Sunday, August 9, 2015

Up to Mt. Hood and Timberline Lodge

Saturday, August 8   Day 7   Hood River to Mt Hood   56 miles , 7900' of climbing

We could see our beautiful destination for much of today's ride, which made it exciting for me. You can see we had another perfect day. Ron and Betsy, from San Luis Obispo, always ride together. Sweet!
First thing in the morning, as I was riding up the steep hill away from Hood River, due south, I couldn't believe what I was seeing in my rear view mirror. I stopped and turned around and there was Mt Adams, back across the Columbia River in Washington. I had not seen it the day before at all. You had to be up much higher than river level to see it. So often, you can be close to a tall peak but not see it because other hills closer to you obscure it.
This is Mt Hood again. There were so many spectacular views of it as we rode toward it, and I took quite a few photos, but I will post only a few more. Once we climbed the steep hills away from the Columbia, it was mostly flat and rolling for about 30 miles. But then the long climbs began, and unfortunately, the headwinds were strong. Thus, slow going.

I added two extra miles for the day because I missed the turn for our lunch stop at Mile 40. I continued up the climb into the wind and when I reached a summit, I knew I had gone too far.
Both before and after lunch, I couldn't see the mountain for quite a ways until suddenly on a descent, there it was, and we had passed to its east side. When you have climbed and climbed, and you can see your destination is still way up there, you hate to descend because you just have to redo the elevation gain you've achieved! A cyclist's lament.
 Now I was getting close. At Mile 49, the highway (a busy Hwy 26) had its big turn off for the final six-mile uphill road to Timberline Lodge. However, that's not where we rode. No, we took a twisty, secluded side road with almost no cars that went under the chair lift to reach the lodge. I actually missed the turn, which was only 50 yards past the main road, because it said "No entry". I went a hundred yards farther and asked someone at a little store, and he said that tiny road was it.
This view is opposite the one above. See what beauty we have in the Cascades on this tour?
Our tiny road met back up with the main road to the top, with just a half mile to go. I caught up with Tom, of Mountain View, CA, just before the end. There were snow boarders going up to that little bit of snow on the mountain, but it sure looked sparse. They're having a drought here in Oregon too.
I arrived at about 1:30, but we needed to wait until 4:00 to get the keys to our rooms. The van was at the far end of a huge parking lot, which was full of tourist cars. Timberline Lodge, and the snow boarding, were popular attractions. Basically, I wandered for 90 minutes. I bought two chocolate milks (as a recovery beverage) in the ski lodge below the hotel lodge.
I toured the old famous lodge, built in the mid 30s as a WPA project. Roosevelt himself was there to dedicate it in Sept, 1937. From the beginning, artisans made this a pristine and artistic venue. There was much history for me to view, including:
 Ram's heads over the front entrance.
Remember those Pee-Chee folders we had by the dozens in high school? (At least at Hawthorne High we did.) The lower left picture on the folder of the woman skier sitting on the chairlift was from this actual photo taken at Mt Hood. That photo (of a model I'm sure, not a skier) was advertising Mt Hood's new chairlift, the first in the U.S. and the longest in the world at the time.
 This piece of art on the inside of the front door is considered one of the highlights at the lodge.
The central fireplace is another "landmark". It rises up the center of the lobby on all three floors, which are all circular around this stone masterpiece. On each of the first two floors, there are three separate fireplaces around the structure.
At 3:00 I went back outside to this lovely scene. Our bikes and bags sat there for a few hours, but we finally got permission from the lodge to put our bikes in a storage area that looked like a paint basement. But we still had an hour before we could get our keys, so about 15 of us went up to the Ram's Head Bar and enjoyed some beers -- still wearing our biking clothes.
When we finally got to our room, here was Bob's and my view! Bit of a cloud cover at the peak when I took this photo, but still pretty darned spectacular.
Dinner was special. We all were in our own room, and it was a 7-course exquisite meal, including the wine. It was family style, so they put the food platters in the center of the tables and we took our own portions.Can you read the menu we each had at our places?
 Here are Lon, Janae, and I at our dinner table. This was the most dressed up I ever got on this tour.
Sorry, but one final picture of Mt Hood with the setting sun giving it a different perspective than my other pictures. You can see the chair lift in this photo with the sun reflecting off it.

Tomorrow's ride is set to be a "recovery" ride because it is only 52 miles and includes mostly downhill, but Bob and I were still pooped and shut off the lights by 9:00. No blogging or computer tonight because my briefcase with my computer got locked in the van, along with most other computers, and we were not allowed to go back out and get them. Just as well; too much to see and do at the Timberline Lodge.

No comments:

Post a Comment