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Thursday, June 21, 2007
Pome-what? Pomeroy!

This morning we woke up in the basement of Laura and Roger's wonderful home. They fixed up a hearty breakfast for us, and served it on their exotic Wedgewood china. There was oatmeal with strawberry sauce, toast, cherries and apples, and orange juice. All this was ready by 6 am since they knew we had to get an early start. Boy, it was scrumptious! We took whatever was left for breakfast with us along the road. We talked a little more (they were so friendly and easy to talk to) before packing our bags and heading out. And so this morning we left Waitsburg and rode 38 miles to Pomeroy. The only other major town along the way was Dayton, about 8 miles past Waitsburg. It seemed like Dayton had some significance for Lewis and Clark.

The first few miles were uphill, followed by a huge downhill where I was just flying down. The rest of the journey was rolling hills. Many of the hills were covered in lavender (or something of a beautiful purple color). But since it was 35 miles without a water break, it got a bit tiring, and I had to sing to myself to make the miles go by faster. Now we will stay overnight in Pomeroy at the local park, and then to Ida-HO we GO..

Posted by MinWah {bio} @ 01:24 PM CST Link | Leave us a note!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Waitsburg, WA !

Hellooo ladies and gents! OMG crazies we finally have the internet it's been ooooh so long. If it weren't for Ariel cheating and going to her Aunts house I'd have 6 days to update you on, but thankfully that is not the case. I just have two. BUT, I'm hiding them behind the more link, SO CLICK IT NOW!

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Posted by Seager {bio} @ 08:08 PM CST Link | Leave us a note! (1)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007
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!

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Posted by Ariel {bio} @ 02:50 PM CST Link | Leave us a note! (1)




June 2007


06/17 - 06/23
06/10 - 06/16
06/03 - 06/09
04/22 - 04/28
07/23 - 07/29
07/16 - 07/22
07/24 - 07/30
07/17 - 07/23
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07/25 - 07/31
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06/13 - 06/19