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Oregon Cycling Guide

Introduction

The following guide is a compilation of  background, safety and day-by-day routes of the area. Complete with restaurant suggestions and “Points of Interest,” this guide will provide you with thorough, applicable travel information for your next cycling tour through Oregon. The landscapes on our Oregon tours are as varied as they are stunning. There are hilltop wineries, bucolic orchards and laden hop trestles; a bounty that can also be enjoyed off the bike with some of the country’s best wine, food and beer.Oregon_poster

The Day-by-Day section of the guidebook will preview each days route and scenery or points of interest along the way. It’s suggested that you read this before you head out on the day’s ride. Typically, there are three levels of riding each day: easiest, intermediate and challenge.

We are passionate about cycle touring and believe there is no better way to experience the sights, sounds and scents of an area than on two wheels.

Enjoy!

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Background on the Area

Highlights:tour_map

THE ROUTE – WILLAMETTE VALLEY, MT HOOD & COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE: Wineries, lush waterfalls, & snow-capped peaks. Welcome to the Pacific NW.Banks-Vernonia_traiBANKS-VERNONIA STATE TRAIL: This 20-mile rail to trail boasts gentle grades, 13 bridges including two, 80-foot high trestles 700 feet long, and no cars.wine_countryWILLAMETTE VALLEY WINE REGION: Some of the country’s best wines are produced in this rural & friendly region.mt_hoodMT HOOD: Standing at 11,245’, Mt Hood is the highest point in Oregon and the backdrop of many miles of cycling.Mosier_trailMOSIER TWIN TUNNELS TRAIL: This car-free stretch of the Historic Columbia River Highway offers some of the most breathtaking views of the Gorge.multnomah_fallsMULTNOMAH FALLS: This majestic waterfall is the highest in eh state.  Easily accessed from the Historic Columbia River Highway bordered by multiple, distinct waterfalls.

Overview

Our tours visit two distinct areas of Oregon:

  • The Willamette Valley
  • Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge

Longer tours will visit both areas while shorter tours might be focused on just one.

The Willamette Valley

The Willamette Valley produces some of the country’s best wines but gets far less tourist attention than its Californian neighbors.  The riding is great too, with mile after mile of quiet rural lanes.  As well as the patchwork of vineyards, you’ll ride past hop farms, orchards and the wheat fields of the French Prairie.  Towns are on the distinctly small side, but the welcome is typically warm and friendly.

The Willamette Valley is demarcated on the west by the Oregon Coast Range and on the east by the Cascade Range.  It is bounded on the south by the Calapooya Mountains.  To the north the Willamette runs into Columbia River.  The agricultural richness of the valley is the result of a series of ice ages and the corresponding glacial floods that left rich alluvial deposits.  In fact, most of the topsoil in the area was scoured from eastern Washington and washed down the Columbia River Gorge before coming to rest here.

The major agricultural products of the valley include many varieties of berries, vegetables nursery stock and, of course, grapes.  With a cooler climate than California, the rolling hills surrounding the Willamette are home to some of the best (and most-expensive) pinot noir in the world.  The valley also produces grass seed, Christmas trees, and hazelnuts.  A great beer-making tradition is based around the growing of hops.  These hops are also widely used in craft beer and microbreweries throughout the U.S.

Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge

The Mt. Hood and Columbia River Gorge offers some spectacular riding: across rolling wheat farms, past bucolic fruit orchards and down the spectacular Columbia River Gorge.  The Gorge is home to magnificent waterfalls, and framing the horizon are the snow-capped peaks of Mount Hood and Mount Adams.

Once you reach the Columbia River, much of the riding is on the Historic Columbia River Highway, described by Bicycling Magazine as one of the best rides in America.  Rising in the Rocky Mountains of Canada, the Columbia River is the largest in the Pacific Northwest and the fourth largest in the United States.  On this trip, you meet the river as it flows through a gorge that is over 80 miles long and up to 4000 feet deep.

The Gorge has been occupied by humans for over 13,000 years. The first known residents were thought to have crossed the Bering land bridge from Asia to Alaska.  The Lewis and Clark Expedition passed along the Columbia River Gorge in 1805 as it completed the first American expedition to cross what is now the western portion of the United States.

Later, the Oregon Trail brought immigrants along a wagon route that connected the Missouri River to fertile valleys of Oregon.  The last overland stretch of the Oregon Trail is known as The Barlow Road and it allowed thousands of immigrants to travel overland to the Willamette Valley rather than risk floating the dangerous Columbia River.  One settler, traveling by covered wagon, noted that, “The traveling was slow and toilsome; slopes were almost impassable for man and beast.”  I occasionally think of this as I am riding my bike up the slopes of Mount Hood.

Today, Mount Hood area is a playground for skiers, hikers, fly fisherman, kayakers and cyclists.  The mountainous terrain has spectacular views, glacier-carved valleys, and swiftly flowing rivers.

Climate

The best months to cycle in the Pacific NW are from June through to September.  This is when the temperatures are pleasantly warm and the risk of rainfall much lower.  The spring and fall are still great for riding but if you choose to visit at these times you need to be prepared for gentle rain and lower temperatures.  We do not recommend riding here in winter. As you climb Mount Hood expect the temperatures to drop by 1°F for every 250 feet you climb.

The Willamette Valley

The Willamette Valley has a climate somewhere between oceanic and Mediterranean.  Summers are dry and warm but the rest of the year, from November to April can be quite wet. Snow is rare; on average there are only a handful of falls each year and a major snowstorm only a couple times a decade. In this area there are no great fluctuations in temperature across the area – though the western areas tend to be a little warmer than the French Prairie further east. The charts below show the monthly average temperatures (°F) and rainfall (inches) for the town of McMinnville in the heart of the Willamette Valley.

OR_weather        OR_weather

Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge

The Mt. Hood and Columbia River Gorge climate is partly continental and partly marine.  To the east, the Rocky Mountains protect the area from the worst extremes of the continent while the Coast Range to the west shields the area from the moist Pacific Ocean air. The charts below show the monthly average temperatures (°F) and rainfall (inches) for the town of Hood River in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge.

OR_weather

OR_weather

Vineyards & Wines

Introduction

There are over 200 vineyards in the Willamette Valley separated into six sub-appellations:

  • Chehalem Mountains
  • Dundee Hills
  • Eola-Amity Hills
  • McMinnville
  • Ribbon Ridge
  • Yamhill Carlton

The area has a misty, cool climate with a long, gentle growing season.  The area is best known for its Pinot Noir but also produces respectable Pinot Gris, Pinot blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, sparkling wine, Sauvignon Blanc, and some Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah.

In the Day-by-Day section, we list the wineries you might choose to visit on that day’s ride.

More and more wineries are opening seven days a week, but Friday through Sunday opening is still the norm.  However, most will happily open if you call ahead.  Hours are typically, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.  However, even at the weekend, if you’ve set your heart on a particular winery, it’s worth calling ahead to check.

The Wine Making Process

Growing & Harvesting

Grape production and selection is perhaps the most definitive of the wine production phases.  Of course, wine can also be made from many fruits, but in this Wine Country the grape is king.  Grape quality is affected by variety as well as weather during the growing season, soil minerals and acidity, time of harvest, and pruning method.  The combination of these effects is often referred to as the grape’s terroir – a posh (French) word for local.  Here, grapes are harvested in September & October.

Vine pruning and harvesting here are typically manual activities and automation is not as common as in Australia, New Zealand or Europe due to a seasonal influx of labor from south of the border.

The Crush

Once harvested, the grapes are crushed and allowed to ferment.  Red wine is made from the must (pulp) of red or black grapes that undergo fermentation together with the grape skins, while white wine is usually made by fermenting juice pressed from white grapes but can also be made from must extracted from red grapes with minimal contact with the grapes’ skins.

A corkscrew shaped machine feed the grapes into a crusher/de-stemmer.  Stems exit at one end while juice and skins exit the bottom.

Fermenting

The first fermentation typically takes one or two weeks.  In this time, yeast converts most of the sugars in the grape juice into ethanol (alcohol) and carbon dioxide.  After the primary fermentation, the liquid is transferred to vessels for the secondary fermentation.  Here, the remaining sugars are slowly converted into alcohol and the wine becomes clear.  Yeast occurs naturally on the grape skins, but most producers will add cultured yeast to make the process more predictable.

Pressing

After the first fermentation, the mixture is pressed to separate juice or wine from grapes and grape skins.  This is an optional step – high-quality wine makers will often just use the “free-flowing” juice – but pressing is common as it adds up to 20% to the amount of wine produced.  The more pressing is done the more tannins are extracted from the skins.  After a period for which the wine stands, the wine is separated from the dead yeast and any solids that remain.

Aging

The wine is then aged in oak barrels, which add extra aromas to the wine.  In California, French Oak (sometimes old sherry barrels) is often preferred though stainless-steel tanks are also often used.  How long the wine is left to age will have a large influence on the wine.  Beaujolais nouveau – as the name implies – takes just a few months while some big reds can take up to twenty years or more.

With sparkling wines an additional fermentation takes place inside the bottle, trapping carbon dioxide and creating the characteristic bubbles.  With sweet wines residual sugar remains after fermentation is completed.

Blending

Often, winemakers will blend various batches of wine to achieve their desired effect.  At this stage, a winemaker can correct perceived inadequacies.  Fining agents may be used at this stage to remove tannins and small particles that could cloud the wines.  Gelatin is a common fining agent.  Preservatives, such as sulfur dioxide, may also be added to prevent bacterial spoilage.

Bottling

The wine is now filtered before being bottled.  In this area, most wineries outsource their bottling; either using central bottling facilities or having specialist bottlers come to their winery.  The final step is corking the bottle.  Most wineries here use natural cork though synthetic cork is becoming more popular as well as screw-caps for some whites.

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Towns & Cities

Carlton

Overview

At first glance, Carlton is a small, pleasant if non-descript town on the main north-south route from Carlton_ORMcMinnville to Forest Grove.  Look a little closer, however, and you’ll find that this 2000-person town is packed with tasting rooms and small eateries.  As such, it is a great lunch stop or a pleasant – if quiet – overnight stay.

History

Carlton began to grow when it was added as a stop on the Portland to St Joe railroad at the request of Mr. Wilson Carl.  The (disputed) story goes that when the railroad employees talked of this unnamed stop, they called it Carl’s town, which was soon shortened to Carlton.  Carlton post office was established in 1874 and the city incorporated in 1899.

Eating & Drinking

The fanciest place in town is Cuvée.  The food is based on French country cuisine and uses a lot of local organic ingredients.  At weekends and high season, it’s often necessary to phone ahead for a table. Spring Dinner Hours: Friday – Saturday, 5:30 – 9:00 PM. Sunday, 5:00 – 8:00 PM at 214 W Main St.  (503) 852-6555.‎

For a simpler lunch – or to pick up a sandwich for a picnic lunch at a winery – head over to the Carlton Corners.  150 N. Yamhill (503) 852-7439 Open Daily

There’s also good espresso from the Common Grounds.  203 W Main St.  (503) 852-1798.

Horse Radish‎, combining wine bar and gourmet deli, is a great place to taste wine or collect a nice picnic lunch to enjoy at one of the nearby wineries.  They also have some small plates.  211 W Main St.  (503) 852-6656.‎ 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM (Friday and Saturday until 10:00 PM

Republic of Jam features local gourmet foods. From house-made jams and mustards to cocktail syrups and fruit ketchups & relishes.  Visitors can enjoy a flight of handcrafted sweet and savory bites. 211 W Main Street in Carlton, Oregon. (503) 395-JAM1. Thursday-Monday 12:00 – 5:00 PM.

Carlton Bakery offers pastries, breads and sandwiches. Open Tuesday through Sunday 7am to 5pm. 305 W. Main St.  (503) 852-6687.

Things to Do

Wine Tasting

There are a number of tasting rooms in Carlton.  Perhaps the most interesting option is the Carlton Wine Makers Studio where eight individual vintners produce some of the region’s most coveted wines under one state-of-the-art, eco-friendly roof.  801 N Scott St (head north on 47 out of town / on the edge of town, turn left on Lincoln – it’s at the end of this road).  (503) 852-6100.

If you’re tired of “wimpy” pinots you should visit Tyrus Evan‎ at 120 S Pine St.  Located in an old railroad depot they specialize in big clarets and syrahs.  (503) 852-6100‎.

Another place that offers a good alternative to the ubiquitous pinot noir is Zenas Wines‎ featuring their flagship Meritage as well as cabernet franc and merlot.  Their whites include a nice Riesling.  203 W Main St.  (503) 852-3000.

Cliff Creek Cellars also have a number of award-winning wines to taste at 258 N. Kutch St.  (503) 852-0089.

Other tasting rooms in Carlton include Scott Paul Wines at 128 S Pine St/(503) 852-7300, Carlton Cellars at 130 W Monroe St/(503) 852-7888, Ken Wright Cellars at 236 N Kutch St/(503) 852-7070 and Cana’s Feast Winery at‎ 750 W Lincoln St/(503) 852-0002.

Useful Contacts

Store:  There’s a grocery store for basic supplies at Main Street Market & Deli at 208 Main St.  Horse Radish‎ (wine-bar-come-deli) and the Farmers Plate & Pantry are good places to collect picnic supplies.  211 W Main St., Carlton.  (503) 852-6656.‎

Dundee

Overview

Set on the eastern side of the Dundee Hills grape growing region, Dundee has created a name for itself in the Willamette Valley for a clutch of highly rated restaurants.  The town is somewhat scrappy and strung-out along 99W Highway – with no obvious center – but the upside of being a long thin town means that there are often fine views across the rolling vineyards and forests that surround the town.

Dundee_Oregon  History

Dundee is named in honor of the birthplace of William Reid: Dundee, Scotland.  Reid came to Oregon in 1874 to establish the Oregonian Railway and made several extensions to the railroad in the western Willamette Valley.  The first post office in the area was Ekins, established in 1881.  The Ekins post office was closed in 1885 and a new office opened in 1887, named “Dundee Junction”.  The name derived from plans to build a bridge across the Willamette River for the railroad, which would have called for a junction at Dundee between the west railroad and the new east railroad.  The bridge was never built, however, and the post office was renamed “Dundee” in 1897.

Eating & Drinking

The restaurants are the reason that many visitors stay in Dundee.  Given their prominence it would be advisable to make a reservation – or at least to phone ahead – especially in high season and at weekends.  All the nicer restaurants are on the pricey side.

If you are staying at the Inn at Redhills you’ll likely be eating at least one night in their Farm to Fork restaurant.  This is one of the best in the area where executive Chef Paul Bachand focuses on showcasing local ingredients in a country-inn-meets-SOHO-loft setting.  The lunch menu gives the option of “from the kitchen” or the more casual “from the deli.”  There is also a pleasant wine bar for that pre-dinner drink.  In the Redhills Inn 1410 N Hwy 99W.  (503) 538-7970.

With a confusingly similar name – but of quite a different character – is the Red Hills Provincial Dining.  This quaint little restaurant is in a refurbished craftsman style home.  The food is as good as you’ll get anywhere in town.  Owners Richard and Nancy focus on fresh local ingredients and traditional European cooking techniques relying heavily upon the family recipe book compiled over four generations as well as the herbs, fruits and vegetables they grow in their organic gardens.  276 N Hwy 99W.  (503) 538-8224.

Tina’s is another good place to eat.  Like ‎other Dundee favorites, Tina’s focuses on local, organic ingredients.  As a consequence, menus are very seasonal.  The setting is pleasantly intimate and cozy despite the unexceptional exterior.  Some mixed reviews on service and some say the portions are on the small size – others that they are just right.  760 SW Highway 99W.  (503) 538-8880‎.

The Dundee Bistro‎ has an imaginative, modern menu that is sometimes great and sometimes a little of a stretch.  As a rule, the service is good but there have been some mixed reviews.  The atmosphere is a little more casual than the restaurants above especially in the outdoor area.  100 SW 7th St.  (503) 554-1650.

If you’re craving Mexican food and not looking for anything too high-end, head to ‎La Sierra Mexican Grill‎.  You’ll likely not need a reservation either – which makes it a good backup! 1111 N Highway 99W.  (503) 554-1562.‎

For large orders of typically American Chinese food, Chan’s of Dundee.  They are unlikely to win any gourmet awards, but you won’t go home hungry.  180 NW 1st St.  (503) 554-6898‎.

We’re guessing that Best Teriyaki may be a little bit of an exaggeration given they’re located in a gray hut off the highway.  But we’ve yet to eat there, so, who are we to criticize a little hyperbole!  110 N Highway 99W.  (503) 554-8149

Things to Do

Wine Tasting

There are a cluster of wineries in town that give a nice chance to do some tasting after a day out riding in the hills.  These include:

The picturesque Argyle Winery‎ with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and sparkling wines.  691 Hwy 99W.  (503) 538-8520‎.

Co-located with the Dundee Bistro is the Ponzi Wine Bar‎.  This tasting room (the actual winery is near Beaverton) has good pinot gris and chardonnays as well as a quirky dessert wine made from frozen grapes called Vino Gelato.  100 SW 7th St.  (503) 554-1500‎

The Dobbes Family Estate Winery lets you taste both Dobbes Estate wines and Wine by Joe.  Both creations of one of Oregon’s top winemakers: Joe Dobbes.  Joe was raised in a small town in the north Willamette Valley before heading to Europe to learn his trade.  On returning to Oregon Joe has refined his passion for “bringing forth the natural characteristics of the grapes and letting the flavors and aromas tell the story of their quality upbringing.”  As you might have guessed, Dobbes Estate is high end and the Wine by Joe is more palatably priced.  240 SE 5th St.  (503) 538-1141‎.

On the eastern outskirts of town, Four Graces‎ have a tasting room in a charming cottage and serves respectable pinot gris, pinot blanc, and pinot noir – i.e.. all things pinot!  9605 NE Fox Farm Rd.  (503) 554-8000.

Tennis

There are Tennis Courts in Billick Park, adjacent to Dundee Elementary School.

Useful Contacts

Bike Shops: The nearest bike is in Newberg – the Newberg Bicycle Shoppe at 500 E 1st St, Newberg.  (503) 538-8850.

Stores: There are basic stores at B&S Market 926 SW Hwy 99W and David OK Market 1178 N Hwy 99W, but neither are what you might call gourmet!‎

A better alternative for a picnic lunch is to head to the deli at the Inn at Redhills – see Eating & Drinking above.

Forest Grove

Overview Forrest_Grove

Incorporated in 1872, many areas of Forest Grove maintain their original, unpretentious, historic charm and small-town friendliness.  The centrally located Pacific University adds a leafy, collegiate campus and a little youthful vibrancy.  However, as you head east the rows of wood-fronted Victorians give way to commercial sprawl, malls and fast food outlets.  Suffice it to say we suggest staying more to the west side of town in the blocks around Main St & 21st.

History

Prior to the 1840s when Euro-Americans settled the area, the Atfalati band of the Kalapuya Native American tribe lived on the Tualatin Plains in what is now Forest Grove.  In 1841, Alvin and Abigail Smith were among the earliest to use the Oregon Trail and settled on what was first known as West Tualatin Plain.  They arrived in what is now Forest Grove in the fall.  Intending to be missionaries, they found little potential for converts as most of the Native Americans had succumbed to European diseases.

According to Oregon Geographic Names, the name Forest Grove was selected on January 10, 1851 at a meeting of the trustees of Tualatin Academy (later known as Pacific University).  Resident and school trustee J. Quinn Thornton suggested the name, which he also had used for the name of his homestead.  The name referred to a grove of oak trees that still stands on what is now the campus of the university.  The Pacific University – a private school of higher education – is still one of the principle landmarks of the town.

Farming was the predominant occupation in the early days.  However, in 1869 both a steamship and a railroad service started up.  This spurred industrial growth and the community started to diversify with only 33% of the population employed as farmers. The rest were merchants and craftsmen or professionals working at the school.  The City was formally incorporated in 1872.

In 1880, the now Chemawa Indian School opened in the city to train Native Americans but moved to Salem in 1884.  The population reached nearly 1,300 in 1900, and in 1908 the Oregon Electric Railway began serving the city.

There are ten buildings on the National Register of Historic Places and an entire 18 block district (Clark District) with homes dating as far back as 1854, and several dozen pre-1900. These include the Alvin T. Smith House, First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Old College Hall.

Filming for the television show, Nowhere Man, took place in Forest Grove numerous times.

Eating & Drinking

There are a cluster of places to eat around Main Street between 21st and Pacific Ave.  Nothing is super gourmet though you should be able to find a nice meal.

Bites_RestaurantOne of the better places for lunch or dinner is Bites.  The menu is eclectic with American burgers, Thai tom yum, Japanese noodles and Mexican tacos.  There are also good vegan options.  Some tables outside.  2014 Main St. (503) 746-6812.

Another breakfast/lunch spot is the Carolyn’s Deli (formerly Deli in the Grove).  Breakfasts are on the traditional side: beef hash, biscuits and gravy, omelets, pancakes etc.  Lunches are sandwiches, soups and salads.  Go for the food not the décor.  2014 Main St.  (503) 357-3513‎

For competently prepared and consistently good Thai food, try Pac Thai.  1923 Pacific Ave.  (503) 992-1800‎.

Pizza Schmizza is a local chain that serves thin crust, New York style pizzas as well as pastas.  2042 Main St.  (503) 359-5320.

Head to Grendel’s‎ for English pub-style food in a cozy-quirky atmosphere.  Think bangers & mash, pasties and chicken and dumplings.  2004 Main St.  (503) 357-7095‎

‎For American bar food, head to the Cornerstone Pub & Grill‎.  Though more a student diner than pub they nevertheless have good burgers and a large selection of beers.  2307 Pacific Ave.  (503) 357-4742‎.

Mandarin China Restaurant has reasonable Chinese food, but service can be slow.  2338 Pacific Ave.  (503) 357-1820‎.

If you’re staying at the McMenamin’s Grand Lodge – a sprawling former Masonic retirement home – you may want to eat at one of their two restaurants that serve American cuisine: pub grub and more.  Movies shown some nights.  3505 Pacific Ave.  (503) 992-3425‎.

Stecchino Bistro in Forest Grove’s historic shopping and arts district serves French/ Italian fare. Summer Hours:  Dinner served Wednesday through Saturday 5pm to Close. Reservations suggested.  Lunch 11:30am to 2pm. 2014 Main Street Forest Grove (503) 335-29921.

Things to Do

There are not a host of things to entertain travelers in Forest Grove … unless you’re there on Wednesday.

Markets & Stores

On the first Wednesday of the month, the downtown merchants open their doors for evening festivities from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Enjoy tastings from local wineries, listen to music and check out the crafts vendors.  For more information call (503) 357-0316.

Also, on Wednesday, is the weekly Farmers’ Market from May through October, on 21st Street (between College and Main).  The Market is held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and features fresh produce, flowers and snacks.

Outside of Wednesday, there’s a cluster of galleries and antique store on Main St between 21st St & Pacific Ave.

Theatre

Aficionados of local theatre might look into the Theatre in the Grove to see if there are any last-minute seats available for the night’s performance.  2028 Pacific Ave.  (503) 992-0078.

Tasting

If you want to do some tasting you have two options close to town:

While there are no wine tasting rooms in Forest Grove, there is a Sake Brewery that we think is something of a hidden gem.  At Saké One their objective is to craft the finest sake made in America – and they may well have succeeded.  The tasting room is open from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm seven days a week.  Complimentary tours are at 1, 2, & 3 pm daily and well worth the time.  820 Elm St.  (503) 357-7056.

Just outside of Forest Grove you’ll find the David Hill Winery & Vineyard.  The winery is in a beautiful setting atop a hill.  Wines include the usual suspects as well as sparkling wines and dessert wines.  To get there head north up Main St.  At Willamina Ave take a left and then turn right when it dead ends into Gales Creek Rd/Hwy 8.  Then immediately take a right on NW Thatcher Rd.  Just after passing Thatcher City Park, take a left-up Dave Hill Rd.  The winery is a little under two miles up this very steep lane – that turns to gravel ½ a mile before reaching the winery – at 46350 Northwest David Hill Rd, Forest Grove.  (503) 992-8545.  Open daily from 12:00 – 5:00 PM.

McMenamins Grand Lodge has an outdoor soaking pool that is open to non-guests for a nominal fee.  It’s peaceful during the day though things can get more raucous at night – especially if a party is being hosted at the hotel.  3505 Pacific Ave.  (503) 992-9533.

Useful Contacts

Visitor Information: Forest Grove Chamber of Commerce‎.  2417 Pacific Ave.  (503) 357-3006‎.

Bike Shops: There are two bike stores in town: Olson’s Bicycles 1904 Elm St (503) 359-4010‎ and Schlegel’s Bicycle Center 1913 19th Ave (503) 357-9807.  Of the two, Olson’s has a much better range of supplies.‎

Stores: There’s a Safeway at the eastern end of town at 2836 Pacific Ave.  (503) 357-7424.

Pharmacies: Bi-Mart Pharmacy at 3225 Pacific Ave.  (503) 357-2034‎.

Post Office: US Post Office at 1822 21st Ave.

Hood River

Overview

Situated at the confluence of Hood River and the Columbia River, Hood River is a small town with a big backdrop: the Columbia River Gorge to the north and Mount Hood to the south.

National Geographic named it one of their Best Adventure Towns in the United States.  Not a surprise given the number of outdoor activities here: windsurfing, kite boarding, kayaking, hiking, skiing, and, of course, cycling.  This is also the gateway town to the Hood River Valley with its fruit farms, wineries, ranches, and golf courses.Hood_River

Though it is the seat of Hood River County, the Town of Hood River has a cozy feeling, somewhere between a ski town and a river town, though it is technically the latter.  It’s also the Eastern gateway to the Columbia River Gorge.

History

Hood River was originally occupied by the Wasco and Klickitat tribes.  The Wasco people traditionally lived on the south bank of the Columbia River and fished, hunted and gathered in the area.  The Klickitat were noted for being active and enterprising traders and served as intermediaries between the coastal tribes and those living east of the Cascade Mountains.

Lewis and Clark visited the area in 1805 on their eponymous expedition but the area was not seriously impacted by settlers until the mid-1850 when Nathaniel Coe and his wife Mary settled in what was then named Dog River.  Apocryphally, Mary objected to the name Dog River and the area was renamed to Hood River by 1856.  By that time, tribal members were being relocated to reservations under a treaty that was signed in 1855.  The city of Hood River was incorporated in 1895 and the country of the same name was established in 1908.

Early settlers engaged in logging and planted apple trees and strawberries.  However, these crops were susceptible to the winter freeze and pear trees are now more common with Hood River being one of the world’s leading  producers of Anjou Pears.

In the late 1890s, Finnish settlers from the Dakotas moved to Hood River with Japanese and Mexican immigrants moving here in the early 1900s and from the 1930s respectively.

Eating & Drinking

A combination of well-healed locals and discerning visitors means that Hood River has a surprisingly good selection of eateries and cafés.  Eateries tend to be informal with multiple breweries and a smattering of more formal restaurants.

Lunch & Dinner

Celilo offers classic Pacific Northwest cuisine featuring fresh and local ingredients with a range of meat dishes. Simple, elegant dishes are well crafted making this one of the better restaurants in town. 16 Oak Street. Open daily with lunch from 11:30-3pm, and dinner from 5pm (541) 386-5710.

Brian’s Pourhouse is a charming alehouse with indoor and outdoor seating and a bar for more casual dining.  The creative menu and careful preparations make the food here more gourmet than pub grub – though with a pleasantly relaxed atmosphere.  606 Oak Street. Open daily for dinner from 5pm. (541) 387-4344.

Kin serves up a variety of delicious favorites. Linguine and sausage, muscles, brisket burger, and even vegetarian couscous! Kin is dedicated to local, sustainable, and organic service. Open Wed-Sun, 5pm—close. 110 5th Street. (541) 387-4000.

Kaze Sushi is a Japanese restaurant with very good food but sometime-slow service.  The chef is Japanese from Hawaii and there is a clear Hawaiian influence.  212 4th Street. Closed Mondays, but otherwise open 5pm-9pm daily. (541) 387-0434.

hood_river6th Street Bistro and Loft offers an eclectic menu with an emphasis on fresh, local, and seasonal items including juicy burgers and sandwiches off the grill, Asian style noodles with tofu for vegetarians. 509 Cascade Ave, at the corner of 6th Street. A good lunch or dinner option open daily from 11:30 AM to 9:30 PM. (541) 386-5737.

Hood River Taqueria is a bit of an uphill hike from the center of town, but the food is good, authentic Mexican: from ceviche to burrito – both made with fresh ingredients.  On a warm evening, the patio seating is the best bet.  1210 13th St. Abierto los siete dias 9:30am-9:30pm. (541) 387-3300.

Breweries

There are several breweries in town, most of which also serve food.

The Double Mountain Brewery is the smaller and funkier of the two but serves decent pizza. Open 11am-10pm daily, Fri & Sat until 11pm.  8 4th St # 204.  (541) 387-0042.

Full Sail Tasting Room & Pub is the biggest brewery in town. Employee-owned, pub fare food options, and nice view of the river all accompany their tasty beer. Open daily 11am-9pm. 506 Columbia St.  (541) 386-2247.

Ferment Brewing Company is a modern take on brewing, offering both craft beer and kombucha, along with lunch, happy hour, and dinner menu items. Open Sunday-Thursday 11am-9pm and Friday and Saturday until 10pm. 403 Portway Ave. (541) 436-3499.

Closer to the river than the downtown, Solstice Wood Fire Café & Bar is one of Hood River’s newer eateries.  It got its start with a successful Kickstarter campaign.  Solstice features classic wood fire flatbreads with local ingredients (including pears, cherries, and apples).  At the heart of the burgeoning waterfront retail area, Solstice is open for lunch and dinner 11:30am-9pm daily (except Tuesday). 501 Portway Ave. (541) 436-0800. No reservations taken during the summer.

Next door to Solstice pFriem Family Brewers is another good brewpub with competently prepared food.  Open daily 11:30am-9pm.

Coffee & Breakfast

Bette’s Place is a family-run business for over three decades, open for breakfast and lunch serving up award winning pies, sweet and gooey cinnamon rolls, and the savory stuff like quiches, sandwiches, soups, and, of course, burgers.  416 Oak St. Open daily from 5:30am-3pm. (541) 386-1880.

Doppio Coffee and Lounge has great patio seating to sip a latte or an iced coffee as you relax after a long day’s ride. Probably the best coffee and treats in town, including light breakfast dishes, sandwiches, and salads. 310 Oak Street. Open daily from 7am-6pm. (541) 386-3000.

Dog River Coffee Co. serves excellent, Portland-roasted Stumptown Coffee as well as fresh-made scones each morning.  411 Oak Street. OpenMon-Fri 6am-6pm, Sat-Sun 7am-6pm. (541) 386-4502.

Other

Mike’s Ice Cream, just across the street from Dog River Coffee Co, is a great place to cool off on a warm day with a cone or an excellent milkshake.  504 Oak Street. Open daily from 11am-11pm. (541) 386-6260.

Much like Portland, food carts have become popular in Hood River.  Some of the better-known carts, such as Four and Twenty Blackbirds, and Herbette, are actually mobile food vans or trailers.  So, keep an eye out for some of these carts, as they tend to vary in their location.  One place to look for them is the ‘Food Cart Zone”, at the corner of 5th Street and Cascade.

Things to Do

Wine Tasting

Tasting rooms are generally open 12-6pm daily.

The Naked Winery Tasting Room is not quite as salacious as it sounds.  However, they do have “naughty” whites and “thrusty” reds produced on both sides of the river: in Oregon and Washington. They invite you to taste and tour while they play with your senses. 102 Second St. (541) 386-3700.

Quenett Winery is a boutique Gorge Winery crafting a few select varietals from the vineyards along the shores of the beautiful Columbia River.  111 Oak Street Hood River. (541) 386-2229.

Springhouse Cellars are a rustic working winery housed in a turn of the century cannery and distillery. The aroma of yeast, wood, and oak permeate the air as you enter. $5 for 10-wine flight.  13 Railroad Ave. (541) 308-0700.

The Pines Tasting Room is a family-owned and operated winery and vineyard. They have knowledgeable staff, a cherry wood bar, bistro tables, and an art gallery for perusing whilst sipping and spitting.  202 State St.  (541) 993-8301. 

Kayaking and Whitewater Rafting

Gorge Paddling Center, on the Nicholas Boat Basin, offers tours and rentals for flatwater and whitewater kayaking, as well as for stand-up paddle boarding. 101 N. 1st St. (541) 806-4190. Open daily 10am-5pm.

Wet Planet Whitewater is located across the river in Washington. They offer Class III+ whitewater rafting day trips on the White Salmon and Klikitat rivers.  860 Highway 141, White Salmon, WA Open daily 9am-5pm. (509) 493-8989.

Windsurfing and Kiteboardinghood_river

Hood River WaterPlay offer rentals and lessons in windsurfing, kiteboarding, kayaking, and catamaran sailing. 1108 E. Marina Dr. Open daily 9am-5pm. (541) 386-9463.

Brian’s Windsurfing offers windsurfing and kiteboarding lessons as well as rentals of windsurfing gear. 110 Portway Ave. (541) 386-1423.

Big Winds have the largest lesson and rental center in the Gorge along with a knowledgeable staff to assist you to get started.  207 Front Street. Open Sat 10-5, Sun 10-4, M-F 9am-5pm. (541) 386-6086.

Golf

Indian Creek Golf Course offer 9- or 18-hole golf courses located in 2 miles outside of town. There are spectacular views of Mt. Hood to the south and Mt. Adams to the north. 3605 Brookside Drive.  (541) 386-7770. Open daily 7am-9pm.

Spa

Flow Yoga and Health Studio offers not only yoga classes but also facial skin care, body treatments, massages, spa manicures and pedicures, waxing, mineral make-up and microdermabrasion.  118 3rd St. (541) 386-9642.

Useful Contacts

Bike Shops

Discover Bicycles has a good selection of bike parts and accessories at 210 State Street. Open 10am-6pm daily (Sun 10am-5pm). (541) 386-4820.

Mountain View Cycles is another solid bike shop at 205 Oak Street. 10am-6pm daily (Sun 10am-5pm). (541) 386-2453.

Grocery store:

Safeway is at the western end of town at 2249 Cascade Ave. Open 5am-1am.

Pharmacy:

Rite Aid Pharmacy.  2049 Cascade Ave. Open 7am to 9pm. (541) 387-2428.

McMinnville

Overview

McMinnville is the county seat of Yamhill County located at the confluence of the North and South Forks of the Yamhill River.  It is one of the larger cities in the area and, while it’s not a big city per se, it has suffered from some modern sprawl outside of the small downtown.  However, the “historic downtown” on Third Ave. between Baker St and Galloway St is relaxed and funky with a number of restaurants.McMinnville_OR

History

McMinnville was named by its founder, William T. Newby, an early immigrant on the Oregon Trail, for his hometown of McMinnville, Tennessee.  Newby travelled west during the Great Migration of 1843.  He arrived in Oregon on the first wagon train.

In 1853, Newby erected a gristmill at the west end of Third Street, below the present city library.  Construction of this mill was the primary reason for the early growth of the city.

McMinnville was incorporated as a town in 1876 and became a city in 1882.  Between the years 1885 and 1912, most of the historic Third Street business structures were built and many survive to this day.


McMinnville UFO photographs

McMinnville is known among UFO researchers for photographs published on the front page of the June 9, 1950 edition of the city’s newspaper, the News-Register (then known as the Telephone-Register), reportedly of an unidentified flying object seen almost a month earlier, May 11.  The Oregonian published the photographs the next day, and within a month they were published in LIFE magazine.

The photographs were taken on a farm near McMinnville by a farming couple, Mr. & Mrs. Paul Trent. Mrs. Trent was the first to see the object—it resembled a classic “flying saucer”—and she pointed it out to her husband, who took two photos before the “saucer” flew away.

A debate has raged for decades between UFO researchers, who claim that the photos are genuine and are among the best ever taken of a UFO, and UFO skeptics, who claim that the photos are a hoax.  Both sides in the debate have hired photographic experts numerous times to do a professional analysis of the photos, but so far neither side has offered convincing evidence to prove their case.

The Trents’ background was also thoroughly checked, and to date no evidence has surfaced implicating them in a hoax.  The whole sequence of events has led to a “UFO Festival” being held in McMinnville each year; the biggest such gathering in the Pacific Northwest, and second in the country only to Roswell, New Mexico.


Eating & Drinking

It’s probably fair to say that McMinnville has more choice than quality when it comes to restaurants, but these are some good places to eat; most of them on or near the historic 3rd Ave. between Baker St and Galloway St.

Thistle is an excellent choice for the classic farm-to-table foodie experience.  The menu changes daily depending on what’s in season and looking good.  Minimalist décor matches ethos of being low impact.  228 NE Evans St.  (503) 472-9623.

A little more reasonably priced is Bistro Maison‎.  The cuisine is classic country French – onion soup, pâté, snails and Coq Au Vin.  The atmosphere is cozy and there’s a pleasant outside area.  729 Northeast 3rd St.  (503) 474-1888‎.

For tapas in a nice setting, head to La Rambla.  They claim to blend Northwest and Spanish cuisines and the results are mostly very good and the service and setting are great.  Good wine list.  238 Northeast 3rd St.  (503) 435-2126.

Nick’s Italian is one of the most venerable restaurants in town.  They have a full Italian menu – antipasti-primi piatti- secondi piatti as well as pizzas.  The food is well prepared though a little on the expensive side and the setting is rather plain.  521 NE 3rd St.  (503) 434-4471.‎

For respectable Thai food we’d suggest Thai Country Restaurant‎.  It’s also good value compared with some of its inflated neighbors.  707 NE 3rd St.  (503) 434-1300

For good pizza in simple surroundings and a movie theater on site, head to 3rd Street Pizza McMinnville_ORCompany‎.  433 NE 3rd St.  (503) 434-5800.

For beer and pub food – burgers, ribs, salads & sandwiches – try the Golden Valley Brewery.  On the wrong side of the tracks at 980 NE 4th St.  (503) 472-2739.

For a café-style lunch or a leisurely breakfast your best option is the Crescent Cafe‎ at 526 NE 3rd St.  There can sometimes be a line but it’s usually worth the wait.  Wed-Sun.  (503) 435-2655.‎

If you’re looking for bread for a picnic or just a great place for a light lunch, head to the Red Fox Bakery for the best bread in town.  They also have nice soups & salads and the coffee’s pretty good too.  328 NE Evans St.  (503) 434-5098.‎

Harvest Fresh Grocery has a good deli for picnic-fare to be enjoyed after a ride to one of the local wineries. 251 NE 3rd St. (503) 472-5740.

The rooftop bar at the McMenamin’s Hotel Oregon is more a novelty than a hidden treasure.  They serve basic bar food both upstairs and downstairs on the ground floor.  310 Northeast Evans St. (503) 435-3154‎.

The Union Block Café is a Starbucks lookalike with Wi-Fi to match.  403 3rd St.  (503) 472-0645.

If you’ve saved room after dinner, it’s well worth the walk to Serendipity Ice Cream at 502 NE 3rd St.  (503) 474-9189‎.

Honest Chocolates have very nice hand-made chocolates including a special range for chocolate friendly wines such as pinot noir & merlot.  313 NE 3rd St.  (503) 474-9042.

Things to Do

Farmers Market

The Market is a four-season gathering of artists, writers, farmers, winemakers, musicians and others.  Every weekend from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  845 NE 5th St.

Wine Tasting

There are a number of tasting rooms in McMinnville that can offer a great alternative to tasting during your riding.

Eyrie Vineyards.  Owner David Lett planted the first Pinot noir vines in the Willamette Valley, in 1965.  Ten years later, their Pinot noir earned the first international recognition for Oregon wines winning major competitions in France.  935 NE 10th Ave.  (503) 472-6315.

Panther Creek Cellars‎ serves a range of wines including several single-vineyard pinots from different vineyards.  455 NE Irvine St.  (503) 472-8080‎.

R Stuart & Co Wine Bar serves tastings of their own wines at 528 NE 3rd St.  They also often serve snacks.  866 472-8614.

Séjourné Wine Room‎ is located in the heart of the historic downtown and offers tasting flights, glass pours, and a library of artisan bottle wines in an airy bar setting.  448 NE 3rd St.  (503) 474-4499‎.

Museums

The Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum is home to an extensive display of military and civilian aircraft and spacecraft, including the well-known and fated Spruce Goose. Open daily 9am-5pm, $27 includes admission to both museums and one movie. 500 Northeast Captain Michael King Smith Way (503) 434-4180

Useful Contacts

Visitor Information: McMinnville Chamber of Commerce‎.  417 NW Adams St.  (503) 472-6196‎‎.

Bike Shops: ‎Tommy’s Bicycle Shop‎ has good service and a wide range of supplies and spares.  624 NE 3rd St.  (503) 472-2010.‎

Stores: Your best option is the Harvest Fresh Grocery & Deli 251 Northeast 3rd St.  (503) 472-5740.  They have freshly made sandwiched and other good things for picnics.

There’s also a Circle K‎ for basic supplies at 840 NE 3rd St.  (503) 472-2595.

A little further out but with a much wider selection and a pharmacy is Safeway at 2490 N. Hwy 99 W.  (503) 435-3120.‎

Newberg

Overview

The motto of Newberg is “A Great Place to Grow!”  And, indeed, it is surrounded by fertile farmlands.  It also retains small-town friendliness that makes it a great place to raise a family.  And, as home of the George Fox University, maybe some even grow intellectually.  The downtown is relaxed and funky Newberg_Oregonbut suffers from having three highways pass through it – the 99W, 240 and 219.  Newberg is also home to the George Fox University – this is a private, Quaker-led institution so don’t expect to see a lot of drinking or bad behavior.

History

Hudson Bay Company trappers populated the first European settlement in the area in a place called Champoeg – seven miles southeast of Newberg.  These pioneers slowly extended their influence and Newberg was one of the areas cleared for farming.

In 1869, Newberg was given its name by its first postmaster, Sebastian Brutscher, who named the town after his Bavarian hometown of Newburgh.  A number of Quakers were among the early citizens of the town – migrating from Indiana and Iowa – and in 1885, they started the Pacific Academy (now George Fox University).

By 1887, the population of Newberg had grown to around 200.  Newberg became incorporated as a town in 1889 and as a city in 1893.

In 1885, a nine-year-old Herbert Hoover (later to become the 31st president of the United States) moved to Newberg to live with his aunt and uncle, the Minthorns, after the death of his parents.  Their home has been turned into the Hoover-Minthorn House museum.

The town was dry for a good part of its early history.  Although alcohol is now allowed within city limits George Fox University undergraduates are still expected to abstain from drink and other “vices.”

Eating & Drinking

There are a couple of nice restaurants and coffee houses in Newberg.  There is also a range of more run-of-the-mill establishments including Mexican, Chinese, Thai and Italian.Newberg_ORegon

Topping the bill is the Painted Lady.  One of the best restaurants in the state, it bills itself as “Refined Modern American” and it certainly succeeds in terms of cuisine, service and décor.  Ingredients tend to be local and organic while the beautifully restored Victorian creates a stylish setting.  201 South College St.  (503) 538-3850‎.

The Coffee Cottage is a cozy coffee house with great coffee and nice food.  It’s a place to hang out and relax and is popular with students from the nearby George Fox University.  808 East Hancock St.  (503) 538-5126.  They also have a Coffee Cottage Drive-Thru at the other end of the block which serves great coffee but is not quite as cozy!‎

There are also two other nice cafes in town.  Chapters Books is a chilled-and-funky bookshop-cum-coffee shop.  701 E 1st St.  (503) 554-0206.  For more cat-themed-coffee and occasional live music, head to Coffee Cat.  They also have bagels.  107 S College St (503) 538-2580.

If you’re staying at the Alison Inn you’ll likely want to eat at Jory, their in-house restaurant.  Jory is a local soil-type and signals the restaurant’s links to local suppliers and produce.  Food, service and décor are all excellent – though not quite as intimate as the Painted Lady.  Despite its size – at 100 seats – it’s worth making a reservation, especially at weekends.    2525 Allison Ln.  (503) 554-2526‎.  NOTE: the Allison Inn is 2 ½ miles from the center of Newberg.

Subterra offers a menu that reflects innovative bold flavors pieced together from varied cuisines and brought together with classical technique. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. 1505 Portland Rd. (99W at Villa Rd.). (503) 538-6060.

Other, more ordinary options for food include the following.

Crush Wine Lounge & Bistro is in a Victorian house with a dark (stylish or gloomy?) interior.  115 North Washington St.  (503) 538-5113‎.  Golden Leaf for Thai Cuisine.  505 East 1st St. (503) 538-7515‎.  Cancun Restaurant for standard Mexican food.  714 East 1st St.  (503) 537-1036‎.  Lucky Fortune for Chinese food.  400 East 1st St.  (503) 538-0503‎.  Pasquale’s Restaurant for Americanized Italian food and OK pizzas.  111 West 1st St.  (503) 538-0910

Things to Do

Museums

There are not too many attractions in Newberg.  Top of a very short list is the Hoover-Minthorn House.  This childhood home of Herbert Hoover – 31st President – is now a small museum.  The house is owned and operated by The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of Oregon – which says it all really!  115 S River St.  (503) 538-6629.  March through November; Wednesday through Sunday:  1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

Wine Tasting

Chehalem Wine Tasting Room at 106 S Center St focuses on focus on cool-climate varieties including Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Grüner Veltliner, and Gamay Noir.  (503) 538-4700.‎

Concerts

From July 13 through August 31 there are free concerts in the Rotary Centennial Park – behind the Chamber of Commerce.  The concerts are held from 6:00 to 8:30 pm and feature a different band every week for eight weeks.  For more information call (503) 538-2014.

Ballooning

From mid-April through early October, Vista Balloon Adventures launches at sunrise from Newberg. The largest hot air balloon company in the Pacific Northwest, Vista flies over the Willamette Valley and includes a post-flight champagne brunch. vistaballoon.com (503) 625-7385.

Useful Contacts

Visitor Information: ‎‎ Chehalem Valley Chamber of Commerce at 415 E. Sheridan St.  (503) 538-2014.

Bike Shops: Newberg Cycle and Skate at 108 S Howard St.  (503) 487-6332‎.Closed Sunday and Monday.

Stores: There’s a Safeway (with a pharmacy) on the outskirts of town at 1140 N Springbrook Rd.  (503) 537-4001‎.  There’s also a Walgreens at 1840 Portland Rd (Hwy 99W).  (503) 538-9360‎.

Silverton

Overview

Founded in 1854, Silverton has a Victorian feel with the well-preserved downtown as well as several stately homes shaded by large oaks.  The town started as a logging town but has grown to support an agricultural community surrounded by fields whose crops include hazelnuts, marionberries (a  silverton_oregon  Marion blackberry, which is a hybrid cane-berry developed by Oregon State University), strawberries, irises and, of course, wheat, grapes & hops.  The town also has some interesting antique stores and art galleries.

Silverton is home to the Oregon Garden.  Founded by the Oregon Association of Nurserymen in the 1940s, The Oregon Garden has evolved into a world-class botanical garden.  It is also the gateway town to Silver Falls State Park that has a seven-mile canyon trail that winds past ten spectacular waterfalls.  A multi-use trail allows hikers, cyclists, and equestrians to explore the rest of the park’s wilderness.

Silverton was the first US town to elect an openly-transgender mayor.  Mayor Stu Rasmussen was recently criticized for wearing a bathing suit top, a miniskirt and high heels when addressing a group of students.

Another curious fact about Silverton: the 45th Parallel passes through the town making it almost halfway between the equator and the North Pole.  (For pedants, the true halfway point is 10 miles north of the 45th parallel due to the earth being an oblate spheroid.)

History

In 1846, James Smith and John Barger established a sawmill on the banks of Silver Creek and a small settlement, Milford, began to grow.  In 1854, Milford was abandoned and the businesses that had started there moved downstream to the current site of the city of Silverton.

Silverton was incorporated in 1885.  By 1894, the population was nearly 900 and by 1921, Silverton industries were producing exports for other areas and even some foreign countries. The Fischer Flour Mills on South Water Street was among those exporters.  Power for the mill was obtained by Silverton_oregondamming Silver Creek at a point near the present-day pool, diverting water into a millrace that ran along the creek to the mill and then dumped back into the creek.

Timber was another key industry for Silverton, and the Silver Falls Timber Co. was once the largest sawmill of its kind in the world.  Metal piping was also part of the economy and some metal covers in Silverton still bear the legend “Eastman Brothers Metal Works.”

Eating & Drinking

Silverton is a small town and is certainly not crammed with gourmet treats but there are a few reasonable places in town.

If you’re staying at the Oregon Gardens Resort, you’ll likely think of eating at their Garden View Restaurant. Located in the resort’s main building at 895 W Main St (1½ miles from the center of town).  As you might expect from the name, there are fine views of The Oregon Garden and the Willamette Valley beyond.  The food, however, is not as good as the views.  If you have the energy, we would recommend heading into town for dinner.  (503) 874-2500.

Probably the best restaurant in town is the Silver Grille.  A frequently changing menu that showcases local food that is organic when possible.  The place is small so book ahead if possible.  Only open for dinner Wed – Sun.  206 E Main St.  (503) 873-8000.‎

Howard Hinsdale Cellars is a cozy wine bar that has small-plate dining featuring local produce.  There’s a small deck overlooking the river, they sometime have acoustic music and Wednesday night is movie night.  111 North Water St.  (503) 873-9463‎.

For burgers, beer and occasional live music, do what the locals do and head on over to Mac’s Place‎ in one of the town’s older buildings.  They also have a deck suspended above the Silver Creek.  201 N Water St.  (503) 873-2441.silverton_oregon

Looking for an industrial chic bistro with Northwest inspired entrees? Gather is your spot. 200 E Main St (503) 874-4888.

For Thai food head to Thai Dish Cuisine‎.  One of two Thai restaurants in town, this is the more casual of the two but with the consistently better food.  209 N Water St.  (503) 873-8963.

‎Staying in Asia, if you want Chinese food Chan’s Restaurant‎ has all the classic Chinese-American dishes at 212 E Main St.  (503) 873-6741.

Just south of the center of town, the Creekside Grill‎ is in a pleasant location overlooking the creek and the new covered bridge.  The menu looks inviting, but the food is a little hit-and-miss.  Some love it and some don’t but most think it’s just OK.  242 S Water St.  (503) 873-9700‎.

The Stone Creek Café has nice coffee, competent light food and a pleasant atmosphere at 204 E Main St.

The Live Local Cafe sources locally and has a fun selection of crepes, sandwiches, and lighter fare. 111 N Water St.  (503) 354-9407‎.  Café Earth is inside a store at 201 E Main St.  They also have coffee, fresh lemonade and a small selection of food.

Things to Do

Gardens

The Oregon Garden is a world-class botanical garden.  The grounds include Gordon House, the only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house open to the public in the Pacific Northwest.  Concerts are held in the outdoor Amphitheater in the summer and the J. Frank Schmidt Pavilion hosts a variety of events silverton_oregonduring the winter.  The Oregon Garden Resort is on the same property and has a good restaurant and bar.  879 W Main St.  (503) 874-8100.

Hiking

Silver Falls State Park boasts ten waterfalls and miles of walking trails.  Located in the lower elevation of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, this temperate rain forest has a trail system that leads hikers along the banks of the north and south forks of Silver Creek.  The trail takes you past 10 waterfalls, ranging from the grand South Falls (177 feet), to the delicate Drake Falls (27 feet).  Four of these falls have an amphitheater-like surrounding where you can walk behind them.  NOTE: bicycles are not allowed on the canyon trail.  An additional 25 miles of multi-use trails allow hikers, cyclists, and equestrians to explore the rest of the park’s extensive wilderness.  The park is located 15 miles south of Silverton and is the main feature on one of the loop rides out of this town.  20024 Silver Falls Hwy SE, Sublimity, OR.  (503) 873-8681.

Contemplation

Mt. Angel Abbey sits on a on a 300-foot bluff above the town of Mt. Angel – 4 miles north of Silverton.  This Benedictine monastery was built in 1883.  So, by Benedictine standards, it’s just a youngster.  Features include chapel, lobby gallery and library.  The rare book room in the latter was designed by Alvar Aalto and contains a collection of illuminated manuscripts.  Less transcendent but perhaps more practical, there is a bookstore, a gift shop and US Post Office.  1 Abbey Dr.  Mt Angel.  (503) 845-3030‎.

Tasting

Almost your last chance to do some wine tasting on this trip is at the Vitis Ridge Winery.  Vitis is a small winery producing 2500 cases of wine per year.  Chris & Bruce started their winemaking as a hobby; making wine in their garage.  990 N First St.  (503) 873-9800.

Useful Contacts

Visitor Information: Silverton Area Chamber of Commerce.  426 S Water St.  (503) 873-5615‎.

Bike Shops: The Fall Line at 302 Lewis St. is more oriented to mountain bikes and skateboards but can usually help out with basic bike repairs and spares.  (503) 873-0977

Stores: The closest supermarket to the center of town is Roth’s Fresh Market‎ at 918 N 1st St.  (503) 873-6311.  There is also a Safeway 301 Westfield St. on the western side of town.  (503) 873-1800.

Pharmacies: The Silverton Pill Box‎ is close to the center of town at 302 N 1st St.  (503) 873-6321.  ‎ The Hi-School Pharmacy‎ is on the western side of town has a larger selection.  406 McClaine St.  (503) 873-8392.

Stevenson and Cascade Locks

Overview

The towns of Stevenson (WA) and Cascade Locks (OR) sit on opposite sides of the Columbia River connected by the cantilevered Bridge of the Gods.Stevenson

Stevenson, on the Washington side of the river, is the county seat of Skamania County and probably the more charming of the two towns. The town is quaint and unpretentious but its location on the banks of the Columbia River helps make it special.  Skamania County is the only place in America with laws specifically protecting the mythical Sasquatch.  So, if you see him, don’t hurt him!

Cascade Locks takes its name from a set of locks built to improve navigation beyond the Cascades Rapids of the Columbia River. The US government approved the plan for the locks in 1875, construction began in 1878, and the locks were completed on November 5, 1896. The locks were subsequently submerged when, in 1938, the Bonneville Lock and Dam was constructed downriver.  The Bonneville Dam is capable of generating over a million kilowatts of electrical power.

Eating & Drinking

In Stevenson

Bigfoot Coffee Roasters is a small and unique coffee locale with great coffee. Open Wed-Sat 9am-4pm at 66 Russell Ave. (509) 427-3680.

Clark & Lewie’s Saloon & Grill offers salads, wraps, burgers and steaks, all with tableside views of the Gorge. Open 11:30-8 M-Th, 11:30-9 Fri, 10-9 Sat, 10-8 Sun at 130 SW Cascade Ave. (509) 219-0097.

House of Flavor (La Casa de Sabor) is a simple looking Mexican restaurant with many excellent service and food reviews. 47 Russell Ave.  (509) 427-5423. Open 11:30am-8pm Mon-Sat; closed Sun.

The A & J Select Market‎ is a good-sized supermarket that also has a selection of hot-box items, soups, salads and sandwiches.  265 2nd St. Stevenson.  (509) 427-5491. Open daily 7am-9pm.

StevensonWalking Man Brewing is known for their excellent beers, their menu is also highly regarded and considered by many a necessary part of any Gorge outing.  240 SW First Street. (509) 427-5520. Hours: Fri-Sat Noon-9pm, Sun Noon-8pm, Wed-Thurs 4pm-9pm.

Also located in Stevenson, the Big River Grill features a nice, welcoming atmosphere and well-regarded beer selection and menu categorized as “high-end roadhouse.”  Take that any way you like!  192 SW 2nd Street. (509) 427-4888. Open daily until 8pm.

In Cascade Locks

Cascade Locks Ale House (prev. Pacific Crest Pub) is a simple place to grab a quick bite and some of their famous extra-hot horseradish.  500 Wa Na Pa St. (541) 374-9310. Open Wed-Mon 11am-9pm

Bridgeside is a relaxing burger joint with pioneer-style décor. Located at 745 NW Wa Na Pa St near the bridge, and is open 7am-8pm daily.

Featured in Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and a favorite for locals, the East Wind Drive In is a retro (and snug) stop for soft-serve ice cream, hamburgers, fries, and other comfort eats. Enjoy at one of the bar stools or take outside to picnic on the lawn overlooking the Columbia River. 395 Wa Na Pa St ((541) 374-8380.

Things to Do

Bonneville Dam: The fish hatchery and dam are open year-round from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Summer time is the best time to tour the dam as the salmon are more abundant.  There are fish viewing windows and visitors’ centers on both the Oregon and Washington sides of the dam. Because of security concerns, visitors may be required to show ID, and it is not possible to cross the entire dam. During most of the year, more fish use the Washington shore fish ladders, so fish viewing may be better on the Washington side of the dam

The Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center & Museum contains a host of artifacts related to the discovery and subsequent development of the Gorge.  990 SW Rockcreek Dr., Stevenson. (509) 427-8211. Open 10am-5pm daily.

Cascade Locks Marine Park at 355 Wa Na Pa St. is on the National Register for Historic Places and is owned and operated by the Port of Cascade Locks. The park boasts three historic houses, formerly lock tenders’ homes, the Oregon Pony (the first steam engine operated in the west), a quaint museum, access to fishing on the Columbia River, picnic and pavilion area, a marina and a visitor’s center. The marine park is also home to the “Columbia Gorge” Sternwheeler.Stevenson

The Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler leaves from nearby Marine Park at Cascade Locks.  This authentic triple-deck paddle wheeler lets you enjoy the gorge from on the water.  The Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler is operated by the Portland Spirit (503) 224-3900.

Useful Contacts

Bike Shops: The nearest bike store is back in Hood River.

Grocery store: There is full-service grocery store in Stevenson: A&J Select Market at 265 2nd St.  Open 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM.

Pharmacy: Wind River Pharmacy at 280 Southwest 2nd St, Stevenson. Open Mon – Fri 9am-6pm, Sat 9am-2pm. Closed Sunday. (509) 427-5480.

Welches

Overview

The small mountain town of Welches is nestled between the Sandy River and the Salmon River on the western slopes of Mount Hood.

The community was named after Samuel Welch, a homesteader who settled near Welches Creek in 1882.  In 1905, the town got its first port office.

Oregon’s first golf course was built here in 1928.  Today, the course is owned by The Resort at the Mountain.  If you are staying here, it is well worth walking to Mallards Café and Pub just above the first tee.  Even non-golfers will be impressed by the sweeping views down the tree-lined fairway with mountains for a backdrop.

Eating & Drinking

Welches is a very small town with a matching number of eateries.

If you’re staying at the Resort at The Mountain, you will probably want to eat at the hotel restaurant: Altitude.  This restaurant has easily the best food in town.  It is not haute cuisine, but the food is conscientiously prepared and tasty.  68010 E Fairway Avenue, Welches, OR 97067.  (503) 622-2214‎.  Daily for dinner from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM.

Located at the first tee, Mallard’s Café and Pub is the less-formal option for eating at the Resort at the Mountain.  Happy hour from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.  Check with front desk for dining hours as these can vary.  (503) 622-3101.

For a folksier experience, the Rendezvous Grill & Tap Room has solid pub food all prepared fresh in-house.  67149 E Hwy 26 at Mile Post 40.  [If you are staying at the Resort at the Mountain, head west out of the Resort along E Fairway Ave and turn right onto E Arrah Wana Blvd.  The restaurant is at the end of this road on Hwy 26.]  (503) 622-6837.  Daily 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM.

Next to the Rendezvous Grill, El Burro Loco is a basic but solid Mexican restaurant.  They also have vegan versions of traditional favorites.  Their famous wild boar burrito is the exact opposite of vegan.  67211 Hwy 26, 97067. (503) 622-6780‎.  Daily 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM.

Your best option for coffee, Coffee House 26, is also close to the Rendezvous Grill at 67211 Hwy 26. (503) 622-4074.  There is also coffee at Coffee House 26 Roastery at the stripmall at the intersection of E Welches Rd and Highway 26.  67211 US-26.  (503) 622-4074.  Open 7:00 Am to 3:00 PM.

Things to Do

Fly Fishing:

Oregon is rife with excellent fishing streams and this region of Mt Hood is no exception.  To make the most of the local fishing, we recommend hiring a guide.  Guide information can be found at: Brian Silvey’s Fly Fishing Guide Service.  Welches, OR 97067.  (800) 510-1702.   Guide information, along with supplies, can be found at: The Fly-Fishing Shop.  67296 E Hwy 26, 97067, (503) 622-4607 or (800) 266-3971. Open 6am-6pm.

Golf:

Welches is known for having Oregon’s first golf course at The Courses at The Resort at The Mountain, 68010 E Fairway Avenue, 97067.  (503) 622-2216

Useful Contacts

Grocery Store and Pharmacy: Hoodland Thriftway, Open Daily 7am to 11pm, Hoodland Plaza 68280 E Hwy 26, Welches.  (503) 622-3244

Bike/Outdoors shop: Mountain Sports has gear and supplies hiking, skiing, and limited biking.  Hoodland Plaza, 68200 E Hwy 26, Welches (503) 622-3120.

Bike shop: Mt. Hood Bicycle opened in spring of 2018 and is a full-service bike shop. 68220 E Hwy 26 in Welches (503) 564-9086.

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Day-By-Day

Forest Grove to McMinnville

Route Overview

Your adventure begins with a ride to the relaxed, wine-country-vibe of old-town McMinnville.

The Intermediate Route starts in Forest Grove from where you ride along quiet back roads over the gently undulating hills of the Yamhill-Carlton wine region. This pastoral corner of Oregon’s Willamette Valley was once the final destination for many of the Oregon Trail pioneers. Now, the area is rich with a new wave of immigrants – winegrowers – and there are many wineries on your route. To the west, the Coast Range rises to 3,500 feet, establishing a rain shadow over the entire district. Great for pinot and great for biking! Carlton, at mile 25, has several restaurants and tasting rooms and is a fine place for lunch.

Those choosing the Easiest Route will be transferred to either WillaKenzie Estate Winery or Carlton and, from there, join the Intermediate route described above.

Challenge Route riders start out on the Intermediate route but soon detour around Hagg Lake (a popular triathlon course) before heading up a challenging 3-mile climb to Bald Peak. You then ride along a forested ridge before descending back down to the valley and joining the Intermediate route near the WillaKenzie Estate Winery.

Route Options

Easiest Routes

There are two options for an easier ride today both of which start with a van transfer:

  1. Ride from Carlton to McMinnville
  2. Ride from WillaKenzie Winery to McMinnville

Option 1: Carlton to McMinnville

The shorter of the two easier options starts in Carlton – a small, unassuming 3-block town that is packed with tasting rooms.  This is also a good place to eat lunch or gather a picnic lunch for later in the day.

Leaving Carlton, you follow a gently rolling route past open fields, hazelnut farms, ranches, and vineyards. Four miles into your ride, along Mineral Springs Road, you pass the entrance to Anne Amie Vineyards.  This pretty vineyard makes a nice detour.  The steep climb up to the tasting room is made worthwhile by the fine views across the vineyard to the coast range.  There is also a nice patio; a great place for a picnic lunch and for tasting one of their Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris wines.

The route then snakes its way to McMinnville (avoiding the busier highways) and enters the town through the neighborhoods before ending at the historic downtown shopping district.

Option 2: WillaKenzie Winery to McMinnville

This ride starts at the WillaKenzie winery and is roughly ten miles longer than the Option 1 described above.

WillaKenzie winery has fine views and a nice tasting room and is a fine place to begin a ride.  After descending down from the tasting room, you head south on the quiet and scenic Laughlin Rd.  The route then passes through Yamhill before winding its way through open fields to the town of Carlton.  Carlton makes a great lunch stop and is where you join Option 1, described above.

Both of today’s easier rides travel through the Ribbon Ridge and the Yamhill-Carlton wine growing districts; areas now reputed to be home to some of the finest Pinot Noir vineyards in the world.  Stop in at any of the wineries en route and you’ll likely be told that the area has a unique set of growing conditions.  The Coast Range to the west soars to nearly 3500 feet (1200m), establishing a rain shadow over the entire district.  Additional protection is afforded by Chehalem Mountain to the north and the Dundee Hills to the east.

Intermediate Route

This route leave Forest Grove on a bike/pedestrian path that parallels Hwy 47.  After a mile you cross the highway onto SW Fern Hill Rd.  Please take care here as cross traffic does not stop here and can be travelling at speed.

Once on SW Fern Hill Road, you ride south on quiet back roads where the rolling hills are a patchwork of arable pasture and vineyards – dotted with clumps of conifers.  You may even see a herd of bison grazing!  Three miles after turning onto Laughlin Road, you will pass the entrance to the WillaKenzie Estate Winery.  The winery has good views and a nice tasting room.  This is also where you join Option 2 of the Easier routes, described above.

Challenge Route

The Challenge riders follow the Intermediate Route for the first four miles out of town.  Here, it leaves the intermediate route for a detour around Henry Hagg Lake.  The ten-mile loop, clockwise loop around the lake is newly paved and is a favorite training ride among local cyclists. See Sights below for additional information about this park.  You ride clockwise around the lake.

As you exit Hagg Lake, you ride ten miles of relative flat before beginning the three-mile climb up to Bald Peak State Park.  This climb adds 1,300 feet of elevation gain and is, on average a 7.5% grade, maxing out at 15.2%. From the summit you will have views of the Willamette Valley and the Cascade Range as well as picnic tables for a well-deserved break.

After a sweeping 6-mile downhill, you have a long-flat drag along North Valley Road as you pass through the Chehalem Mountains and Ribbon Ridge AVAs.  After ten miles of flat riding, you will pass the entrance to the WillaKenzie Estate Winery.  The winery has good views and a nice tasting room.  This is also where you join Option 2 of the Easier routes, described above.

Lunch

The main town en route for lunch is Carlton.  Alternatively, you could pick up a picnic in either Forest Grove or Carlton to enjoy at one of the wineries along the way.  Another option would be to make an early start and eat in McMinnville.

Forest Grove

See Forest Grove in the Towns and Cities section of this guidebook for ideas on where to collect a picnic in Forest Grove.

Carlton

See Carlton in the Towns and Cities section of this guidebook for lunch options in Forest Grove.

Hagg Lake Park

Robinson Family Lake House is a small food shack located within the park at Boat Ramp C serving basic dishes, snacks, and cold drinks. Wednesday-Sunday 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM (503) 992-1080 (Call before entering park if wanting to eat here to ensure they are open. This is the only option within the park).

McMinnville

See McMinnville in the Towns & Cities section at the start of this guide for more details on lunch options here.

Points of Interest

Sights

Henry Hagg Lake Park is a popular area for boating, fishing, swimming, hiking, and biking. There is an 18-hole disc golf course and swim area at Boat Ramp C, picnic areas around the lake, and views of Mount Hood at some openings in the trees around the lake.

Stores

In Scoggins Valley, near Henry Hagg Lake, Lake Stop Grocery is a small country store with friendly staff and basic items – 8015 Old Hwy 47 (503) 357-4270.

In Carlton, Main Street Market and Deli has both a deli counter and simple grocery items – 208 Main St. (503) 852-7272. Open daily 6:00 AM-10:00 PM.

Wineries

There are several wineries dotted along today’s routes – or a short detour off the routes.  See your map for their locations.  Notable wineries include:

WillaKenzie Estate, located at 19143 NE Laughlin Rd, has a patio with views of the Coast Range where you may enjoy a picnic lunch. (503) 662-3280.

Saffron Fields Vineyard combines a contemporary feel with artistic garden design to create an environment of contemplation and ease – 18748 NE Laughlin Rd. (503) 662-5323.

Additionally, there are many tasting rooms in Carlton.  Perhaps the most interesting option is the Carlton Wine Makers Studio where eight individual vintners produce some of the region’s most coveted wines under one state-of-the-art, eco-friendly roof.  801 N Scott St (head north on 47 out of town / on the edge of town, turn left on Lincoln – it’s at the end of this road).  (503) 852-6100.

Ken Wright Cellars‎ at 120 S Pine St.  Located in an old railroad depot they specialize in Pinot, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc.  (503) 852-7010.

Other tasting rooms in Carlton include Scott Paul Wines at 128 S Pine St/ (503) 852-7300, Carlton Cellars at 130 W Monroe St/ (503) 852-7888, and Cana’s Feast Winery at‎ 750 W Lincoln St / (503) 852-0002.

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McMinnville Loop Rides

Route Overview

Today’s Intermediate Route meanders along the quiet lanes of the Amity Hills and the Dundee Hills. There are stunning views across fields of vines to the snow-capped peak of Mount Hood, and you have the chance to McMinvillevisit a host of family run and organic wineries. Towns you visit include Dayton and Lafayette – both of which have good lunch options. Alternatively, take a picnic to one of the wineries. Stoller Estate is a great choice: on a hill with stunning views. Domaine Serene and Domaine Drouhin are also nearby.

Easiest Route riders take a more direct route to Stoller Winery – avoiding the Amity Hills – and ride back on the Intermediate route described above.

An even shorter ride takes you to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. Museum exhibits include the Spruce Goose. This Howard-Hughes-inspired plane was the largest flying boat ever built and was made almost entirely from wood.

The Challenge Route takes riders into the Coast Range for a series of ups and downs through forests and past remote farms. Once through the hills, the ride heads east to join the Intermediate ride from Amity and back to McMinnville via the Stoller Estate Winery.

Route Options

Easiest Routes

There are two options for an easier ride today:

  1. Ride to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum
  2. Ride to Stoller Estate Winery

Option 1: To Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum

This ride starts in McMinnville and crosses the Yamhill River shortly after leaving town.  You then have a short-flat ride though a relatively commercial area before reaching the museum.

See Sights below for additional information on the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum.

Option 2: To Stoller Estate Winery

This ride heads north out of McMinnville.  After a couple of miles through the neighborhoods, you take a meandering, rolling route past arable farms to Lafayette.  Lafayette does not have much to detain you but has some basic eating options as well as being the only reliable place to get snacks or drinks en route.

After Lafayette, it is a short climb u to the Stoller Estate Winery.  Even if you’re not planning to taste, the winery has good views and scenic picnic tables.

You then retrace your route to return to McMinnville.

The roads are, for the most part, quiet with two short but busier section on NW Westside Rd and Hwy 47.

Intermediate Route

This ride heads due south out of McMinnville and is relatively flat across open farmland for the first 10 miles to the town of Amity.  The friendly name of the town comes from the settling of dispute about the location of the school.  The town is small and quiet with a store, a restaurant, and a tasting room.

After Amity, the ride gets a little more scenic as it heads into the hills of the Eola-Amity wine district.  Here you pass close to a couple of wineries before descending back into the valley and riding north to Dayton.  Dayton is a little larger than Amity and is the first reasonable option for lunch.  It also has a tasting room.

From Dayton, it is a short climb up to Stoller Estate Winery.  Even if you’re not planning to taste, the winery has good views and scenic picnic tables.

For more wine tasting and more climbing, you could take a detour into the Dundee Hills to visit some high end and scenically sited wineries such as Serene, Durant and Vista Hills.  There are other great wineries here, but several have long gravel driveways; so, proceed with caution!

You leave Stoller and head west towards McMinnville, riding through the small town of Lafayette before returning to quieter lanes.

The roads are, for the most part, quiet with two short but busier section on Hwy 99 south of McMinnville and Hwy 47 and NW Westside Rd as you return from Stoller Winery.

Challenge Route

This ride follows the Intermediate ride, south, out of town after leaving the city, it heads west into the Coast Range.

Most of the climbing is in the first half of the ride as you have three forays into the Coast Range – each climb bigger than the last.  The final ascent is after the town of Sheridan and has you climbing 550 feet in less than 5 miles – all on quiet roads deep in the forested mountains.  You descend from this final climb into Willamina and then loop back into the sleepy town of Sheridan.

Not the luckiest town in Oregon, Sheridan was burned to the ground in 1913 and then flooded in 1964.  But this farming and timber community makes for a good lunch or refueling stop.

After Sheridan, you have a relatively flat cruise across open farmland to Amity. In Amity, you join the Intermediate ride, described above, for the run back to McMinnville via Dayton and the Stoller Estate Winery.

Lunch

Depending on your chosen route, you may want to gather a picnic in McMinnville to enjoy at one of the wineries or stop in at one of the towns en route.

McMinnville

Harvest Fresh Grocery has a good deli for picnic-fare to be enjoyed during a ride at one of the local wineries. 251 NE 3rd St. (503) 472-5740. Open daily at 8:00 AM (Sunday at 10:00 AM).

Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum

Liberty Belle Café and Cosmo Café are in the aviation and space museums, respectively. Both offer basic food choices with seating inside looking out at the displays.  Daily 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM (503) 434-4180 (Call ahead to ensure they are open. Hours may vary depending on the season).

Amity

Blue Goat is the best option in town, but they open for lunch only on weekends (Friday-Sunday). Sandwiches, tacos, salads, and wood fire pizza round out a menu inspired by the NW with ingredients sourced in the Willamette Valley. Friday-Saturday 11:30 AM – 9:00 PM (Sunday until 8:00 PM). 506 S Trade St. (503) 835-5170.

Maria’s Mexican Grill serves traditional Mexican food – except on Sunday when they close for the day. 615 S Trade St. (971) 259-1024. Monday-Saturday 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM.

Dayton

The menu at Block House Café is described as fun, fresh comfort foods. Burgers, sandwiches, soup and salads along with gluten-free and vegetarian options are available. Wednesday-Sunday 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM 301 Main St. (503) 864-8412.

Sheridan/Willamina

There are limited options in Sheridan and Willamina but if you did not gather a picnic lunch, a stop here will keep you going. There are no options after Willamina until you arrive in Amity.

Benny Huie’s Restaurant serves Chinese dishes and is open daily for lunch – Monday-Saturday – 209 S Bridge St. (503) 843-2343. 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM (Sunday – open at 12:00 PM).

Coyote Joe’s, a family-friendly diner in Willamina, serves traditional American fare – 142 NE Main St. (503) 876-3003. Monday-Saturday 6:00 AM – 9:00 PM (Sunday 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM).

Points of Interest

Sights

The Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum is actually a property with four buildings. From east to west, guests can visit the space museum, IMAX theatre, the aviation museum, and Wings and Waves water park featuring a 747 as entry point into the water slides. The most notable exhibit in the group is the Hughes H-4 Hercules, commonly known as the Spruce Goose. Intended for use as a transatlantic transport during World War II, this flying boat prototype was built almost entirely of birch due to wartime restrictions on use of aluminum and because of weight concerns. Outside of a brief flight on November 2, 1947, the aircraft never flew. It remains the largest flying boat ever built. Basic adult admission is $27 and include access to both museums and 1 IMAX movie. Discounts and multi-day tickets are available. Inquire for special rates. 500 NE Captain Michael King Smith Way (503) 434-4180. Open daily 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM.

Wineries

There are a number of nice wineries on or near today’s route – listed below and shown on the maps.  The described rides touch three wine-growing regions: Yamhill-Carlton, Dundee Hills, and Eola-Amity.

Oregon_wine Oregon_wine

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McMinnville to Silverton

Route Overview

Today you leave the land of pinot for the land of pilsner as you head east across the Willamette Valley to the pleasant town of Silverton.Wheatland_ferry

On the Intermediate Route, you head south to cross the Willamette River on the Wheatland Ferry. Once across the river, vines are swapped for hops and wheat. Not surprisingly there are a number of breweries this side of the valley in an area known as the French Prairie. The name comes from the early European settlers who were French Canadians. Shortly before reaching Silverton, you cross one of Oregon’s famous covered bridges.

Riders cycling the Easiest Route will take a van transfer to the Wheatland Ferry where they join the Intermediate route described above.

Challenge Route riders head into the Coast Range for a series of ups and downs through forests and past remote farms. Once through the hills, the ride heads east to join the Intermediate ride near the Wheatland Ferry.

NOTE:   The Wheatland Ferry has a $1.00 fee per cyclist – CASH ONLY.

NOTE:   There are no towns or cities on today’s route.  As such, there are limited lunch options.  Unless you plan a late lunch in Silverton, you might want to consider taking a picnic and pack drinks and snacks accordingly.

Easiest Routes

 This ride begins with a shuttle to the Wheatland Ferry.  This ferry crosses the Willamette River by means of a cable-driven platform.  As you cross the river you depart Yamhill County and cross to Marion County – from wine country to beer country.

From your drop-point after the ferry, you right turn to follow the river along the bike path that leads into Willamette Mission State Park.  This is a nice park in which to enjoy your picnic lunch.Silverton

On exiting the park, you will, very likely, get your first glimpse of hops as well as filberts (hazelnuts).  From here, you cross the open fields of an area known as the French Prairie – named for some of the earliest European settlers of these parts: The French Canadians.  As you might expect from the name, as you push east across the prairie, hops and filberts give way to wheat fields.  However, it is not all about wheat.  Much of the prairie is also given over to berries, nursery plants and Christmas tree farms.

As you approach Silverton you cross a covered bridge – the Gallon House Bridge.  The bridge was constructed in 1916 and the name was originally a nickname as the bridge was a blind drop for moonshine being brought into, a then dry, Silverton.

Your ride ends in the center of Silverton – close to the Silver Creek that runs through the town.

Intermediate Route

This ride starts in McMinnville from where you ride south out of town, across the Yamhill River.

The first four miles of riding are relatively functional as you ride parallel to and then on Highway 18.  The road is busy but the terrain is flat and there is a large shoulder so you soon make it to the quiet lanes of the Palmer Creek area.

After leaving Highway 18, you ride through a flat area crisscrossed by small creeks and channels parallel to the Willamette River.  Appropriately, you spend much of your time riding on a road called Webfoot!  The Eola Hills are to your right and wetlands to your left.

After about 15 miles or relatively flat riding, you descend down to the Wheatland Ferry where you pay your $1.00 cash to cross the Willamette River by means of a cable-driven platform.

As you cross the river you depart Yamhill County and cross to Marion County – from wine country to beer country – and join the Easiest Route, described above to make your way to Silverton.

Challenge Route

This ride heads due south out of McMinnville and then heads west into the Coast Range.

NOTE: If you did the McMinnville Loop Challenge Ride yesterday (OR04d), the first fifty miles of this ride follow the same route.

Most of the climbing is in the first half of the ride as you have three forays into the Coast Range – each climb bigger than the last.  The final ascent is after the town of Sheridan and has you climbing 550 feet in less than 5 miles – all on quiet roads deep in the forested mountains.  You descend from this final climb into Willamina and then loop back into the sleepy town of Sheridan.

Not the luckiest town in Oregon, Sheridan was burned to the ground in 1913 and then flooded in 1964.  But this farming and timber community makes for a good lunch or refueling stop.

After Sheridan, you have a relatively flat cruise across open farmland to Amity. In Amity, you join the Intermediate ride, described above, for the run back to McMinnville via Dayton and the Stoller Estate Winery.

In Amity, if you have not yet had lunch, this is the last opportunity to buy something before reaching Silverton.  The last major climb of the day is over the Eola Hills before reaching the Wheatland Ferry where you join the Easiest Route, described above.

Lunch

There are no reliable lunch options on today’s Easiest or Intermediate routes, and we would strongly recommend you take along a picnic or be prepared to ride all the way to Silverton.  There are also very few stores, so make sure you take enough drinks and snacks.

McMinnville is the best place to purchase picnic food – see the McMinnville section in the Towns & Cities section of this guidebook for more details.

Maude Williamson State Park is a good picnic spot and has water. You will reach the park just before the Wheatland Ferry Rd along Hwy 221. It also has a shelter in case of rain and a volleyball court if you have a little spare energy.

It is then just a short ride to the Wheatland Ferry and, soon after, the Willamette Mission State Park.  This is also a good (perhaps better) picnic spot.  See Points of Interest, below, for more information about this park.

The Arcane Cellars – see Wineries en Route below – also have picnic tables by the river and sometimes sell local foods.  But they are only open weekends and we’d suggest not relying on them for food unless you have called ahead.

If you have chosen the Challenge Route today, the following towns have some lunch options:

Sheridan/Willamina

There are limited options in Sheridan and Willamina but if you did not gather a picnic lunch, a stop here will keep you going. There are no options after Willamina until you arrive in Amity.

Benny Huie’s Restaurant serves Chinese dishes and is open daily for lunch – Monday-Saturday – 209 S Bridge St. (503) 843-2343. 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM (Sunday – open at 12:00 PM).

Coyote Joe’s, a family-friendly diner in Willamina, serves traditional American fare – 142 NE Main St. (503) 876-3003. Monday-Saturday 6:00 AM – 9:00 PM (Sunday 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM).

Amity

Blue Goat is the best option in town, but they open for lunch only on weekends (Friday-Sunday). Sandwiches, tacos, salads, and wood fire pizza round out a menu inspired by the NW with ingredients sourced in the Willamette Valley. Friday-Saturday 11:30 AM – 9:00 PM (Sunday until 8:00 PM). 506 S Trade St. (503) 835-5170.

Maria’s Mexican Grill serves traditional Mexican food – except on Sunday when they close for the day. 615 S Trade St. (971) 259-1024. Monday-Saturday 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM.

Points of Interest

Sights

The Wheatland Ferry is a cable ferry used to connect Marion County and Yamhill County across the Willamette River. The ferry travels approximately 580 feet across the river, depending on the water height, and is powered by two electric motors connected to an on-board diesel generator. Two steel cables support the ferry, one under water (downriver side) and one overhead (upriver side). The overhead cable is also used for steering.

Each new ferry placed in operation is named Daniel Matheny, after the gentleman who originally established the ferry, followed by its number as a Roman numeral. The current ferry is Daniel Matheny V and has a capacity of nine cars rather than the six its predecessor was able to carry.

Willamette Mission State Park is the site of a mission established in 1834 by Jason Lee, a missionary who traveled to the area with a plan to convert Native Americans to Christianity. There once was a one-room house that served as school, church, hospital, and home. An additional house and barn were built and in September 1837, with the arrival of additional missionaries, a blacksmith shop, granary, and hospital completed the settlement known as Mission Bottom. In 1840, the mission moved to Salem, Oregon. A flood changed the course of the Willamette River in 1861, taking with it much of what remained of the mission site. Today the site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the “Willamette Station Site, Methodist Mission in Oregon.” A ghost structure marks the site where the mission once stood.

Wineries en Route

There are just a few wineries on today’s route.

Useful Contacts en Route

Bike Shop: There are no bike shops on today’s route other than at the start and end – in McMinnville and Silverton.

Stores: The only reliable store on today’s route is at the Pilot Travel Center (service station) near Brooks at the intersection of I-5 and Brooklake Rd – 4220 Brooklake Rd NE. This is off the route but could work in a pinch. (503) 463-1114.


From Hops …

Hops are the flowers (or cones) of the hop plant and are often seen in the area hanging from tall trellises.  They are used primarily as a flavoring and stabilizer for beer.  Brewers use them to add bitterness as well as floral overtones, fruitiness, citrus flavors, and  aromas.Oregon hops

The hop plant is a vigorous, climbing, herbaceous perennial, usually trained to grow up strings in a field called a hop yard.

The first documented hop cultivation was in 736, in present-day Germany.

Hop plants are planted in rows about 8 feet apart.  Each spring, the roots sprout new shoots that are started up strings from the ground to an overhead trellis.  The cones grow high on the shoots and are typically harvested in late summer by mechanical hops separators.  The hops are then taken to a hop house for drying.  When dry, the hops are compressed into bales and sold to brewers.

 … to Hazelnuts

The hazelnut is the nut of the hazel tree.  Hazelnuts are also known as cobnuts or filbert nuts (or simply filberts).  A cob is roughly spherical to oval and a filbert is more elongated.  Perhaps their greatest claim to fame is as the base ingredient in Nutella.

Why the name filbert?  There is no definitive answer but some believe it is because the feast day of St. Philbert, a French saint, falls on August 20th – which is at the peak of the harvest season in much of Europe and US.

Oregon grows over 99% of the hazelnuts produced in the US but the US accounts for just 4% of global production.  Turkey, Italy and Spain lead the way in producing this particular nut.

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Silverton Loop Rides

Route Overview

On today’s Intermediate Route, you head south from Silverton and climb to Silver Falls State Park. This is the largest state park in Oregon and includes the Trail of Ten Falls. The trail runs along the banks of Silver Creek and by ten waterfalls.  Four of the ten falls have an amphitheater-like surrounding that allows the trail to pass behind the flow of the falls. Yousilver falls ride there on quiet country lanes, crossing open, rolling pastureland.  You return more directly on a rolling descent back to Silverton.

The Easiest Route heads north from Silverton for a shorter, flatter loop that explores the wheat prairies, a Bavarian-style town and a Benedictine Abbey.  With the right timing, you might also run into the Mount Angel beer festival.

The Challenge Route combines both the Intermediate Route and the Easiest Route described above.

For a shorter excursion, visit the Oregon Gardens.  Opened in 1999, the garden includes a variety of plant species and habitats and the only Frank Lloyd Wright home in Oregon.  See Sights below for additional information.

If you are riding to the Silver Falls State Park, you can choose to add on some hiking along any of the 24 miles of hiking trails with 10 waterfalls.

Route Options

Easiest Routes

This ride heads west, out of town, onto the French Prairie where you follow small lanes on a meandering route to Mt. Angel.  The terrain is flat and gently rolling.  Mount Angel is a small town, famous for its big beer festival and Bavarian restaurants.  As you might expect, this is a good lunch stop complete with a Bavarian sausage company.

The centerpiece of Mt. Angel is the 49-foot Glockenspiel clock tower. The Glockenspiel showcases both the town’s proud Swiss-German heritage as well as the Oktoberfest celebration held the 3rd weekend each September. You may catch the performance at 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, 4:00 PM, and 7:00 PM daily.

After lunch, you ride up to Mount Angel Abbey.  The monks at the abbey form a Benedictine community that was founded in 1882 from the Abbey of Engelberg in Switzerland.  Envisioned as self-sufficient communities, the Benedictines of the Middle Ages took that to heart, brewing spirits in their own facilities using ingredients grown on their own farms.  See Sights below for details about visiting their tap room.  As well as tranquility, the abbey has some fine views and a nice bell.

On leaving the abbey, you descend back down toe the prairie and continue your journey south towards Silverton.  NOTE: if you want to skip the climb up to the abbey, just turn right onto Humboldt Lane NE before you reach the entrance to the abbey.

The final few miles into Silverton as flat, pleasant but, other than a covered bridge, relatively uneventful.

Intermediate Route

This ride starts climbing even before you leave town – and continues climbing steadily all the way to Silver Falls State Park.  The outward route to Silver Falls takes you on quiet roads with expansive views.  There are steady climbs interspersed with short fast descents.  There are no particular sights, but you pass through beautiful countryside.

You peak as you enter the Silver Falls State Park (good viewpoint) before a mile of descending via an avenue of dense, towering trees down to the main park office.

Lock up your bike if you plan to hike. See Sights below for additional information about the park.

You return to Silverton along Highway 214.  While this road is a little busier than your outward leg, you are descending for most of the way so you cover the miles faster.  The return ride is on rolling hills through the park (worth a stop at North Falls viewing point) and out into open farmland.  The last 10 miles are a mostly uninterrupted descent into Silverton – much of it through evergreen forests.

WARNING: On certain days there can be logging trucks on Highway 214.  As the amount of traffic depends on logging activity, it is hard to predict.  If you choose to visit Silver Falls State Park and notice heavy traffic on Hwy 214, you may choose to return the way you came (down Drift Creek Rd) rather than return to Silverton via Highway 214.

Challenge Route

This ride is simply the combination of the Intermediate ride and the Easiest ride, in that order.

Lunch

Mt Angel

The Glockenspiel Restaurant is a German-style restaurant serving large portions. The Glockenspiel clock tower is popular stop for tourists. 190 E Charles St, Mount Angel.  (503) 845-6222‎. Open daily at 11:00 AM.

The Mt. Angel Sausage Company is a full-service restaurant with draught beer and excellent artisanal sausages.  This family-run business has a little more than just sausage on the menu, but the sausage is why you come here.  Outdoor seating.  105 S Garfield St / (503) 845-2322.  Open daily at 11:00 AM.

Mary’s Kitchen is a Mexican food restaurant that receives good reviews. 310 N Main St. (971) 404-8108. Open daily 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.

For something a little lighter, the Old Stone Coffee & Collectibles serves coffee, smoothies as well as light fare (seasonal salads).  95 N Main.  (503) 845-2151‎. Open Tuesday-Saturday 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM.

Silver Falls State Park

If you are riding to Silver Falls State Park, South Falls Café is in the Silver Falls Historic Lodge.  9:30 AM to 5:00 PM are typical opening hours but they can vary so, if you’re relying on it, it is a good idea to call ahead to check it will be open: 503.873.8681.

The State Park also makes a great picnic spot and has water.  The Park Office also has plenty of ideas for picnic sites, walks and swimming.

Points of Interest

Sights

The Oregon Garden is an 80-acre botanical garden, featuring more than 20 specialty gardens highlighting the diverse plant life found throughout the Pacific NW. Educational gardens are found throughout the grounds and include the Sensory Garden, the Pet-Friendly Garden, and Water Garden. There is also a 400-year-old Signature Oak (in the Oak Grove) and one of the largest collections of miniature conifers in the country (in the Conifer Garden). Stroll on your own, or board the complimentary narrated tram tour (Friday-Sunday only April 1-October) Admission is $14 for adults Friday and Saturday and $12 Sunday-Thursday. 879 W Main, Silverton. (503) 874-8100.  To get to the gardens from the center of town, ride southwest on Main St for one mile to the entrance.

Frank Lloyd Wright created some of the most innovative spaces in the United States and had a career that spanned seven decades before his death in 1959. The American Institute of Architects named him the “greatest American architect of all time.” The only home he built in Oregon, The Frank Lloyd Wright Gordon House, was one of his last Usonian homes. The design was based on a modern home commissioned by Life Magazine in 1938. Started in 1956 and incomplete at the time of his death, the Gordon House was completed in 1964. Guided tours run daily and are by reservation only, $20. 869 W Main, Silverton, next to The Oregon Garden. (503) 874-6006.

The Benedictine Brewery has a Tap Room that showcases the beer brewed by the monks of Mt. Angel.  They brew beer with water from their own well and hops that have grown on their land since the 1880’s.  The taproom is a little further along your route, after the Abbey, at 400 Humpert Lane NE. (971) 343-2772. “Taste and Believe.” Open 2:00 PM We & Th.  Opens 1:00 PM Fr & Sa.  Open 11:00 AM on Sunday.

Silver Falls State Park is the largest state park in Oregon and has more than 24 miles of walking trails, numerous waterfalls and swimming holes. The famous Trail of Ten Falls runs along the banks of Silver Creek along a rocky canyon through a densely forested landscape. The 7.2-mile loop is considered a moderate hike, with an overall elevation change of 800 feet.  Four of the ten falls have an amphitheater-like surrounding that allows the trail to pass behind the flow of the falls.  The most spectacular of the falls is South Falls with a 177-foot free fall. Call for information (800) 551-6949.

Stores

In Mt. Angel, the Mt Angel Market & Deli‎ is a general store with basics and a simple deli 395 North Main Street, Mt Angel.  (503) 845-9601.

Wineries en Route

There are no wineries en route though there is a tasting room in Silverton – see the Towns & Cities section of this guide.

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Cooper Spur to Hood River

Route Overview

Today you have the choice of riding anything from an easy cruise to a real epic. Whichever way you choose, you’ll enjoy some spectacular scenery on the slopes of Mount Hood.  All the routes end with a scenic ride through the Hood River Valley on low-traffic, rural roads that pass orchards and fruit farms.  The fruit stands make particularly good rest stops!

Mt.HoodIntermediate Route riders will take a transfer to Cooper Spur – a cluster of cabins at the base of the Mount Hood Ski area. From here you descend into the Hood River Valley past orchards, wineries and lavender farms. The area is famous for growing apples, pears, cherries, peaches and other fruits.

Riders on the Easiest Route will transfer to join the ride described above after the steepest part of the descent, in the small town of Parkdale. Parkdale is also a good place for lunch.

Challenge Route riders transfer up to Government Camp – a ski town at 4,000 feet. From here, you ride around the southern flanks of Mount Hood. The ride peaks at 4,600 feet before descending to join the Intermediate route at Cooper Spur.

Those wanting an Epic Route will transfer to Welches and ride all the way to Hood River; riding up Highway 26 to Government Camp and joining the Challenge route there.

Route Options

Easiest Route

You start with a van shuttle to Parkdale. This small town was founded in 1910 and is the terminus of the Mount Hood Railroad. This is a good spot to enjoy lunch before you continue to Hood River.

From Parkdale, you will descend on quiet lanes through the pastoral Hood River Valley down towards the spectacular Columbia River Gorge.  Hood River Valley is home to over 15,000 acres of farms, growing among other things, apples, pears, and some of the best cherries around.  Indeed, Hood River County is the world’s leading producer of Anjou pears.

Hood_River_ValleyThe roads will be mostly quiet, but there are limited shoulders and you will be crossing Hwy 35 from time to time. Along the way you will have the opportunity to visit fruit farms and wineries before reaching the outdoor-oriented town of Hood River.

Three miles before reaching Hood River, Panorama Point County Park is a short detour to an overlook. Views of Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams in Washington, and more than 15,000 acres of orchards and vineyards make this a popular spot for photographers. Interpretive signs offer geological history of the Hood River Valley.

Intermediate Route

This ride begins with a van shuttle to Cooper Spur. As you will start your ride with a descent from the base of a ski village, you may want to bring an extra layer for the first 10 miles of this ride.As you leave Cooper Spur, watch for gravel on the side of the road as you start descending straight away and the grade is a consistent 3% to 6% all the way to Parkdale.  The first 5 miles are under the trees after which you get your first sight of the orchards for which the valley is famous.  After a fast-and-easy ten miles, you arrive in Parkdale – and obvious place for lunch.  This is also where you join the Easiest Route to take you to Hood River, described above.

Challenge Route

This ride begins with a shuttle to the ski town of Government Camp. There are good spots here to gather a picnic lunch for the ride and perhaps enjoy a slice of Huckleberry pie!From Government Camp, you start the ride on Hwy 26, heading east.  This first two miles of highway is busy but there is a decent shoulder and you are going downhill, so it is over relatively quickly.  At the bottom of the hill, you turn on to the quieter Hwy 35 where you start a five-mile climb up to Bennett Pass at 4,650 feet.  A ten-mile rolling descent then takes you to the Cooper Spur Mountain Resort.

Cooper Spur is where you join the Intermediate Route for the ride down to Hood River.

Epic Route

This ride starts from Welches and goes all the way to Hood River – only for the most determined of riders.

From Welches, you ascend Hwy 26 for ten miles.  The road is busy but for the most part there is a reasonable shoulder.  For many, this is an unpleasant and unnecessary challenge best left to those that just cannot face the prospect of a van transfer.

After ten miles of grind, you arrive in Government Camp where you join the Challenge Route, described above, to Hood River.

Lunch

Broadly, your choices for lunch are: collect a sandwich in Government Camp and have a picnic lunch en route, eat at Cooper Spur Resort, stop in at Parkdale (10 miles north of Cooper Spur), or wait until you arrive into Hood River.

Government Camp

The best place for sandwiches is the High Mountain Bakery and Deli. The food is simple and portions generous. Options include filling sandwiches, soups and baked goods.  88335 Government Camp Loop Rd.  (503) 272-3059.   Located in the very center of town at the cross of Government Camp Loop Rd and E Blossom Trail.

The Govy General Store has basic picnic supplies.  30521 E. Meldrum St – on the LHS of Government Camp Loop Rd after the High Mountain Bakery and Deli.  (503) 272-3107.  Daily 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM

Huckleberry Inn is a 24-hour café that serves large portions of comfort food. They have several Huckleberry inspired dessert options, including their famous Huckleberry pie! 88611 Government Camp Loop Rd. (503) 272-3325.

Glacier Haus Bistro has delicious sandwiches and small lunch and dinner plates, plus pizza and coffee. 88817 Government Camp Loop. (503) 272-3471. Open Thursday-Sunday 12:00 – 9:00 PM.

Cooper Spur

The Crooked Tree Restaurant at Cooper Spur Mountain Resort is a nice restaurant in a rustic cabin serving the classic selection of soups, salads, sliders and wraps. (541) 352-6692.  Open daily from 11:30 AM.  Might be worth calling ahead as summer hours can be a little erratic.

Parkdale

The best food in Parkdale is at the Apple Valley BBQ.  They serve tasty and freshly made soups, salads, sandwiches and burgers as well as more substantial – and delicious – BBQ ribs and pulled pork lunch plates.  4956 Baseline Rd. (541) 352-3554 Open Wed thru Sun 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM.  Closed Mon & Tues.

Opposite the Apple Valley BBQ, the Solera Brewery serves its own craft beers as well as good pub food.  4945 Baseline Rd. (541) 352-5500. Thursday-Tuesday 12:00 – 10:00 PM, Closed Wednesday.

Blue Canoe Café is one of our favorite spots in Parkdale. In addition to sandwiches, soups, salads, and bowls, they also have fresh baked goods, full espresso bar, and beer and Kombucha on tap. 4946 Baseline Rd. (541) 325-8110. Friday-Sunday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Wednesday and Thursday until 3:00 PM, Closed Monday and Tuesday.

Picnic Spots en Route

If you plan to gather a picnic in Government Camp, there are several nice spots to enjoy your meal en route.

Draper Girls Country Farm has an excellent selection of local fruit as well as picnic tables and a good view of Mount Hood.  6200 OR-35.  (541) 490-8113.  On the LHS of Hwy 35, just after the Miller Rd turn – about 3 miles after Parkdale. Open 10am-6pm daily.

Panorama Point County Park has picnic tables and great views of Mount Hood.  A short climb off Eastside Rd; 16 miles after Parkdale.

Several the wineries and fruit farms also have picnic tables – see Sights for additional information.

Points of Interest

Stores

In Government Camp, The Govy General Store has basic supplies.  30521 E. Meldrum St – on the LHS of Government Camp Loop Rd after the High Mountain Café. Open daily from 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM. (503) 272-3107.

In Parkdale, McIsaacs Grocery is open 7 days per week and has a good selection of picnic items. 4990 Baseline Rd. (541) 352-6323.

Just north of Odell, the Hood River Lavender Farms (and store) sells soaps, gifts, teas, as well as 70 varieties of certified organic lavender.  There are also nice views of Mount Adams, Mount Hood and the Hood River Valley.  Pick your own or visit the store. 3823 Fletcher Dr, Hood River. Open mid-April through May from Thursday to Sunday, and June through October every day. 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM; Sun 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM. (541) 490-5657.

Wineries

The Hood River Valley isn’t widely known for wine productions but there are a few interesting wineries to stop in at, and a couple on today’s route.Fox-Tail Cider isn’t strictly a winery, as it produces hard ciders.  As well as tasting, you can learn about the production process and see generations of farm relics.  2965 Ehrck Hill Rd. Taproom open Daily 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM. (541) 716-0093.

Wy’East Vineyards grow their own Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay grapes. Their other varietals are sourced from other regional vineyards. They also have a patio with nice views for a great place to sip and enjoy a picnic.  After lunch, try your luck on the bocce courts.  3189 Hwy 35. Open Saturday and Sunday 12:00 – 5:00 PM. (541) 386-1277.

Mount Hood Winery is an attractive winery and tasting room with views of both Mount Hood and Mount Adams.  Award-winning wines include estate-grown Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Riesling.  2882 Van Horn Dr. Just a little off today’s route – take a left turn off Eastside Rd onto Van Horn Dr just after the white church.  Open daily from 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM. (541) 386-8333.

Fruit Stands and Farms

Kiyokawa Family Orchards & Fruit Farm specializes in growing over 100 varieties of apples and more than two dozen varieties of Asian and European pears.  They also sell jams, fresh cider and local honey.  5625 Hutson Dr.  (541) 352-7115.  From mid-July Mon to Fri 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.  Sat and Sun 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM.

Draper Girls Country Farm claims to have Hood River Valley’s only non-pasteurized apple cider mill – and both the apple and pear cider tastes great.  They also have a wide variety of fruit as well as picnic tables to enjoy it at.  Great views of Mount Hood are a bonus.  6200 Hwy 35.  (541) 490-8113.  Slightly off the route – if you DO NOT take the Miller Rd turn, then the farm is 100 yards further down Hwy 35 on LHS.  Open daily.

Packer Orchards & Bakery is a tasty combination of fresh fruit and a tasty bakery.  Sugar-free is their specialty; they use naturally sweet pears in all their baked good.  They also have fruit smoothies and milk shakes.  They often have free samples.  Small picnic area.  3940 Hwy 35.  (541) 234-4481.  Off the route a little – on LHS of Hwy 35 if you take a right turn down Hwy 35 after Booth Hill Rd.  Daily 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM. (July-October)Packer_orchard

Smiley’s Red Barn is a family business with a range of fruit from the valley including cherries, peaches, pears, and apples.  They also have some interesting old farm relics and six generations of family pictures.  2965 Ehrck Hill Rd.  (541) 386-5989.  Just north of Fox Tail Cider at the corner of Hwy 35 and Ehrck Hill Rd.  Daily 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.

The Fruit Company is one of the larger, more commercial establishments with a wide range of fruit and gift packages.  They also have interactive displays and you are welcome to take a self-guided tour through the “Remembering Our Roots” exhibit.  2900 Van Horn Dr.  (541) 387-3100.  A left turn off Eastside Rd just after the white church – next door to Mt Hood Winery.  Mon to Fri 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Closed Saturdays & Sundays.


Timberline Lodge

Five miles above Government Camp, up a twisting climb, Timberline Lodge is something of a local icon.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated Timberline Lodge on September 28, 1937. In his remarks, he commented on the reasons for the project:

“This Timberline Lodge marks a venture that was made possible by WPA [the Works Progress Administration program of the Great Depression], emergency relief work, in order that we may test the workability of recreational facilities installed by the Government itself and operated under its complete control.  Here, to Mount Hood, will come thousands and thousands of visitors in the coming years. Looking east toward eastern Oregon… Those who will follow us to Timberline Lodge on their holidays and vacations will represent the enjoyment of new opportunities for play in every season of the year.”

Now a National Historic Landmark, Timberline Lodge is an impressive combination of rustic stone and massive timber sitting at an elevation of 6,000 feet. It has accommodation, restaurants, and is at the center of a medium-sized ski area.  In film, it has served as the exterior of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining.

Very keen riders can ride up the Timberline Highway to visit the lodge but be prepared to climb 2,000 feet in five miles.  This will also get you to the snowline, so bring an extra layer.

Climbing Mount Hood

If riding around the slopes of the majestic Mount Hood makes you want to climb this classic volcano, here are some facts and figures.

At 11,250 feet, Mount Hood is Oregon’s highest peak.  All routes to the peak should be considered “technical” and require the use of ropes, ice axe and crampons.  The accessibility of the peak – a road takes you to 6,000 feet – tempt many prepared and some not-so-prepared alpinists every year.  It is often cited as the second most climbed glaciated peak after Mount Fuji with around 10,000 people attempting the climb each year.

Sadly, 130 climbers have died on these slopes.  Deceptive weather patterns – not avalanches – cause most problems.  Calm weather can quickly change to sustained winds of 60 mph, visibility can drop suddenly from hundreds of miles to an arm’s length, and climbers can experience 60 °F temperature drops in less than an hour after leaving Timberline Lodge.

95% of Mount Hood climbs occur April through July.  There are several outfitters in Government Camp which can supply guides and equipment including Timberline Mountain Guides, (541) 312-9242; Northwest School of Survival, (503) 668-8264.

The mountain is also used as a summer training ground for the US Ski Team as Mount Hood’s glaciers offer year-round skiing.

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Hood River & Stevenson

Route Overview

You spend the first part of the day riding out of Hood River, venturing into the Hood River Valley, and then transfer to Stevenson at the end of the day.Mt._Hood

Strong riders doing the Intermediate Route will ride up the east side of the Hood River Valley to Parkdale, which makes a good lunch stop.  From here you head back down the west side of the valley. On this route you pass many fruit farms, some wineries and a lavender farm. The ride is known locally as the Fruit Loop for its many farm stands.

The Easiest Route will follow the ride described above but turn around at the town of Odell. This is a shortened version of the Fruit Loop. The Apple Valley Country Store makes a good stop for berry milk shakes.

The Challenge Route heads up the slopes of Mount Hood to the aptly named Lost Lake. On this ride you climb on car-free National Forest Development Roads and through countryside little changed since Lewis and Clark came exploring here.

Route Options

Easiest Route

Broadly, you climb up for the first half of the ride and have a rolling descent for the return leg.  While Mount Hood dominates the backdrop, pear orchards and vineyards provide the scenery.  As you might expect, the wineries and fruit stands also provide great picnic stops.

If you rode from Welches to Hood River on a previous day, the start of this route repeats the last 8 miles of that ride – albeit in the opposite direction.  If you didn’t have a chance to stop by the wineries and fruit stands, this is a great opportunity to do so.  There are even hard cider tastings.

After heading east out of Hood River and a short section on Hwy 35, you ride south on the east side of the Hood River Hood_riverValley and then cut across to the western side of the valley at the town of Odell.  The Apple Valley Country Store (see Lunch Options) is a couple of miles after Odell.  From here, you cross the river (Hood River) and meander back to the town of Hood River through the neighborhoods.

Places of interest that are on, or near, your route include:

  • Mount Hood Winery
  • The Fruit Company
  • Wy’east Vineyards
  • Fox Tail Cider
  • Packer Orchards
  • Hood River Lavender
  • Hiyu Wine Farm
  • Phelps Creek Vineyards

See Fruit Stands and Wineries below for more details about these points of interest.

Intermediate Route

This ride is an extension of the Easiest Route – described above.  Choose this route if you want more miles, climbing and scenery than the Easiest Route.  Most of the sights and points of interest are the same for both rides.

Follow the Easiest Route, above, into Odell where you head south for a 3-mile climb. The Hood River Lavender Farms, a nice picnic spot, is one mile up on your right. After the lavender farm you continue climbing and cross Hwy 35.

Rolling hills and quiet lanes make up the ride from the lavender farm to Parkdale.  Parkdale has good lunch options if you want to eat after completing most of the ride’s climbing.

Much of the return ride follows the west fork of the Hood River along Dee Hwy, a tree-lined road that leads past orchards, farmland and wineries before you reach town.

In addition to the points of interest on the Easiest Route, you also pass near the Draper Girls Country Farm – see Fruit Stands, below.

Challenge Route

This ride is all about climbing – almost 30 miles of continuous climbing on the way out and much the same, in reverse, on the way back.

This ride heads south from town along the west side of the Hood River Valley.  Six miles after passing the Apple Valley Country Store (the last store before the summit), you strike out to the west up the southern slopes of Mount Hood.  FromLost_Lake mile 17 to 30 you are on isolated-but-beautiful, forest service roads.  At times, the road is little more than two stripes of tarmac separated by a strip of grass.  The gradient steepens up to 10% towards the tops of the climb but it is the length of the climb rather than the steepness that is the challenge.

At the midway point and summit, you reach Lost Lake – an alpine lake where you often see Mount Hood reflected in the tranquil waters.  There is also a small campground here with a cluster of cabins and a basic store selling drinks, snacks and fishing tackle.

After Lost Lake, you descend on a smoother road, though the road is prone to gravel and heat-damage, so you should consider this a technical descent and ride with caution.  As you would expect, the descent passes relatively quickly and you are soon meandering back through the neighborhoods of Hood River.

NOTE: once you leave Hwy 281, this ride is quite isolated, so make sure you are confident riding independently and have enough water and snacks for a long ride.

Lunch

Where you lunch will depend on your route.  Gathering a picnic lunch before leaving Hood River to enjoy at a winery or fruit stand, is also an option. Carry plenty of water and snacks, if you are riding to Lost Lake.

Hood River

Boda’s Kitchen is an upscale deli with sandwiches, case items, wine and dessert. Gather a picnic lunch here! 404 Oak St. (541) 386-9876. Open daily 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM.

For organic choices, Mother’s Marketplace is an organic health food store on the far east end of town with a juice bar and deli. 106 OR-35. (541) 387-2202. Closed Saturday, Open 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM Sunday-Friday.

Parkdale

The best food in Parkdale is at the Apple Valley BBQ.  They serve tasty and freshly made soups, salads, sandwiches and burgers as well as more substantial – and delicious – BBQ ribs and pulled pork lunch plates.  4956 Baseline Rd. (541) 352-3554 Open Wed thru Sun 11:00 Am to 8:00 PM.  Closed Mon & Tues.

Opposite the Apple Valley BBQ, the Solera Brewery serves its own craft beers as well as good pub food.  4945 Baseline Rd. (541) 352-5500. Thursday-Tuesday 12:00 – 10:00 PM, Closed Wednesday.

Blue Canoe Café is one of our favorite spots in Parkdale. In addition to sandwiches, soups, salads, and bowls, they also have fresh baked goods, full espresso bar, and beer and Kombucha on tap. 4946 Baseline Rd. (541) 325-8110. Friday-Sunday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Wednesday and Thursday until 3:00 PM, Closed Monday and Tuesday.

Other

Apple Valley Country Store is not really a lunch stop but they do have coffee, berry milk shakes and baked goods.  They also have 50 jams, jellies and syrups that they make in their canning kitchen.  Located on Hwy 281 just south of Odell at  2363 Tucker Rd.  (541) 386-1971.  9:00 AM to 6:00 PM daily.

Carson

Crosscut Espresso and Deli has sandwiches and quick grab items as well as ice cream and espresso. 1252 Wind River Hwy. (509) 427-4407 Open daily until 4:30 PM.

Points of Interest

Fruit Stands

Listed in the order you will pass (or pass near) them on the Easiest Route.

The Fruit Company is one of the larger, more commercial establishments with a wide range of fruit and gift packages.hood_riverThey also have interactive displays and you are welcome to take a self-guided tour through the “Remembering Our Roots” exhibit.  2900 Van Horn Dr.  (541) 387-3100.  A right turn off Eastside Rd just after the white church – next door to Mt Hood Winery.  Mon-Fri 7am-5pm. Closed Saturdays & Sundays.

Smiley’s Red Barn is a family business with a range of fruit from the valley including cherries, peaches, pears, and apples.  They also have some interesting old farm relics and six generations of family pictures.  2965 Ehrck Hill Dr.  (541) 386-5989.  Just north of Fox Tail Cider at the corner of Hwy 35 and Ehrck Hill Dr.  Daily 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Packer Orchards & Bakery is a tasty combination of fresh fruit and a tasty bakery.  Sugar-free is their specialty; they use naturally sweet pears in all their baked good.  They also have fruit smoothies, milk shakes.  They often have free samples.  Small picnic area.  3900 Hwy 35.  (541) 234-4481.  Off the route a little – on west side of Hwy 35 just north of Sunday Dr.  Wed-Sat 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Draper Girls Country Farm claims to have Hood River Valley’s only non-pasteurized apple cider mill – and both the apple and pear cider tastes great.  They also have a wide variety of fruit as well as picnic tables to enjoy it at.  Great views of Mount Hood are a bonus.  6200 Hwy 35.  (541) 490-8113.  Slightly off the route on Hwy 35 near Woodworth Rd – see Map for exact location.  Open daily.

Wineries

The Hood River Valley isn’t widely known for wine production but there are a few interesting wineries to stop in at – listed in the order you will pass (or pass near) them on the Easiest Route.

Mount Hood Winery is an attractive winery and tasting room with views of both Mount Hood and Mount Adams.  Award-winning wines include estate-grown Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Riesling.  2882 Van Horn Dr. Just a little off today’s route – take a right turn off Eastside Rd onto Van Horn Dr just after the white church.  Open daily 11am-5pm. (541) 386-8333.

Wy’East Vineyards grow their own Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay grapes.  Other varietals they source from other regional vineyards.  They also have a patio with nice views – a great place to sip and enjoy a picnic.  After lunch, try your luck on the bocce courts.  3189 Hwy 35. Open daily 11am-5pm. (541) 386-1277.

Fox-Tail Cider isn’t strictly a winery as it also produces hard ciders.  As well as tasting, you can learn about the production process and see generations of farm relics.  2965 Ehrck Hill Rd. Taproom open daily 11am-6pm. (541) 716-0093.

Hiyu Wine Farm is a bio-diverse smallholding with animals, gardens and vines.  Each weekend they host a winemaker’s lunch.  In the afternoon, they continue to offer wine tastings with snacks from their kitchen.  Lunches must be booked in advance at www.hiyuwinefarm.com.  Located close to the Apple Valley Country Store at 3890 Acree Drive.  541-436-4680.  Lunch from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM, tastings from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM.  Sat and Sun only.

Phelps Creek Vineyards is located in the middle of the Hood River Golf Course.  They feature wines produced from our nearby Estate-grown grapes including a popular dessert wine.  If you are tasting, you are welcome to enjoy your picnic lunch on their patio.  1850 Country Club Rd. Open Noon-5pm daily. (541) 386-2607.

Other Farms

For something a little less fruity, try the Hood River Lavender Farm.  As well as 70 varieties of certified organic lavender there are great views of Mount Adams and Mount Hood, and the Hood River Valley.  Pick your own or visit the store.  3801 Straight Hill Rd – see map. Open Wed-Sat 10am-5pm; Sun 11am-5pm. (541) 354-9917.

Other Activities

See Hood River in the Towns  & Cities section of this guidebook for details of things to do in Hood River including water sports and wine tasting.

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Stevenson to Troutdale

Route Overview

You return to Oregon for the final leg of your journey; crossing the Gorge on the impressive Bridge of the Gods (see box below for more about this river crossing).

The Intermediate Route follows the Historic Columbia River Gorge Highway. This starts as a bike path through forests bridge_of_the_godsand then becomes a quiet lane that passes many waterfalls: Moffett, Horsetail, Bridal Veil, Latourell and Multnomah Falls. At 620 feet, Multnomah Falls are the highest in the state and can be seen from the road. There is also a short hike up to a viewing bridge. After the falls, a beautiful twisting lane brings you to Crown Point. This imposing bluff stands over 700 feet above the river “guarding” the entrance to the Gorge – a great place to snap an iconic photograph before descending into Troutdale to meet your guide for your end-of-tour transfer.

Riders on the Easiest Route follow the Intermediate route to the Multnomah Falls where the ride ends. Here you can either hike up to the falls or enjoy lunch at the historic lodge before being collected by your guide.

We have a route that takes you all the way into Portland, for those looking for an Epic urban Route to end their tour. This route takes you right through the heart of the Gorge on a combination of bike paths and quiet roads.

Route Options

Easiest Route

You begin your ride today by crossing the Bridge of the Gods to Cascade Locks.  This Meccano-style bridge dates to 1926 and the roadway is made of open steel grating giving you a clear view down to the water 140 feet below.  [Those suffering from severe vertigo might want to contact their guide to understand different options.]

Once across the river, and back in Oregon, you head west on the tree-covered Historic Columbia River Highway (HCRH) multonomah_fallsbike path.  Despite tracking the interstate highway, the trail is peaceful and meandering.

En route you pass the Cascade Fish Hatchery, which has a simple self-guided tour of the facility. Immediately past the hatchery, there is a long stairway with a wheel-groove for your bike.  A little further west brings you to the Bonneville Dam.  Soon after Bonneville Dam the bike path ends, and the HCRH follows Route 30, a quiet backroad that links together a series of waterfalls.  In this section, you pass Horsetail Falls.  The ride ends at Multnomah Falls, where your guide will meet your agreed time.

The falls are visible from the road but if you want to get closer, there is an easy walk up to a bridge that crosses over the falls.  There is also a mostly paved trail of 1½ miles to the top of the falls.

See Sights below for additional information about landmarks along this route.

Intermediate Route

This ride follows the Easiest Route to Multnomah Falls.

Multnomah Falls is a good place for a rest or to stop for lunch.  From Multnomah Falls, the road continues a gentle ascent Columbia_river_gorgepassing Bridal Veil and Latourell Falls before beginning a more serious, two-mile-540-feet climb up to Crown Point Vista House (see Points of Interest, below).

After Vista House, you climb one final mile before beginning a rolling ten-mile descent into Troutdale.

There is nothing particularly remarkable about Troutdale but it’s a pleasant enough place to end a spectacular ride from the Bridge of the Gods to the entry-point of the Columbia River Gorge.

See Sights below for additional information about landmarks along this route.

Challenge Route

This ride follows the Intermediate Route to Troutdale.

As you leave Troutdale, the first mile is quite busy: please use caution as there will also be truck traffic in this area.  After about 1½ miles, you entre a bike path and things get a lot quieter.  You follow the bike path for the next 12 miles, briefly re-entering roadways with full bike lanes.  The bike path skirts alongside the Columbia River – very wide at this point – and passes Portland’s PDX Airport ten miles along the path.

After passing the airport, you turn south and ride into Portland first past golf courses and then through the neighborhood.  Near the end of the ride, you cross the Willamette River on the red-painted Broadway Bridge before arriving in Portland’s “living room,” Pioneer Courthouse Square.  As you would expect, you see more traffic as you get closer to the center of the city.

Lunch

Multnomah Falls

The Historic Multnomah Falls Lodge at the base of Multnomah Falls is a pleasant lunch spot in an historic building. – at the base of the spectacular falls  Options include mac & cheese and fish and chips as well as healthier options such as salads and roasted salmon.  (503) 695-2376.

Troutdale

With an early start, you could also lunch in Troutdale.  Your best bet is Troutini, which offers gourmet burgers and specialty sandwiches. Chef Nick is a true artist! Open by 11am Tuesday-Sunday (Closed Monday) (503) 912-1462.

The Troutdale General Store has respectable soups, salads and sandwiches close to the end of your ride at 289 E Historic Columbia River Hwy.  (503) 492-7912.

Points of Interest

Waterfalls

Waterfalls, in order of their appearance, are:

Horsetail Falls

Horsetail Falls is one of the most scenic points along the Historic Columbia River Highway, making it a popular spot for tourists and sightseers.  The falls drop 176′ in a single horsetail formation into a roadside pool.  It’s common for spray from the falls to blow over the highway and onto passing cyclists.  There are picnic tables but no other facilities.  There is also a short hike to Upper Horsetail Falls, where the trail goes behind the base of the Falls.

Multnomah Falls

At 620 feet this is the second highest year-round waterfall in the United States – and the highest in Oregon.  Despite the large number of visitors this is an impressive sight and well worth the short walk up the trail to the viewing point.  For a longer walk you can take the 1½-mile circular trail that leads you around to the top of the falls.  The Historic Multnomah Falls Lodge at the base of the falls offers information, exhibitions, food and restrooms.

Bridal Veil Falls

These falls take a little more work to get to as the viewing area is up a steep ½-mile trail. The falls consists of two cascades in quick succession along angled rock faces.  In high flow, the plumes of spray make it look like – you guessed it – a bride’s veil.

Latourell Falls

The last major falls on the route, Latourell Falls, are just before Crown Point.  There is just a short walk to the lower falls, as well as a steeper hike to the upper falls.  During the summer, the sun glinting off the falls can be quite stunning.

Other Sights

The Bridge of the Gods is a 1,858-foot long steel truss bridge spanning the Columbia River at Cascade Locks. First built in 1926, the bridge is named after a much larger Bridge of the Gods that covered a part of the Columbia River in about 1450 AD. See box below to read about the Legend of the Bridge of the Gods.

The Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery are adjacent to one another and are free to visit. The dam was built and is managed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. There is a fish viewing window where you can see salmon climbing the fish ladder; bypassing the dam and following their migratory course upstream.  Fish are most abundant from April through September. The Bonneville Hatchery is Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s largest hatchery facility and has a diverse fish production program. It is used for adult collection, egg incubation and rearing of Tule fall Chinook, and adult collection and spawning of Coho Salmon. Feed Trout, visit Sturgeon ponds, and learn through interactive displays. There is also a gift shop. 70543 NE Herman Loop (541) 374-8393. Open daily by 9:00 AM.

The final site along the Columbia River Gorge section is Crown Point Vista House.  This is one of the most scenic Columbia_river_gorgeviewpoints along the Historic Columbia River Highway.  The Crown Point Vista House was built in 1916 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Need a bathroom break?  Vista House has been dubbed “the $100,000 Outhouse” with a marble interior and brass fixtures.

The Epic ride ends at Pioneer Courthouse Square.  This land was originally bought in 1849 by Elijah Hill, a shoemaker. He paid $24 and a pair of boots. Later the Portland School Board purchased the site and opened Central School, Portland’s first real schoolhouse, in 1858. It was moved to an adjoining street in 1883 to make way for the Portland Hotel which occupied the site from 1890-1951. The elegant hotel was torn down and for the next 30 years the site was a parking lot. In 1979, the City acquired the block from Meier & Frank Company who donated $500,000 toward creating an open space. In 1980, a national design competition was held to select a design team. The winning team was led by Portland architect Will Martin, who died in a plane crash not long after the square was dedicated. Located across from its namesake, the historic Pioneer Courthouse, Pioneer Courthouse Square officially opened April 6, 1984, sharing Portland’s 133rd birthday. Today, the one-block space is officially known as Portland’s Living Room.

Stores

Walgreen’s Pharmacy: 25699 SE Stark St, Troutdale.  (503) 665-9766.


The Legend of the Bridge of the Gods

The Bridge of the Gods was a natural dam created by the Bonneville Slide, a major landslide that dammed the Columbia River near present-day Cascade Locks around 1450 CE.  The river eventually breached the bridge and washed much of it away, but the event is remembered in the legends of the local Native Americans.

Native Americans may have been able to cross the river on the dam.  Although no one knows how long it took, the Columbia River eventually broke through the dam and washed away most of the debris, forming the Cascade Rapids.

Native American lore – as told by the Klickitats – tells that the chief of all the gods, Tyhee Saghalie and his two sons, Pahto and Wy’east, traveled down the Columbia River from the Far North in search of a suitable area to settle.  They came upon an area that is now called The Dalles and thought they had never seen a land so beautiful.  The sons quarreled over the land and to solve the dispute their father shot two arrows from his mighty bow; one to the north and the other to the south.  Pahto followed the arrow to the north and settled there while Wy’east did the same for the arrow to the south.  Saghalie then built Tanmahawis, the Bridge of the Gods, so his family could meet periodically.

When the two sons of Saghalie both fell in love with a beautiful maiden named Loowit, she could not choose between them.  The two young chiefs fought over her, burying villages and forests in the process.  The area was devastated, and the earth shook so violently that the huge bridge fell into the river, creating the Cascades Rapids of the Columbia River Gorge.

For punishment, Saghalie struck down each of the lovers and transformed them into great mountains where they fell.  Wy’east, with his head lifted in pride, became the volcano known today as Mount Hood and Pahto, with his head bent toward his fallen love, was turned into Mount Adams.  The fair Loowit became Mount St. Helens, known to the Klickitats as Louwala-Clough which means “smoking mountain” or “fire mountain”.

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Safety and Enjoyment

Your safety is our first priority and should be yours, too! Here, we share some ideas on helping you get the most from your cycling tour – safely and while having fun.

Riding Safely

We have a few simple rules we ask you to follow:

    1. Always wear a cycle helmet fastened securely while cycling.
    2. Do not ride at night or in the dim light of dawn or dusk.
    3. Ride in single file and with the direction of traffic.
    4. Carry identification, details of your medical/travel insurance and emergency contact details.
    5. Sign an accident waiver indicating you are fit to ride and understand the risks.
    6. All cyclists under 16 years of age:
      • Must wear a florescent safety triangle or high visibility clothing.
      • Need to be accompanied by an adult over the age of 21 who is responsible for their safety at all times while cycling.

Daily Bike Checks

Your rental bikes are checked and tuned before every trip.  However, it is useful to do some regular checks just to keep things running smoothly. These checks should take less than five minutes to do.  Of course, if you’re in any doubt or have any concerns, give us a call and we’ll have a guide come out to you.  If they can’t fix a problem they’ll arrange for a new bike.

Brakes: 

  • Do both brake levers engage the brakes smoothly?  This test is best performed first on a stationary bike and then on a moving bike.
  • Are the shoes spaced evenly on either side of the wheel and the brake blocks close to but not rubbing on the wheel rims?
  • Are cables OK – not frayed – and under tension?

Handlebars & stem:

  • Check alignment – does the wheel point forward when the handlebars point forward?
  • Holding front wheel between legs check for lateral movement when flexing/twisting handlebars.
  • With front brake engaged, move bike back and forth to check for any rocking.  If there is movement, the headset may need tightening.

Gear changing.  This check is easily done as you set out at the start of your ride:

  • Check all front gears engage/change smoothly
  • Check all rear gears engage/change smoothly
  • Are cables OK – not frayed?

Chain:

  • If you’ve been riding in rain or on wet roads, you may want to wipe off your chain and apply a little lube the night before.  In the morning, run a clean rag over the chain to remove any excess oil.
  • But don’t overdo it; an over-oiled chain just attracts dirt.

Wheels & tires:

  • Inflate front & back tires to recommended tire pressure which should be written on the side.
  • Check front & rear wheels spin smoothly with little friction or noise and are true (no wobbles).
  • Check there are no loose or broken spokes in either wheel.
  • Check tires including sidewalls for cuts or other damage.
  • Check tires for any foreign bodies embedded in the tires and remove / replace tires as needed.
  • Are the quick-release mechanisms secure, correctly engaged and pointing backwards?

Frame:

  • Check for cracks and alignment in the frame, the headset & the handlebars – especially if you accidentally dropped the bike.
  • Pay extra attention and feel for problems in carbon forks and carbon rear stays where fitted.
  • General check for any loose parts.

Riding Safely

Here are our favorite top tips to help you have a safe trip.

  1. Ride predictably in smooth lines and avoid weaving or wobbling. When you stop – for example to check your map – we recommend that you move off the road. The more people there are in your group, the more important this becomes.
  2. Stay alert, be aware and anticipate; anticipate what other vehicles will do, anticipate what gear you will need to be in after you stop and anticipate the approaching road surface – do you need to avoid gravel, potholes or broken glass? Should you dismount to cross railroad tracks?  [FACT: 50% of urban accidents happen solo.  That is, people just fall off of their own accord.  A little anticipation would work wonders here.]
  3. Be as visible as you can be. Our fluorescent triangles are available to all guests and we recommend that riders of all standards wear them.  [When riding with our florescent triangles, we have noticed that cars give us a noticeably wider berth as they pass by.]
  4. Choose a safe riding position on the road. Stay as close as is safe to the right-hand side of the road as possible but do not be cowed into a dangerous riding position.  For example, avoid riding on grit, or dangerously broken pavement or where you are at risk of being hit by an opening car door.
  5. Obey the law. Drivers will give cyclist more respect, and you are far safer, if you obey all the traffic laws – including stopping at stop signs, riding on the right-hand side of the road and not riding under the influence of alcohol.  [FACT: 10% of ‘cyclist at fault’ accidents are caused by cyclist using the wrong side of the road.]
  6. Ride assertively but defensively. At intersections, make eye contact with drivers.  Assertive riding is easier for drivers to predict, but cars are bigger and harder than we are, so we always try to avoid getting into confrontations with them.  [FACT: 63% of cyclist collisions occur at intersections.  The most common cause of accidents, where the driver is at fault, is the driver’s failure to yield the right of way.]
  7. Check out your bike and make sure you are confident that it is roadworthy. Everyday check brakes, tires, quick release mechanisms, pedals and headsets.  Everything should fit snuggly and move smoothly.  Whether you are riding your own or a rented bike, the roadworthiness of that bike is your responsibility.

7 Habits of Highly Effective Cyclists

[Apologies to Stephen Covey]

As well as having a safe tour, we are keen for you to enjoy cycling and achieve a real sense of accomplishment.  This is likely to include riding within your limits and not exhausting yourself before lunch.  Here are some thoughts on how to stay happy on your bike.

  1. Eat before you are hungry. Even moderate cycling burns around 300 calories per hour so eat plenty of snacks such as power bars or trail mix.  We need to eat in enough time to allow our bodies to process the food and get the fuel to our legs before the fuel gauge reaches on empty.  Recovering from a fuel deficit is very difficult and will leave you tired for the rest of the day.  So, indulge yourself.  [Everybody’s metabolism is different, but when riding extended distances, it is typical to need to eat something every 45 minutes.  A nice big bowl of pasta the night before and a carbohydrate rich breakfast in the morning also help.]
  2. Drink before you are thirsty. It can get very hot on the bike in this area.  As you sweat, you will lose both water and essential salts.  You will not notice the effects until it is too late.  Drink plenty of water before you start to ride and then take regular sips en route.  [A good target is to drink either water or a sports drink at least every 30 minutes.]
  3. Ride at a pace that feels comfortable. Even when climbing hills, it is good practice to be able to keep a conversation going without being out of breath.  This means changing down to a low gear, keeping your cadence high and taking things easy.  If you are a slow rider riding with fitter friends, have them ride at your pace rather than you struggling to keep up with them.  This will also help them avoid sore legs the next day.
  4. The sun can get very intense, especially in the middle of the day so keep your shirt on and use a high factor sunscreen. [Watch for being burned through the gaps in your cycle helmet.  Many of the best helmets have extra wide gaps for better ventilation.  A bandana under the helmet can make all the difference.]
  5. Relax and change your hand position regularly. This helps avoid shoulder cricks or back aches.  Drop handlebars are better for being able to do this than straight handlebars.
  6. Check your bike. A sticking brake or skipping gear stops you relaxing and can be dangerous.  If you are unsure, talk to your guide, who will be happy to help you check things out if you have a concern.
  7. Smile, you are on vacation!

Seat Height Adjustment

Seat height adjustment is more craft than science.  The most important thing is that you feel safe and confident on the bike.  However, getting your saddle to the right height will also help you stay comfortable on longer rides, avoid saddle sores and conserve your energy while you pedal.

Bike fitters can spend hours getting your fit just right, but here are some simple rules of thumb.

  1. Stand and hold or prop yourself up against a wall.
  2. Position the pedals so the pedal cranks are vertical (one pedals at 12 o’clock and one pedal at 6 o’clock).
  3. Get on your bike and place your feet on the pedals. Move your foot so that your heel is on the pedal at 6 o’clock.
  4. When your seat is at the correct height, your leg (of the foot at 6 o’clock) should be straight but your knee shouldn’t be locked (technically, there should be a 25-30-degree flexion in the knee when the pedal is at the bottom most point).

If your seat is too low, it will make it harder to pedal and you may get knee pain at the front of the knee.  Too high and your hips will go from side to side which will make you tend to ride in too high a gear and you may develop pain at the back of your knees.

Saddle Sores

Saddle sores are the great unmentioned subject of cycling.  However, if you have not been riding much recently and start doing a lot of miles on a bike, you may well become just a little too familiar with this phenomenon.

To prevent sores, it’s helpful to know what they are.  Definition: A saddle sore is a skin ailment on the buttocks due to, or exacerbated by, riding on a bicycle saddle.  It often develops in three stages: skin abrasion, folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicles) and, finally, abscess.  If it’s not obvious from the definition, it is better to stop the sores in the early stages than try and treat it in the final stage.

The best cure of all is to not get them in the first place.  The best way not to get them is to gradually build up your riding mileage and get used to your bike seat.  Doing rides before you come on the trip will help with this.  Other good preventative measures include:

  • Reducing the friction due to bobbing or swinging motion while pedaling, by setting the appropriate saddle height – see above.
  • If you have a favorite saddle, bring it along and we’ll fit it to your rental bike.
  • Wearing good cycling shorts, with a high-quality chamois insert.
  • Use petroleum jelly, chamois cream or lubricating gel on the chamois to further reduce friction.
  • Do not sit around in damp bike shorts after your ride and thoroughly wash and dry the affected area.
  • A friend who guides extreme mountain biking trips in the Colorado Rockies swears by putting hemorrhoid cream on the affected area. If all else fails, it’s worth a try!

There are pharmacies in all the main towns you’ll stay in if you need medical treatment.  Our primary message would be, if you think you have them, don’t ignore them.

Fixing a Flat

Of course, we hope you won’t ever need this skill – but just in case here is a checklist for fixing a flat – or repairing a puncture in your tyre as the English would say!  If it seems as though there are a lot of steps, you may be reassured by the fact we have seen all these steps completed in just over a minute

Remove the wheel. Sounds simple, but a couple of hints might make this easier.

  • If it’s the rear wheel, first put the chain on the smallest cog. This makes it easier to remove and replace the wheel.
  • Undo the quick release.
  • If it’s the front wheel, you will need to unscrew the quick release a little to get it over the lips on the fork – they’re known as lawyers’ lips!
  • You may have to loosen the brakes a little to get the tire past the brake blocks if there is still some air in the tires. On hybrid bikes this usually means squeezing the brake calipers together and unhitching the cable.  On road bikes there is usually a release mechanism on the caliper itself (or on the brake lever).
  • For the back wheel, you may need to ease back the derailleur a little before the wheel just drops out under gravity.

Let the air out of the tire.

  • For Presta valves, loosen the small nut at the top of the valve and press down.
  • For Schrader valves (like the valves on car tires) press the tip of a tool or stick onto the valve tip.

Before doing anything else, spin the wheel to see if you can find out what caused the flat. If you find it, either remove it now or mark it so you can remove it when you remove the tire.

If you’re very lucky, you’ll now be able to ease the tire off the rim with your bare hands. But to do this you may well need bear’s hands. Alternatively, you’ll need to use tire levers (irons):

  1. Insert the curved end of two tire levers under the edge of the tire about two spokes apart.
  2. Lever back the first tire lever to take the tire off the rim being careful not to pinch the inner tube and so add an extra hole to patch! Hook the free end of the lever around a spoke.  This leaves your hands free to lever back the second tire lever.
  3. Keeping the hooked lever stationary work the other lever around the tire until one side of the tire is completely removed from the rim but leaving the other side still seated on the rim. If a tire is very tight, you may need to engage a third lever.  When the third is in place, the middle one can be removed and re-inserted farther over.
  4. Remove the valve stem of the inner tube first then pull the rest of the inner tube from the tire. Try to keep the inner tube oriented with the tire so that when you find the hole you can navigate back to the same point in the tire and double check that what caused the flat isn’t still embedded.
  5. Look over the external and inside of the tire for damage and embedded debris. Remove any objects.  Then run your finger around the inside of the tire (carefully!) to detect any glass or thorns.  As a final check, inflate the tube and locate the puncture hole.  Check the tire at the corresponding place to ensure the offending object has been removed.  If you skip this step or are just a bit sloppy you may have another flat five minutes after getting back on your bike!
  6. Hopefully, you have a spare tube that your nice tour company gave you at the start of your ride. If not you’ll need to repair the hole in the old tube using a patch kit.
  7. Place some air in the new (or repaired) tube – just enough to give it some shape. Insert the valve stem on the tube into the valve hole in the wheel and then ease the rest of the tube into the tire.  Then ease the tire wall so the tube is sitting in line with the wheel not hanging outside of the wheel.

Now the tricky part.  Starting at the valve, work the tire back onto the rim using your thumbs or the muscle in the palm just under the thumb (actually the abductor pollicis brevis though knowing this won’t help you get the tire back on).  If the last section is hard to get on, try these things:

  • Ensure that the tire that is inside of the wheel is sitting well into the rim.
  • Hold the wheel horizontally against your stomach with the section of wheel without the tire on furthest away from you. Then use your abductor pollicis brevises to roll the tire onto the rim.
  • If none of this helps, use tire levers to work the bead onto the rim. However, if you resort to this there is a real risk of pinching the inner tube and creating another hole and being back to Step 4 above!

Inflate the tire.

As you inflate ensure that the tire is sitting evenly in the wheel.  If not, let out a little wire and reseat the tire in the rim.

When inflated, spin the wheel to ensure there are no bulges or wobbles. If there are, deflate the tire, reseat the tire on the rim and re-inflate.

Replace the wheel. (This is pretty much the reverse of Step 1.)

  • If you didn’t need to loosen the brakes to get the deflated wheel off, you may find you need to do it now to get it back on. A tap with the palm of your hand can also do the trick to ease the tire past the brake blocks.  DON’T FORGET TO RETIGHTEN THE BRAKES BEFORE HEADING OFF!
  • If it’s the front wheel, you will need to retighten the quick release a little after getting it over the fork lips before reengaging the quick release. The pressure needed to close the quick release should be enough to leave a small mark on the palm of your hand but not so much you need to apply all your strength and all the strength of your cycling partner to close it.
  • For the back wheel, you may need to ease back the derailleur a little before the wheel drops into place.

My Customized Itinerary

If you’ve made it this far, there’s likely an Oregon cycling trip in your future. We’d love to create the perfect custom itinerary for you! Please submit your request below for a no-obligation personalized cycling vacation to be created for you.

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