Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Funny Thing Happened...

Lewis River Falls
A funny thing happened on my way down to Hood River, Oregon last week. I went for a bike ride along the way. No, that's not the funny part; I'll get to that in a bit. I had found a route on Ride with GPS that followed the Lewis River from Battle Ground, then went up the hill to Yacolt and some very remote areas, looping back to the start. Then I searched for a place to have something to eat and change my clothes before and after. The spot was called Old Town Battle Grounds, a Stumptown – serving coffee shop inside a converted church – perfect for a Sunday rider who worships good coffee and bicycles.

After fueling up and changing into my pink jersey, I set out to the first section along the river. I was on the river side of the road, following the Lewis River eastward, feeling like a salmon swimming upstream. I was one woman on a bicycle in the midst of hundreds of cars – that is, hundreds of courteous drivers and one jerk. The jerk was in a big red truck, most likely American-made and had a noisy engine. Unlike everyone who passed by easily and quickly, this guy (I'm assuming) roared by and then had his truck "fart" thick black smoke in my general direction. I had to laugh (yes, this is the funny thing) just thinking of what his dashboard might look like. I pictured a button that read, "Cyclist" that he pushed when passing a lowlife two-wheeler like me to let me know who was boss. He passed by me soon enough and after the smoke cleared, I kept on my route, enjoying the rollercoaster-like hills up and down and around we go, through beautiful countryside.

As often happens when I am following a cue sheet created by someone else, I begin to feel like I can trust the author who had, up to that point, steered me in the right direction. But when I turned right into a church parking lot with signs saying "No Outlet", I was a little skeptical. At the far end of the lot was a locked car-sized gate, but to the right of it was an unlocked person-sized gate. How I love secret passageways! An entry into another world, an exclusive path just for me. On the other side of the gate was a neighborhood and some kids on bikes who looked like they might be hoodlums and perhaps were going to give me a hard time for entering their private world. I soon realized that I had nothing to fear, as these kids looked up at me like an apparition had just materialized. They each had a "Where did you come from?" kind of a look on their faces as they waved and said hello. I responded in kind as if my presence there were just an everyday occurrence and kept on rolling down the street.

I continued on the rollercoaster back toward town, noting that there was a lot of car traffic on just about every road. The cue sheet told me to go to Parkway which evoked images of the Parkways I have known: Bronx River Parkway, Saw Mill Parkway, etc. Though they are park-like with an abundance of trees, they are not a place for a bicycle. But once again, I trusted my cue sheet and turned down Parkway to find that it was a 25 mph-posted street with no cars on it.

I ended the ride much like I had started it; I headed for the coffee shop to change and grab a bit to eat. But this time, the smile on my face was from the accumulated experiences and scenery gained on the route.

No comments: