Sunday, June 21, 2015

Day 5--Trains, Tunnels, and the Summer Solstice

Leaving my brother and sister-in-law this morning felt like I was starting this tour over. Maybe because the first four days were on roads I'd been on, and I was just riding to get to their house. Today was the first day in uncycled territory. I didn't leave until 9:30ish, but that was okay. I knew I didn't have many hills today, and I suspected (and was right) I would have a tailwind. Plus, it's the longest day of the year, so it's not like I would run out of daylight! The only good reason to have left earlier was to have slightly cooler temps.

Now I'm on the Lewis and Clark Route.
Which one is Lewis and which is Clark?

I rode on Hwy 14 which, between Stevenson and Bingen (22 miles), has variable shoulders. Sometimes it's great, a good two feet or so. At other times, there's no shoulder at all. Past Bingen there seemed to be more places with good shoulder, and there was somewhat less traffic. Interestingly, and also somewhat frightening, was a spot where there was a medium amount of shoulder, but it was right next to the train tracks. And, of course, there happened to be a train coming (very busy tracks--saw probably 5 or 6 trains today)!
See the train? See how close it is to the road...and my little lane? Yeah, scary. As the roaring train went by me, I just pedaled slowly, and hung on!

Hwy 14 obviously goes along the Columbia River. It's quite scenic.

There are also 7 tunnels between Stevenson and where I am now. They were all pretty short, and they all had a button for cyclists to push to let cars know there was a bike in the tunnel. 
For the first few, I couldn't figure out how the cars knew there would be a bike in the tunnel. I didn't see any lights flashing at the entrances. Finally, after pushing another button, I looked up and saw that the bike sign itself had little lights around it. Those flashed after I pushed the button.
Coming through another one.

When I got to the Hood River Bridge, I stopped at the Visitor's Center to eat some lunch. Sadly, it was closed (so we're the restrooms) for Father's Day. No problem for me. I still sat at a picnic table and fixed my lunch.
Looks like there's a bike event next weekend!

After my lunch, I continued on going through a few blink-and-miss-it towns. I slowly rode up above the river. At the Chamberlain Lake Rest Area, I took another break. I talked to a guy who was on a motorcycle. He is also a cyclist, and enjoys doing supported rides like Ride Around Washington, and Ride Oregon. He lives in Ellensburg. He was riding the motorcycle, but it wife was following him in the car. Funny, I learned all that about him, but didn't ask his name (nor did he ask mine).

The view from the rest stop.

The rest stop wasn't too far from Lyle. Soon I could see The Dalles across the river. I knew once I was past the turn to go to The Dalles Bridge, I would be coming to Columbia Hills State Park. The campground is on Horsethief Lake. It's a good ol' regular State Park complete with quarter-operated showers and...a Hiker/Biker site! It's $12.00 for the night, but I'm okay with that. As usual, the H/B site is as far away from everything as is possible.
Here's the view out behind my site.
It's a little hard to tell from this photo, but my tent was in the no-no part. I say was, because the camp host lady came and told me I had to move it. She said it couldn't be where it was because the tent stakes might ruin the irrigation system. I find it hard to believe the irrigation system is buried that shallow! Anyway, she doesn't make the rules, so I dutifully moved my tent to the other H/B site (there was no decent flat spot in H/B Site A).
There's also a "tee pee" (seriously, that's how they spelled it on the envelope) here for those who want that native experience (although, I'm not sure the Native Americans used "tee pee"s in this area).

Since the park is on the lake which is next to the river, and the highway is way up above, I shall have a pretty steep climb right off the bat tomorrow.

One other thing, the wind is really blowing here! It will make cooking dinner difficult. But, on the good side, my shorts that I washed, and my towel, dried in no time! 

Total miles today: 41
Average: 10.4

No comments: