Cycling around Mount Hood to the Columbia River

I was tempted to put the picture of Sasquatch first but then I thought a leading picture of Mount Hood might be nicer to see at first glance.  You can scroll through the pictures to get to Sasquatch later ;-)

As I mentioned in an interim post, we reached the town of Hood River last night after three full days of cycling from Sisters.   The first day out was physically modest (58 miles with 2800 feet of climbing) but was intensely nerve wracking with the worst traffic we've experienced over the whole trip (Tina counted 72 cars passing us in 5 minutes) as we traveled the two lane highways 20 and 22.    The next day was completely the opposite: very demanding physically (5300 feet climbing over 49 miles) but over the very quietest roads we've experienced -- with it often being more than 30 minutes between the passings of (slow) moving vehicles, zero commercial traffic, zero private property or commercial facilities of any sort.  Strange to have such sudden contrasts.  

Then yesterday we crossed over a flank of Mount Hood (after approaching it for two days) and experienced average to nice cycling conditions as we did 4000 feet of climbing to cover the 63 miles into Hood River although at the very first gas station we came to, Tina's prescription sunglasses were stolen from the restroom after having just forgotten them there for 5 minutes!   Quite a shock that was and certainly a huge bummer we'll have to deal with sometime soon.    Oh, in a final bit of excitement for the day we went over the one section in the whole route from Mexico to Canada that is called out as being "steep".   It turned out to be an 18% slope for about 200 feet (vertically)... I swear it looked like we were about to ride off a cliff and Tina was hollering to let her off to walk ... but we made it down alright.    Thank goodness we didn't have to climb it!   I've done that amount of incline climbing on a single but that was a first for this monster loaded tandem!

I'll let the pictures speak for more of the details but I do want to give a shout out to this tremendous orchard country that we entered once we got down below the 2000 foot elevation (we're now at the lowest elevation we've experienced since departing on the trip -- 295 feet).   We've seen lots of cherry, several varieties of pear, peach, and blueberries being grown.   All of it appears to be sprinkler-irrigated and most of it has visible freeze protection deployed (e.g., fans, kerosene pots, etc).    A fellow cyclist gave us about a pound of cherries that had just been picked yesterday morning.   They were gone inside of 15 minutes -- best cherries I've ever tasted!

Anyway, we're here for the day waiting for Tina's 5pm doctor appointment and are about to head off to wash both Tina's hat and shoes -- two items we realize now that have continued to expose Tina to the oils from her original encounter with poison oak six days ago.   Meanwhile, we've heard from the locals that neither pedestrian or bicycle traffic is allowed on the bridge we're supposed to take to cross the Columbia (and neither does the one nearest to us allow it) and so we've got to figure that one out too .....


3 responses
Thanks for keeping us posted; beautiful pictures. But the main reason for this post is to say:


Hapy Birthday is in order from us...glad you are having a great time...I need one of those green things to ware around my home in the evening!!!
Thanks all. Pete, just visit (a Virginia business btw) and they'll fix you right up. I think you'd look great in a Sierra Sniveller too. :-}