Days 3 and 4

Day 3 saw me leaving Redmond and heading out west towards Sisters. It seemed like a charming little town which I unfortunately didn’t stop at. The weather continued to be marvellous and the route I picked to head towards Eugene – 126 and 20 west turned out to be neat little roads – remote, winding and twisty. There were a few Snow Zone signs which made me a bit nervous, not wanting a repeat of the previous day’s experience, but fortunately all the roads were wide open.

The best ride of all was a little winding backroad called Brush Creek Ln. that led south from Sweet Home to Springfield. It was a glorious lazy, winding road that ran through rural lands with little farmhouses and sloughs – my favorite kind of road. :)

From Springfield, I got on I5 and took the quickest path to Dexter, OR. It was great to see the old familiar faces of people I hadn’t seen in almost a year! I found a spot up on the hill to pitch my tent – happy to finally be using it.

The party was good and mellow. Nobody got shit-faced and fell in the ditch this year, but we did have the gigantic 10 foot bonfire and a live band.

Day 4

Day 4 – Sunday – saw me waking up later than expected (mostly on account of being woken up by loud, chirping birds – why on earth do they do that?! – and not being able to go back to sleep for  while). Got breakfast, said my goodbyes and took off, this time north on I-5 for the shortest path to Portland. I managed to ride 120 miles non-stop before I finally reached PDX.

Had lunch at my favorite Cuban restaurant – Pambiche – sugarcane juice, fried plantains and an appetizer plate of Cuban goodies. I managed to not have a siesta and got back on the bike to head to the Columbia River Gorge.

I was hoping to ride both sides of the river and spend the night at a friend’s place in Washougal. Alas, like the rest of this trip, fate had other plans for me.

The ride started off on the old Columbia River highway which was a cool, historic road that would have been rad to ride early in the morning some weekday, but was absolutely tourist hell on a late Sunday afternoon on Memorial Day weekend. After about 15 miles of crawling along at 20mph I finally got on I-84 which I rode about 100 miles through Hood River and The Dalles.

At The Dalles I crossed the bridge over into Washington to head east to see the mock Stonehenge monument. This is when what had been a glorious day slowly turned into hell with side winds that threatened to rip my head off every few minutes. It was scary enough that at one point I just stopped, feeling a little paralyzed with fear and wondering how to get the hell out of there. I finally wound up going 15 mile east to see the Stonehenge, took some pictures and then went off to find a campground. The closest one was full up though and I ended up crossing back into Oregon to find a motel in Wasco. I called my friend to tell him that I wasn’t going to make it to Washougal after all. :|

So here I am now, in Dinty’s Motor Inn (I kid you not). Dinner, a hot shower and a warm, soft bed has taken the edge off a bit and I’m feeling a little less bummed about my best laid plans all going to hell.

Ah well, win some, lose some, right? Let’s see what tomorrow brings. I want to find the shortest path back to Seattle so that I can get there by afternoon and chill out and enjoy the rest of the day in  my old familiar neighborhood. But I’m not holding my breath.