I was up early this morning, as I wanted to get the bus down to the beach and back again before I checked out of the motel so I didn’t have to drag my stuff around. The weather was every bit as bad as yesterday, with a fierce wind blowing off the sea making me imensely glad I wasn’t cycling. It was really odd using motorized transport again, and even though the bus was crawling along it felt supersonic! I had about a miles walk from the town of ‘Seaside’ to the beach, and by the time I got there I was soaked. There was a stautue of Lewis and Clark there, with the fitting inscription ‘the end of the trail’ – the fact that I had acheived what I had set out to do seemed to sink in then and after I managed to get a crazy looking tramp to take my photo I retreated to a diner for breakfast.
I spent most of the day around Astoria, waiting for the evening bus back to Portland. I went and had a look around the Columbia Maritime Museum, which was suprisingly good at describing the history of human use of the Columbia from the Indians, to fur traders, to modern frieghters. My ticket also entitled me to go and have a look around their ‘lightship’ – a ship that was anchored perminantly during it’s service at the mouth of the Columbia functionig as a lighthouse. I spent the afternoon wandering in and out of various coffee shops, moving on whenever I got bored of being dry! I went into the bus station twice today, and both times I saw a set of cyclists doing the Pacific coast route. The first set were a german couple, and the second two retired Canadian guys. It was great to talk to them, and they were suprised to hear about the journey I’ve just completed. Both sets were taking the bus to avoid the weather (and on hearing this I felt suitably smug at not having cheated myself!) which had reached storm proportions by this afternoon.
I got the bus at 18.45 to Portland, and spent the entire two hour journey talking to Rich who was on his way to Idaho to pick up his car that had been stolen a couple of weeks ago, along with thousands of dollars worth of guitars. The guy had been caught when he tried to sell a guitar worth thousands for $70! He was in his 60s and worked three jobs a week just because he wanted to – as a landscape gardener, a graphic desiner, and an artist. I told him about my plans, and the bus driver overheard and when I went to leave the bus she volenteered to drive me to a hotel near the airport (about 20 miles away) saving me a hefty taxi fare. I got to the hotel at nearly 10.00, and was exhausted after a busy day and dropped off to sleep straight away.