Hello Seaside - Goodbye Seaside
Today’s ride north led us [again, me and Red Dog] to Astoria after which we would change travel directions towards Portland. Last night it came to me it might be fun to do the “four corners” of the state. Anyone who follows my rides knows that I seldom have a fixed idea of where I’m going other than a general direction so this would be a new twist, a real tour with actual destinations. Great concept, eh?
Arriving in Astoria I pause on the bridge to view my options ahead. In the distance you can see the toll bridge that leads to Long Beach, Washington. It’s a great place to score a radar ticket if you’re a hot shoe. I’m not going that way this time.
Astoria has tons of cool places to visit including a nice Maritime Museum with enough historical items to hold anyone’s interest. I’ve been there in the past but today I’m interested in riding so I’ll pass.
I always wonder about the history of pilings, they’re everywhere along the coast. If they could only talk what interesting tales they might spin.
Somewhere east out of Astoria I turn off the main highway onto a nondescript road that leads to who-knows-where. This is the fun part about touring without a firmly set destination; you have the flexibility of following your curiosity.
A corner marker invites me to turn off again, this time to Aldridge Point Road wherever that is. The sunny weather is unusual for this area.
Beautiful tributaries run along remote farming communities
An old salmon packing house lies in disrepair, looks like it’s been a very long time since it was last active.
The “Salmon for All” sign suggests there might have been issues between small packers, big biz, and probably government regulating agencies.
We return to the main highway heading southeast. The sun continues to shine and the ride remains near perfect. The closer we get to Portland the heavier the traffic becomes, just as I remember it when I lived there.
We reach Portland in the afternoon and stop to visit “L`Etoile” a small private French Immersion School located in the Johns Landing district. This style of education is taking hold in many areas of the country; they offer alternative schooling to public systems which a lot of families prefer. OK, so I have a personal interest in this place but that’s another story…
Temps are rising; it’s getting a bit hot out. I pause for lunch with friends and then decide against staying overnight in the big city. Even though it’s approaching late afternoon I’d as soon be on the road and so it’s eastward on I-84 following the Columbia River.
I wanted to visit the locks at The Dalles but our new Homeland Security declines to accept visitors. Phooey on them. Who cares about a silly old dam anyway? Not me, I’m outta there, friendlier places are everywhere.
The hour grows late and I scurry to The Dalles where I will spend the night. My old favorite Motel 6 has just one room left and I score it. The gal at the front desk tells me stories about how her husband fell off his bike going really fast and “Thank God he was wearing the right gear, otherwise he’d have been killed”, etc. “After that he came to his senses and realized it was crazy to ride bikes so he’s never ridden again.” “Good for him” I say, “A man’s got to know his limits.” Just like Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry. You ever notice how non-riders love to tell you stories like this? That’s my usual response and oftentimes it garners a frown or as in this case a nodding head accompanied with a look of puzzlement. I move on.
The motel is overrun with Harley people going somewhere. A number of them are intrigued with Red Dog so I answer their questions as best I can. Depending on how sadistic I’m feeling at the time my explanations of how the front end works varies. Creative storytelling 101 prevails.
Dinner is somewhere that escapes me, probably just as well, and so ends day two of this epic saga. Did I mention it's hot?