July 11, 2011

#19

19. do the fruit loop

hood river's fruit loop is 35 miles of roads that wind around orchards and wineries and fruit stands. I've been to hood river a few times -- to swim across the columbia and to hike -- but have never traveled through the loop. although most people DRIVE the fruit loop, I got the idea that it might be fun to bike. I couldn't find very much about biking the route,  with the exception of a forum posting a few years back that talked about a group ride there. it seemed totally doable, so a certain someone and I decided to do it this past weekend.

scott talks a lot about all the bike trips he's gone on, and has often suggested that we could do one together. secretly I have never believed I was up to the task, because I hadn't biked in so many years and because biking on the road has scared me for so long. cars! they are fast! shoulders are small, and my absolute most petrifying bike fear is of losing control of my bike and crashing into the road in front of a car. also, I still lack finesse when it comes to turning, and I've always been afraid of going at high speeds down hills. but recently I've been commuting pretty regularly in traffic, and we've even gone on a couple of bike dates where we've just meandered along from one place to another. on roads. without spending two hours scrupulously finding the safest bike route possible.

so: the fruit loop.

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we followed this route from hood river, south to parkdale, then back north. we stopped at a couple of fruit stands along the way but didn't choose to detour to any of the ones off the main course. (although we did leave highway 35 for a couple of miles in order to bike on a less-trafficked road).

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mt. adams through the orchards. we were there last summer!

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a certain someone on his bike

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mt hood looming close by

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a paraglider! he/she was SO HIGH UP. presumably they'd ridden the air vents. insane. there were two of them; the other one was much lower.

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making it look easy

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fortunately you can't see the steady trickle of sweat on my face in this photo.

the ride was the hardest I've ever done -- a lot of climbing (for a novice), a lot of fast cars going by, a rough road. there was one hill -- the last, not long but on the steep side -- where I thought, "if I can't see the top soon, I'm gonna cry." but I made it! at several intervals on the climbs scott very kindly waited for me to catch up (and catch my breath) before we continued upwards.

he also tells me that the conditions were probably about as bad as it gets on a bike ride, so I guess I'm ready to go on bike rides now! look who's all grown up.

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