Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Vancouver, WA, USA
Re: Fall ride above the Columbia River Gorge
Okay. So I rode the route today that I was planning to prpose for this ride in October.
In a nutshell...... It was the best of times and it was the worst of times and the best of times.
Here goes. Left my house at 11:00 this morning and the ride turned out to be 226 miles. Nice! Uh, I got home at 6:10 pm.
Took off from Vancouver, WA and headed south on I205 to I84 E. Took the Corbett exit (22) to the old Columbia River Hwy. Goes past the Vista House promontory whic gives a 20+ mile view both up river and down River. Didn't stop. BTDT. I was forced to make several(20?) high speed double yellow passes. Couldn't be helped. Continued on Hwy until merged back on to I84 E.
Crossed the Columbia on the Hood River bridge. This is a steel grate bridge. Pucker factor 3.7 of 10. Not all that bad.
At SR14 turned east to Lyle, WA. Turned north on Hwy 142. This is the Klickitat Grade. You cross the Klickitat River a half dozen times on your way to the summit. Curves range from 15 mph right angle turns to gorgeous 30 mph S turns to a few sweepers. Gorgeous country along the Klickitat River all the way to the top.
Once you climb out of the valley you make a left onto Glenwood - Goldendale Road to Glenwood. This is the joint with the tasty burgers etc. Get gas for $3.45 per gallon and head south.
..... On Lakeside Road which becomes B-Z Glenwood Hwy. Turn left on Hwy 141 and head south along the White Salmon River. Again, a gorgeous white water rapids river. Lots of twistes, S's and sweepers. Nice. Take a right at 141A and finish at SR 14.
Turned East for the ride home, head swimming with the challenge of the ride, the gorgeous scenery, and the panoramic vistas. It is the best of days! Rode about 4 miles and there alongside the road was a WSDOT (pronounced Wizdot) sign. Ah crap!!! Two hour closures at MP 54. Turned around, rode about 10 miles back to the Hood River bridge. It took 20 full minutes to make the right turn to the bridge. Finally got on the bridge. Took 1 hour to get across the bridge. Day not quite so good now. Turned out there was road construction on the Hood River side of the bridge. Some moron with a portable stop sign making life miserable for those of us southbound across the bridge. Turned onto I84 W and free sailing! For about 10 miles.
Spent the next 2 hours feathering the clutch in bumper to bumper traffic. It's now final. It is now the worst of days. FINALLY made it to Cascade Locks and once again crossed the Columbia on Bridge of the Gods. Pulled up to the toll booth and the nice lady said that the car ahead had paid my toll. I'll be darn. Don't have a clue who they were but it was a very nice gesture! Things looking up a bit?
FLEW across the bridge at the posted 15 mph speed limit. First time in over 2 hours I didn't have to feather the clutch to go slow enough.
Turned left onto Hwy 14 W and jacked her up to 60 mph. Now I am flying! No traffic beautiful highway along the river. Decided I had better stop at North Bonneville to answer the call of nature and partake of a tasty non adult beverage.
Now here is where the day becomes absolutely brilliant! I pull into the Chevron station and there in all it's glory is a 1977 BMW R100/7. Struck up a conversation with the young man riding it and it turns out he got a late start out of Portland, OR as it took longer for him to get his bike packed than he expected. It's 4:00 p.m. and he is less than 50 miles from home. On his way to Minnesota!!! Dude! That R 100 doesn't have a stereo, HID lighting or even an electric adjust on the fly windshield!!! The young man, I'm guessing he is 25 years old was absolutely a great guy. We wound up spending an hour talking about his route, his bike, where he might camp over the next couple nights. Awesome! I talked to him about riding in the heat as he works his way east and as I looked at his saddle it occurred to me that he should have my beaded seat cover. I opened up the trunk to get it for him and IT WASN'T THERE!!! I felt like a turd! Told him about stopping in at a Wal Mart and picking up a bead seat cover and how to mod it for his bike. We shook hands and off he went. Off to Minnesota! It turned out to be truly the best of days!
If I had not had all that d%$^$# construction stop and go I would have missed him entirely! Interesting how things work out for the best isn't it.
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