posted on Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Crossing to Oregon

Ungodly six am wake up call as I had to take an early bus to portland where I will begin my cycling journey.I will be on my own most of the trip and one of my resolutions for this holiday was to trust a bit more strangers considering I might need some help on the way. My resolution was put to a severe test when in Seattle Union station looking for the right bus stop I was approached by Ken who offered his help. My alarm bells  were set off and he didn't help himself with his stories. 'Oh you are Italian, my girlfriend is from Italy and she just inherited a castle in Aosta...' and an even more puzzling 'I show tourists how to find bus stops every morning as part of my art degree and by the way, I ask for a ten dollars donation to help support the 'showing the bus stop' charity!
It would have normally been enough material to have serious doubts about the  shifty character's true motives, but I remembered my resolution; he did walk me to the right place so I asked for a discount and got away with a 50% off bargain of five dollars!
Good start of the day ... for Ken of course.
Portland is known as the cycling capital of the US this was evident once I started riding. Very rare in this country, most roads have cyclists in mind and I thought even drivers were unusually well behaved and always gave way to bikes. The city seemed very trendy and had good vibes too, in certain ways it reminded me of a small scale San Francisco.
Today forecast was not good, pouring down rain during most of the bus trip to Portland and on and off while cycling, I thought it would not be good to camp and after 40 kilometres of my first ride I decided that a motel in Forest Grove would be a wiser choice. Tomorrow i plan to leave earlier, hopefully catching up with my planned route schedule.
Some interesting road signs today. Two particularly stood out, the rather moving 'adopt an highway', and the very practical 'lottery games should not be played for investment purposes'.