Route Talk with Ken Chichester
DAY 2 Glenwood to Dufur
Those who have ridden Cycle Oregon in the past know the least desirable option for choosing a road is to use the same road twice. There are three roads available when leaving Glenwood and returning to Oregon: the one used on the first day (Nah, been there, done that), a route that is longer with more traffic, or the one selected that has very little traffic, great scenery, a wonderful downhill, and as we can’t have everything, a short section of gravel.
Initially, Day 2 was a ride from Glenwood to The Dalles, with an optional loop after reaching The Dalles to Mosier for those who wanted more miles. The rationale for going back to The Dalles for the second overnight was that we would spend two nights in three towns during the week. This would have resulted in setting up camp in only four towns, and alternating overnights in The Dalles and Tygh Valley, and staying two nights in Madras. Thus, overnight camps would not have to be completely torn down at the end of each day and built again for the following day. Much of the camp could be left in place, including all the T&P tents. This would have cut the amount of work in half for the volunteers who erect all of the support equipment.
Alas, the loop to Mosier and back to The Dalles is really a tough ride (80 mile day and over 6,000 feet of climbing), and the next day to Tygh Valley was REALLY a tough day – 90 miles and around 9,000 feet of climbing. So saner heads prevailed, my idea was scrapped, and we elected to spend the second night in Dufur, rather that The Dalles (Sorry volunteers, a near-normal week for you!).
The great scenery of Day 1 continues on the second day with a small hill, with just over a mile and a half of gravel, before starting twenty-plus miles of downhill back to Lyle, the location of the first stop the previous day. This lightly traveled road does include log truck traffic, so please Share the Road. Then it is a re-trace of the seven miles of the Washington state highway along to the Columbia River. This is the day we hope the windsurfers are on the water enjoying a stiff breeze, because it would be a tailwind for us.
After crossing the Columbia River, the lunch stop in Riverfront Park is a decision point: a direct route of eighteen miles to the finish in Dufur, or a twenty-five mile out-and-back ride along the Historic Columbia River Highway to the Rowena Crest Viewpoint overlooking the Columbia River. The decision on which route to take is dependent on how one feels, if the windsurfers are enjoying a windy day (think headwind), and a review of the elevation chart, because nearly all of the climbing begins after leaving The Dalles.
For those who choose to forgo more views of the Columbia Gorge, the route to Dufur returns up the hill in The Dalles we rode down at the beginning of the first day, and then an up-and-down ride through cherry orchards and wheat fields. These very lightly traveled back roads lead to major north-south U.S. Highway 97. This road has moderate traffic but excellent shoulders for bicycles, and we use it for eight miles before arriving in Dufur.
The optional eighty-five mile route uses a bike path from the lunch site for over three miles (riding past Google) before ending at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center. Riders then use Old Highway 30 to travel west. This road is flat until a two-mile climb to the viewpoint. After a rest stop, riders return to The Dalles on the old highway and join the main route to ride to Dufur.