Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Washington Cascades bike tour, Day 7, Windy Point campground to Ellensburg
Read all the posts about this trip in backwards order (or better yet, start at the bottom and work up) here.
We rolled out of Windy Point, riding along the tree-lined river, knowing we were leaving the greener parts of our trip and headed East where there is significantly less rainfall. We also knew that, once again, there would be long stretches with no water for us to drink.
After stopping in the tiny town of Naches for coffee and having a nice chat with a semi-local cyclist on a trip of his own, we headed out of town, uphill and into a different climate. I was amazed how little time it took for the landscape to completely change as we rode our first short hill.
It was green behind us, and parched in front.
We were worried enough about water that we made a short side trip into Selah, just outside Yakima, to stock up on cold water. Just before we did I had a wonderful descent on a delightful road, only to turn around and not see Tricia anywhere. She'd seen the turn we needed to make. I hadn't. Still, the ride down was worth the climb back up to my waiting wife, who just gave me an eye roll and soldiered on.
I'm glad we did plan that extra water stop, because as soon as we left, the road turned up and the day started to get hot, and we were, again, climbing.
The Yakima River we rode near is a tubers' paradise. We saw pickup after pickup stacked with inner tubes and filled to overflowing with very large, very white, very shirtless young men, all looking like they'd be badly burned by tonight if they weren't already. For all the water so close by, it was a hot, dry ride.
Riding uphill in the dry heat wasn't really that bad. The landscape was interesting and almost all of the pickups were careful to give us safe passing space. But then the wind started to pick up. By the time we got to the flatter part of the ride it was downright tough. It makes it impossible to share a conversation, and there's no feeling of accomplishment like there is when you climb a hill. We spent the last 15 slightly uphill headwind miles at around 10 mph (not that I'm complaining, Heather)
I have no idea what this sign means, but I didn't like it.
We got just a tiny bit confused with our directions when we were half a mile away, so we stopped and asked for some help. After we were straightened out, Tricia asked about the wind and was answered "It's always windy here, but not this windy."
When we found camp we headed right back out. It was our turn to cook and we needed to shop. Tricia did a wonderful job. She made quinoa — a high protein, rice-like dish — with tofu; a mixed green salad with feta cheese and dried cranberries; and sauted vegetables that required a lot of chopping and slicing. What with the fresh strawberries and whipped cream over pound cake for dessert, I think it was the best meal we had on the road. I, as assistant chopper/slicer and getter-of-items, have no photos to show for all her hard work. I was just too darn busy. So here's a bonus photo of Tricia that looks a lot like the others on this page.