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07/09/2007 Entry: "Portland, OR to Crow Butte Park, WA"

Hello from Washington! I (Ariel) am actually writing from my aunt's house in Prosser, WA. I will be here for the next week to help plan and throw a memorial celebration for my Grandpa Bill, who died on Saturday. Karen, Seager and MinWah are biking through the sweltering heat as I type. I will rejoin them next Saturday night. Since we havn't had the chance to use internet since we left Portland, I agreed to do the update for the last couple days while I am here in Prosser.

Portland to Wyeth
Karen, Seager and my stay in Portland was quite enjoyable. We crashed with Devin Judge-Lord's friend Stacia, who lives in the Blue and Purple House near Reed College. During our days off we did quite a bit of lounging. Stacia got us in to a play for free since she was operating sound for the production, and we also were able to crash a party at the Big Pink House (friends with the Blue and Purple House). We also found three delicious organic tree ripened peaches in a dumpster. After a few days off our bikes, though, we were antsy to get back on our saddles once more. We met MinWah on a trail heading out of town, and enjoyed a scenic ride up to the Columbia River. Once we reached the river we followed the Historic/Scenic Highway along the Gorge, which has some spectacular downhills, and lots of waterfalls (including Multnomah Falls, which I'm sure many of you have visited.)
At one point, the historic highway turns into a bike trail. It was mostly like any other bike trail, quite pleasant and green and mostly void of traffic. There was, though, one difference that set it apart from the average bike path: a stairway. This stairway was long, steep, and certainly not an especially good place to ride loaded touring bikes. Maybe a mountain bike or a bmx bike would have worked, but not a loaded touring bike. There were little grooves next to the handrails that we were assured (by Seager's map and other bikers) were really quite fun and easy to use. Those people had never ridden loaded. The novelty of the bike stairway kept us from complaining too much as we carried our bikes and gear down, but we couldn't stop laughing and wondering aloud, who the hell puts a stairway on a bike path?
By this point we had decided that a little town on Seager's map, named Wyeth, was a good place for us to stop for the evening. Karen and I noticed that there were no road signs pointing to Wyeth, but Seager insisted that Wyeth and Cascade Locks had the same size dot on the map. We rode through Cascade Locks, and it certainly did exist, so Wyeth must also, right? Wrong. After walking our bikes up several steep, spoke-breaking hills, Karen, MinWah and I found Seager stopped in the middle of a turnaround at the apparent end of the road. Seager was staring at his map with a confused look on his face. There was not a single structure to be seen, only a grown over two track dirt road, lots of grass, and a bunch of trees. I asked Seager if we had reached Wyeth. He replied in an exasperated tone, "It's on the map!"
To Seager's credit, Wyeth was on the map, and so was a state park campground, about half a mile back up the road. Luckily, the park did exist. We rode back and found a site, and the dissappointment of planning to stay in another non-existent town was softened by a flyer at the pay station that announced an ice cream social at the campground host site at 8:00. Later, the host told us that the town of Wyeth had been dismantled about 50 years ago when the highway was rerouted. Seager's map was dated 2006. Funny, isn't it? We maintain the belief that the government of Oregon has it in for bikers.

Wyeth, OR to Dallesport, WA
After eating all of our emergency food at the Wyeth campground, we decided to stop to restock in Hood River. We then head up the switchbacks and out of the valley towards the best bike trail I have been on yet. It was a section of the old highway that had been converted, once again, to only biker/hiker use, but this time it had no stairs. As we moved along the scenery got drier, and the vegetation changed considerably...and the wind...Holy wind Batman! In some parts of the ride where the road curved around we were literally blown off the road. Karen had it especially bad, being somewhat of a stickperson on a big bulky loaded bike. The ride was lovely despite the wind. The highlight of the day was crossing the Columbia River at the Dalles. Lucky for us, the Dalles bridge had a sidewalk we could walk along, and stop whenever a big gust of wind tried to throw us over the edge. The view of Mount Hood from the bridge was pretty awesome, and the amount of water coming over the dam right next to the bridge was as well. Wow. That's all I can really say about it all. Wow.
Across the river we tried to ride with the wind at our side. It didn't work. Karen got blown off the road some more, and we decided to camp at the first place we could find water. That place turned out to be an RV park, where we paid five dollars to camp next to the road in the back. We slept under the stars, which were very bright and wonderful, happily oblivious to the danger of rattlesnakes crawling into our sleeping bags to keep warm at our sides. Welcome to the desert!

Dallesport to Crow Butte Park
WIND WIND WIND WIND WIND! Karen left camp before us to try to beat the wind for the first two miles we had with a sidewind. It was a good choice, because as the rest of us were about to roll out, Seager found the desert's bane to bikers, a goathead thorn, stuck in his front tire. His tire switch was speedy, and we soon started the fight against the sidewind ourselves. I personally got blown off the road three times in two miles (not that that really means much, me being the master of riding into the ditch.) Luckily, Seager had a good yelling match with the wind, and they came to an agreement. In return for Seager's previous ride across Wyoming with a headwind, the wind agreed to blow steadily at our back for the rest of the day, and boy did it blow. The scenery was otherwordly, or maybe it just seemed that way because my brain was boiling. There was a sign that said "No Gas for 82 Miles," so we decided that we should refill water bottles at any place there was evidence of human life. The next place was Stonehenge war memorial and giftshop, near Maryhill. Seager brought up a good question: What the heck is a henge, and are there other henges made out of wood, or sand, or peanut butter? Another bike tourist rolled in as we were working on MinWah's breaks. He was solo, and going West against the wind. Poor man. He said he wished he had flown to Portland and gone the other way.
Lunch was thirty quick miles later in Roosevelt, apparently a windsurfing haven, but very little else. The minimart provided shade, water, and a very nicely decorated bathroom for our lunch stop. As we ate our peanut butter sandwiches, we discussed the local garbage economy with the man who ran the shop. He pointed to the railroad tracks and then up one of the (very large) hills on the side of the gorge. "The garbage comes in on the trains from all over: Alaska, Hawaii, Seattle... then they haul it up that hill and put it in an enormous landfill." Karen said that she had always wondered what Hawaii did with their garbage. We also got to witness the passing of an entire wind turbine in pieces. Those things certainly seem much bigger when they are on the ground!
We set our sights on Crow Butte Park, twenty miles further. The road became a bit more flat in that section, and Seager and I rode together averaging something around 20 mph the entire time. Hooray for flats and tailwinds! Karen and MinWah were not far behind, and we met at the turnoff to the park after a rewarding yet very hot 77 mile day. Not bad for MinWah's 3rd day without training! I just hope that her butt remains attached to her body.
The Crow Butte campsite ripped us off considerably, though knocked the $25 charge down to $15 when we decided to camp on the far side of the boat landing, away from the campgrounds and bathrooms, and next to a water spigot that we incorrectly assumed would work. We did, however, meet our first rattlesnake in the carefully watered and manicured green grass of that fair park. I almost stepped on it with bare feet, in fact. I decided that the campground hostess wasn't as crazy as she had sounded at first, and that I would certainly make sure my tent was zipped at night.
This morning, my dear Aunt Anne came to pick me up and brought breakfast, a pepperoni pizza as Seager had suggested, doughnuts as per my request, hot chocolate, and lots of fresh fruit. Auntie Anne knows how to do food right. Thanks, Anne! As I packed my bike and panniers into her van, Seager, Karen and MinWah rode off past the enormous rolling (cat)fish into the sweltering 9:00 sun. I last saw them turning on to the highway headed towards Paterson.
As I said, I will meet up with them all again on Saturday night after my grandpa's memorial party. To read Grandpa Bill's obituary (the full, more entertaining version, not to be found in newspapers) check out the extended section. GB was pretty cool. Check it out. Now I will begin baking for the bash. I'll be back in a week!

William G. “Bill” Zuke

Bill Zuke, 77, died June 16, 2007 at Prosser Memorial Hospital of congestive heart failure and renal failure. Born in Chicago October 26, 1929, the day the stock market crashed, of immigrant parents, Michael Zuke (Zukovich) of Techne in Russia and Mary (Marie) Zasedelova of Branicko in Czechoslovakia, Bill was raised in an eastern European ethnic community in Chicago. In his youth, his parents owned a grocery store and his father was a window washer for the skyscraper buildings in Chicago. He grew up with his cousin, Arthur Zuke, and together, they were stock boys and neighborhood criers for the grocery store. After graduation from Lane Technical High School in 1947, Bill completed a degree in Physics at North Central College in Naperville in 1951 with a plan to teach.

Instead, Bill entered the Army and was stationed at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. where he met his future wife, Jane Tremearne. Together, they were part of a team studying the effects of injury to nerve cells on behavior and learning. They were married June 19, 1954. After his honorable discharge, he began work for the Naval Ordinance Laboratory (NOL) in White Oak, MD where he developed instruments to measure the physical effects of underwater nuclear explosions. After 15 years, Bill left the NOL to take a position with Naval Air Systems Command (NavAir) in Washington, D.C. where he developed weaponry rocket systems and other military weapons systems for another 15 years. After the Carter Israeli-Egyptian Peace Accord, Bill assisted the Egyptian Defense Ministry and acquired his famous Arabian Nights sheik costume and camel saddle.

Bill and Jane raised five children in Adelphi, MD. As their family grew, Bill excelled at planning and building the additional rooms needed in the family home. Outside he built a sizable area for family picnics which always included homemade ice cream. He enjoyed having the company of Foreign Student Services visitors, so there was often a crowd at home. Somehow Bill managed to put up with all the critters that shared his house. These included dogs, birds, caterpillars, fish, turtles, but finding snakes in his shoes really set him off. Vacations were spent camping throughout the mid-Atlantic, especially Trap Pond, DE. The family drove to New Mexico, so Bill could take a temporary assignment at Sandia Base, and they camped in western national parks on the return trip. The memory of a family dinner at the Chinese Restaurant when an accidental tap on chopsticks sent them flying across the room still brings laughter to the family. Bill had a private pilot’s license and wanted to get up in the air again. Bill nuzzled the breasts of many female associates and he and Jane were divorced in 1985.

For many years, Bill was involved with Maryland 4-H programs in model rocketry, photography, archery and backpacking. Once Bill made the mistake of using poison ivy leaves for toilet paper and spent the next three weeks in agony. Bill enjoyed his work with the many youth in these programs.

After his retirement from NavAir in 1985, Bill returned to Chicago to take care of his elderly mother. On his return, he achieved his life-long ambition to teach. He taught physics and chemistry at Von Steuben High School.

Bill moved to Sun Terrace Assisted Living in Prosser, WA in 2001. There he made new friends and continued his hobby of collecting duck baskets, wall hangings, pewter ware and musical recordings by visiting numerous yard sales. He also lived at Sheffield Manor Assisted Living. Bill enjoyed events and places in the Northwest. Declining health required several hospitalizations and time in skilled nursing facilities. Eventually, he resided at the Prosser Memorial Long Term Care Unit which was close to family and convenient for tooling around town in his electric wheelchair.

He was preceded in death by his parents Michael and Mary and cousin Arthur. Bill is survived by his children Anne (Steve) Kenny Chapman of Prosser, WA, John (Lesa) Zuke of Thurmont, MD, Carol (BJ) Welling of Custer, WI, Laura Zuke of Springfield, OR, and Ralph Zuke of St. Louis, MO. Bill had seven grandchildren Orian and Ariel Welling, Kevin, Colin and Brian Kenny, Scott Zuke, and Madelaine Zuke. He was very proud of his grandchildren and their many varied accomplishments.

A memorial gathering to remember Bill will be held at 11:30 AM, Saturday, June 23, 2007 at the Sacred Heart Parish Smith Hall in Prosser, WA. With Full Military Honors provided by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and AMVets. Memorial donations may be made to any local 4-H program.

Replies: Leave us a note! (3)

Ariel, I talked to your Mom today. SHE made it back to Custer, and to some deserved rest, but her luggage was still seeing the world.
By the way, yesterday, the daytime temp here wasn't over 75F. It's pretty much the same today! (What really was printed in your fortune cookie the other night???) I'd say 'Stay cool', but it seems to be doing just that! Hope you didn't frost up on the downhill side of Lolo. WL AA

Posted by Auntie Anne @ 06/25/2007 07:38 PM CST

Ariel, I could not have given Grandpa Bill (GB) the rousing sendoff without you and your Mom, no matter how well we seemed to prime each other's pipes. I'm sorry you missed some days of riding, but I think you have now driven through most of the area you missed. Carol, Steve and I returned fromn Lowell, ID (your Mom took photos of the 2nd GB memorial feast when we met up with Seegar, Karen and Minwah) about 4am. We went to bed, only to return to the TriCity Airport for Carol's flight back to Wisconsin around 10:00 am. Your mom was able to repack everything to fit in two checked bags. I hope her flights were on time and that she was able to get back to Custer to recoup.
For myself, I wandered aimlessly back to Prosser, and promptly took a nap. I thought I'd better start organizing all the stuff from the memorial celebration we'd just brought into the house and left. but I thought paying my overdue and thoroughly worn out cell phone bill was probably more important (thus procrasinating on the harder stuff). While in Yakima, I got the cheapest gas I've been able to find for some time, and decided which lawnmower to buy to replace the one that 'blew up' this past week. May need to hire a swather first. Brian was with me to make the mower choice, and wanted to know what I was going to do with my extra time now. FRONT YARD (first)!
I hope you get your bike legs (and butt) back quickly. It must be great to be in the trees and in the mountains. I realize I completely forgot to give you the envelope of GB birthday catching ups. I'll try to have it meet up with you in Iowa at Ragbrai. Hope your meshy shirt works (well, when it gets warm enough to need it) and you reflect well. And I hope that Karen is well insulated from the cold ground and will be well-cushioned when warmer nights prevail. (What do Minwah and Seegar need from the fairy godmother?) Tell Seegar to have a safe advanced trip to Iowa and back.
Winston, the black cat pricess, in her usual position across my arm at the computer, and I wish you good touring. I'll be back in touch later. With love, Auntie Anne

Posted by Auntie Anne @ 06/25/2007 12:20 AM CST

Silly, Seager, you should know better than to trust a map!

Posted by Magellen @ 06/19/2007 07:08 PM CST




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