Well, this report won’t be a long one, but I will sum it up thusly:
It happened! And it was good.
I had nice weather early in the week, with sunny skies and a high nearing 60F/16C on Tuesday February 9. (Though there was a stiff easterly wind that day, and I biked into it.) I managed to snag Stasia from CarFreeRambles to go as well. While solo bike camping is fun for me in the summer, when days are long and there may be other folk around, it’s not as fun on a long winter night with no one else around. (Chalk that up to the general loneliness I’ve felt over the past, oh, three years or so.) I decided to ride the whole 26 miles from my house (in a headwind) to Oxbow on the Sandy River, rather than take the MAX light rail to shave off some miles.
Stasia and I were the only ones in the campground for the night! We burned through almost two bundles of wood during the long but not that cold night. I did get a li’l cold while sleeping, though, so I threw on another layer and zipped up my bag more. I think it’s time for my down bag to go through the wash to refresh the loft.
Stasia was gone by the time I woke up at 8, since she actually had to work that morning! I made coffee and pancakes with the radio (and the sound of the Sandy River) keeping me company. While the weather was supposed to be decent for Wednesday, the forecast changed, and it was mostly cloudy with a brief passing shower, oh well.
Rather than ride straight home, I decided to go back the long way and check out at least a little bit of the Columbia Gorge, since it’s been at least four months (four months!) since I had been out that way. Since a ride out to the Gorge is an out and back, and the more out you go, the more you have to come back, I just went of the Historic Columbia River Highway a few miles to Women’s Forum, it’s highest point, and the first great view of the Gorge in all its splendour. (I could have ridden the extra mile to Crown Point, but the Vista House is not open during the week in winter, so I’ll save that for next time.) While there I decided to make some coffee.
From there, it was westward to home. I did a pit stop at McMenamins Edgefield for food and libations, and then decided to head down to the Columbia River. I stopped for more Coffee Outside action at Chinook Landing Park, then followed Marine Drive back towards home. 42 miles total for the day.
A few random observations:
- Stasia is so damn perky!
- This first Bike Overnight of the year is getting me in the mood for more bike overnights and tours!
- My new rack works great! The Wald front basket is very good for touring, as it’s so easy to just load a bunch of food there.
- My touring setup was: Rivendell Brand V barrel handlebar bag, Carradice Camper Longflap, (both of these are on my “everyday” setup, augmented by the basket and the two Salsa Anything cages on fork with the Randi Jo Fab “Big MUT” bags. This worked well for this trip. I can always add on my Jandd framebag for more capacity.
- The amount of stuff I brought was just right. What else would I need for an actual tour? A bit more clothes, maybe a few more incidentals and toiletries, and more food.
- Oxbow is not my favorite close-by camping option, but it is open all year. Also, I forget how awesome the Sandy River is. Y’see, while we were practically near sea level, the Sandy is a true “mountain river” since it is fed by the Sandy Glacier on Mount Hood. You get that feeling when you go down to it. (It stays icy cold all year!)
- I really need to get back to the Columbia Gorge soon…
Below are a few pics, but all the photos can be found here.