Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I biked up Rex Hill!

I did it! I rode my bike all the way to Champoeg State Park and back - all by myself!
The fam was camping Monday and Tuesday nights to celebrate Ma and Pa's birthdays. I decided to send my small bag of stuff with Mom and Dad and bike my butt out there.

Armed with directions from Google strapped to my top tube, I left home in Tigard at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday. I went through Cook and Tualatin parks, out Tualatin-Sherwood Road, behind Sherwood and came out at Highway 99W and Sunset. I peddled along Highway 99, DOWN Rex Hill (I hit 34 mph!) and took a left on Springbrook to Highway 219. Then Champoeg Road took me straight to the park.

About 22 miles and 1:37 later, I cruised into Ma and Pa's campsite. No problem!
Truthfully, it was a fairly easy ride. I left early enough that it wasn't yet crazy-hot (75 when I arrived), and most traffic was traveling in the opposite direction, toward Portland. Riding on the highway was no biggie, as there's a huge bike/emergency lane the whole way. I never felt uncomfortable.

The only problem spot was on 219. There's a narrow bike lane/shoulder that narrows down even more on the bridge across the Willamette River. And because it's only one lane in each direction, cars are pretty close. I was praying and going as fast as I could past the really low guardrail when an empty log truck went by. I felt the wash, and that freaked me out a bit. But I survived and was very glad I made the trip.

We had a little celebration for the birthday boy and girl:
I plotted my return trip and decided earlier was better to avoid too much traffic on Highway 219.

I got up at 5 a.m. and hit the road at 6 a.m., just as the sun was rising over the mountain. Highway 219 wasn't too bad - I just rode fast and prayed hard. 

But then I had to tackle Rex Hill on Highway 99 coming out of Newberg. I got up as much speed as I could on the approach, then geared all the way down and cranked up the giant hill. There was a TON of traffic since I was now heading into Portland during rush hour. But again, the bike lane is huge, and I just got it done. (I also passed some fossilized roadkill on the pavement and a deer skeleton in the ditch!)

Instead of riding back on Tualatin-Sherwood Road, which offers a more narrow bike lane and faces directly into the rising sun, I went back out on 99 for a couple miles, then took a right at 124th and a left on Tualatin Road. Easy. The ride home ended up being almost the same distance - 22.5 miles in 1:43:
SO proud of myself for tackling the ride and the big hill, especially on my own!
After a long shower, a couple vegan pancakes hit the spot!
I have a week and a half of summer vacation left. I wonder how much more fun adventures I can squeeze in :)

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