Wyeth hill, Mosier tunnels, up Rowena and back down into the Dalles. Motel Six. Dinner with beer. Beer with dinner? Every decision in a group of eight is by consencus and begins to wear on my easy-to-unravel patience. But, alas, these fall in the category of white person problems. All in all, the group I'm with is super-fun and considerate and ready for anything.
But, all's well that ends well. We scream by stonehenge, over the bridge to Biggs, quick water stop at McD's and into the headwind, taking turns pulling. Working hard for almost ten miles, it's finally time to turn south onto good old Old Moody Road. This road was my first ever gravel experience a couple of years ago. The first quarter mile is steep. Really steep. I still haven't managed to ride that stretch.
Teammate "Fool" catches up with me mid-Moody. We hang out and ride and chat and say hello to the cows in the road. Back to pavement. It almost feels anticlimactic knowing the ride's near its end. The valley is calm and the bucolic views peaceful and pretty. There's barely a car. So much so that I decide to let loose on the double-yellow. Line, that is.
Meeting up with everyone at the start-cafe is pleasant. There's a dude from California giving everyone cans of beer. People share their snacks. We start devising a plan for evening food and drink. We share stories of the ride as if it were last week or last month instead of just now. The evening is a blur of fun at the brew pub and The Dalles' dark streets and our hotel rooms. Face masks and toy cockroaches, zombie games, laughing at everything and nothing, our group feels cemented.