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Old 08-07-2012, 11:34 AM   #1114
Underboning OP
Studly Adventurer
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Joined: Jul 2007
Location: Back in PDX again!
Oddometer: 727
6/19 The Final Ride

We woke to a cloudy and overcast morning, which didn't do much for my mood. After breakfast in the room, we began packing the bikes one final time. I was feeling more than a bit wistful as I once again, completed the now familiar checks on the bikes. My bearing replacement seemed to be doing fine, so Re rolled out of the parking lot and headed uphill to the hospital. She worked at Mid-Columbia Medical Center on and off for the past several years and wanted to stop in to see some old friends. Since I knew she'd be there for a while, I hung out in the room and caught up on some reading. At around 11:00 am, I rode up to the hospital to say hi and retrieve Re. Several of her former co-workers followed us out to the parking lot to see the mighty Symbas and bid us farewell.

We rode back down the hill and across the Columbia River, where we again turned west on Highway 14. We twisted and turned along the river for an hour or so before stopping in a local park to have lunch at the river's edge. A Clif bar and an apple later, we began the final ride into Portland. Once we reached Vancouver, Washington, we crossed back into Oregon on Interstate 205. With Judas Priest's “Breakin' the Law” playing in the background once again, we made the short two mile ride across the bridge before exiting back onto legal roads. After a quick stop at our hotel near the airport, we rode down Sandy Blvd to the Hollywood District and the symbolic end of our trip. You may recall that nearly eleven months ago, we began our journey at the Panera Cares Community Cafe (if you are unfamiliar with the Panera Cares Community Cafe, they are just like a Panera, except that all the food and drinks are free, with just suggested donations. It seemed particularly fitting that since apparently most round the world trips on bikes of a certain brand begin at Starbucks, that a round the world trip on Symbas should start at what is essentially an upscale soup kitchen ). Inside, we enjoyed a bagel and coffee with our fellow members of the homeless community. After getting the obligatory photo out front, we officially pronounced our trip over.

After drinking all the coffee we could stomach, we walked back out into the drizzly, 65 degree weather and glumly rode back to the hotel. While we have many things to look forward to in the coming days and weeks, both of us were surprised by what a letdown coming “home” is. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening in the hotel room making plans for our short time in Portland and the upcoming drive to North Carolina. After staring at the TV for an hour, we decided to go to bed. As I lay curled up with Re in the dark, all I could think about was where we had been over the past year and how little I wanted to be here.

90 miles in three hours, including two miles of interstate (FTP!).
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