Always investigate before you say YES. After four advil, two recovery Powerades and half a night's sleep, you'll be happy to hear I'm still alive. At least I'M happy to be alive after the hardest workout I've had in over a year. On the way out, we were all happy ... this is SO FUN!! On the way back, I was asking whose idea this was ...... DAN CHANCE!!!
This is JB Railriders in Joseph Oregon. You pedal the rails on these great little lightweight aluminum cars. Sounds really fun, right? It WAS ... for the first six miles DOWNHILL.
I think there were eight cars, two to a car ... kind of like a recumbent bicycle. Easy peasy!!
We cruised along the green pastures where deer frolicked, not giving us the slightest hint of what was to come.
There were falcon moms and dads on their nests, although by the time I saw it, I was leaning over backwards to get a picture.
Did you know railroad tracks are laid with about a 1 to 1-1/2 percent incline? NO PROBLEM!! We cruised down the hill, the wind blowing in our faces, we're laughing, just having a GREAT time!
We passed a pasture full of horses and mules, this one taking a dust bath. Even THAT didn't give us a clue.
The scenery was spectacular as we sped along, oblivious ..... just enjoying the ride. We had to stop at every intersection to make sure we didn't get run over by cars and there were a couple of gates to open along the way.
The seats are rather form fitting, so it was difficult to get pictures of the people behind us, but this is Don and Bobbie Pico, pedaling their way along the rails.
Six miles down the tracks (this became a REALLY significant number later) we pulled into the end and were greeted by two kids selling water and soda. See that wagon? It's hooked to his bicycle to carry the ice chest. I LOVE seeing kids doing this, learning really good life lessons. We found out later he made $500 last year. His parents made him put half in a college fund. Dan bought water, which also become significant later on.
Here we are, all happy .... smiling ..... laughing ..... but that was soon to change.
This is the ingenious turnaround, made from an old truck rim. We would soon be on our way.
We all admired the beautiful poppies .... we're lucky they aren't sitting on our graves.
And so we're OFF ... back up the ever so slight 1% grade. The first five minutes went well until we crashed into Don and Bobbie. Actually, we snuck up behind them and started pushing, to see if they would notice. They did ... we were caught.
By now, my legs are numb, except for the burning pain in my quads. When we came upon this little buck, I stopped pedaling long enough to take a picture. It was the last one I'd take. WHOSE IDEA WAS THIS??? I have no words for how hard it was to pedal this beast that must have weighted two tons up that tiny little one percent hill. I suppose the altitude had something to do with it, but I haven't worked that hard since I ran my last marathon!!
I started drinking lots of water, hoping that would help. Dan dumped some on his head. Finally, I just dumped it down my shirt to cool me off. When we came to those intersections where we should have stopped, we and the Picos just barreled on through. If we had stopped, we'd still be sitting there.
Dan was the engine for our rig ... towards the end I had to stop pedaling here and there to keep my legs from falling off. If it weren't for the men, I'm sure Bobbie and I would still be laying on the tracks somewhere.
Finally .... we made it up that last long hill and into the station. I need a bath ... and a marguerita!!
When we got off, the owner happened to be standing there and Dan got to talk to him a little. Apparently these are the only pedal railroaders in the U.S. and he has just set up another operation in Tillamook that he SAYS is flat, with little to no grade. He also mentioned that the last long hill we climbed was MORE than 1%. NOW you tell me!!
The moral of the story, is always ask WHAT the mystery adventure is ... but honestly, I'd do it again in a flash!! It was a kick in the pants and well worth the death-defying effort it took to pedal SIX miles back to civilization. Surprisingly, I'm not the least bit sore today ... the bad news is it always takes TWO days for the sore to show up. Tomorrow I probably won't be able to walk!!
Tillamook is on my route soon. I'll let you know if I survive THAT one!!