I really like night riding, so we didn’t start until lunch time; but, the actual ride starts at 6am. The start is right near Hollywood Transit Center, so please consider taking the MAX rather than driving if you can. The grass was tall and slow in the breeze along Marine Drive, and I was reminded of my first trip to Oregon.
In Troutdale, we stopped at a cafe that’s also a furniture store. My friend Chris shared a hand bound booklet that he had made, filled with pictures of adventures from last summer. I reflected on the fact that this was, perhaps, the first truly pleasant ride of the season.
We then dropped into the Gorge and over the Stark Street Bridge. Not quite warm enough for a swim just yet.
The first control at Vista House is followed by a really fun descent. I can never seem to make it all the way without using the brakes, but I always try. We passed a few waterfalls, before hitting the traffic jam at Multnomah Falls (I don’t think this would have been a problem earlier in the day). Take extra care here, as drivers often get frustrated with the backup and make unexpected moves.
The Multnomah Falls Lodge is great. Only a few months ago, the historic highway trail was covered in snow, and I stopped in to warm up by the fire. Today we ate roasted pecans sitting on the stone benches, just like tourists from years past. On this route you are frequently confronted with the history of our relationship with the landscape
Wind River Road is quiet and wide, as you enter the National Forest. Your turn around point is about eight miles up. We stopped to look over the high bridge. If you were to keep riding it would take you up to viewpoints of Mount Saint Helens, but, that is a ride for another day.
The 20 mile stretch on Highway 14 may have a lot of car traffic, depending upon the time of day, although it was fine for us. The upside is that the view of the Oregon side of the river is really pretty. You’ll hop off the highway just before Cape Horn, and onto smaller roads that will lead you back to Washougal. It was dusk over the treeline, and stars were just starting to appear as we rode into the quiet of the night. A few quick miles on Washougal River Road and we were back in town: the home stretch. Along Old Evergreen Highway, I enjoyed the smell of Douglas Fir bark coming from the lumber mill, and felt a bit of relief to see Rocky Butte across the river.