South Salem Cycleworks, 4071 Liberty Road South
Salem, OR 97302-5752
(503) 399-9848
Hours: Monday - Saturday 10 AM to 6 PM; Closed Sunday

October 8, 2013 - Columbia Gorge

The gamble on the weather paid off! I had Angela pack for the worst and for the best, but I left my short finger gloves at home!

We both wore long-sleeve wool jerseys with underskins, and kneewarmers. Could easily just wore short-sleeve jerseys with arm warmers, vests and used the long-sleeve shells that we tucked in a seatbag. There were times when I could have used the shells, but they stayed in the seatbag the entire trip! I stripped off my wool jersey and rode in my sleeveless underskin on ascents and removed the kneewarmers when we turned around in Hood River. Beautiful day!

Seemed like the right choice of clothing when we left, but when we started the 5% climb to the Rowena Overlook, the jersey came off! We weren't hotshots either! Climbing in a 24t chainring, and at times happily using the 29t cog, we were constantly passed by guys in kits racing each other to the top. We were informed more than once that the stoker was pedaling . . . . No, we didn't pass anyone! We did get used to seeing other cyclists throughout the trip, just a perfect day for everyone!

Angela played the part of photo-journalist taking pictures as we rode, and some we still missed, like the ground squirrel that squeaked in his burrow's opening facing the roadside. Others, like the multitude of the deer grazing below a farmhouse as we slowly climbed an incline were too many! But we caught the planes that looked like they were going to land on Rowena Overlook, but would suddenly nosedive down the drop off wouldn't have been taken while riding single bikes. Too bad they didn't appear as we were climbing the grade to the top!

While we were slow on the climbs, we could really zoom on the downhills, and it was rolling down thru the orchards that I caught a bee on my cheek and the sting happened as it was trapped beneath the edge of the glasses. I was hesitant to remove one hand from the handlebars, but after the initial sting, I was afraid of further stings closer to my eye, and took the chance to raise and wipe it from my eyelid! Of course, my attempts at conveying this instance to Angela was in vain, with the wind whipping my words away, but she did know something had happened. I was afraid that my eyelid would swell up and alter my ability to navigate the ride at speed, but it didn't swell up as much as I feared. Just a gnawing irritation that never really spoiled the ride.

We shared an ice cream in Mosier, as the espresso machine had broken, and learned that the restaurant had closed last weekend. Anyone want to buy THE restaurant in Mosier?

On entering the bike/ped's only roadway from Mosier to Hood River, you could see evidence of the fires this summer. Weird, in that a tree would be burned to the ground here, but it's neighbor was doing just fine with no indication of intense heat stress! And this trail is highly used, with lots of families on bikes and trailers, walkers with their dogs, the brakes handily came into play once more. With no bell on the bike, I, for once, did miss the squeal of the brakes being applied!

Upon reaching the trailhead in Hood River, we debated going into the city to have dinner, but looking at the time, decided we'd better off riding back to The Dalles and driving to Hood River for dinner. We did have a couple of energy bars that were way past their prime, at least our tastebuds said so!

We were caught shortly after we started back by a couple of women, who admired the tandem and informed Angela that I wasn't pedaling! Now, that was a first! And of course, it had to be by a woman! And seriously, I was pedaling!

We saw the recumbent trike just east of Mosier, returning from the overlook, he'd made good time and was enjoying the descent where I had demolished the bee. And barring vacation folks, the road was wide open for him. Wouldn't like climbing up from the river to the overlook, but the ride down would be fun in his trike!

We stopped at the overlook and as a precaution, I put my jersey on once more, and before we reached the bottom, I wished I'd put the shell on. There were still damp places in the road that were cool, especially with the speed generated on the tandem's descent. And those Avid Ultimate canti's I'd replaced the Shorty 8's with, were great at controlling that speed.

The view up front

The view up front

View from roadside

A breathtaking view from the roadside

Dowhill view

If you climb, you do get to go downhill.

Uphill view

But, we're going up there....?