Thursday August 11 2011
After two months and eight days on the road, the last day of the trip seemed a little bit unreal at first. But putting on the riding shorts one last time and hearing the rumble of passing trucks brought both a sense of familiarity and relief. The day began with high hopes, but about a mile out of town we lost power to the wheel. The problem was caused by a bolt that sheared loose from the drive shaft. After some improvisation with an Allen wrench that we wedged through the shaft, then a quick trip to an auto parts store for a new bolt, we fixed the problem and pressed on. We headed 25 miles along the coastal highway, with rought pavement, no shoulders and great views of the Pacific. We planned to stop in Manzanita and visit the library for a mid day rest, but it was closed. So instead we switched to our smaller gear for hill climbing, and took on the two of the trip’s final three big hills to reach Cannon Beach. On the second downhill, we actually rode through a tunnel – something I’d wanted to do all trip long. We ate lunch at Doogers Fish House while leaving the vehicle’s battery pack plugged in on the restaurant’s front porch to charge for the final push. The last hill was supposed to be one of the steepest of the trip, but with our trusty low gear we where able to climb efficiently and drift down the other side with ease. After the last descent we stopped at the library in Seaside where I did online school while my dad went downtown. He said it was quite touristy, and that I didn’t miss much. After the charge we continued and did the last 16 miles on one of the busiest roads on the trip. When it came time to cross the Astoria bridge, traffic had calmed down some, but not by much. Across the two-mile–long bridge there was no shoulder and cars both ways, so we probably caused the worlds largest traffic jam. After the crazy road and holiday traffic, pulling into the Cannery Pier Hotel, alive, was a relief.