Eastern Oregon Bike Tour: Day 1

View Eastern OR: Day 1 in a larger map

Start: My house, Portland
End: Clear Lake, Mt Hood National Forest
Miles Biked: 66

Today did not start auspiciously. Since I’d been working a lot, and since I didn’t have super far to bike today, I’d decided to have a nice leisurely morning and brunch with James. So at maybe noon or so, the two of us rolled out of our house, me to set forth for two weeks of adventure; him to keep me company to the end of the Springwater Corridor.

Not only was it miserably drizzly, about 2 miles from my house I realized that I’d left my cell phone behind. A whole ridiculous comedy of errors ensued in which James and I got separated, totally misunderstood each other several times and spent, oh, an hour or so pointlessly standing around in the rain waiting for the other to show up. LAME. I’d sort of decided just to give up on the whole day and leave the next, but then I found James again and he convinced me that I was being dumb. So away we went, much later and more wet than I had hoped.

(James needed windshield wipers for his glasses)

Despite those ridiculous beginnings, though, it turned out to be a good day. The rain mostly stopped by the time I got to Sandy, and though it persisted in being gray and gloomy, at least I was able to dry out, stay warm, and, when it came time for it, set my camp up under dry skies.

This is the first substantial bike trip I’ve taken without an odometer, so all the mileages I’m keeping track of here are just recreated approximations from google maps. Honestly, it was kind of nice not to have one–it meant less time spent looking at how far I’d gone and how fast, and more time looking around me. Though Highway 26 is not a fantastic road to look around on. The shoulder is decent in most places, but the traffic is loud, fast, and abundant; it feels a little unsafe to spend too much time looking at anything except for straight ahead. Though it’s a “scenic byway,” I felt like I didn’t have much space to enjoy the scenery even if I had been able to see it behind all those rain clouds. I think I could live the rest of my life without needing to bike this part of Highway 26 again.

Clear Lake, though, was lovely. It has an established campground that seems like it’d be pretty sweet, but since I was there before Memorial Day it wasn’t open yet. It’s in the Mt Hood National Forest, though, so you can camp anywhere–I just found some flat ground by the lake and set myself up in my new and fantastic tent.

(Big Agnes’ Copper Spur is where it’s at: lightweight, easy to set up, spacious, and basically everything I want in a portable home)

This is maybe more personal than a bikey blog needs to be, but the day that I left Portland, the 20th of May, would be my dad’s birthday if he were still alive. Seeing as I largely credit (and sometimes curse:) Dad for the crazy wanderlust I’ve grown up to have, it felt entirely fitting that I spent the evening thinking of him while I ate my dinner on a lakeshore 65 miles from Portland, on the cusp of grand adventure. Like I’ve mentioned before, I definitely would not be where and who I am today (and definitely would not be taking bike adventures) without the influence of so, so, so many people–it was nice to start out my trip, then, remembering the invisible strings of past and present attachment.

I went to bed that night in the quiet of non-mechanized space, something I’d very much been looking forward to about this trip. Nothing but birds and the sound of water to lull this chica to sleep…

So psyched to set off on bike adventure!

(more adventure pictures here)

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