It’s another rainy day, but I looked forward to crossing into Oregon today. It was quite an experience crossing the Bridge of the Gods over the Columbia River. The roadway was metal grating and you could look through it to the water a couple hundred feet below. I got into Hood River, Oregon after traveling along the Columbia River Gorge for 20 miles or so- absolutely beautiful but busy, as I had to ride a portion of I84.
Then began another long ascent, from only 200′ above sea level to my next pass at over 4500′. I was about 10 miles into my climb when I noticed a car pulled up ahead of me. A lady was out and look like she was holding a map; mind you, it’s raining out and she is standing next to her car waiting for me. I thought “oh great, she needs directions and I’m not from anywhere near here.” As I pull up she says, “Hi, I’m Elaine. My daughter and son-in-law and their kids rode across America on bikes and if you need a place to stay tonight, my husband Jim and I live about eight miles up the road.”
She had me get in her car where she could write out directions to her house, which she handed to me and off she went. I cycled through the next hour and followed her directions to this beautiful, cozy log house set on a 7 acre meadow in the mountains. On a clear day, their entire southwest horizon is taken up with Mt Hood ( I’m still waiting to see a volcano!).
Jim and Elaine have retired here from the Midwest; they have three grown children. Jim is an incredible woodcarver, loves reading and bird watching. Elaine does intricate quilting. They bought the land twenty some odd years ago and had the log house constructed on it.
I was fed a meal of brautwerst and salad and we sat around and talked about family, friends, the country and all sorts of stuff. Jim said opening their house up selectively to cyclists and hikers is a way to say that there are still great things about the people in this country, strangers can help strangers and become friends. And that is how I feel tonight. I’ve met some great people!
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