Garmin Data can be found here. (Map, distance, weather, elevations…) Dad/John
We had one of our earliest starts on our trip today and were on the road just after 7am. Yesterday’s start was just embarrassing. We scooted through the main drag and took pictures that should have been taken the night before and were on our way. We stopped just on the outskirts to get some things to go along with the 6 hard boiled eggs that Brian gave us last night. The weather was overcast and there were a few raindrops, but not enough to get the rain jackets out. We had a big day ahead of us with 112kms between where we were and Horning’s Hideout, just outside of Portland. We heard that there were 3 pretty big climbs and a narrow shoulder …
We turned off of highway 101 and took the 26 east inland. The morning was quiet and found the riding quite enjoyable. You hear things and you expect the worse, but it isn’t what you expect. After about 10~15kms we came upon a gas station (the first thing we saw since leaving the coast) and stopped and had a little break. We were pretty much in the middle of nowhere and were a bit surprised when we entered to see a row of automatic weapons behind the counter. The gas station also served as a cafe and bait and tackle shop as well. We asked them about the upcoming hills and they were pretty vague. Not a good sign. When non cyclists don’t want to tell you about a hill, that means it’s big. There are hills that they will tell you about and about how steep it is, and how crazy you are for even thinking about trying to ride up it ~ and then there are the hills that are beyond the non-cyclist’s comprehension.
A kilometer after leaving the arms depot we started to climb. Today would be a good indication on how the 2nd half of the trip might go. I’m thinking of heading up the Columbia Gorge/River and then cutting up through the Cascade mountain (St. Helen’s, Adams, Rainier)… but first I would have to see how we would do on a big day of climbing, and today was the day.
In all honesty, it wasn’t that bad. Tai might tell you different, but the shoulder was good, traffic was fairly light, and an even grade of 6% that went on … . We reached the summit, snapped a couple of pictures and put on our rain jackets. Going down was going to be cold and we were sweaty and hot at the top. I’m still a kid and love going down a big hill/mountain on a bicycle. There is no purer thrill.
In the valley between David Douglas pass and the coast range pass we came upon a “museum” that had a bunch of old logging and train equipment and decided to open a museum and hopefully lure people into their giftshop/restaurant. Tai and I rode through the parking lot but felt no need to go in. We had a short break at a gas station then were upon the slopes of the Coast Range Summit pass that took us up to 500 meters. We were riding at a comfortable pace and not worrying about time. We didn’t spend too much time at the summit other than to put on our rain jackets and take a picture … there was a hill to go down! Well, it kinda went down for a little then climbed up a little higher before the big downhill ~ extended fun.
We stopped at a gas station/store and had some amazing donuts, coffee and sat down. The simple things in life. They said we had the worst behind us and only one more big hill to go. This told me that it wouldn’t be that bad as a non cyclist could comprehend. While sitting out enjoying our coffee and donuts, the sun had slipped out from behind the clouds and was starting to warm up quite quickly. Can’t get too comfortable as we still have a ways ahead of us to go.
We climbed up the next hill and it was fairly short compared to the previous two. After we went over, it was downhillish for quite some time. It was on this last downhill that my front tire got a flat. The shoulder was pretty narrow in a lot of places and there was quite a bit of debris, so I’m not surprised. Tube changed and we were on our way down into the plains. The late afternoon sun had a beautiful golden hue over the fields and we rode by crops of hay and wheat swaying in the breeze. As we got closer to Portland, the road became bigger and busier. We now had a nice big shoulder compared what we had through the mountains. We stopped and took pictures and watched the farm equipment work in the fields.
We arrived at the North Plains exit around 5:30~6pm and checked out the fairs at the 2 super gas stations that commanded each corner. We had dinner at Subway and bought a 12 pack of Mountain Dew and 7 Mike’s Hard Lemonaide for the weekend. I had been here before and recognized the way, but those drinks added a lot of weight at the end of a long day. From the highway exit we rode through ‘town’ and started a long 7 mile climb all the way up to Horning’s Hideout.
It was a tough grunt I’ll tell you that! It was a nice country road and had beautiful views of Mt. Hood, but it didn’t stop climbing!!! We were both tired and right near the top, a little after 8pm maybe, the Further Bus drove by and gave us a honk. How cool is that!? That motivated us for the final push and we arrived to a rock star welcome that still blows me away thinking about it almost a month later. We got to the 1st checkpoint with a guy and a clipboard and he didn’t have a clue at what to do with us since we weren’t on the list, so he sent us down. The next point was a volunteer check-in and they were starting to set up. We were congratulated on our ride, high 5’s all the way ’round and sent down to the main checkpoint near Bob Horning’s place and blew away a whole bunch of more people.
We were told to set up camp for the night and we could worry about wrist bands tomorrow. “After you get set up, make sure you come back down for some dinner with us” was said as we headed up another hill towards the camping area we wanted to stay in. We met a family beside where we plopped down our bikes and bodies and chatted with them. They were from Lake Tahoe, via Aurora, Ont. Great people and we spent a good part of the evening with them until we couldn’t stay awake any more. It was a long day and it felt good to have finally arrived at Northwest String Summit after 9 days of riding.
The hills were huge. It was a long day and DAD GOT A FLAT!!! at the end. It was so cool cloudy’ windy’ and rain but in the afternoon was HOT HOT HOT. We went to an anteek shop. It was up hill all the way to Hornings hide out. I am tired tonight but glad to be here at Northwest String Summit!!!