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34 Days Through the Western United States and Canada
34 Days Through the Western United States and Canada
13,000 Miles Beyond Incredible
Published by Helmetdance
Page 23

Day 19 – Wednesday August 17th
Coos Bay, Oregon to Stevenson, Washington
Mount Hood, Columbia River Gorge

Departing my hotel at 7:00 AM, I roll onto Highway 101 north, following the Western bank of Coos Bay. The early morning sun begins to illuminate the Coos Bay Bridge, now known as the Conde B. McCullough Memorial Bridge, an architecturally striking cantilever bridge spanning Coos Bay. Completed in 1936, its 5,305 foot length was the longest of any bridge in Oregon at the time of its completion.

Sunrise over the Coos Bay Bridge

For the first sixty miles of this morning’s ride, Highway 101 runs one to two miles inland. Forests of Sitka Spruce dominate this Pacific Maritime environment. The morning mist is heavy, obscuring most views of the Pacific below through occasional openings in the lush forest. The mist lifts slightly by the time I reach Siuslaw National Forest in Lane County.

Misty morning on the Oregon Coast

Heceta Head Lighthouse is located approximately 14 miles South of Yachats at Devil's Elbow State Park. The Heceta Lighthouse and Light Keeper's house date back to 1894 and are both are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Perched atop a promontory 205 feet above the ocean, it is the brightest light on the Oregon coast, visible over 20 miles out to sea. It is said to be the most photographed lighthouse in the U.S.

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Heceta Head Light Keeper’s House

Beach at Heceta Head Lighthouse

Bridge and Tunnel over Cape Creek at Heceta Head

Seal Rock State Park

Three miles north of Lincoln City, I leave the Pacific Coast in my mirrors and head inland on Oregon Highway 18. Passing through McMinnville, Dundee, Newburg, Sherwood, and West Inn, and skirting the southern limits of Portland, I pass through miles of Oregon’s scenic orchard and vineyard country . About 100 miles after exiting Highway 101, I head east at the town of Boring on Oregon Highway 26. The ride is anything but boring as the road ascends through Mount Hood National Forest.

Although Mount Hood National Forest is my original destination for tonight, I've adjusted my route to travel further. To get an earlier start on Saturday morning for the Canadian portion of my trip, I plan to be on the Friday morning ferry out of Anacortes, Washington, rather than the Friday evening ferry I had originally planned on. My goal is to arrive in Anacortes Thursday (tomorrow) night and there is still over 600 miles of road between here and there. I plan to ride another 100 miles today.

My original destination for this evening is Camp Creek Campground. Established seventy years ago by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936, this beautiful campground is located in the Mount Hood National Forest at an elevation of 2200 feet of elevation in a lush and mossy temperate rain forest of old growth douglas fir.

The old hand water pump is still functional

Once part of a cabin, the old stone fireplace dates back to the original era. Several other of these stone fireplaces are located about the campground.

Circa 1936 stone fireplace was once part of a cabin

Unspoiled Camp Creek

Stopping for a photo at the campground marker

The junction of Highways 26 and 35 is lies directly to the south of majestic Mount Hood. The most spectacular views of Mount Hood are on Highway 35 to the south and east sides of Mount Hood. Here, Highway 35 winds its way through Barlow and Bennett Passes before snaking its way along the Hood River and into the city of Parkdale.

Barlow Pass on Highway 35, south of Mount Hood

A view of Mount Hood from Highway 35 approaching Bennett Pass

Twisting along the East Fork Hood River south of Parkdale

At Parkdale, I turn around and head back in the same direction I came. Having seen Mount Hood, the idea is to head back toward Troutdale at Interstate 84, and follow scenic Columbia River Gorge.

Bennett Pass

Barlow Pass

In Troutdale I take I-84, also known as the Columbia River Highway. For an interstate, this is a very pretty stretch of highway, offering exits for the many scenic waterfalls along the gorge. Multnomah Falls is one of 77 waterfalls on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge.

620 foot high Multnomah Falls and Benson Bridge

The Bridge of the Gods crosses the Columbia River in Cascade Locks, Oregon.

Bridge of the Gods across the Columbia River

Stunningly beautiful, Columbia River Gorge cuts through 80 miles of the Cascade Mountains, defining the Oregon - Washington border along its length.

Columbia River

At Cascade Locks, I turn around and head back west along the Columbia River Gorge, but this time taking the Historic Columbia River Highway instead of I-84. Historic Columbia River Highway runs parallel to the Columbia River and I-84, but is slightly further inland and follows the higher elevations of the mountain ridges along the gorge. Historic Columbia River Highway is a slightly slower but beautifully scenic alternative to the interstate. Twisting through mature shade trees and past historic inns, the highway offers stunning vistas of the Columbia River Gorge climbing as high as 900 feet above the river. Built between 1913 and 1922, many of the original stone walls and bridge embankments still remain.

Historic Columbia River Highway

Columbia River Gorge from the Crown Point Vista House

The historic Crown Point Vista House sits atop a cliff 733 above the Columbia River. Some cliffs along the Columbia River reach a height of 4000 feet.

Crown Point Vista House, 733 feet above the Columbia River

I am so enchanted by the incredible views from the Historic Columbia River Highway and the Crown Point Vista House, that I forget about one minor detail, fuel – or the lack of it. Glancing at the dash, my attention focuses on the fuel gauge, needle on empty. Removing the filler cap, I peer into the tank to see the last few remaining ounces of gasoline only half covering the bottom of the tank. Peering across miles of beautiful scenery, it occurs to me that I am basically miles from nowhere. The last fuel was in Cascade Locks, and I’m sure that my remaining fuel will not cover the twenty-two miles back to Cascade Locks. Times like these are what the GPS was made for, and I suddenly realize a new appreciation for mine. Checking for the nearest fuel to my location, the GPS indicates a gas station in the tiny little town of Corbett, only three miles down the road. Running on fumes, the Corbett Country Market now appears even more beautiful than the surrounding countryside! I thank my guardian angel as I fill my empty 6.6 gallon tank with slightly over 6.5 gallons of fuel. Wow, that was just a little too close for comfort!

This map shows the area of the Columbia River Gorge near the Crown Point Vista House that I almost had to walk! The map shows how the Historic Columbia River Highway parallels I-84, following a much twistier path.

Detail of the Columbia River Gorge near Crown Point Vista House

From Corbett, its less one than mile back to I-84 via Corbett Hill Road. It’s late in the evening and I’m ready to head across the river into Stevenson, Washington for some dinner. Interstate 84 follows the Columbia River Gorge on the Oregon side of the river offering a scenic ride that far excels the vast majority of interstate highways.

Interstate 84 through the Columbia River Gorge

Before heading into Stevenson for the night, the overpass at Corbett Hill Road and I-84 offers a beautiful view of the sunset.

Sunset over the Columbia River

The Bridge of the Gods, part of the Pacific Crest Trail, crosses the Columbia River from Cascade Locks, Oregon to Stevenson, Washington.

Bridge of the Gods, Washington side of Columbia River

Arriving in Washington at the close of another day

Crossing the Bridge of the Gods leaves a short two mile ride to a fabulous Mexican dinner at Joe’s El Rio Mexican Café in beautiful downtown Stevenson. Next time you’re in Stevenson, don’t miss it! After dinner, the Econo Lodge in Stevenson becomes home for the night.

End of Day 19
Location: Stevenson, Washington
GPS Mileage = 7379 miles
Today’s Mileage = 436 miles

Route: Day 19

<<  <    Next Page (Page 23 of 40)    >  >>
By Chocoholic on 07-21-2006, 09:20 PM
Re: 34 Days Through the Western United States and Canada

great story and trip...thanks for sharing it with us. Give me more chill wanting to go cross country......
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By G8ESCAP on 07-22-2006, 06:48 AM
Re: 34 Days Through the Western United States and Canada

What a great job you did putting all this together Mark, and I'm only on page 12 so far! Has to be the finest post on the forum. Well worth the wait! Makes me want to get on my bike and go, if only it wasn't going to be 110 degrees here today!
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By goldwinghen3 on 07-23-2006, 04:58 PM
Re: 34 Days Through the Western United States and Canada

THAT was one incredible ride...Your pictures are fabulous !!!! it took me 6 hours to read and look at your trip....You should publish this with some one...That has got to be the most amazing picture story around...I can't imagine how long it took you to publish this on here...How did you remember all of the names of the pictures and you amaze me that your spelling wasso good.......I am going to read it again when I have more time,,,I loved it !!! Isn't the Western U.S. GORGEOUS ??!!!!!!!!.......If you are ever in California again...look me up.....Thanx for the wonderful trip !!!!!....Henry
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By Helmetdance on 07-24-2006, 03:19 PM
Re: 34 Days Through the Western United States and Canada

Fenny - That's great that you have been inspired to do some long-distance touring by reading my story. Even if you don't do that right away, you are lucky to live in the land of the best motorcycle roads in the world.

Dale - Thanks for the kind words. Still working some bugs out of it with Gary's help, but its nice to have it up on the board where the Pashnit gang can finally read it.

Henry - Thanks for the compliments. My intention is to eventually condense this down into a book. I didn't keep track of the hours, but there were many all-day as well as all-night sessions. There are a lot of hours wrapped up in this piece. Remember the names? If only I could do that, the amount of work would have been a fraction. I identified the names from maps, info on the internet, google earth, and lots and lots of internet searching. Tagging the pics with names required a whole lotta searching.
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By JimmieS on 07-24-2006, 07:55 PM
Re: 34 Days Through the Western United States and Canada


Truly a spectacular way to spend 30 + days and nights. You have seen the best of the best with the best of the best out there, and I have to give huge Kudos to you for the execution of this most amazing trip, and the all out perfect photo essay to accompany it. I can't imagine what it was like for you to take on such a huge ride, and still be able to communicate your daily excitement a year later. Well done. Well done indeed.

As I mentioned on another forum to you my wife and I just completed our 30 day circumnavigation of the US, and I am just beginning to put that story together to share here on Pashnit. I'm humbled by your style and class. Next time your in Ca. you had best remember to include me in your ride plans along with DaleC and Dorian - (man am I irritated with those two for not letting me in on the time they spent with you....)

Great job!
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By gpickren on 07-25-2006, 09:57 AM
Re: 34 Days Through the Western United States and Canada

Fabulous ride pics and commentary, Mark. We live in So. Cal and as soon as we are able my wife and I will ride most of your route. Omitting the Kansas and eastern Colorado part I think.

We have been unable to travel for a long time do to caring for her 94 year old father, but when his race is finished we will plan to go. Thanks for the inspiration.
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By Michael Bishop on 08-06-2006, 07:14 AM
Re: 34 Days Through the Western United States and Canada

Mark you did a great job giving a us a taste of your experience. I have been waiting for this from the time I read you was doing the trip.
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By harryvbr on 08-13-2006, 10:40 AM
Re: 34 Days Through the Western United States and Canada

Great trip! I enjoyed the beautifull pictures. I was so lucky in 2002 to make almost the same trip by Goldwing. That Goldwing I could rent at Everett Motorsports.
Every now and than I look at the pictures I took.

Harry Vanbruggen
the Netherlands
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By bangladave on 08-13-2006, 11:04 AM
Clapping2 Re: 34 Days Through the Western United States and Canada

Mark, GREAT POST I have followed Pashnit for that last couple of years and your story is truly a great one. I have been looking at some of the same areas to ride through one day soon. We would be heading there from Minnesota so we need some extended time to do it. Keep following you dreams.

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