Sunday, May 19, 2013
Today I rode from the west side of Portland through the Columbia River Gorge to Hood River, Oregon 77 miles, 3000' of climbing with light mist in the morning ending with strong winds but sunny. The ride was everything a bike touring bum like me could ask for. The excitement of, is it going to rain on me, just added to the edge. I anticipated a hard ride but I was so interested in the beautiful scenery and things that the ride just breezed along for me. There were lots of waterfalls large and small mixed with rugged mountainous views that were partially blocked by the hazy overcast but I still loved them. I could not see any of the big mountains because of the conditions but what I could see was good enough to make it an excellent day of riding. I do have a few beefs with the bike trails though. First of all they were extremely slippery and had lots of roots humping through them. Did I say they were rough cause of roots popping up all over them. The second thing is that there are awesome views all through the gorge but the bike paths are like tunnels with trees along the side and overhanging the trail which I admit is very pleasing to the eye and prevents sun burn but after about a hundred yards it just repeats for miles and miles while all the beautiful views are missed. I rode all the way up to Vista House and at the top the road was closed and the view was obscured by the weather. What about a sign at the bottom of the hill saying the road is closed???? The sign at the top where it was closed said no bikes but I went around the roadblock and rode the entire route. I was not going to turn around and go back track adding 40 miles or more to my day's ride. The other problem I had and I have had this a lot in Oregon is that I am mobility impaired meaning I can't walk very well or very far at all and almost all the sights required walking on rough trails sometimes steep ones to get to see the views or the waterfalls or whatever. Disabled access is not good in Oregon at all. I would like to watch the trail makers ride their trails in a wheelchair without killing themselves. So I missed a lot of good things unfortunately. Sometimes it sucks to be mobility impaired. Oregon could easily make their state more accessible with very little cost or effort so I guess they just don't care enough to comply with ADA. I know it sounds kind of strange to hear a guy riding his bike thousands of miles around the country complain about mobility impairment but riding a bike and walking are two different physical abilities. My bike is my wheelchair. I can ride all day but to walk around the block is almost impossible for me and causes high pain later that gets higher with every step I take. The day ended with a sprint on interstate 84 to Hood River where I called it a day's ride. I wanted to go further to The Dalles but I was having a few physical problems from trying to walk to see the sights today (mainly high pain). I hope I am better after some good rest tonight. We shall see in the morning when I start my last day in Oregon before entering Washington state to ride the rest of the way to Clarkston/Lewiston. The Washington part of the ride is pretty much out in the middle of nowhere so I may be out of touch and miss a few days of posting here and there but I will do my best.