Thursday, July 28, 2011

Warm Showers

We belong to a group called "Warm Showers".  Essentially we make our home available to cyclists that are coming through the area and need a tent sight and shower, or floor space and a shower.  Our first guests arrived last week while cycling around the world.  Jack and Cliff are from England.  The crossing of the US is their last leg in their adventure.  We were privileged to have them stay for two nights as they kicked off their ride.  We provided floor space and showers, and of course I had to cook.  Had to cause it's what I do!  We treated them to a bbq of steaks and fresh corn, and the second night curried chicken & vegetables. Jack rode with them the first day to the little town of Darrington.  The second day of their ride we decided to catch back up with them and take them lunch.  We had a heck of a time finding them.  They were to ride to the top of Washington Pass that day, but detoured into the visitor center in New Halem for a few hours. They were quite surprised to see us! They have a great gps system that tracks their where a bouts every ten minutes, so we get to follow them across the states.  They are roughly following the Northern Tier Route, so if you're along the route keep an eye out for them!  Good luck guys!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Last Two Days

The Pig of Trout Lake.  The last supper of Fajitas. Camping on the Columbia. Getting ready for the last ride.  The Bridge of the Gods.

So: what's with the pig?  We found, thanks to one our tribe, the best thing to see in Trout Lake.  The pig.  We don't know her name, but boy is she cute!  When in Trout Lake, go to the Post Office and turn left.  Follow the road for about 1/4 of a mile and look to the left.  As you slow down the Little Pig will run from the barn to greet you at the fence.  Attached to the fence is a cooler with a sign that say, "open me". Inside you will find doggie treats for the Little Pig.  Watch your fingers!  She knows the routine: pigs are smart! What better to do than feed critters!

Ok, Ok.  I took awhile to update this post.  Been busy!  And procrastinated a whole bunch.  
The tribe had a great last night together, then got up early and headed out across the Bridge of the Gods back to the Oregon side of things.  I rode this day a couple of years ago, but made the boys shuttle me across the bridge.  It has a grated deck and I don't do well with the whole high up thing.  Congrats to everyone who rode it!  The ride on this day is great.  You hop on a bike trail after the bridge, through the town of Cascade Locks, up a stairwell equipped with bike wheel-groove, then ride the scenic Columbia River Highway for miles.  It wanders along the forest and passes a few water falls.  The most impressive of these is the Multnomah Falls.  After the falls they ride up switch backs to the Vista House Crown Point for a gorgeous overview of the Columbia River.  Then, down to the town of Corbett.  Corbett is renowned with cyclists for their dislike of bicycles.  There is a man there that tacks the roads whenever a ride is coming through.  It is said that Cycle Oregon sent him on a fully paid vacation for the week that the Oregon ride came through.  The last year that we rode this we had 17 flats going through the town.  Really nice place.  The ride ended back in Gresham with lunch and final goodbye's.  It was a great ride! Good job to everyone for completing a difficult, yet beautiful week of riding! We hope to see you next year!

The Washington Side of Things

Bright and early, Zach!  (our youngest rider at 14) The staff meditating after a long day:  Jack: where did you park the luggage truck?  Mt. Adams, a view from our camp.  The new kind of laundry line.

Well, the shuttle across the Hood River Bridge went well, and our tribe was off to another gorgeous day of riding.  After yet another early breakfast, the tribe meandered down to the bridge, shuttled across, and started again from White Salmon.  (There really is a salmon that has white flesh: they are superior to the pink salmon: rare to catch!) They rode up Hwy 141 to BZ Corners where they made the choice to short cut into Trout Lake, or take the long way around.  Most took the long way, riding through the Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge to the town of Glenwood for an amazing cinnamon roll or fresh peach pie at the local diner. One brave soul admitted to a cinnamon roll, a piece of pie, and a huckleberry smoothy upon arriving in Trout Lake.  I rode this loop a couple of years ago on the Mt. Adams ride.  It is very scenic with a couple of long climbs.  Fortunately the weather was cool today: when I rode it it was in the 90's!  

A good afternoon for some r&r.  All in all an uneventful day, just another day of great riding.  We dined on BBQ'd pulled pork, Opa's sausages w/ sauerkraut, Curried carrot & raisin salad, apple & pecan coleslaw, baked Orzo w/ mushrooms, Quinoa stuffed tomatoes for the vegimites, green salad and dessert.  Somewhere along the way this week we had Angel Food Cake with home canned Colorado Peaches....can't remember when!  The week has gone by in kind of a blur!  It has been fun having Scott along with us this trip.  I really miss having my boys with us.  Matt is somewhere at 29 Palms, or better known as 29 Stumps, and Aaron is finishing up in Bellingham getting ready for his move to Missoula. 

Tomorrow's ride is a long one: 81.8 miles from Trout Lake to Stevenson, situated on the Columbia River.  They will leave camp, cross the Pacific Crest Trail two times, wind through the Mt. Adams Wilderness along the Lewis River and the Wind River.  The road is pretty desolate, very few cars.  It will be a great day of riding and then we will settle into camp at the fairgrounds in Stevenson.  The section of the Columbia River that we are on has the most constant winds in the United States.  It is a wind surfers paradise.  We will be sharing the camp ground with a paddling school: you can not believe the size of some of the boats!  8 man paddle boats.  There is a great brew pub: the Walking Man Brewery: in Stevenson that the tribe can hang out at, as well as a cute little quilt shop.  Ok, I'll hang out at the quilt shop.  There is a quilt fair here next month if you're interested! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mac & Cheese: REALLY?

Rolling through the wheat fields of Eastern Oregon. Water stop in Dufer. The infamous laundry line in a bike camp.  Jack, where did you park the truck?  Bikes tucked in for the night.  Scott on dishes.

Oh, what a day.  75.2 miles from Maupin to the the Hood River Fairgrounds.  A three mile climb in your face right out of the gate.  Then another long climb, about 1800 feet up and 7 miles long.  Then down to Dufer, down to Rowena, then up and down into Hood River.  You think you're done climbing until the last turn on the Odell Highway, and it's a steep up to the fairgrounds.  It was a late arrival for most of the tribe.  We did not see a rider into camp until after 2:30.  Most of them came in between 4 and 6.  Long day.

It is a beautiful ride, though.  Golden wheat fields as far as you can see until you break the last hill and head down into the Gorge. ( The town of Dufer has thrashing days in August if anyone is interested!)  The tribe rolled along the mighty Columbia River on the Riverfront Trail at the Dalles, then along the historic Columbia River Highway, the Columbia River Highway State Trail, until they climbed back up into the orchards of the Hood River Valley.  Hood River is the nations leading producer of pears.  Primarily D'anjou pears.  But apples, cherries and raspberries are grown here too.  A great smoothy stand with fresh berry smoothies took the edge off of the day for many of the tribe.  A cold beer in camp greeted the weary!  

We prepared a pasta dinner to refuel the group.  Linguini with an Italian sausage red sauce, Orzo with fresh Chantrelle mushrooms in a white wine cream sauce, a blue cheese salad, sauteed zucchini, fresh scones with local berries for dessert.  Wait a minute: who asked if the Orzo with $150.00 worth of fresh Chantrelle mushrooms was MACARONI AND CHEESE???  You're kidding, right? Oh, I get it .  You're past the point of tired and your brain isn't quite kicking on all cylinders.  Macaroni and cheese.  Yeah right.  

The tribe did an amazing job emptying the beer cooler tonight.  They followed dinner with the map meeting and a guest speaker; the Director of the Board for ACA, Carol Stevens.  (She and her husband live across river in White Salmon. )  Logistics were put into place for the shuttle across the Hood River Bridge, (no bikes allowed), and the tribe turned in early.  Tomorrow's ride is another long 59.6 miles with a couple of good climbs.  Climbing seems to be a common denominator of this ride.  Those who did not train for this level of a ride were really feeling it tonight.  But, they shall recover and peddle on! 

Up and Over

Some of the tribe at the top of the hill, ready to go!  Views of Mount Hood. First water stop and a friend from the Texas ride.  Kim on lunch!  Scott; you do have a tent.

This blog will cover Sunday and Monday!  You know how the days all run together!

Sunday morning and the tribe was up bright and early, ready to tackle the first hill.  Today's ride was a short 29.7 miles to the little town of Welches.  After the initial climb out of camp they meandered through gorgeous hills and valleys lined with tree farms and forests.  They followed the Barlow Trail Road and then across Lolo Pass road.  A couple of brave souls rode up Lolo Pass for a few extra miles.  We spent the night at a school outside of Welches, so no beer here!  The tribe was good to go, there is a small restaurant and bar across the street that had the tour on for us. 

We got a visit this afternoon from our friends, Tom & Cheryl, on their way home from their property in Dufer.  We will be riding through Dufer in a couple of days.  Their property is up at tree line, and they are hoping to someday put in a bicycle camp there.  The cycling in Oregon is amazing: they say if you can ride in this part of Oregon you can ride anywhere.  We'll see how that plays out for the tribe!  A couple of long days ahead. 

We dined on a Greek vegetable salad, lemon chicken & basmati rice.  Nana's rum cakes for dessert.  It was a nice start to the ride: tomorrow will be a smidge tougher as they climb around Mount Hood.  Looks like we may get some rain, but it's better climbing weather than really hot.  Mount Hood still has a ton of snow on it, and the snowboard camps are still in full swing.  Seems kind of odd for the middle of the summer!  Jack and I spent a couple of days on Mount Hood this last winter, staying in our friends condo and snow shoeing.  We had a great time!  

Monday morning arrived, and the tribe gave new meaning to up and at 'em early.  Too early.  Breakfast is slated at 7:00 am.  The tribe was digging in, literally, at 6:15.  Ok you guys, I'm still on auto pilot at 6:15.  Rushing me at that time of day is not a good thing.  I have a routine, and my routine was rudely  interupted.  I got grumpy.  By 7:00, normal breakfast time, the tribe was gone.  A discussion with Ranger Tommy, and the breakfast time will be adjusted for the rest of the week to 6:30.  Not a minute sooner.  We'll see how that plays out. 

Today's ride is a gorgeous climb through the Mt. Hood Wilderness, up to Government Camp, and over the other side to the Warm Springs Indian Reservation and then down to the small town of Maupin.  Such a contrast in terrain today.  We went from the lush Pacific Northwest to the dry, arid, rolling prairies of Eastern Oregon.  The tribe crossed the Pacific Crest Trail for the first of many times on this trip.  Mileage today was 57.6 miles, a few extra for the hearty souls that chose to ride up to Timberline Lodge at Mt. Hood.  Elevation today started at about 1300 ft and went up to 4000, then down and up and down and up.  

The ride into Maupin was a fun, steep downhill of about 3 miles.  Great way to end the day: unless you look at the fact that is the way out tomorrow.  Hmmmm.  Maupin is situated on the Deschutes River and is renowned for river rafting.  The city park that we stayed at gave us a first hand view of the rafts traversing down the river, and the busses hauling the rafts and rafters back up river.  A few of the tribe joined up with a raft tour.  One of the tribe ended up in the river!  

We dined on Curries and Yakisoba noodles tonight.  The tribe turned in early: day 4 is a long, long day. We are already hearing grumbles of not enough training for this ride.  Just wait, tribe.  

Cycle the Gorge

Foxglove: Scott & Jack playing in the forest: the Sandy River in front of our campground: a view through the trees of tonight's pavillion. 

Ok: I have been a bad blogger.  Due to poor internet access along the way, sheer exhaustion at the end of the day, and just plain old procrastination, I have not kept up on the daily posting of this blog for Cycle the Gorge.  So now is catch up time.  I took notes!  I think I can fill in the blanks!

Day one of Cycle the Gorge started with the tribe gathering at Oxbow Regional Park, just outside of Gresham, Oregon.  As we drove East from Portland to the park, we wandered down country roads lined with Christmas tree farms and berry fields.  The raspberries are just coming on, and fresh cherries can be found at roadside stands.  None of these stands had parking ample for a big yellow truck. :( 

The entrance to the park is down, down, down a steep hill, then down, down, down to the camp ground.  Two miles in all.  That means Sunday morning the tribe gets to go up, up, up.  And some of the grade is about 12-14%.  What a way to start a Sunday morning!  

Our camp ground tonight is nestled in the cedar trees, along side of the Sandy River.  We wandered down the path and found lovely sandy beaches and great swimming.  The water is extremely cold: it's coming right off of Mount Hood.  The tribe crowded into the little parking area, set up bikes and tents, and feasted on a dinner of Spiced Pork Chops, fresh asparagus, Yukon Gold potatoes and a lovely green salad.  They were introduced to Ranger Tommy and his staff: Daryl and Kim from Kentucky, Marker Bob and Linda, on massage, Kevin on luggage, Leo on waterstop, and Jack P. on luggage.  Jack had his luggage scale ready to go to find the heaviest bag on this ride!  

The weather this week was originally projected as hot, hot, hot.  But it looks like we may luck out with cooler days, maybe even a little rain.  The rain is what keeps this side of the mountains so lush and green.  The trees are towering and the underbrush is dense.  You can see in the pictures above the moss that grows on the logs and trees!  

I includes a picture of the Foxglove that is prolific in this area.  I was asked if this was Lupine, because someone heard Lupine is edible.  No guys, this is Foxglove.  Foxglove is a natural source of digitalis, so I wouldn't be eating it any time soon.  

So we are off to a great start and a great week of riding and eating.  On to Sunday.