We have a much greater success rate of getting big trucks to honk for us than we did when driving in our minivan (visualize: two young boys enthusiastically pumping their left arms with giddy smiles on their faces).
On the topic of big trucks, we have developed a kinship with tractor trailer drivers and those darn turn radius and braking distance issues. *rant/tangent: However, we deny kinship to most of the big trucks on WA SR14, as they need a lesson on road sharing. The friendly locals in Stevenson agree and enlightened us to the tax dodging motivations that turn their winding highway into a racetrack.
Our four-year-old has capacity for continuous rain for about 8 miles.
Mediocre food tastes A-MAZING after a long ride.
We remain confused by the crazed-survival-of-the-fittest driving that surrounds a military installation that almost instantaneously turns into a utopian riding experience once on the installation (from a sample size of two military installations)….
Washingtonians, perhaps Americans at large, are litterbugs. Six-year-old Tango is especially outraged by this unsightly wastefulness.
Scrap paper is worth its weight in gold in the eyes of my children. We never leave a hotel room with a pad of paper intact, as it was fully employed to make a bunch of miniature paper airplanes, boats, and incoherent notes within an hour of our arrival.
With the right application of technology, we could easily be tracked by the radius of noise that surrounds us, specifically the truck honking and farm animal harassment (in the form of Sandra Boynton songs, Babe (the pig movie) password attempts, and repetitive animal sounds).
Sissy (10 years old) has voiced her desire to live in the country and raise llamas, chickens, and ducks. Does anyone know what sound a llama makes? Asking for intellectual purposes only.
The huge increase in our use of public restrooms has caused me to question my pursuit of the kids’ literacy skills.
Funniest moment on the road so far: a guy in a truck pulled up next to us and asked the boys if they wanted to race. He repeated himself because of the boys’ initial dumbfounded expressions.
Kindness continues. All the hotels we’ve stayed in have been incredibly accommodating to our non-standard needs, specifically when it comes to bike storage. Stevenson locals were eager to give us tips on the road conditions and campgrounds that lay ahead of us.
The burden of an uphill ascent is lightened when Lil’ Mo serenades us with Christmas carols. Her favorites are Jingle Bells and Oh, Christmas Tree.
Portland enchanted us with its bike and pedestrian friendliness. (pictures of the bridges on which we entered and exited the city)
All the specialized railroad machines have been a great novelty. We’ve seen two Herzog Multi-Purpose Machines clearing branches off and near the tracks. We’ve seen one railroad track cleaner in action. With a scenic river on one side, Cascades on the other with misty clouds nestled on them, and trains galore we started to question if we were on the Island of Sodor. Otter even got a train engineer to honk for him!
We also saw a river paddle boat on the Columbia this morning as we were packing up. Tango: “That is awesome! I’ve only ever seen those in pictures, never in real life!”
Day 14 is ending well. We finally crossed into the rain shadow, our tents are now drying, we had a tail wind (our first!) and sunshine the entire ride today. Today’s lunch spot was idyllic. We picnicked along the river front in the sunshine with wildflowers in bloom. Remember the opening credits on Little House on the Prairie when Carrie was running in the field and fell and popped right back up? Lil’ Mo channeled that today with wildflowers in hand.
And tomorrow, friends are meeting up with us for a night! So, day 15 is guaranteed to be another great one.