I really enjoy riding Mt. St. Helens. I’ve done it a number of times now — at least three previous times that I can think. This year, after 2020, I’ve felt really, really fed up with riding on all the same old roads around my house, so this week while Ian and Benji were gone, I took Wednesday off work and arranged to ride Mt. St. Helens again. It’s a good use of time, since that activity takes all day and usually has a huge impact on the family.

However, there’s some backstory on this St. Helens ride. First of all, I emailed a group of biking friends to see if anyone wanted to join me. One recent biking acquaintance, Simon Snoeck, said he’d like to join me. It’s always good to have a ride buddy on a remote activity like that, so I was happy.

Last time I did this ride, I drove our all-electric Bolt down there. I made it all the way there and then back to Tacoma before my battery got so low I had to recharge. This year I thought I’d be clever and try to charge while I did my ride. There’s not much out on highway 504, but there are RV campgrounds. I thought, “RVs use electricity. I bet I could charge at an RV parking spot.” So I called one of the campgrounds to see if I could negotiate to rent a site just for the day.

The answer was yes… and no. I had to make a one-night reservation for $40. Okay, that’s kind of a lot, but I’d be willing to pay that to charge up. Then they said I could check in starting at 3 pm. Oh, sure, I could arrive early — for an additional $25. So now we’re talking about $70 with tax, instead of the original $40. I made the reservation anyway, thinking, it’ll be an experiment, and I can always cancel before I get there.

Then Simon said I could get a ride in his enormous Astro van (our bikes fit upright in the back, seatbelted to the sides of the van. Crazy.) As a result, I no longer needed to charge my car. I called the RV park to cancel my reservation, and they informed me that they have a 14-day cancellation policy. Sorry! I’m sure it said that somewhere on their website, but it was news to me.

Needless to say, I just kept the spot. We parked there and used their public-access showers after the ride. I made sure to take some pictures commemorating what my $70 bought us:

Would you pay $70 to access this shower after a grueling 90-mile mountain ride?

Fortunately the ride was actually quite good, if excruciatingly painful and excessively cold at certain points.

Obligatory bike selfie at the top.
Yep, still a mountain there. The clouds made it much colder than I expected — low 50s at the observatory.
Me and Simon at the top.

Here’s the metrics from the ride:

I was shocked to discover I got the QOM going to and from Johnston Ridge from Toutle. I give Simon credit — he’s super strong, but pulled at a pace I could sustain on all the flats and downhills.

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