July 13, 2004

7/13/04 Kaiser OR

68 miles (3305 total)

Looked like my last day was going to be a repeat of my first day in St Louis two months ago, with dark rain clouds looming overhead.

Headed up through dark forest on a quiet road that climbed slow and steady. Was stopped once by a policeman on his way to work, who warned me that the road up ahead was narrow, winding and with lots of logging truck traffic. He just wanted me to be careful. And even met another couple on this lonely road who were on a three day loop ride out of Portland.

Once over the first climb, the road did join a busier highway, but nothing I couldn't handle. Besides, the truckers were careful when passing and I got out of the way if I could. Over the first mountain range and out of the forest, I could see the clouds thinning. The farther east I traveled, the lighter and warmer it got. Plus traffic increased too, but I now had a shoulder. More climbs, more than I thought there would be as I made my way to Salem, the capital of Oregon.

Are we in Kansas?

Wow, I'm finally here. Got a great pizza for lunch and then went exploring looking for the train station. After visiting with relatives here, I'll take the bike with me as I ride the train up to Seattle to stay with some good friends.

My great aunt Kathy's directions were pretty easy to follow as I found her place in Kaiser, part of the Salem metropolitan area. It was great to see her. I stayed with them in 2001 and it was talks with Kathy that convinced me to continue on that ride when I was ready to give up. My great uncle Frank passed away this year, and Kathy was trying to keep going in a new place in the city. Got a chance to talk to her kids Chris and David, and their brother Steve came by for a visit. Kathy later took me out for pizza at a place their whole family had been going to for years. It was very good to see her. I am so fortunate to have wonderful family everywhere I go it seems.

Tomorrow, I load up on the train for Seattle to visit Ed and Sandi. I met Ed, otherwise known as EWOS, on my Appalachian Trial hike in 1989. We've kept up with each other and I count them as some of my best friends. It will be good to see them. They have surprised me by planning a mountain climbing trip up Mt St Helens we will do in a couple of days. Yippee! After that, I'll ship the bike and fly to Kansas City. Home....