Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, July 19, 2010. Glenn and Susan are here. Today we rode along the Old Highway and New Bike Path along the river gorge.
We pulled out of Hood River, OR (about an hour and half from Portland – which has to be the most bicycle friendly city in the US . . . another story) to the bike path part of the Old Hwy. (no cars). Steady easy climb of 4-5% through the forest with one ‘drop dead’ view after another (photos when we get home) of the river and gorge, several hundred feet below. Rode through the rebuilt tunnels with windows to the gorge. Then down to the end of trail (with the black bear spotted warning sign) onto the Route 30 into Mosier, OR.
Since Interstate 84 now runs along the gorge SR 30 is very quiet. Past town long rolling climbs, gradually going up, through open vistas and woodlands. Towards the top, at Rowena Vista View (about 700 feet above the river) we the landscape becomes a bit eerie and the winds run steady about 25 mph with gusts up to 40 mph. Then down about 2 miles of wind drive switch backs to the non town of Rowena. It is on the map, but there is nothing but some private homes along the road.
We could have gone to the next real town, The Dalles, but the climb back up the switch back was in our heads. We had a snack and headed back. Okay, the climb was not too bad, nothing over 6% grade and a slow even pace.
While most of the ride back was downward, we were also riding with heavy cross winds. Several times our bikes were moved across the road. However, the scenery was gorgeous and continuos. Bike Rentals in Hood River were $30 a day for Giant road bikes. Tomorrow is back to hiking. Glenn