Day one and four modes of transportation down. It truly felt like a whirlwind, but the timing worked out surprisingly well. And the weather was amazing- a pleasant breeze and right around seventy degrees. I left the house a little after 8AM this morning on the 14 MPH cooler. I had forgotten to charge the cooler since its initial charge a few days ago, but it rode smooth for its leg of the trip. I chose a quiet neighborhood to drive it through, but I encountered a lot more cars than I expected. They seemed more amused than annoyed though, and all the joggers I passed seemed a little jealous.
When I got to George Himes Park, I handed the cooler off to my dad and hit the trails. My mom came along because she was afraid I'd get attacked/mugged/mauled, though I can't really imagine a much safer place than SW Portland. We walked through the park which goes right under I-5 and leads to the South Waterfront. I was hoping to hop on the streetcar to get to the Riverplace, but we just missed one and it was a pretty short walk anyway.
We picked up the tandem bike from Waterfront Bikes and rode it over to the Riverplace where we were having a ceremonial send-off. Thanks to some shout-outs on facebook and twitter, a bunch of people showed up. It was so fun being surrounded by so many friends and family- some of whom I hadn't seen in years. Also, had no one been there, it probably would have been sort of strange when Mayor of Portland, Sam Adams showed up. He was incredibly gracious and generous with his time. He hung out for over half an hour, worked the crowd, took pictures, and seemed genuinely excited about the Un-Road Trip. Daniel Stark, my new twitter pal, came down and took some pictures which he's generously letting me share here.
The most surreal part of the experience was probably when Mayor Adams was being interviewed by KATU News and he was extolling the merits of the trip and spoke of his interest in hearing what I learn about sustainable transportation. The Mayor of Portland was talking about this little trip that I dreamed up about a year ago- crazy!
But on to the important stuff- riding a tandem bike. I'd never ridden a tandem before, so I was especially honored to be doing it for the first time with Sam Adams. Although it's essentially the same as riding a bike, you're never quite sure what the person behind you is doing. So it surprised me every time the person behind, (called the "stoker" in tandem terminology), would shift a little or start pedaling a little faster, and I'd suddenly remember that I wasn't alone on the bike.
I didn't crash or anything though, and halfway through I let Mayor Adams take the "captain" position in front. Our speed increased significantly after the switch- he really is a pro on a bike! He did some impressive weaving and even went "off road" on the grass for a few feet to avoid some dogs.
To check out more pictures from the launch at the waterfront you can head over to Daniel's blog.
After the ride, I met up with my sister and nephews for a quick bagel lunch on the waterfront, before I headed off for the train station. And after a night of occasional sleep, I arrived in Oakland, hopped on the BART to San Francisco and now I'm waiting for a ferry to Vallejo. Coming up later today- boat and agricultural helicopter!