Diary Of A Transcontinental Motorcycle Ride Continues
Department of Sanitation Worker Ed Shevlin is on his way across America, riding his Harley from Rockaway Beach (New York) to Rockaway Beach (Oregon) to raise funds for research to find a cure for cystic fibrosis. He is also doing it for Anthony Smith, a baby with the disease, whose father, Erick, will soon begin his second deployment to Iraq.
Shevlin promised Rockaway that he would keep in touch, providing something of a travel diary as he went. Two weeks ago, we published the first days of the ride. Today, we pick up Shevy in Montana.
Tuesday, 7/31 We woke up to a beautiful morning at our hotel on the Columbia River. After an early morning swim in the pool and a most therapeutic soak in the spa, I began my preparations for the trip to Rockaway Beach. With the bikes loaded up with our camping gear and luggage, we proceeded to our rendezvous with the bikers from Rockaway Beach. Ten miles outside Portland we rolled up on our escorts. Funny, they looked just like us! A bunch of leather clad, tattooed, Harley-ridin' dudes and dudettes from a town called Rockaway Beach. I felt right at home already. Jim, their leader, told us that we were in for a treat. The ride to the beach would take us through the beautiful Cascade Mountains and this particular route was one of the most scenic. Jim was a man of his word. The mountain roads were comparable to a roller coaster ride with no end. Up and down, banking left and then right, awesome!!! As we emerged from the mountains all jazzed-up from the ride, we turned north onto the coast highway and began our final approach into Rockaway Beach. The town of Tillamook was the first town we passed through, followed by Garibaldi [where we picked up more riders and now had 24 in all!] and then into our namesake, Rockaway Beach. The whole town turned out to greet us. Three fire trucks, one police car and an ambulance led the way with lights and sirens blazing away. The mayor, the entire chamber of commerce, the police chief, the executive director of CFF Portland and many of the townspeople turned out to greet us. They closed down the main street and we had a delicious potluck dinner right in the center of town. We were presented with the key to the city, gift certificates to two local restaurants and a two-night stay in a beautiful beachfront hotel. Whew, I'm tired! Finishing Mileage-40,887.
Wednesday, 8/1: Not much riding today. Finished the day's mileage at 41,001. This place is just too special to leave behind so soon. Our reception was over the top and made us feel right at home here. Besides, we have gift certificates and cannot refuse our hosts' hospitality. Two local ladies agreed to act as our tour guides for the day on our ride up the coast to Seaside, Oregon. Linda, vice president of the local chamber of commerce and her daughter, Julie, borrowed two helmets from friends and we were off. Our decision to stay on an extra day was richly rewarded as we wound our way northward along Highway 101. Mountains cloaked in tall pines border sandy white beaches as the irregular coastline creates points and reefs that make it a surfer's dream. Arriving in the resort town of Seaside we paid a visit to "The End of the Trail." This is a monument to the end of Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery expedition and is symbolic of the end of our westward journey. How fitting a tribute. I neglected to mention that among the many gifts we received from the people of Rockaway Beach was a $500 donation to the CFF. I cannot thank our hosts enough for the warm and loving reception that they gave us. I will never forget my visit to Rockaway Beach, Oregon. Tomorrow morning we begin heading east. We're coming home! You never ride in a straight line on a Harley. So it'll take a little while. Want to thank everybody for their interest in my little trip and for their support of the Cystic Fibrosis organization. See ya in a couple of weeks.