Crossing the Astoria Bridge into Oregon… and being pulled over by the cops!

astoria-bridge

So today started at Bruceport, Washington. After a cool night in the campsite with fellow travellers I set off south. The plan for today was to try and cover about 20miles which would get me half way to Astoria where I was going to try and have a rest day. Of course this didn’t happen.

I managed to get 20km comfortably completed but then the dreaded Achilles and knee twinged again. I decided to play it safe and walk the remaining km to wherever I would camp. After 30km I came to a junction and had to make a choice – Right (the 101) and 16 mile walk to the nearest food or left and a 5 mile walk to food. I obviously took the left choice which ended up being the right route. After 5 miles of walking I arrived at Naselle, refuelled and stocked up. It was 4pm and the sign said 15 miles to Astoria. I decided to walk a little further. This little further turned in to a lot further. Once I hit each target I set myself I moved the goal posts. 2 miles became 5, which inturn became “lets get to the top of the hill” and then “lets make the water”. As I was eating up the miles I was passed by various other travellers (all on bikes). One was a traveller from Sao Paulo who was cycling around America and the then there was a couple (with a kid) who had started in the north of British Colombia and were going to California – an epic journey for a 3/4 year old!

I finally made it to the water and could see Astoria in the distance. I made a wee video (Click Here) and set about finding a camp site. After fannying around for a while I couldn’t find anywhere that I could pitch my tent. I snuck up a logging path and made dinner and then set off towards Astoria.

To get to Astoria you need to cross the Astoria-Megler bridge. This bridge is mammoth… It is 6.6km long. To put that into context The Forth Road Bridge is 2.5km and the Severn Bridge is 1.6km. To add to that pedestrians are not permitted to cross the bridge. My plan was to find somewhere to camp on the Washington Side and then work out how to get across the next day.

After failing to find somewhere to camp I was now in a pickle. It was 9pm at night, I had nowhere to stay, and there was a 6.6km bridge that I was prohibited from crossing between me and hotels.

So I decided that an adventure isn’t adventure without some scares… I rustled through my rucksack and pulled out what lights and torches I had. My plan was to disguise myself as a bike and run across using the darkness to hide my true identity.. I made a quick video (click here), took a deep breath and set upon my challenge.

The road was tight and cars were travelling past at speed but with all my lights I think I was probably safer than attempting to do this during the busier daylight hours. I made good time, keeping a solid jog up as I progressed into darkness. I am sure many people do this but it was exhilarating for me. To make it more tricky I had to dodge the countless seabirds who had sadly not been successful in this attempt.

Towards to Oregon side of the bridge it starts to climb, and climb steeply. With my mind set on my goal I kept pushing myself forward. It wasn’t until I was about 60m above the water that noticed my hands starting to hurt from gripping my stroller and I remembered that I was scared of heights… Scared of heights on a tight bridge in the pitch dark. I tried to clear my head and keep going…

That was when I noticed lights. Flashing red and blue lights behind me.. I slowed to a standstill and turned to see a huge police car behind me and a police man striding towards me. I very politely said hello, acknowledged my mistake and explained what I was doing. As soon as he heard about my expedition he was on my team. He told me to get running and told me that he would follow me to make sure I was not hurt by anyone behind me. Once again I was holding up traffic. I know it wasn’t the case but it really did feel like I was being chased by the police and I was outrunning them. Lets hope this is the closest I get to that being a reality.

Once safely on the other side of the bridge I gave my details to the police man and set about finding somewhere to sleep. With all the excitement during the day I had somehow covered about 40miles… my longest day so far and definitely earns me the right to a day off to rest my Achilles and to try the craft beers of Astoria.

 

One comment

  1. I love it!!!

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