I snapped back to reality, I felt like I had relived most of the ride. And after that, I was finally ready to finish. The quiet day allowed me to take a step back and recognize how incredible this trip had been. Dragging it out, I was now able to admit, would not make it any better than it had already been. If anything it would just sour the taste of the last little bit.
After hearing from Nadia that she was in position and ready to see me finish, I began the last mile – no longer thinking back on the last 3 months but now just looking forward to seeing Nadia for the first time in months.
I’m still processing a lot of the ride but will try and write a final post summarizing it all. I don’t know yet what that post will say but I do know that it will talk about how great this ride was and, more importantly, how great America is.
Elevation gained: 750 ft
Days remaining: 0