First, a note: We arrived home a week ago, but got a little too swept up in the excitement of being back to update the blog. Thank you to those who checked in on us! We are alive, well, and trying to figure out how not to ride our bikes all day. 🙂
Last day of the tour! It felt wonderful to head toward loved ones and familiar places, but bittersweet to end our big adventure. The scale definitely tipped to the sweet side as we battled some intense headwinds while trucks whizzed as we left Hood River on I-84… not a highlight of the day, but we survived.
Cascade Locks marked the first place we intersected with our departure route. We had our final snack break at the same little store we had our very first one. We’ll never again look at coconut water, bananas, and Tillamook Greek yogurt without a little heartstrings tug. 🙂 The whole route back along the gorge felt a little surreal, but maybe this is where it started to really sink in that our tour was coming to an end.
The quiet wooded bike path was a peaceful counterbalance to I-84, and another reminder of the first day of our tour. Especially when we arrived at those familiar stairs! It was funny thinking about the version of us who five weeks ago probably spent fifteen sweaty minutes trying to navigate these steps with loaded bikes before giving up on that strategy, reluctantly unloading, and spending another fifteen minutes getting situated at the bottom. Packing the bikes had a definite learning curve, as illustrated by the five easy minutes it took from arriving at the bottom of the stairs to riding away at the top.
Highway 30 was packed with summer traffic, but otherwise lovely. We stopped at Multnomah Falls for a banana break and found ourselves lingering. Being this close to home, we really started savoring the soon-to-end feeling of being on our tour. As luck would have it, our relaxed timing ended up working perfectly, because look who we ran into…
Stephanie!! We met her in Whitefish while she was on her solo Portland the Portland tour. We knew she’d recently finished and would be sightseeing before flying home that night. It was so cool to be able to see her again and give her a big sweaty bike touring hug at the end of both of our adventures.
We also got to see another one of our favorite people along the way – Carl! Yes, 13 lb backpack wearing, triple breakfast eating Carl from Missoula also recently finished his cross-country tour, and met up with us to ride the last 20 miles into Portland. What a treat to be able to reunite with people we met along the way, especially while rolling back into familiar sights. It was a great tangible reminder of one of the best parts of our journey – meeting and connecting with other people. Bicycles are a powerful uniting force and were the common denominator in so many easy bonds we made along the way.
As we rounded the corner to Sasha’s house, where we started five weeks ago, we were greeted by the cheers of some wonderful family and friends, cold beer, brownies, and even a hand-drawn finish line.
What an enthusiastic, love-filled way to end our incredible journey. So many people gave us encouragement, help, and companionship that kept us going along the way, and this tour wouldn’t be the amazing adventure it was without all of those experiences, as well as the ongoing support and love of our friends, partners, and families.
To everyone that encouraged us, fed and sheltered us, waved and smiled, cheered us on online, shared advice, helped with bike maintenance, spent time with us, and sent good vibes, thank you! We soaked up your positivity and felt it every step of the way. Thank you for being part of this with us.
- Miles today: 66
- Total miles: 2111
- Elevation today: 3600
- Total elevation: 97,750