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The end of Bike-a-tron!

The end of Bike-a-tron!

The end of Bike-a-tron!

Our final two days from Portland to the coast were uneventful compared to the rest of the trip. Endings can be like that. We chose to take highway 30 to Astoria, and then follow 101 down to Seaside, for the main reason that the official Lewis and Clark route on our Adventure Cycling maps ended there. The final day at about 10:30 am, we realized that ending at Fort Stevens State Park would probably have been more scenic than Seaside, but at that point we were only a half an hour away. Additionally, Adams parents were picking us up there, so on we went.

We reached Seaside at just after 11 am. Beach access was limited, with big white tents everywhere, as the setup for Hood to Coast was underway. For the out of towners, Hood to Coast is a yearly running race starting east of Portland on Mt. Hood, and ending at the coast. Unbidden came the thought that I should join next years race. For a few insane moments I considered the idea, but quickly remembered my intense dislike of running, and that was the end of that. That's the danger of having big adventures, they often set off a domino of other adventures.

We took the obligatory final pictures (see photos in this blog), got in the car and headed back to Portland. You'll notice Adams bike is missing from the actual on the beach photos. He was horrified when I said I was taking my bike down to the water. He doesn't want to take any chances of getting sand in his drive train. He's the smart one here. I did it anyway.

On the way home we stopped for lunch at Camp 18, an old logging camp turned restaurant and gift shop. Waiting for us when we arrived at Adams parents house was Adams dog Bailey, who was VERY excited to see him.

It always amazes me the contrast between my ideals for how things will be when I get back from a trip, and how they actually are. For example, it's now been over 2 weeks since we got back, and I'm just now sitting down to write our final post for this trip. Usually, I have lofty goals for all the things I'm going to accomplish, things I've been thinking about doing for months. At first, I take a few days to relax and do nothing, after a summer of exercising all day, every day. This is good, as it can be overwhelming to jump right back into busy, big city living, after 2 months where a “big” town was anything with a population over 5,000. But then, without work, school, or something else with a routine to jump right into, I get lazy. And bored. What I find is that all the things that I've been looking forward to for their purely entertainment value, soon lose their luster. I've read enough books, watched enough movies, and visited with enough people where the only things I could contribute to the conversation was something about the trip. These kind of feelings are common for many people when getting back from a long trip. I call it the post-adventure funk. When this kicks in it is a reminder that I need to be doing something useful, something with a purpose, in order to feel fulfilled, and to truly be happy. When I'm not contributing to something greater than myself, it's hard to find contentment.

Luckily, I have Next Adventure. That may sound like a blatant plug, but I really am very grateful that I work for such an awesome company. Next Adventure is committed to empowering their employees to go out and have adventures. Not only do those same employees have better knowledge about the gear they are selling, but additionally, when a person travels, pushes themselves physically and mentally, and meets new and interesting people, they come back personally enriched. My life is definitely better as a result of my travels and adventures, and as a direct result of that, I can contribute more to my friends, family and community.

Adam isn't quite as lucky as me, for although he too gets character building, and life enrichment from this trip, he has his work cut out for him. Adam had to quit his desk job to go on bike tour. So, he's been spending every day on craigslist looking for some kind of construction/carpentry/remodeling type job, which is hard in Portland, with our surplus of workers, and deficit of jobs. But, all in all we are both very lucky. We were able to save up for this trip in the first place, and we both have family we can stay with while we look for a house to rent.

As we settle back in to the normal routine, the daily reality of bike tour begins to fade. Dreams of reaching the west coast are replaced with thoughts of our dream house...and of what to do next summer. It will have to be something a lot shorter, maybe 2 or 3 weeks. I'm having visions of backpacking in the High Sierra.

Well, that about does it. In lieu of a comment button for this blog, anyone who is interested can contact us by email at wherestiffany@gmail.com. (Adam can be reached here too.)

For the local folks, we will be having a slideshow presentation of our trip in the Next Adventure warehouse on October 20th. Not only will we show pictures of the trip, but we will also provide a lot of practical information for any aspiring bike tourists. Oh, and of course there will be beer. So stay posted to the Next Adventure website for more details!

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