Today felt like the first real day on the trail. Yesterday was brutal. It was drizzing in the morning, and although we got an early start, the cold and the rain kept beating down on us. There was a fair amount of climbing to be done, too, and by the end of it, we were all fed up. We talked about abandoning the trail. What would it look like if we rented a car and visited national parks instead? Why not just loop back to Portland in the next few days and fly home from there? It was clear that we were done riding for the day. We nabbed a hotel room in Tillamook and decided to sleep on it.
The next morning – this morning – the skies were still cloudy but the forecast was more promising. We set off comfortably at 10:30am, deciding not push ourselves at all. We struggled up two massive climbs before lunch, and stopped after about 30 miles in Beaver. The sun was starting to peak out from the clouds, and were feeling pretty good. We pushed on. At some pint we realized we’d missed a turn, cutting a significant loop – and another climb – out of our route. After the setbacks of yesterday, we were all happy to continue on this shortened path and head straight for Grande Ronde, the next town with promising campsites.
And that’s where I am now. We’ve set up camp, eaten dinner, and the others are settled in for the night. I’m nuzzled in my tent now as I write this. It’s after sunset, but it’s not fully dark yet. It’s that beautiful ghostly purple twilight time of day, when the trees look more like shadows than trees. We calculated over lunch that the next several miles are very flat, so we might even make it all the way to Eugene – 90 miles from here – without too much trouble. The two climbs we hit this morning saw more elevation gain than we will all day tomorrow, even with the extra mileage.
I’d like to push for it. It will be good to have another win. And the weather is in our favor.