Cycle Oregon 2005
September 10 - On To Cycle Oregon 2005 - Ann dropped me off in Boardman on September 10, 2005. After orienting myself to the camp, I found my way to the Beer Garden to sample some ales from Widmer Brothers Brewery.
There is a daily routine on Cycle Oregon. It starts with breakfast as early as 5:30 for those anxious to get going and for those that can't sleep through the zipper noise. Next is the daily ride. At the end of the ride, it's showers in huge shower trucks. Then it's on to the Beer Garden. The Beer Garden is near the sound stage so that you can watch and hear the early entertainment provided by locals. Dinner starts around 5 PM. Then it's back to the sound stage at 7:30 for announcements and evening entertainment. Bed time is whenever you want it to be.
Part of the following narrative has quotes from the Cycle Oregon XVIII web page. As a reference, here is the "Rider Handbook".
Note that I didn't take any photos on this tour. The link at the top of this page is to another person's album.
September 11 - Day 1 - Boardman to Condon - "From our lush campsite on the bank of the mighty Columbia – yes, Lewis and Clark slept here – we pedal south into a scenic swath of Oregon wheat country. After riding past those amber waves of grain, we settle for the evening into Condon, where 600 citizens have sworn to show us just how spirited life can be in Oregon's most celebrated semi-ghost town."
This was reported to be the toughest starting day in Cycle Oregon History. There were countless long and steep climbs.
Statistics: 81 miles with 6100 feet of climbing.
September 12 - Day 2 - Condon to The Dalles - "We turn today toward the forested slopes, beckoned west by the snow-capped sentinels strung along the horizon. After passing ethereal acres of Oregon's tallest crop – giant windmills fueling the New West – we rest at river's edge, where Native American tribes netted salmon for thousands of years. In The Dalles, we toss our bedrolls in a park that perches high above town, offering spectacular views across the Columbia Basin."
The climbs today were not nearly as difficult as yesterday. The head winds were another story. Once we reached the Columbia River Gorge, we rode directly into a strong, steady wind on the freeway shoulder. When we reached The Dalles, we made a significant climb into our campground on the bluff overlooking the river. The view was spectacular. That was the only reason that I didn't call Ann to pick me up. I was very tired and discouraged.
Statistics: 71 miles with 3300 feet of climbing.
September 13 - Day 3 -The Dalles to Rooster Rock - "Saddle up for one of America's greatest days on a bicycle. We ride through the Columbia Gorge, the sylvan slash where the Great River of the West carves its way through the Cascade Range. Along the spine of the National Scenic Area, we ride the Historic Columbia River Highway, the route hand-crafted from 1913-22 to be 'the most beautiful road in the world.'
This was a good day. We started off by going through The Dalles to a long bike path. Then we rode the "old" highway that paralleled the river. Part of the road did not allow motor vehicles. One of the scenic stops was at Multnomah Falls. I had no more thoughts about leaving the ride.
Statistics: 68 miles with 2900 feet of climbing.
September 14 - Day 4 - Rooster Rock to Champoeg - "Emerging from the Cascade Mountains, we enter the fertile Willamette Valley, the 19th century destination for thousands of covered wagons, the place pioneers called 'The Land at Eden's Gate.' Century lovers can begin their day by climbing to the magnificent Larch Mountain lookout before continuing on their way. Along the way, we'll linger over a barbecue on the banks of the Clackamas River before making our way to Champoeg, the crown jewel of Oregon State Parks. We pitch our tents in the spot where, in 1843, 102 pioneers gathered and gave birth to provisional government in the West."
The highlight of today's ride was Crown Point and the Vista House. The views from here were unbelievable! You can see reaches of the Columbia River both east and west. "The Vista House was built in 1916 at the same time as Highway 30 (what is now the Historic Columbia River Gorge Highway, and the only way to reach Crown Point). The building was designed to be a place of refreshment and enjoyment of the Columbia Gorge." From here it was on to Champoeg. I decided to skip the optional ride to Larch Mountain.
Statistics: 71 miles with 3400 feet of climbing.
September 15 - Day 5 - Oregon Gardens Loop - "This day is all about choices. Follow a suggested tour through the bucolic back roads of the Willamette Valley to the Oregon Gardens, or relax and bask in the bounty of the park's 615 acres of forests, wetlands and prairie. There'll be activities galore around our campsite, once a bustling stop for steamboats and stagecoaches, now a scenic State Heritage Area."
Because I didn't take the long option the day before, I decided to do the Oregon Gardens loop. It was an easy, scenic ride. The countryside was filled with nursuries and farms. The Gordon House in the Oregon Gardens was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The gardens themselves were beautiful.
Statistics: 56 miles with 700 feet of climbing.
September 16 - Day 6 - Champoeg to Vernonia - "Bidding adieu to the Willamette, we wind our way across the fecund floor of the valley that pioneers insisted was so fertile 'even the fence posts bear fruit.' After lunch, we begin our leisurely rise back toward big trees. Cathedral groves of emerald green shade our path as we approach a thoroughly Oregonized welcome in the traditional timber town of Vernonia."
This was another pretty ride. We ended up in Vernonia and camped in the same place I camped on Cycle Oregon 4. In the middle of the night, I had to pack up and move my tent to a new spot. My next-door-neighbor was yelling in his sleep so loud that my special sets of earplugs couldn't keep me from hearing him.
Statistics: 68 miles with about 3000 feet of climbing.
September 17 - Day 7 - Vernonia to Astoria - "Following the Nehalem River as it ribbons its languid way to the coast, we ride through lush forests. Don't miss the great elk-viewing spots along the way. In the afternoon, we visit Fort Clatsop, America's newest National Park, where Lewis and Clark wintered during their epic journey. Our odyssey ends in Astoria, at the mouth of the Columbia, where a magnificent hilltop vista welcomes us to the historic city in which America first became a nation from sea to shining sea."
The day started out wet. We had heavy fog and some drizzle during the night which lasted through the morning. It cleared after the first rest stop and was nice all the way into Astoria. We received a rousing welcome as we made the steep downhill plunge to the finish line.
Statistics: 73 miles with about 1000 feet of climbing.
I showered and ate a gourmet lunch. Ann met me with the car. We loaded up and took off down the coast.