Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Come On, Explore The Portlnd Area A Bit

I shall now issue a public apology, write this stuff down people, for me, this is a HUGE step! Ha!

I have been consumed with life, family issues, and attempting to figure out mysteries of the universe in this crazy, pin-ball like, mind of mine, and I have slacked on this blog.

Envision this, if you will, I am now humbly bowing in your presence, asking your forgiveness, and I shall graciously accept.

Ok, got that out of the way. Thanks for understanding that life, at times, makes choices for us that keep us from our obligations and passions.

So let's dive in here. I have some rides to share that many of you may know of, some may not, but this incredible sunshine, and these balmy January temperatures, have me in a riding state of mind.

Yesterday, as I drove from meeting to meeting, the scintillating radiance, mostly unknown this time of year, of the brilliant sunlight cascaded through the sunroof of my car, warming my face and awakening a compulsion I usually bury in the more wet, cold months of our climate.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. I hear all the time, "If your don't ride year round, you're not a biker." Well, I call BS. In the Great Pacific Northwest, wet leaves, gravel left from providing traction in icy areas, and just plain ick, cover the roads.

Many of the corners here are blind, and I, for one, am not going to be surprised by sliding through a deep patch of slippery, wet, leaves, gravel, or whatever else may be the cause my demise, or worse yet, damage to my bike, I kinda love it. I've gone down once, no fault of my own, and really don't relish the idea of lying in my bed for another six months unable to move, or worse. Safety, guys, safety, as Motorcycle Travel America stresses.

However, I couldn't help but let my mind wander, and relive wonderful rides I've taken, and some yet to explore, here in the beautiful region in which I live. I wanted to clue you in to a few, just in case you haven't experienced some of them, as well as some local watering holes that are biker friendly. 

I think one of my favorite rides is taking HWY 14 in Washington down the Columbia. The scenery and twists and turns, are beautiful. It's not a difficult ride, but it's beautiful. I usually stop at The Big River Grill in Stevenson for a bite and something to drink. Both the service and the food are pretty amazing. Then continue on, usually to the Dalles, because I, being a chicken, HATE the Bridge of the Gods. Grated steel bridges creep me out. Whatever, laugh at me, it's cool, I'm used to it. The ride back to Portland on I-84 is amazingly beautiful with it's carved mountains, flowing river and palette of colors.

You can also cross over in Hood River, back into Oregon, and ride south on 35 to 26. That ride will take you around Mt. Hood. It's about 150 miles from Portland, give or take, and is breathtaking. It's pretty laid back, and once again, views are incredible. A great place to stop and hang a bit is The Full Sail Brewing and Tasting Room in Hood River. Full Sail is also a wonderful place to sit back and watch the kite surfers on the Columbia. Every time I sit and watch them, I'm mesmerized.

Another amazing loop, I've taken many times, begins in Clackamas. It will take you winding down the Clackamas River beginning on 224. Watch the water rush over the boulders on your way to SR-22 and make a stop at Detroit Lake. During the summer, it's busy, lots of bikes, but well worth the ride. Trees are everywhere in this area of the Cascade Forest. Ride along the Santiam Highway to 213 and back up into Oregon City. Grab a brew at McMenamin's, don't forget the fries. Chill a bit and relax while you scroll through your camera enjoying the many pictures you'll undoubtedly take on this incredible journey.

One ride I always look forward to, well, most of the time depending on the time of the year, is riding the Sunset Highway out to Cannon Beach, down the coastline, and on to Tillamook. You can continue on 101 down, and around, up to Cape Meares, back through Tillamook and take HWY 6 up to complete the loop. The ride is filled with twists and turns, trees, waterfalls, and of course you can always make a stop at the Tillamook Cheese Factory before heading back on 6. Traffic on the Sunset Highway during the summer months, especially on the weekends, can be heavy heading toward the coast, so a mid week ride would most certainly be a better choice.

Riding the pacific Northwest wouldn't be complete without taking time to follow the roads of the Mt. Saint Helens loop. It's a bit more mileage from the Portland area, around 250 miles, but is well worth the trip. The twists and curves through the Cougar area, and the entire loop, are a challenge at times, but so much fun. The things you'll see and experience will never be forgotten. Off of 205 North, take 500 to 503. You'll see the devastation that remains since the mountain exploded, as well as the re-birth. The mountain is more than impressive and you'll find all types of side trips on your way. There are signs and maps posted everywhere. Many of the signs go into depth of the eruption of the volcano, and the death and new life of the region. The view of the mountain is nothing less than stunning, and you can feel the energy and power of what happened that May day in 1980.

These are only a handful of rides from the Portland area. There's so much more to see and experience. One thing about Oregon, is that there is no shortage of rides bikers will love, and thoroughly enjoy in our little corner of paradise.

Remember all, check out, and join, Motorcycle Travel America. They have so much to offer. You can find out about more great rides, interact with other riders, and plan and share your favorite rides. Best of all, it's free to join, and by joining you're helping show your support of our biker community!

Peace out and safe travels,

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