Saturday, August 24, 2013

Day 55 Daunted Courage, August 23, 2013

Route: Hood River to Multnomah Falls, OR (by bike); Multnomah Falls to Vancouver, WA (by car)

Saya's (age 6) conversation of the day:
 Saya: "Daddy, do you think the bad guys will attack us some day?"
 Me: "I doubt it.  And I bet the bad guys may even change into good guys.  We all have the ability to change."
 Saya: "Wait, so that means we might turn into bad guys?"

Pedaling out of Hood River, I knew we had officially left behind the hot, arid terrain we’ve experienced over the past week when Saya asked for extra long pants, a jacket and ear warmers.  After some necessary but unpleasant miles riding on the broad shoulder of I-84, we left the booming noise of the traffic and rode on peaceful back roads.  We took a break from cycling to eat wild blackberries and pet some friendly goats.  Sho looked for poisonous berries using his book on edible and medicinal plants, and we savored the moist, earthy smell of a dense fir tree forest as we cycled on the comfortable, paved trails through Sheridan State Park.  Sho and Saya were particularly excited by the Cascade Fish Hatchery, where we watched young salmon attempt to jump through an impressively difficult chute of flowing water. 

Today’s most unusual experience came shortly after leaving the fishery, where the bike trail presented us with 60 steps up a set of concrete stairs.  We unloaded our panniers, unhooked the trailer and carefully carried everything to the top of the stairs before re-loading the bikes.  I'm not complaining -- this was nothing compared to the typical portage Lewis & Clark faced.  After returning to the truck tire-strewn shoulder of I-84 for five miles, we spent the rest of today’s ride enjoying the Historic Columbia River Highway until we reached the sparkling white waters of Multnomah Falls.  There, we met Steve Getsinger who drove us to his home in Vancouver, Washington.  

My good friend Brad Graff, who will host us in Portland, called this switch to a car “cheating,” but I’d prefer to think of it as good manners.  We met Steve eleven days ago on the top of Lolo Pass (he took the photo of us celebrating our successful crossing of the Rockies), and he invited us to have dinner and spend the night at his home.  We accepted and estimated that we would arrive in Vancouver tonight.  But because of Becky’s many flat tires yesterday, we couldn’t make it all the way.  Rather than leave Steve and his wife Cath with a large Chinook salmon to split between the two of them, I accepted his offer to pick us up. 

Steve and Cath were excellent hosts, and the meal was outrageously delicious.  As we ate, Cath asked Sho to share his happiest, saddest, scariest and funniest experiences on our ride.  Sho answered:

Happiest: making it over the Rocky Mountains
Saddest: learning that our cat Boo Boo had died
Scariest: when a truck passed very close to our bikes on the descent from Lolo Pass
Funniest: that we call farts while cycling “turbo boosts”

I’ve mentioned several times in this blog that the best part of our trip has been the kindness of strangers.  We had the pleasure of spending time with two more strangers today, and they have already become friends.

Here are some pics:  
On the road

My sister Becky's new boyfriend

Eating wild blackberries

Sheridan State Park

Baby salmon practicing

Portaging my bike up steps on the bike path

Family pic

Laying down to capture the perfect shot at Multnomah Falls

The remarkably beautiful Columbia River Gorge

Steve, Cath and Saya with our Chinook salmon dinner.  Life is good.

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