© 2015 The Nielsens

Dogdander
Day Ten: Why Did We Do This? Clathlamet to Chehalis, Washington Today’s mileage: 79 miles (too many) Total bike mileage so far: 437 Local Gas Prices: $2.81 Weather: from very cool to 94 degrees Saddle Sore-o-meter reading: 100 (Animals for the day: Cows, horses, goats Crises Averted: The electricity came back on at Pepers 49er Restaurant right as we pulled up      The road east of Cathlamet is a decent road and we had a gentle tailwind. When we arrived in Castle Rock, we asked some free-spirited young people where to have our next breakfast. On a frontage road, Berta nearly came to a complete stop as she tried to allow a beautiful 1930s Ford to pass in front of her running video camera. The driver wasn’t interested in passing us, he was being polite as he headed for the same destination we had. As we rolled up to the restaurant, the neon OPEN sign was arguing with the paper CLOSED sign. Paralyzed by the possibility of changing plans, we were cured when a woman inside removed the CLOSED sign. She verified that they were indeed open after having a two-hour power outage on a cool blue- sky morning. The lights flickered a few times while we were eating, (we heard the cook swear) but the food was great (have the Taco Omelet and/or the hash browns) and they served it up in no time flat. The guy with the old Ford comes there often enough that the server asked one question of him and knew the rest of his order.      Leaving the restaurant, we had the option of staying across the street or going another forty miles. John pulled out his Norwegian phrasebook and said “It’s up to you”. Berta, working from the Midwesterner’s Guide to Decision Making, talked for three whole minutes about all of the pros and cons of this or that route. The shortest version of the story is that we pushed on. Then Berta had forty miles or about four hours to consider the implications of her decision. For the first three hours, it was okay. We rode through the Lewis and Clark State park, which was lovely. But it was getting a lot hotter. By the time we faced Logan Hill, it was 94 degrees according to our bike computers.      There are two kinds of grades. We have probably described this before, but it is an important concept to today’s story. There is the Western United States type of grade that switches back and forth, using maximum land and resources but requiring less effort on the part of the travelling public. This type of road sometimes will follow the shoulder of a hill or the bank of a river to minimize the severity of climbs. And then there is the Eastern United States grade, which goes as the crow flies, straight up and over any hill of any size. If your vehicle doesn’t have the oomph, you should just turn around and go somewhere else where the weak people live.      Logan Hill is an Eastern road in the West. Two-thirds of the way up, there is a flat that creates a blind spot for drivers going up. We immediately shifted to our easiest gears and stood up to improve progress. As we were going about four miles per hour, we had the time and perspective to contemplate the tar that was bubbling out of the pavement in the heat. The bubbles snapped as we rolled over them.  Berta thought the heat and the hill were a nice touch in defining the magnitude of her regret.      After we crested the hill, we came upon a ten-ish girl who was wearing a superman shirt. She couldn’t believe we just climbed that hill. She said it was all downhill into town from here. “Well”, she said, we were fine as long as we weren’t thinking of going on Hewitt Hill. “That is WAY worse than this hill!” she said. Berta looked down at her route card and noted “Logan Hill becomes Hewitt Rd”. It wasn’t THAT much worse than the first hill, but it was a big hill and it did kick up at the very end to a grade that was just barely acceptable for Berta’s gearing and was too much for John’s. Berta looked ahead at John walking at the very top of the hill.       We pedaled the last ten miles in silence. It was like having an argument, then sitting in the car for 140 miles. Except doing that would be kind of easy. Picture doing that and also being exhausted. Yah, that was pretty ugly, huh. We made a beautiful descent that was lost to our fatigue. We got directions from a woman on the street to the one upscale chain hotel in town. We walked about two blocks to have dinner at a farm-to-table restaurant where we sat in full view of the open kitchen. We had yummy penne puttanesca with a lot of fresh tomato goodness but with not enough red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese for our taste.  We got laundry done and relaxed for the rest of the evening. It was an excellent end to a taxing day. 

© 2015 The Nielsens

Day Ten: Why Did We Do This? Clathlamet to Chehalis, Washington Today’s mileage: 79 miles (too many) Total bike mileage so far: 437 Local Gas Prices: $2.81 Weather: from very cool to 94 degrees Saddle Sore-o-meter reading: 100 (Animals for the day: Cows, horses, goats Crises Averted: The electricity came back on at Pepers 49er Restaurant right as we pulled up      The road east of Cathlamet is a decent road and we had a gentle tailwind. When we arrived in Castle Rock, we asked some free-spirited young people where to have our next breakfast. On a frontage road, Berta nearly came to a complete stop as she tried to allow a beautiful 1930s Ford to pass in front of her running video camera. The driver wasn’t interested in passing us, he was being polite as he headed for the same destination we had. As we rolled up to the restaurant, the neon OPEN sign was arguing with the paper CLOSED sign. Paralyzed by the possibility of changing plans, we were cured when a woman inside removed the CLOSED sign. She verified that they were indeed open after having a two-hour power outage on a cool blue- sky morning. The lights flickered a few times while we were eating, (we heard the cook swear) but the food was great (have the Taco Omelet and/or the hash browns) and they served it up in no time flat. The guy with the old Ford comes there often enough that the server asked one question of him and knew the rest of his order.      Leaving the restaurant, we had the option of staying across the street or going another forty miles. John pulled out his Norwegian phrasebook and said “It’s up to you”. Berta, working from the Midwesterner’s Guide to Decision Making, talked for three whole minutes about all of the pros and cons of this or that route. The shortest version of the story is that we pushed on. Then Berta had forty miles or about four hours to consider the implications of her decision. For the first three hours, it was okay. We rode through the Lewis and Clark State park, which was lovely. But it was getting a lot hotter. By the time we faced Logan Hill, it was 94 degrees according to our bike computers.      There are two kinds of grades. We have probably described this before, but it is an important concept to today’s story. There is the Western United States type of grade that switches back and forth, using maximum land and resources but requiring less effort on the part of the travelling public. This type of road sometimes will follow the shoulder of a hill or the bank of a river to minimize the severity of climbs. And then there is the Eastern United States grade, which goes as the crow flies, straight up and over any hill of any size. If your vehicle doesn’t have the oomph, you should just turn around and go somewhere else where the weak people live.      Logan Hill is an Eastern road in the West. Two-thirds of the way up, there is a flat that creates a blind spot for drivers going up. We immediately shifted to our easiest gears and stood up to improve progress. As we were going about four miles per hour, we had the time and perspective to contemplate the tar that was bubbling out of the pavement in the heat. The bubbles snapped as we rolled over them.  Berta thought the heat and the hill were a nice touch in defining the magnitude of her regret.      After we crested the hill, we came upon a ten-ish girl who was wearing a superman shirt. She couldn’t believe we just climbed that hill. She said it was all downhill into town from here. “Well”, she said, we were fine as long as we weren’t thinking of going on Hewitt Hill. “That is WAY worse than this hill!” she said. Berta looked down at her route card and noted “Logan Hill becomes Hewitt Rd”. It wasn’t THAT much worse than the first hill, but it was a big hill and it did kick up at the very end to a grade that was just barely acceptable for Berta’s gearing and was too much for John’s. Berta looked ahead at John walking at the very top of the hill.       We pedaled the last ten miles in silence. It was like having an argument, then sitting in the car for 140 miles. Except doing that would be kind of easy. Picture doing that and also being exhausted. Yah, that was pretty ugly, huh. We made a beautiful descent that was lost to our fatigue. We got directions from a woman on the street to the one upscale chain hotel in town. We walked about two blocks to have dinner at a farm-to-table restaurant where we sat in full view of the open kitchen. We had yummy penne puttanesca with a lot of fresh tomato goodness but with not enough red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese for our taste.  We got laundry done and relaxed for the rest of the evening. It was an excellent end to a taxing day.