Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hillsboro - Dallas - Hillsboro

Sipping on Starbucks coffee at the Fred Meyer with a view of discounted underwear made for a decidedly unglamorous start to my February 200K.  All geared up for a long slog, we rode out into the rain expecting it to last all day.  The drops got smaller, slowed down and then disappeared altogether.  Every dry moment felt like some sort of bonus prize.

Several miles on, heading west, we could see a large and ominous dark cloud.  Sure enough, sprinkles started up again.  Then, while climbing up a little rise, I noticed a small glowing spot on the tarmac.  The sun!  At first just a bright spot behind the gray, the clouds slowly dissolved around it to expose blue sky. 

A few short turns led to those enjoyable country lanes I love so much.  The droplets ceased for good and the sun seemed committed to hanging around.  Spring Hill Road became North Valley Road, as it usually does. A lone rider could be seen on the road ahead, just after the Flett turn off.  His jersey read "Rhinognolo" and he seemed impressed I could pronounce it. 

Dayton was a small disappointment.  Although it was an open control, there was only one place to stop.  But, as they say, looks can be deceiving and the Dayton store, with its sign: grocery.  cigarette.  turned out to be the perfect pit stop.  The clerk was inquisitive and friendly in the way only control clerks can be.  They even had pink reflective sunglasses with red flames on the bows for seven bucks, and my snack of choice: necco wafers and strawberry milk.
A few rolling hills, several dozen cows and a bounty of farmy barnscapes later, we landed in Dallas.  The mountain views from this little burg were enough to put the alps to shame, at least in my imagination.  I enjoyed a junkfood lunch including such delicacies as an entire bag of potato chips and a sleeve of girl scout cookies.  I told the little entrepreneurs "I used to be a brownie...the chocolate kind".

Now for the back portion of the out and back.  North to Dayton.  Past the same pretty silos and landscapes to the sweetly curious clerk at the store. I thought she'd come around the counter and hug us, she seemed so happy.  She even asked if we'd be back again the same day.  This time I bought sparkly pink earrings, as I still had a whole sleeve of thin mints waiting in my basket. 

North, north, north. Past the turn off to Gaston, which is hard to skip because I yearn to go to the One Horse.  A rainbow.  A full moon rising.  A pump house in a field that would make an excellent info control for some future ride.
This is the woozy part of the day when mistakes happen and emotions are close to the surface.
Missing the turn onto Ribbon Ridge Road and riding on the dusky highway with its long lines of cars cost an extra four miles.  Strangely, no one honked or even yelled.  One driver slowed down, lowered their window and said softly "nice bike lights".  It seems a trend of treating cyclists courteously has begun. 

Now for the evening home stretch.  At around 6:00pm, I marveled at the difference in light from last month - when we had been standing at the top of Timber in the pitch black fixing a flat and freezing.  Although balmy and not as dark, this portion of the day seems to be a sort of military training.  You push yourself and your body and your machine to the limit.  You learn not just how to survive but to carve out some pleasure from the experience.


  1. Necco wafers for the win! Great write up I will have to give this route a shot soon.

  2. Hi BK, That last line is a killer. It can fit a lot of things. jan