Thursday, May 26, 2016

34: Up and over we go!

This was a day full of contrasts. We said goodbye to our Warm Showers hosts Dave and Carol (who made pancakes with fresh fruit and yogurt for breakfast!) and rode out (Dave accompanying us for a bit on the way to his work day commute.)

For the first half of our day, we took back roads from the Tualatin Valley and then up and over the ridge separating us from the Columbia River.  This was another cloudy day; though we had a few sprinkles at lunch we did not have rain. But it was constantly threatening. The skies were dark and grey, and in the deep woods of the climb it was eerie - threatening almost.

Dark, damp, cold - who wants to live in these woods?
Is your next Christmas tree out here?
Not that anything is actually going to come out and get you, but there was something forbidding about this place. I am sure it must be beautiful when the sunlight dapples through the leaves.  But when does that happen? There is so much rain and cloud cover here! Now and again, we'd come to a break in the woods, like where these Christmas trees were growing. Perhaps we rode past your next tree?

This was a steep road going up, and a crazy steep road going down! We lost about 1400 feet in less than three miles. I am glad we did not climb up that side. (Mark Friis, Roger says you need to put this on your bucket list:  Rocky Point Road up from Hwy 30 near Scappoose. The descent back to Forest Grove would be spectacular!)

Can you see the 18-wheeler just to the left of the trusses?  This bridge was HUGE!
Starting up the bridge
Following this absolutely silent, the road-is-all-ours climb and descent, we had about 30 miles on a regional highway. Noisy, lots of traffic, loud. Definitely not fun - just making the wheels turn so we could get through it. And then it was time to leave Oregon for Washington - which took place 55.5 miles into our day on the middle of this bridge over the Columbia River. OMG. This was not for the faint of heart.
Narrow bike lane

As we approached the bridge, I had that feeling you get when you are going up the first climb of a roller coaster.  Clack-clack-clack-clack . . .  what was I thinking? That's the way it seemed. How are we going to get over that?

First thing, there was not much of a lane for us. And, it was littered with debris from the logging trucks that use the bridge. Yuck.  Roger managed to hold a line and we just went over the crap best we could. A good stiff wind was blowing, which made things interesting. AND the ascent was about 7 to 8% for most of the way up! Did I mention that the bridge wiggled when the trucks lumbered past? Plus there was a metal facing that vibrated and shook each time one went by.  Yikes. I was so relieved to get off this bridge.

Then it was just a few more miles to "someplace to stay" - that's really all you could say about it. Castle Rock itself is sort of a cute little town, but the motels are on the Interstate, so that's where we are now. Nothing too special about that! But we are now into our third state, and looking forward to seeing friends in Seattle and Friday Harbor in a few days.

The day's report:  Forest Grove to Castle Rock, 71.5 miles/1632 to date


  1. Looks treacherous...glad you all got through that with mind and body intact! I love woods like those...reminds me of home in Tennessee....great places to hide the moonshine and such.

    1. That's sort of what I was worried about . . . !

  2. That's the Lewis and Clark bridge. I'm sure they appreciated it being there back then. Fun to follow vicariously on google maps. Lot like I am peddling too!

    1. Do you see the Ride With GPS posts that Roger makes on Facebook (sometimes on my account)? They show our actual route for the day.

    2. Yes I have, but they take more time to browse. And aren't as much fun to read. Enjoy!


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