Astoria Oregon. It's on! While the ride doesn't officially start until tomorrow, we learned that Astoria isn't officially on the Pacific Ocean. Astoria is on the Columbia River, which is wide enough to look like an Ocean, but it isn't. So to officially ride from coast to coast, I had to ride out to the Pacific which is about 20kms away from Astoria. So, in a driving rain and wind, I rode to the coast and was lucky enough to find a very nice family from Ogden, Utah sitting in a parking lot by the beach (the only people within miles, I'm sure). The man who was driving the car was named Bill, and he was a retired Air Force mechanic. When I told him I wanted him to take pictures of me dipping my wheels in the Pacific because I was riding my bike across the country, he was happy to walk down the beach (a very dark sand beach by the way) and shoot a few pictures. As I was riding back to Astoria a deer started to run along the side of the road with me for close to 200 yards, as if he was saying "it's going to be all right – have a great ride". This afternoon there was a 3 and 1/2 hour briefing on logistics, safety, operations, hygiene, and more pertaining to the ride. The group consists of the widest possible range of people including a father/son team on a tandem, 2 guys from Switzerland, a high school-aged girl, and a woman from Etobicoke, Ontario to name a few. Everybody introduced themsleves and explained why they were doing this ride. It will be interesting to see how the group shakes out. There are some serious cyclists in this group (like really serious). I'm very excited to get going. We'll be on the road before 7AM tomorrow. As I said, it's on!
Here's the You Tube link to the official wheel dipping ceremony: