Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Day 2 -July 2 - another late start but another good end

Beaverton, OR to Hood River, OR -79.3 miles (127.6 kms); total so far 153.6miles (248.8kms)

Start time: 11:15am
Total time: 8hrs45mins (a long time in the saddle, even with many stops, enforced by red lights or unenforced for photos)
Distance: 79.3 miles (127.6 kms)
Average Speed: 13.2 mph (21.2 kph)
Maximum Speed: 32.41mph (52.1kph)
Calories burned: 4338
Powered by: a large breakfast, 3 bananas, about 3 liters of Gatorade, 1 Clif bar, 2 bottles of water and a huge blueberry muffin.
Elevation gained: 4373 feet (1333 meters)
Weather: Very sunny with light NW wind - but the wind helped me in the last 13 miles on the Interstate shoulder; temperatures rose from 73F (24C) to 90F (33C).

GPS tracked route for July 2

Elevation gain and loss on July 2

Jody and I finally got back to the Beaverton transit center and I rode off into the midday sun about 11:15am while she headed back to Boulder.  I used Google maps bike routing to take me to Troutdale on the eastern edge of the Portland metro area and I got a magical mystery tour of hills and parks in SW Portland, downtown, and a long ride along busy city streets, both commercial and residential, to (finally) Troutdale.  This took almost 2.5 hours as I stopped a few times for pictures and dozens of times for red lights, stop signs and crossing traffic.  I'm not sure that there is an easier way to cross a big city but midday is probably not the time to do it.  The route passed through a diversity of neighborhoods, all of which deserve exploration at some point. I had not been in Portland since 1987 and it seems to have prospered in the meantime.  As is evident from the elevation plot, there are a lot of sizable hills in the city, especially in the Washington Park area.

The start of the Historic Columbia road in Troutdale, OR

Beginning the ride on the Historic Columbia highway about 2:15pm was the start of a fun up/down and relatively quiet few hours.  The road is a national treasure and lucky are the people who live close to it for biking.  There were quite a few car tourists out but surprisingly, I saw no bike tourists.  I chatted for a while with a local cyclist who asked a lot of questions about my route and gear, and wistfully remarked that he toured once, wanted to tour again, but 'life got in the way'.

Trucks are prohibited as are long vehicles but I saw some that violate that rule

 Columbia River view from the Historic road - Interstate 84 is down below

Another way to cross the US and I bet it's easier on the touchas. I saw this rental camper at least four times at various sightseeing stops. 

 One of the many falls that tumble down to the Columbia from the Cascades

 Part of the old road (built in the 1920s) is bicycles only - it was completely empty. I saw no one.

 Steep stairs from the old road down into the gorge - it has a wheel ramp for bicycles but one needs to take the panniers off on one side to make it work

 The last 13 miles of the route today was on the shoulder (margin) of Interstate 84; I averaged over 20mph (32kph) on this stretch due to the tail wind, the gentle grades, and my wish to get off it as quickly as I could with trucks speeding by at 65+ mph (100kph).

I rode two stretches of the expressway (motorway) Interstate 84 as the old historic road peters out at a few points.  This is not as hair-raising as it sounds except at a few points when the wide shoulder (margin) separating me from the highway by a rumble strip disappeared in places where rock slides are controlled and on bridges.   The biggest problem is the debris on the shoulder especially tire bits from exploded tires (rubber, metal strips, nuts, bolts, etc) and the gravel.  It sounded as if I was riding on a gravel path with the snap, crackle and pop of the gravel under the tires.  My biggest fear was that I would get a flat along here and so, I slalomed around the debris as best I could.  That's not so easy when you have a weight of two panniers on the rear rack - about 25-30lbs (10-12kgs) in my estimate.

One last surprise before Hood River - a very steep forest road - again completely empty.

The route leaves the interstate for a detour through the forest with another steep climb with grades up to 8%.  And then back onto the interstate for the last 10 miles into Hood River.  A large pasta dinner and a cold Full Sail amber ale pint were quickly dispatched.

My experience with the weighted panniers is that initially it felt like the back brake was rubbing or someone was tugging on the rear rack, but after a few hours, it felt fine though it slows any fast getaway from a traffic light or a stop.  While it was hot again, the wind made it tolerable.

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