The trucker motel was surprisingly quiet and comfortable and we slept well (or, if there were any big noises, we were too fast asleep to notice). Our first task for the morning was to get our bikes down the stairs. I took a video for your entertainment. :-)
We got a lot of looks and had some good conversations while we took our bikes out of the motel. We spit a 12" Subway sandwich and a huge cinnamon roll for breakfast. It was ironic that even though we finally had our propane, we couldn't use it because we were in the motel.
While eating, we looked over our route for the day, and we discovered we had a 6 mile uphill ahead of us (and I thought the one mile uphill was bad a few days ago!), but we also discovered that we were going to be riding on the Historic Columbia River Highway. The highway was built either in the late 1800's or the early 1900's, and its purpose was to help drivers see all of the most beautiful places along the Columbia River as it winds through the Cascade mountains. We were excited to see some beautiful views!
We started our 6 mile ascent, and this time we took it 1 mile at a time. A few miles into it, a car drove by and kicked up some loose rocks and small metal pieces (like nuts and bolts) on the road, and they hit me in the back. It stung, but it didn't do any damage. It did frighten me a little though.
There were LOTS of bicyclists out today, and they kept passing us and asking us where we were headed. When we told them we were headed across the country to North Carolina, they were so surprised and excited for us! They really encouraged us a lot, and it was very motivating (especially in the middle of the big uphill!).
I wish I had a video camera to capture everyone's responses to our story. They range from instant super excitement, to stunned silence, to head-shaking "kids!"-type reactions.
At the top of the 6 mile ascent, we reached our first scenic overlook, and it was totally beautiful.
We met some women cyclists. They took our picture, and we told them our story. I even told them about when I cried, and they said something to the effect of "Honey, sometimes a girl's just gotta cry! Good for you getting it out! It's ok! It's all good!". They were so encouraging about it, I was almost happy that I had cried!
Then we started our (very steep) descent. It was great! We arrived at our next scenic spot really quickly now that we were descending. It's called Crown Point, and it was also completely amazing. A bunch of people at this rest stop gathered around our bikes and started asking questions again. As we answered, more people stopped and listened. It was fun. We met this whole family who was from Hawaii, and they said "Aloha" to us (which, means "hi" and "bye"...interesting) and took our picture.
We kept going and kept descending (yipee!), and then we started passing waterfalls. We must've passed 4 big waterfalls and a whole bunch of little waterfalls. There were lots of cars stopped to look at all of the waterfalls. The biggest one was called Multnoma falls, and I think it must be pretty famous around here. Here's a video of just how big it is:
Then our route took us off the Historic Columbia River Highway and onto Interstate 84. Earlier in the trip, I never would've even considered riding on any interstate, but this one had big bicycle signs at every entrance telling the motorists this was a bike-friendly road, and it had really wide shoulders, so we hopped right on.
Our route had us switching between Interstate 84 and a bike trail several times, but the interstate was a lot smoother and the bike path was a lot more hilly, so we choose to stay on the interstate the whole way to our campsite. Before, I would've felt like a wus taking the easier route, but I didn't feel one bit bad about not taking the more hilly route this time!
We stopped for a rest along the way at the Cascade Locks. There is a famous bridge here called the Bridge Of The Gods. We found a little fruit stand that was selling cherries and peaches. There was a deal where you could buy 2 tubs of cherries and get a 3rd free, so we got it. They gave us our two tubs, then our free tub, then a double handful of cherries from a box, then another tub!!! We had so many cherries, it was crazy! We were pretty happy though.
We sat down to eat some cherries and another peanut butter & honey sandwich on a hotdog bun, and then I went into a little store looking for breakfast food, and I ran into the same Hawaiian family we had met at the Crown Point scenic overlook earlier in the day. They remembered us and were so happy to see us again! We all took pictures together, and they all hugged us and they said "Aloha" again. :-) It was great!
We camped at Viento State Park, and got a reduced rate of $4. It turns out that all Oregon state parks have "Hiker/Biker" rates of $4 or $5. The tricky thing is that these rates are not advertised, so you have to know, or else you'll pay the regular rates ($15+/night). It's kind-of weird that the cheaper rates aren't advertised, so I'm glad we know about them.
Another biker camped next to us named Casey. He was a great neighbor and gave us some good advice about cycling.
We also cooked our first meal using our new propane tank!! Happiness!! We ate two bags of generic Lipton sides (Chicken Fettuccini) and a green pepper, and, of course, more cherries.
We knew today was our last bike day before our rest day, and I was so happy to have a rest day that I could've skipped and jumped all around the campsite! But I didn't because I was too tired, and my muscles hurt.