Tour without a goal – 26 July 2014

Written by robert on July 27th, 2014

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a world of dew,
and within every dewdrop
a world of struggle
-Issa

between the gods
Today would be split between riding along the Columbia and riding up the Hood River Valley back into the Cascades. The morning was clear and cool and my route back to Cascade Locks was in the woods on the isolated HCRH. But things were to take a turn after the locks. The route used frontage roads along the highway for a ways and then turned into the woods. Then it began to steeply climb at what was perhaps the steepest grade of the route so far. After descending that hill I was riding on the shoulder of hwy 87 which was plenty busy though fairly easy riding. As I approached Hood River I began to catch glimpses of Mt. Adams to the north and Mt. Hood to the south.

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Hood River was a zoo and while there looked to be much to see there I resupplied and had lunch outside of town and only rode through the more interesting looking downtown. I turned to follow the Hood river and the route returned to backroads and another, long killer climb at grades that probably are no longer legal. But after climbing this there was a long view up the river valley with Mt. Hood dominating at the far end. Hood is pretty isolated in that there aren’t other mountains around it and even the foothills are pretty insignificant. So it really looms large over the landscape.

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The route crossed over a valley wall with what I have no doubt is the steepest hill I’ve ridden with a touring load. It was signed at 16% which frankly is insane. I’ve ridden a lot of hills this tour, long mountain passes, steep forest roads but this hill had me in the granny gear, standing up and nearly passing out. But I made it. It was then some nice country riding through rolling hills and past the county fair at one point. I’ve begun the ascent up an arm of Mt. Hood so though there are ups and downs it’s always trending upwards. It also had become hot and the combo of the heat with those hills had really worn me down so when I passed Parkdale (the last town for 90 miles) I stopped at Toll Booth County Park where they had one spot left.

Ten pm that night while I was already in the tent a van pulled into my site and there was conversation about someone already being there. I got up and talked to these people and they claimed they had booked the site earlier that afternoon and went to a wedding. It was a bit tense for a moment but we worked it out and ended up just shared the site. Seemed like they had come early enough that the campground thought they were from the previous day.

the tops of the trees
glow in the setting sun
this summer evening.

 

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