Crossing the Columbia River

11Jan13

The next morning we found our way into Astoria, OR and located a small cafe on the Main St. The place was hopping and had some interesting items on the menu.

Safe inside our coffee shop, The state of Washington looms in the background

Typical breakfast muffin?

Alas, A real egg muffin!

Astoria, OR has a riverwalk path that is a nice alternative to the riding the Main Street through town. The path makes its way along the southern bank of the Columbia river, passing by and through waterfront business. It even shares space with some waterfront railroad tracks which need to be minded.

Along the Riverwalk path in Astoria, OR

Heading east along the waterfront

Rusty river funk in Astoria, OR

Old pilings along the Columbia river

In Astoria, there are three bridges. Small, medium and large. We crossed the small one and the large one. The small bridge did not get any pictures. The large one however deserved some.

As we ate we hemmed and hawed about the crossing of the Columbia river-  a 4.5 mile crossing, a long climb to get on the bridge, ongoing construction, wind and traffic. We could see the forested hills in Washington on the other side. At this point in our travels we have gone over quite a few bridges and honestly it  is not that much fun unless you can get some unique circumstances that improves the situation.

We decided it was time to go and we headed out and hit the local grocery store for more provisions. The Washington side looks a little desolate for the first couple of  days. After our shopping we met some nice folks and traded some road stories of the area. Leaving the store we headed back down the riverside path and  started on the climb up the bridge. Traffic was thick. Access to the bridge was an approach ramp that rose directly over land and houses in town. Once we were  above the rivers edge we were quite high up. Still, a short climb remained alongside the line up of cars waiting for the construction delay. We approached the flagger at the front of the line. She said we would go first to get around the construction equipment then we were to pull over and let the  batch of traffic pass and then we would have the lane to ourselves. Well, at least until the next wave of traffic came. We were able to cross the bridge in four waves of traffic. All driving extremely fast in what we deemed windy conditions.

Astoria – Megler Bridge from the waterfront bike path

Below the bridge in downtown Astoria

View from the bridge over Astoria

About to start the crossing

Once we arrived on the Washington side we were relieved to be done with the bridge. We stopped at a rest area called Dismal Nitch to unwind and debrief. Here, we decided to take Rt 401 to Naselle, WA instead of 101 up the coast. We were all  done with traffic for the day. The sun was still shining and it appeared that most of  the cars were heading up the coast. We had a nice chat with a couple of cyclists getting ready to cross the bridge to Oregon. They would have to do the steep climb out over the water to the high point of the bridge where they then would meet the construction. We deemed either direction not that much fun.

Debi rides away from the big bridge along the northern bank of the Columbia River

Near Dismal Nitch (although not so dismal this day)

See you down the road and in the hills in Washington State!

B+D

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2 Responses to “Crossing the Columbia River”

  1. Hi there,
    You probably have NO idea how lucky you are to have such a beautiful day to travel Astoria.


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