In June 2011 I turned 50. Since I am getting older, I feel that I should slow down and enjoy my bike rides more. So I will being doing more solo riding and touring that will give me the time to just ride and enjoy.

The purpose of this blog is to share my ride 'events', insights and experiences with others.

Enjoy my blog and hopefully you will get something out of it that will benefit your own riding.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Day Four Columbia Gorge Explorer '11

Morning has come, the final day is here. Packed everything up, seems to get easier each day. Winds appear to still be strong, not the 7-9 mph forecasted.

Today's ride starts on I-84 again. The winds started off strong but died down after about only one mile. Finally off the highway and onto some nice side roads into Cascade Locks. Stopped at Char Burger for breakfast. This Char Burger is not your Portland area Char Burger, it is a full service resturant. Omelet, hashbrowns, sausage, toast and coffee. Stuffed and now time to get back on the road.

Leaving Cascade Locks the route takes us on the the Historic Columbia River Highway Trail. This is a nice paved bike/pedestrian pathway, much better than riding I-84. I had left my handlebar bag unsnapped so that it would be easier to get to my camera while on the trail. This was a mistake as I found out when I hit the first of the tree root bumps. Several items fell out including my camera which went straight under my wheels.  Note to self: Save the equipment and not time by snapping the bag closed.

The HCRH Trail comes out at the Eagle Creek Fish Hatchery, then heads up a road marked with a Do Not Enter sign.  There is a bikelane on each side of the road which soon turns back into the actual trail.  A few hundred feet beyond where it becomes a true trail agin, there is a set of stairs that need to be negoiated.  This was a little bit of a challege for me having both a bike and a trailer.  I really enjoyed riding this portion of the route, but is was all too soon back on I-84.

After a short duration on I-84 it was back on to the HCRW (Crown Point Hwy).  This was also a nice section to ride, with the exception that it was Memorial weekend and the traffic was rather high.  At this point it was starting to warm up and I was going through my water rather quickly.  Stopped at Horse-tail falls then Multnomah Falls, refilled water bottles here.  The climb to Crown Point begins as I leave Multnomah Falls.  The road is still good, nice scenery and shade, but still large volumns of traffic.  It takes almost an hour to ride the approx. 8 miles to Vista House at Crown Point.  My first time here, the views were great.  A little rest, more water, a call to Nancy so she could meet me for lunch and I was on my way.

There was still more climbing, but not a lot, then down hill into Corbett, Springdale and finally Troutdale.  Saw a few other riders stopped at a cafe for lunch, but I rode on as I was meeting Nancy at the Edgefield for lunch.  Arrived at Edgefield and was getting ready to lockup my bike and wait for Nancy to arrive, but she texted me that she just arrived,  what good timing.  Found her, put my tailer and other gear in the trunk just as it started to sprinkle.  Now off the the Powerstation Pub for food and beer.

Actual route and personal riding data

What a trip!!!  Very enjoyable, sore legs, saddle sore, worn out and really tired, but I would definately do it again. 

A collection of all my photos from the trip.

Thanks to Jim and all the others at VBC and PWTC for putting this together.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Day Three Columbia Gorge Explorer '11

Woke early knowing that we would have head winds and that they only get stronger as the day goes on. Only had half the bagel before packing up and starting the ride. I was loaded up and heading out by 6:30.

The headwinds were as strong as I had expected them to be, that is until I rounded the point and got the full blast of them. I averaged around ten mph for the 17 miles to Cousins in The Dalles.

Cousins is where I had my real breakfast. If you are ever in The Dalles and looking for somewhere to eat, I recommend Cousins. The food was great and the service was very good.

Heading out from The Dalles we headed toward the Rowena curves. This is a three mile climb up a 5% grade. Today we also had the headwinds to contend with, though the trees did break it up once in a while. After finally reaching the top and snapping a few pictures, it was time to enjoy the downhill payoff from all that climbing. But today was different, the headwinds denied me the fast downhill joy that I was expecting. There were times going down a 3% grade that I had to pedal just to maintain 10 mph.

When I reached the bottom at Mosier I stopped at a small market to refill my water bottles. Almost fell because my shoe would not unclip (note to self: always check the tightness of your cleats before starting a long ride). After getting the water and taking care of the mechanical, it was on to the Mosier tunnels.

This is a nice ride on a wide bike path, with a bit of climbing. If you are riding this path be careful of the roadies that zoom down the trail. It was the first time I had seen the Mosier tunnels, it was enjoyable and worth the climb.

From Mosier we rolled into Hood River. As it is Memorial weekend the town was very busy. Rode through downtown stopping on the way out to grab something to eat, Pizacotto Pizza and sub sandwich to take with me for dinner.

The next seven miles were all on I-84, still fighting the headwinds with the added bonus of the high speed traffic rushing by just feet away.

Made it into the camp ground before most. Set up my tent and was ready to hit the showers when I was told that the hot water was out and it would be several hours before it was repaired.

Sat around talking to everyone about the ride today and previous adventures. Ate my sub sandwich and munched on some nuts. It is amazing how hungry you get riding. Well it is time to hit the showers and then the rack. Tomorrow is the last day of the ride.

Actual route and personal riding data

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day Two Columbia Gorge Explorer '11

Got a good nights sleep, despite the trains going by about every 30 minutes. Made coffee and had the last half of my turkey sandwich. The light rain had stopped by the time I finished eating, I was able to pack away a somewhat dry tent.

The day started out nice with a 15-20 mph tailwind. I made a early stop at a boat dock to use the restroom. I had parked my bike at the curb, shortly there after the wind knocked it over breaking my review mirror. Spent the rest of the day looking into a mirror that was no longer there.

Today's route was mostly on Hwy 14 with some detours for better views and some sightseeing. Stopped in Lyle for lunch, had a hot roast beef sandwich and fries, it was actually very good. After a lot of climbing and knowing there was not likely to be a good place to eat later, I stopped at the Maryhill Vineyards. They had live music entertainment, I had a BBQ chicken sandwich.

As I was finishing up my early dinner, I noticed a thunder storm aproaching. Knowing that the route would only head east for a few miles, thought I should leave if I wanted a chace to avoid it. Did not make it more than a mile before I had to don the rain gear again. Hail and the wind changing directions made for a tougher last section.

Despite the weather I still stopped at stonehedge to get some pictures. One last stop at Biggs Juction to get a two beers, some carrots and celery for snacks and a bagel for breakfast in the morning.

Made the camp site. Got the tent up and went straight to the showers, it felt so good. Sat around talking for a while, writing today's blog and then off to bed.

Well that is all for today, tomorrow comes early, they say the winds get stonger as the day goes on and it will be a headwind the entire time.

Actual route and personal riding data

Friday, May 27, 2011

Day One Columbia Gorge Explorer '11

Day 1: Vancouver, Washington to Home Valley, Washington - 51.2 miles.

The ride started at Larson's Bakery in Vancouver, I arrived about an hour late, and everyone had already left. Nancy had driven me to start and went into Larson's to grab me a sandwich and small coffee.  Ate half the sandwich and finished getting the bike ready.  While I was getting the bike ready our dauschund Kasey decided to treat herself to the other half of my sandwich.  Nancy went and had another made so I could take it with me.

About an hour into the ride decided to put my rain pants as the weather looked like it was about to turn. Almost had them on when it started to hail, it lasted about 10 minutes then was a steady heavy rain for the next hour. 

I stopped at the Washougal River Mercantile,  had a large coffee and got some beef jerky for later.  Met two other riders here at the store.  Stayed for a while to drink the coffee and warm up a bit.

The back roads through Washougal were nice, a lot better than riding SR-14.  Stopped at the picnic area across from the ranger station at Beacon Rock.  Had half of the Turkey and bacon sandwich that i got from Larson's that morning.

Made it to Stevenson and spotted a half dozen other riders at Andrews pizza . Had a couple of huge slices of pizza and an IPA.  Stayed a while warming up, texting friend and checking weather forecasts.  Several riders had decided to go to the Walking Man brew pub, which is only a block away, I decided to join them hoping that the rain would let up.

Left after having one IPA, as it looked like it was trying to clear up. Made it to Home Valley during the break and was able to get the tent set up before it started raining again. Sat around talking for a while, had the last half of my Turkey bacon sandwich, then it was off to bed.

Actual route and personal riding data