Yes Joni, that was one fine day! C'mon, I mean sunshine in the Gorge, great food, a fine pint, quiet country roads, great climb, cameras and two wonderful people to share it with - Joni Kabana and Barry Rumsey.
My Daily Ride yesterday was 69 miles east of Portland up the Columbia Gorge. The ride was a flashback to the fourth and final grueling stage of my first stage race this year - the Cherry Blossom. Unlike that day yesterday was at a much more friendly pace, starting that way before the ride began.
Joni and I drove to Mosier to photograph and interview Barry Rumsey Chef and c0-owner (with wife Deborah Mazzoleni) their restaurant the Good River and sibling pub the Thirsty Woman for a couple articles on Cycling Chefs we are doing. Barry had a pot of vegetarian curry waiting for the cameras (and our tastebuds - wow! whata taste - not too spicey but just ask and they can kick it up a notch or two) one of the many dishes this cycling chef creates to combine NW and Pacific Asian influences.
After a few hundred photos it was time to turn the pedals on the Chef's favorite daily ride, the Seven Mile Rd. Loop. Start in Mosier (plenty of places to park at the totem across from the ice cream shop on Hwy 30) and head east on Mosier the Dalles Hwy (30) towards Rowena Pt. through 8 miles of rolling upward climbing road. None of the gradient is more than 4-5% at most and traffic is low, so take your time (if you want). The road to Rowena serpentines through slopes of cherry trees, and scattered oak forest and grasslands, with endless sweeps of the Columbia Gorge on your left. Take in the view from Rowena and then descend the snaking twisty curves (careful not to over-cook the corners and watch for fallen rocks) to the continuation of Hwy 30 to the Dalles (8 miles).
As you come into the outskirts of the Dalles (past the first I-84 offramp on your left) you'll take the right onto Chenoweth Loop West, head south for a mile, right on W 10th (Chenoweth Rd) for @ 1 mile, then right on Seven Mile Rd and then the climbing fun begins. If your lucky like me and the Chef you'll get a nasty little 30 mph head wind up the climb which will make it feel like you climbed twice the 4.5 miles to the top. This is a wide open steady climb @ 5-6% with a few nasty pitches at 10-11%, so if climbing isn't your first love, stop and enjoy the spectacular views of the Gorge along the way - or if in May the open hillsides of yellow balsamroot and deep purple lupine in bloom. You'll crest the top at just a smidge over 1800 feet, a climb of 1600, then its downhill all the way back into Mosier - as fast as you dare to take it. The Chef and I flew back at 35-40+ mph - we had fresh (awesome thincrust European-style) pizza and a great pint of NW local brew, Invasive Species IPA from Captured by Porches Brewing Company waiting :")
Yes Joni - that was one of the best days ever! If you are riding in the area (or just ripping down 84 off exit 69) - check Barry and Deborah's places out, great food and drink.
PS - the pizza above is the "Mosier" a local fave - red sauce, blue cheese, pears slices and bacon (photo: (c)Joni Kabana