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Friday, July 13, 2012

Hood-Adams-Helens Tour, Day 3: Thurs 12 July

Mt. Hood looms over the Sandy River valley
April and I made a breakfast of pancakes and coffee at Green Canyon campground and then head the 5 miles down the road to the junction of US 26 to the Zig Zag Ranger Station. April had to head back to town, so we bid goodbyes and I was on my own.

The next 11 miles were on Lolo Pass Road, ascending to the pass. The first four miles was a moderate grade, and the last seven was a pretty serious grade, about 8%. While the grade was steep, I just got into the low gear and kept going. The road gave me great panoramic views of Mount Hood and the Sandy River valley. Of course, the reason I was getting these great views was because of all the open land needed for the giant high tension power lines overhead. Ah, well.
Lolo Pass in the distance
After much sweating (which was alleviated by dunking my hat and jersey in a cold creek) I reached Lolo Pass (elevation 3,400 feet) around 2:30. The next 5 1/2 miles of descent was on gravel. I'm not a fan of gravel, but this section wasn't that bad. After this, the road became paved again, but only one lane wide. I didn't see any traffic on this section. At times I felt like I was on the best road in the world--the scenery breathtaking, the weather perfect, and I didn't have to share the road with any other vehicles. Then I would pass through a clearcut. Ah, national forests.

After winding through the national forest for hours I re-entered "the real world", which meant traffic. OR 281 had a good deal of traffic as I entered Hood River. I'm guessing it had something to do with "rush hour". I reached my Warmshowers host around 6 pm. After a big dinner, I relaxed for the rest of the night.

48.6 miles
9.7 average speed
5:00 saddle time

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