Distance: 350.9 miles / 564.71 kilometres
Temperature: Low 12 (Longview) / High 38 (The Dalles)
Riding Time: Approx. 6.5 hours
Got up at reasonable hour at the hotel. Had a pretty good sleep – can’t seem to tune out air conditioners – can’t they make them quieter?
Called my mate Tim and his wife Cassie in Vancouver, Washington to see what was up for the day. He suggested that he could skive off work for the afternoon since he works for himself and go for a ‘short ride.’ His directions were perfect for the ride to his house which was about 50 miles. The only odd thing was that his address won’t work in googlemaps and my text messaging and phone decided to quit. Luckily it started working when I got within a few blocks of his house. It’s a lovely little mini-suburb on the outskirts of the city.
We hung around and chatted for the morning then finally got our gear on and went for our ride. It’s always great to have someone that knows the area you’re riding in and that can show you all the local routes and must-see destinations. I learned something about Tim today – take all estimates and multiply them by at least 2 or 3 times. We were going to go out for a few hours and be back before three. Then as the day went on we decided four might be better. As it turned out we went on a marathon ride of 310 miles and were gone for about 6.5 hours. What fun! It was absolutely stunning weather and great places to ride.
Our route took us along the edge of the Columbia river gorge which was beautiful and fun to ride. The windsurfers and windsailers were out in full force – after chatting with one woman she suggested it ‘wasn’t windy enough….’ Holy crap – it was a force one gail. 😉
We took a toll bridge across the river (50 cents – hardly seems worth it, but I’m sure it generates millions/year) and stopped for ice cream before heading to the infamous Rowena Curves.
The curves are about 10 miles of the twistiest roads you can imaging. It takes only a few minutes to go through the route but it’s like being on a carnival ride. If I’m back this way again I’d like to go up and down the run a few times for practise – my only beef, I wish it was longer. 🙂
When we reached The Dalles the temperature and climate quickly changed from about 16-18 degrees to 38 celcius. OMFG! That is unbearable hot to ride in. Our bikes were already scorching hot from riding for a few hours and sitting on them on town roads was the temperature equivalent of being smacked in the face and kicked in the junk – read: really, really hot. We stopped at the ice cream shop which also had a small Porsche museum and a bunch of James Dean paraphernalia – what an interesting and disturbing man ( you could read copies of his old letters home). They even had old invoices from the owners cars – he bought a brand new Porsche for $15,000 USD in 1975 – that was a lot of money back then.
The route continued through the Tygh valley which for lack of a better word is a high desert. From their we to the Barlow Road along the top of the desert back into alpine climates and then full-on mountain riding. The route ends/diverges at the foot of Mt. Hood which is absolutely stunning. Washington seems to have these odd monolithic mountains that have no surroundings – Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier and Mt. Hood all stand alone and dwarf the region around them.
A quick zip back on the freeway and we were back to Tim and Cassie’s for a bit of a clean up and off to dinner. We attended a popular watering hole and restaurant – McMenamin’s. Great food and really great microbrewery beer – I had a few of the Pale Ales and the “C-note” extra hoppy beer – yummy.
Cassie and Tim were such terrific hosts. I stayed at their place for the night, Tim had a few motorcycle related gifts and I spent some time hanging with their dogs (which was great since I really miss having a dog). I’ve made some really good friends through the VFRdiscussion forum group.
I’ve had a tough time deciding which route to take. I’ll figure it out in the morning.View Larger Map