Bike Odyssey
North America 2004

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Journal for 22-May-2004 : Portland (Troutdale)

Left Hood River under threatening skys. Happy to get underway early.

Headwind not as bad as yesterday, down to 20kph. The Columbia River is almost a fiord. The gorge it runs down is glacially carved, and the flat bottom is covered by water. However it's the series of low dams used to generate what must be micro amounts of hydro electricity which keeps the gorge flooded.

A few narrow bits of shoulder and lots of debris made cycling rather “interesting”. Nice to take the old road at Wyeth, but this turned out to be something of a disaster. The road climbed like a steeple into the clouds, which promptly started raining on us. And the descent was as treacherous as anything we've done. The road slopes the wrong way, so leaning into the turns is required even without turning. Very difficult, and very slow.

Cascade locks is the site of a series of rapids in the Columbia River. Well, it used to be before it was damed. To make navigation possible a substantial lock was constructed. Prior to that, everything had to be unloaded from the boats, carted it around the rapids, then reloaded onto new boats upstream. We enjoyed a similar experience. Taking the bike path out of town we quickly learned there was no way back to the Interstate. This became even more difficult when the bike path presented us with a steep set of stairs. We had to remove the panniers and lug them up the stairs separately.

The bike path eventually disappeared into a mess of blackberry bushes, fortunately not that far from an access point to the freeway.

For some reason today, every time we stopped it stopped raining, and every time we started riding, it started raining again. The same thing happened at the impressive but very busy Multnomah Falls.

There was one exception. At one point we had to stop. Linda's front tyre had deflated (another penetrating puncture – thanks to a chunk of truck tyre) and I needed to find a bush to squat behind – very quickly!

More uninspiring riding to the edge of Portland, where we sat in the Subway for long enough that we couldn't ride any further today.

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