Ride Home, Day 4: Longview to Portland

Route

It’s an uphill climb. (I rode B to A.)

It was raining when I woke up in Longview, Washington.

Backpack

Getting ready to go.

I left late and ate breakfast at a local health food cafe to kill some time while hoping that the rain would let up. It didn’t. I hit the street at 11:30 AM.

Raining

View from room 15.

My camera stayed safe and dry in a plastic bag inside my backpack. My backpack stayed dry inside a plastic bag of its own.

I crossed the Lewis and Clark Bridge into Oregon by riding my bike on the shoulder, which was covered in rich smelling cedar wood chips. Perhaps a truck spilled them. The cars drive pretty slow on the bridge because the passage is so narrow. I wondered why the people who designed the bridge never thought to include a bicycle lane or pedestrian walkway.

On the Oregon side, a hiker walking with two walking sticks and a large backpack stopped me to ask about crossing the bridge on foot. I told him he could make it if he was careful. We parted ways.

Route 30 from Mt. Rainier to Portland consists mostly of a constant upward incline or else it’s flat. Mostly however, it’s uphill.

Congestion

Entering Portland.

It rained relentlessly during the first three hours. The cold wind, misty spray from passing trucks and strong headwinds really tested my resolve. When my left arm grew weak and my fingers started going numb, I began to question if I’d make it the whole way home. It was hard to tell if the rain had soaked through my raincoat or if I had sweat through to the rain.

I sang songs in my head and took it moment by moment. Each time I turned the pedals it brought me that much closer to home. Eventually I began singing songs out loud.

When I’d get to the top of a hill and round the bend only to find another hill to climb, I’d laugh at the sky. Ha! Hills from Portland to Port Townsend now know my name and they tremble when they see me coming.

At some point the rain let up and the temperature warmed slightly. Good thing. I had begun to grow cold. Knowing that I’d be able to sleep in my own bed kept me moving.

I took out my camera after it hadn’t rained in a while. I was covered in grit and wet but my camera was dry.

Grit

Gritty, gritty, gritty ride.

My legs certainly were tired. I rode 75 miles the day before, 50 the day before that and 40 the day before that.

Hill

Where I was going.

Still, the hills couldn’t stop me!

Hill

Where I came from.

Finally, I saw the sign for Portland. About an hour to go.

Portland 10 Miles

Almost home!

Ten miles of slow incline.

Hill

Another hill!

Every time it looked like I was able to coast I’d stop pedaling and the bike would stop. The wind was pushing me back. The rain had soaked me to the bone. The hills were trying to get me. It was as if BP was controlling the weather.

Road

Almost there.

I knew where I was and it wasn’t far from home.

Stop light at St. John's Bridge

Picture taken as red light turned green by St. John’s Bridge.

It had warmed up and I was on familiar streets. I was nearly there, limp arm and all.

Bike lane

Portland bike lane.

Portland began to welcome me.

Green colored building

Noticing things I hadn’t before.

I saw things anew and noticed things never before seen.

Last hill

Cresting the bridge.

The bridge to Front Street was the last hill I’d have to climb.

Front Street

Cruising down Front Street.

I slid into the Pearl District by way of 17th street and was home at 4 PM.

Home

Home! Photo by Gwenn.

It was so good to see Gwenn! She took some pictures before we went inside.

Grit

Rain picks up all the dirt. Photo by Gwenn.

I did it! I rode 450+ miles round-trip to protest the BP oil disaster.

I didn’t spend a cent on gasoline or car insurance.

It took five days to get to Port Townsend and four days to get back to Portland. Going home is always faster.

I learned a lot and have many more questions and ideas. My legs are tired and my resolve is strong. 

The road is long, life is short.

I’ll be writing a summary of this experience (including a more detailed budget analysis) and more about cars, bicycles, oil, and living green in the comings days.


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Ride Home, Day 3: Olympia to Longview 


Comments

Lynne Duddy September 04, 2010

Excellent work! Appreciate you making this protest. Just got my bike amped up and am riding more and more. You’re an inspiration.

Vanadia September 04, 2010

Thanks Lynne!


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About the Spill

The BP Oil Spill was the biggest oil spill in U.S. history with more than 200 million gallons of crude oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico over a total of 87 days.

About the Ride

The BP Protest Ride was an experiment in being green.