Hood River – Day 2

Day 2 in the Hood River, Ore., area presented delightful weather and the opportunity to ride a bit further. Bob fashioned a route notable both for its beauty and the front-loading of its climbing: 3,100 feet in the first 29 miles. Would it ever end?!

But first we rode from Mosier to Hood River for breakfast.

Then we rode toward Mt Hood.

Horsies! We always stop for Horsies!

We stopped for “water” at the Saw Tooth Roadhouse.

Paula got a flat, and the ensuing stop enabled her to find what we fondly called the Key To The City. It’s a very nice piece and we may try to embed some tile or turquoise into it.

Then onward to Parkdale for lunch. This turned out to be a great scene with a big gathering of fellow cyclists, and a wonderful venue. We’ll definitely want to return.

The remainder of the ride went predominantly down hill and we simply motored back to Hood River, where beer and food awaited.

Hood River – Day 1

Our friend Bob had been telling us for months about the great riding in the Hood River/Columbia River Gorge area of northern Oregon, so we were thrilled when he suggested that we join him and his wife for a weekend of cycling and sightseeing.

What an epic weekend! Natural wonders all around us – starting with the torrential rains and fireworks-style lightning on our Thursday night drive from Seattle. That was an adventure all in its own right – a major weather event that knocked out electricity all over. Neither us had ever seen lightning quite like it, even from a safe distance. These were explosions of light, pretty much right over our heads, as we tried to navigate through the sometimes blinding rain (including side trips in search of a gas station with power. Running out of gas in those circumstances would have been unfortunate indeed.)

The weather weirdness continued Friday morning, which was fine as it gave us a chance to explore downtown Hood River (more on that in a later post) and enjoy the fogged-in vista from Bob’s friend’s house.

By afternoon, the skies cleared enough to allow for perhaps the best 30-mile loop ever — a Mosier/The Dalles circuit climbing 3,338 feet over 31.8 miles, featuring virtually traffic-free roads, a bike path through a state park, a meaningful climb, and an equally meaningful descent. It doesn’t get any better!

And when we got back to Mosier, Bob and Dana’s dog Oliver served as the welcoming committee …

Whidbey with Bob, John and some new friends

We can’t seem to get enough of Whidbey Island, so we headed back on Labor Day for a little 68-mile jaunt (5,600 feet of elevation gain, give or take). This time we joined our friends Bob and John, and along the way picked up new friends Paul and Ken and, for awhile, the amazing Scott.

Several stretches made for some terrifically fun pacelining, and the climbs and wide-open descents were a blast too. And of course, the Whidbey scenery.

We were delighted when Bob happened upon the Timbuktu Java Bar & Gallery in Freeland — featuring a nicely attired stuffed giraffe, terrific proprietors, the ultimate in smoothie lusciousness, and a just-right chicken-and-rice concoction.

And serving as a true inspiration was Scott, a relatively new rider who dropped from 260 pounds to 170 since January by eating well and exercising.

Of course, any time you get to go home via ferry, it’s a very good day indeed.