The Dreaded Goatheads

It was a short drive from Leavenworth to Wenatchee and the park but our GPS took us off the highway an exit early so we found ourselves winding through an industrial area on a circuitous route to the park entrance.  As it turns out there was an easier route had we gone one more exit. Having been warmed by the sun during our drive we were surprised to be slapped with a cold, cold wind when we stepped out of the van, not ideal for biking, at least not for us fair weather bikers.  It was sunny but the forecast was for 20 mph winds all day; we were in a quandary whether to register for the night and wait to see if the winds died down late in the day or just move on south.  In the end we decided to continue south toward Hood River. The Confluence State Park is large and because of the access to what looks like a lovely bike trail loop on both sides of the river we feel it is definitely worthy of a return visit, perhaps on our way home.

Back in our toasty warm van we drove a back road through the orchards into Quincy hoping to find an orchard in bloom but alas, we are a couple of weeks too early, the trees are just beginning to show buds so no photos ops for me.  It was a pleasant drive with little traffic. We stopped in Quincy for lunch having read some reviews found the L&R Café with raves on Trip Advisor for its no pretense good food.  It was as described, small, clean, and a regular hang out for the locals, nothing fancy here.  In fact, one of the locals was settling up his tab  . . .  when was the last time a restaurant let you run a tab?   We arrived near closing but the two women didn’t rush us, they just went about their business of cleaning up and chatting with each other, assuring us we could take our time.  George had a killer good peanut butter milkshake.

From Quincy, reconnecting with I-90 at Vantage we ran into a long back up with only one lane open in each direction while resurfacing took place, very slow going but nice scenery.

Road Work

Road Work

 

The Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge at Vantage WA

The drive south this time of year is pleasant with the hills still green from the winter moisture, segments of the drive offered unobstructed views of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams and other peaks of the Cascade range against a clear blue sky and the sun warming us through the windows, life is good.

Snow-capped Peaks

Snow-capped Peaks

We pulled into a campground in Yakima around 4 p.m. and took off on what we thought was a bike trail along the river. It turned out to be a rocky dike, not paved and not pleasant riding.  The surface was gravel and rock so rather than being able to enjoy what scenery there was we had to keep our eyes on the path to avoid the large rocks and patches of loose gravel.  Note to self:  this ride is a lot of work and not very scenic, no need to repeat it. We did pedal along stretches of the river that were nice but the other side of the path revealed backyards ringed with ribbon wire, strewn with junk and ramshackle houses where we managed to wake up the neighborhood dogs resulting in owners yelling for them to shut-up; this was not the peaceful river ride I had envisioned.

Yakima River

Yakima River

At least we got some exercise and arriving back at the van George discovered he had a flat tire, not surprising given the rocks we encountered, or so I thought. (What we later learned is that we had encountered the dreaded goat heads, spurs that penetrate the tire and puncture the inner tube.)  George set about to repair the flat only to find the patch kit was too old so first stop tomorrow will be a bike shop for a new patch kit. Our campground, Yakima Sportsman Park was quiet promising a good night sleep.  Tomorrow we will make our way to Hood River, Oregon.IMG_6309

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