So a couple of days ago I got a message from Lindsay Zullo inviting me and Ale up to White Salmon. Since Lindsay is an awesome individual and White Salmon seemed to be a good spot to visit, Ale and I started planning our route out of Portland so we could come visit. Little did we know, Lindsay would take our bike trip to a whole other level and provide some of the most exciting adventures we had been on.
The first adventure started when Lin offered to pick us up in Portland so we could avoid scary highway biking and get to spend another day in the city. We were stoked to spend another day biking leisurely around enjoying Portland. The morning started off ok with some blogging, a chai tea, and a quinoa bagel (delicious) at a coffee shop. However, a string of unfortunate events followed.
We wanted to see a popular street, which I now forget the name of, because we were told it was awesome, and it was, but not so much for biking. I was doing a really great job at multitasking (taking video on my go pro, soaking up the Portland culture, scouting the next food stop, waving to nice cars, waving to mean cars (trying to convert them to nice cars), checking my gps to see if it was working, singing along to my music, occasionally bike dancing when a good song came on, the usual). All of a sudden this car in front of me decides to stop. I swiftly check the left lane before moving into it to pass the randomly stopped car. The car starts up again, so now I am trapped in the left lane. Sweet. The driver is old, so I forgive her and just move in behind her. “Thank goodness I am a stealthy cyclist,” I think to myself. And the next thing I know, the previously stopped car has stopped once again but this time much more suddenly and my front wheel is about a foot away from her bumper. Obviously, I bump into it at about 2 miles per hour, and slow motion tip to the side (this is when clip in shoes suck). No no no no no no no no, and asphalt. Fortunately, I was so embarrassed and had so much adrenaline from my dangerous accident that I popped right back up without any pain at all. I looked around to make sure everyone on the street had seen and was now staring, check. Then I quickly mounted my bike and continued. You might be asking how the old lady driver responded. The answer is, I’m pretty sure she was no longer in possession of a license and wanted to flee the scene before the po arrived, because she took off like she was a reckless 16 year old driver. Haha, good for her. Not even mad, just impressed.
About 15 minutes later, (on the same street) I suddenly felt like a large man was sitting on the back of my bike and making it wobble awkwardly. I pulled off on the next side street, and Ale was laughing so hard, she couldn’t even get the words out, “flat!” This was funny for Ale for two reasons: 1) we had just been talking about what a shit morning it had been for me, and how at least it couldn’t get any worse 2) we had also played the grateful game after the bike accident and my last one had been about how great our tires were and how lucky we were not to have any flats. F.
Anyways, things got much much better once Lindsay arrived. First of all, I was absolutely stoked to just see Lindsay, and the fact that she was giving us a ride to White Salmon was almost too much for me to handle. We had a bit of a struggle getting all our baggage and bikes into her car, but finally figured it out. It was pretty fun to be in a car again, that is, once I got used to the speed. I was sitting shotgun and was holding on to my seat like I was on a roller coaster for the first 10 minutes on the highway. And this is coming from the driver that usually makes people slightly uncomfortable with my need for speed in the car.
When we got to Beeze Corner, where Lin is living for the summer, we set up our stuff and had a nice dinner at her campsite. The set up they (Lin and Rick, her boyfriend) have going on over there is fricken incredible. The sound of the river is almost majestic, and the whole campsite is well decorated and has a peaceful, wonderful feel about it. And her dog, Coqueta (sp?) is so cute and adores Lin and follows her everywhere. She just adds to the comfortable homey feel of the camp.
At dinner we talked about going caving, which Lin had mentioned before. She made it sound like a piece of cake and a fun activity for us to do while visiting. Rick was a bit more realistic and hesitant about it, as he warned us about the tiny holes we would be slithering through and the rocks and water and everything else dangerous in there. Ale and I were of course interested none-the-less and we left a couple hours later with some of their friends: Chance and Henry. The group of 6 of us piled into the car and drove for about an hour until we reached an almost invisible pathway in between mile markers. Ale and I gave each other looks of “o shit, what did we get ourselves into” as we climbed through the forest in the pitch-blackness (minus our headlights).
Sidenote: Ale and I had made up a key phrase, “my knee hurts” in case we felt like our lives were in danger and we wanted out.
So the whole walk up I kept asking Ale, “how are your knees? Any knee pain? Are you nervous at all about your knees?” She responded with, “they are starting to hurt…” but we both just laughed and trucked on.
When we got to the cave entrance, all the others warned us that the beginning was the worse, and not to panic. I made myself go after the leader so I would have less think time. I was literally slithering on my back through about a 15ft long (1.5 ft high) hole of darkness. Fortunately it was slightly down hill so sliding along was a tad easier. Once we were through the first difficult portion, we then had to crawl until we got to a drop off, where we had to scale down the side of the 20ft rocky drop using a damp rope that had been set up by other spelunkers. When I let go of the rope I realized, there was no way in hell I could ever climb back out of the cave through the entrance, so I guess my knees were going to have to be fine for the next 2 hours.
Once I made myself ok with the fact that I would be underground for the next couple hours I started to look around and take in the surroundings. The cave walls were dark and wet and glistening with what looked like a middle school girl’s silver eye shadow smothered all over. It was incredible! It was also a type of damp that I hadn’t ever experienced; it kind of made me feel like I was in another world or on another planet. There were no bugs, no plants, no life, just crazy looking rocks and water. Once everyone had gotten down and had gazed at the shiny walls for long enough, the cave leader, Chance, started towards a hole that I didn’t think any human should be able to fit through. “Ok, so on this one keep your arms above your head or else you will get stuck.” Ummm, wtf?!
Chance, put his arms up and wiggled his body until he disappeared. I looked at Rick and was like, “uh, are you sure I am going to fit in that?” He looked at me for about 30 seconds, and responded with, “umm ya… you should probably fit, I think.” Sweet. I put my legs through and began to move side to side to get my body sliding. All I was thinking was, I am going to need to go on a diet (or not wear a puffy down jacket) next time I sign up for something like this. The hole was so tight that my jacket was up over my head by the time I got out, which did wonders for my vision and peace of mind.
The rest of the spelunking adventure consisted of balancing on lava rocks, crouching / crawling / butt sliding through small spaces, wondering if I was going to make it out, deciding whether or not to push the alarm button on the spot device I carry everywhere, hoping that the guys leading the way indeed remembered the right path, and finally being so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to experience something so awesome. Although at the time I might have said differently, it was completely worth all the fear and dirty wet clothes and shoes. Thank you thank you to the guys who led us and to Lin for setting it all up.
You might be thinking at this point, how does one top that experience? The answer is white water rafting down the White Salmon. Lin has been guiding for a year now and guided us down part of the rapids. She is an awesome guide and I would definitely trust her to take me down any river. It was so so so much fun! Our boat was filled with Chance, who guided as well, Lin, who taught us technique and laughed at Ale and me, and Ale, who screamed at every rapid. I have the full adventure recorded on the gopro, so after I cut it down to the best parts, I will make a youtube. The rafting was definitely the highlight of my summer; I loved it!
We also jumped off a bridge half way through, and I didn’t have to cut down that video, so I made a short youtube already.
Here is the link:
After the best three days of the trip, it was time to say goodbye and continue riding. Ale and I were definitely tempted to stay with Lin the rest of the summer because let’s be honest, she is insanely awesome and lives a pretty cool life, but we ended up leaving and biking east along the Columbia.
I cannot thank Lindsay enough for everything she did for us and all the wonderful experiences she created. She is by far one of the sweetest, funniest, most loving, and most awesome individuals I have in my life!