Monday, July 15, 2013

HR to SR

While many (around 10,000) were doing the Seattle to Portland today (and are still riding, as I write this at 5:30), I did the Hood River to Swift Reservoir. Although my ride was not as long (62 miles), it definitely had more elevation gain.

I left Hood River at 7:25 this morning. It was another sunny day. Hood River being the windsurfing Mecca that it is, I had a bit of a headwind while I was on Hwy 30 heading toward Cascade Locks. It really wasn't that bad though. It might have had something to do with the time of day.

I had to ride about 10 miles on Highway 30. There is no other way to go. The shoulders are decent, so it's not that hard.

The route follows the Columbia River. There is a lot of barge traffic on the river. 
Even though this barge was being pulled and pushed by two tugs, I still got ahead of it.

I came into Cascade Locks and rode into the Charburger (an icon in Cascade Locks) parking lot so I could get a good photo of the Bridge of the Gods.

I took the following from the toll booth (bikes don't have to pay).

The bridge deck is grated which makes for a bit of white-knuckle riding across it. Betsy, of course, did fine.

Welcome to Washington!

I rode through Stevenson near 10:00. When I got to Carson I stopped to get some extra water and a Powerade. I was NOT going to run low on water! This is how I carried the two bottles.
They stayed quite secure inside my Crocs and didn't heat up in the sun quite as much.

I had originally planned to stay at Beaver Campground, but I got there about noon. Instead, I stopped and made myself some lunch. I had almost ridden 40 miles.

My second plan was to stay at Paradise Creek CG. However, I told myself if I got to Paradise before 2:00, I would continue on over Oldman Pass and down to Swift Reservoir. I got to Paradise at 1:15. I began cranking up the pass and reached the top an hour and a half later. Sadly, there was no summit sign. As I began to come down the other side of Oldman, I turned off Wind River Rd onto Curly Creek Rd. I got this glimpse of Mt. St. Helens.
Notice, Elk Pass is open!

As I came down the pretty extreme downhill, I flew past the McClellan Viewpoint. Probably would have been a good photo-op but, oops, saw it too late. 

I had a last bit of flatness at the bottom of the descent before arriving at Eagle's Cliff campground near Swift Reservoir. They charge cyclists half the regular rate which made it $10. Had to pay $1.50 for the shower, and that was also half. I really didn't expect to have a shower, so I didn't complain. 

There is a General Store here with a Sierra Cascades sticker on the door. The only other place I have seen one of the stickers on the route is at camping place on the Cascade Lakes Hwy between Chemult and Bend (2 years ago).

I am, essentially, a day ahead now. That's not a bad thing as it gives me some leeway on how far to go in these last 5 days until I get to the cabin. I still have three more Passes to climb plus the Chumstick. I'm  in a pretty good position to not have to do a ton of miles any one day. Now to look at my campground options...

Update: After I completed this post, a cyclist named Spencer came in. He had ridden pretty much the same as me for the day--he just starts later in the morning. He is from Chico, CA, and this is is first long-distance tour. He is a nice kid.

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