Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Day #2: Scary Ass Bridge

Today's Ride: Hood River, OR to Goldendale, WA (53 miles)
Total Trip Miles: 126

Ross's house was mighty cozy this morning, and I didn't want to leave. Outside it was raining. Not itsy-bitsy-sprinkle rain. But rather, full-on, constant, hard rain. I pulled on my big girl panties, I rolled the bike out of the garage, and off I went.

Looking' stylish in my shower cap helmet cover.

Right outside of Hood River, I rode for about six miles on the lovely bike trail. In my solitude, I actually found myself enjoying the rain.

I had the trail all to myself.

I rode through the Mosier Twin Tunnels. These were, by far, the nicest bike/pedestrian tunnels I have ever seen.

The tunnels.

I stopped at Rowena Crest for a snack.

The view from Rowena Crest.

From the top, I had a great view of the descent. My friend, Chris, posted a photo from this same viewpoint on Facebook about a week ago as he traveled east towards Minnesota. I've been hungry for this section of the ride every since I saw Chris's photo.

The descent from Rowena Crest.

The descent was awesome. By now, it had stopped raining. The sun had started to show its face and was beginning to warm the pavement. Swirls of gaseous moisture were rising from the asphalt as I was speeding down the road. It seemed surreal!

A few hours later, I rode into Biggs, OR. I was one mile shy of my campground for the evening. It was 2:30 in the afternoon, and I had a taste for an ice cold Dr. Pepper. I don't do soft drinks. Unless it is a Dr. Pepper.

I'm not a fan of McDonalds. I haven't stepped foot into a McDonalds for years. But that changed today. I recently learned that most McDonalds have wifi. This is a big attraction for blogging travelers. Being that I am now a blogging traveler, I now seek out the golden arches. So, I ordered a soda, and I spent the next while updating the blog.

The one mile across the two-lane bridge and into Maryhill State Park (on the Washington side of the might Columbia River) should have been a piece of cake. There was a sign at the beginning of the crossing warning of gusts. I've ridden a number of "sketchy" bridge crossings in my biking days, but this one won. Hands down.

Holy shiza! This was the scariest bridge crossing. Ever! For one, a car honked at me (my first honk of the trip) just as I was entering the bridge. I hate when cars honk at bicyclists. It's rude and can spook a rider.

Then there was the first gust. And another. And then another. These gusts were crazy! The gusts were blowing in every which way. (It is these very winds, by the way, that make the Gorge hugely popular for wind surfing.) The shoulder was only about two feet wide here - definitely not enough space for a loaded biker to safely maneuver while dealing with unpredictable gusts and 18-wheelers speeding by. At one point, a gust blew me into the bridge. My front right bounced off the wall, and I started falling to my left. Fortunately, I was able to pull my foot out from my toe clips and catch my fall before my bike hit the ground. I threw a quick glance over my left shoulder to see whether there were any cars in the lane. No cars! Boy, I was lucky.

I've learned my lesson: Take the lane. The cars and trucks behind me can wait.

I made it to Maryhill State Park - a little shaken, but unscathed. I am the only biker here tonight. So I have the whole hiker/biker section to myself.

I had worked up quite the appetite. Sarah was HUNGRY. Suppertime!
As I mentioned in a prior post, I brought both my immersion heater and my stove with me on the trip.

The much loved water immersion heater.

I love my immersion heater - it is super small and lightweight. It can easily heat two cups of water in 3-4 minutes. The only downside is that it requires electricity.

The water immersion heater in action.

I'm going to try to use the immersion heater as much as possible. If I end up not using the stove enough to justify its volume and weight, I may send it, the pots, and the fuel bottle home. After all, not every meal requires heat, and I can certainly plan heatless meals around not having electricity.

Tonight's meal, compliments of the immersion heater.

I am going to do some yoga stretches and then spend the remainder of the daylight reading. The forecast shows a chance of rain tonight. But I'm going to take my bets and leave the rain fly off the tent.

Ah! Aside from the scary ass bridge, it was another wonderful day.


  1. Great tip on McD's! I may have to rekindle my childhood love for chicken nuggets. What're you reading these days?

  2. Eye Candy Andy! Believe it or not, I don't think I've ever had a chicken nugget. These days find me reading an anthology of 75 short stories. (Think high school English class.) I picked the book off the free shelf at the local post office. I'm quite enjoying the stories - they are short enough to read before my eyelids get too heavy. Are you bringing' any good reads on your tour?

    1. So far I've accumulated Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, A Visit From The Goon Squad, and Dave Cullen's Columbine. Looking forward to lots of reading!

  3. Sarah, you are quite amazing! I am enjoying reading about your travels and I love your photos! Thanks for sharing your journey!

  4. Thanks, MaryJo! So glad you're following along!


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