9/4/19 – Day 1 – Vancouver to The Dalles, OR
I left home in Vancouver U.S.A. I went by dozens of cars lined up on the freeway onramp that was moving slowly at 8 a.m. It’s kind of fun passing freeway- stalled cars on my bike. Riding Hwy. 14 East I came to the little town of Camas. I came upon a very narrow bridge with probably five feet of shoulder. I could see a big truck behind me in the mirror. He hung back for a while then signaled with two quick horn beeps that he was coming through. I got as close to the guard rail as I dared as he came past. There was about a foot to the guardrail and a foot to the 18-wheeler. I smiled admiringly. What a professional driver! From then on whenever I heard or saw a big rig approaching from the rear I did not tense. These guys are pros and I salute them. It’s popular in America to recognize our troops for their service, and right we should! There are many other unsung heroes, like the millions of truckers bringing goods that make our lives work.
I stopped at a roadside marker at the mouth of the Columbia River Gorge commerating Lewis and Clark . The story told how the expedition saved three bear cubs and traded them to the Native Americans. I’ve passed that marker hundreds of times and never stopped.
A steady climb took me to Cape Horn, a scenic outlook. Motor cyclists passed giving me horn beeps of approval. After all I am one of them, with an electric motor powered by sunshine. They liked Sunride. Sometimes I got beeps from oncoming traffic, a thumbs up or an approving shout out the window. Going on the road helps me remember why I love this country. So many different kinds of people, and all of them sending a little love my way. When I’m stopped people approach and ask about the bike. Two cute girls at a rest stop exclaimed, “We like your bike!”
I stopped near Beacon Rock to lunch with my long time friend Angus. Neighbors came over to see the bike. All had good things to say. We set my meter to zero that would record any AC power I might use on the trip. Sunride went 75 miles on day one, using only solar energy. That AC meter might not get much work.
I spent the whole day on both sides of the Columbia, passing waterfalls, great rock formations, and zillions of lush green trees. Toward the end of the day I went through the little town of Mosier where I had done a solar project a few years before. As I passed by the row of 30 townhomes deriving the majority of their energy from the sun I was pleased at green light after green light of working inverters. Proud solar panels were heating the swimming pool toasty for the little kids.
As I topped Rowena Crest, after a long seven mile assent which Sunride made effortlessly, I remembered the last time I was there talking to a group contemplating a community solar project. The day was so beautiful, bright, sunny, and clear with a gently wind. Overlooking the great Columbia River Gorge I was moved to say, “I wonder if it was a day like this that inspired Jesus to give the Sermon on the Mount?” Today was such a day. A perfect day.