The heart of the Cascades

  • Monday, July 5th
    • Daredevil slack liners from Ohio, illicitly camped at the county park
    • Firework-borne brush fire in Lyle, “we think we know who it was”
    • Rogue county sheriff threatens to arrest public employees for violating his interpretation of the constitution
    • Traffic-free road along the Klickitat river, perfect for cycling
    • Silty swim in river – hat was lost
    • Glenwood: ample camping opportunities
      • Gladys’ park: all are welcome, except dogs
      • Bill the dog runs the town, to the chagrin of the elderly wizard hound
      • Zach met ranchers: they were slightly aghast at his short shorts, but he learned that ranching is about horses
  • Tuesday, July 6th
    • We’ve made it to the huckleberry belt: huckleberry-buckwheat pancakes in trout lake
    • Amazing views of Mount hood to the left, adams to the rightLong, slow climb up mount Adams
    • Hot hot hot, but plenty of streams/waterfalls to dunk/soak/drink
    • Takhlakh lake: perfect for swimming/camping, but mosquitos run the joint
    • Bosnians will foist their trout upon you, despite your protestations
    • Tortellini dinner for days
  • Wednesday, July 7th
    • More gravel than expected, but downhill was still glorious
    • Chicken-wire water cage experienced critical structural compromise, after 10 mile stress test. Industrial engineer Liu has rectified the design flaw
    • Record-breaking pace in tailwind up the cowlitz valley
    • Early end at Packwood rv park: there’s only one employee, others are charlatans
    • Growlers from brewery across street + pizza + musical jam = bike touring nirvana

Posted from Packwood, Washington, 98361, US.

“Blows Continularly”

Another great day in the books! Woke up at camp and made some gourmet breakfast burritos, then headed east towards hood river aided by a killer tailwind. Hood river unfortunately had no replacement violin bows (Alice’s became unstrung, so we are currently musical saw-less), but we did pick up some camp fuel, and, more important, ice cream!

There was a good climb out of town and then we were back on the amazing Columbia gorge bike trail. I think this is the fourth time I’ve done this route, and it gets better every time. There’s now only a 4 mile section where you need to get on the freeway, which is quite a change from when Megan Books and I rode it back in…2005?

The tailwind got stronger and stronger as we headed eastward, and then we were at the famous Rowena Curves, a set of really fun curvy switchbacks that led us of the plateau and into the town of The Dalles.

We picked up some supplies and then headed across the Columbia into Washington. Unfortunately, we then had to ride west, back into the wind that had been aiding us all day. But it was still a nice ride on a quiet highway. We saw some bison, took a swim in the river, and had some nice chats with some windsurfers.

Now we’ve pulled away from the Columbia as we ride up Klickitat canyon and back up into the plateau – gonna be some good hills today, but nothing a few bums can’t handle!

Posted from Lyle, Washington, 98635, US.

Here we go again!

Wow folks! What a great first day!

Alice and I caught the Amtrak Thursday night, after a brief waterfront music sesh with Darles where I got to test drive my new fake plastic clarinet (it’s called a clarineo and sounds surprisingly good for being a lightweight, waterproof, nearly indestructible reed instrument).

After grabbing some Soley Vegan for the ride, we handed off our bikes to the baggage attendant (Amtrak finally nixed its dumb bike-box policy), and were off on our train ride to … Sacramento. Turns out wildfire season (predictably) began early this year, and the rail tracks were first on the menu. We had to take a seven hour bus ride from Sac to kiss Klamath Falls, where we re-boarded another train. Other than that, our trip went find, and the train ride through Oregon to Portland was gorgeous.

Upon arriving in Portland, we were graciously hosted by Alice’s friends Rebecca and Matt, who took us out to some of the most delicious tacos I’ve had, and took us on a tour of Rebecca’s amazing print studio, complete with 1600 pound press!

Unfortunately, Zach’s train ride from Seattle took nearly as long as ours did, and also resulted in a bus transfer. Nonetheless, we all met up for breakfast this morning, hungry for the open road.

You know it’s gonna be a great tour when a stranger asks about your bikes, gets excited about your trip and treats you to your first meal – at a vegetarian Jewish deli, no less! Once we were full of bagels, cabbage roll, and vegan lox, we hit a store for supplies and headed east out of Portland, taking the Max to Gresham to get a jump start out of the city. Traffic and strip malls slowly tapered off until we found ourselves rolling through the countryside on the Columbia plateau.

Riding the Columbia River Gorge is bike touring at its finest: beautiful scenery, low traffic, several excellent bike paths, and a fair smattering of small towns, fruit stands, and campgrounds. We are lunch at Crowne point overlook, did a short hike at Multnomah falls, and had some beers in Cascade Locks. While we drank at the brewery, Alice gave a curious fellow an impromptu musical saw lesson. Overall, it was a great first day of riding: not too hot, not too hard, and we even had a tailwind. Also, more bike paths have been completed since I was here last, so there’s now only one brief section of the gorge route where you need to venture on to I-84 (which we will tackle tomorrow).

We ended the day here at Viento state park, where we made some delicious veggie cheese burgers with grilled onions and jalepeno on ciabatta rolls. We ended the night with beers, music, and free hot showers! Doesn’t get much better than this!

Posted from Underwood, Washington, 98651, US.