An invitation from Rubherdown to join him and several others for a tour thru NE Oregon came at a time when I could pull away from work for an extended weekend, and I happily joined in - the John Day area is one of the finest places on the planet in which to tour. We rode as far as Munroe WA on Thursday evening, so as to allow enough time for serious wandering on Friday before joining the group in The Dalles OR on Friday evening. On the way down, we had a fine Thai meal at 'Little Thailand' in downtown Sedro Woolley ( two thumbs up ); and we stayed in the Fairgrounds Motel in Munroe, which - while clean enough and not overly expensive - is difficult to recommend. It backs onto the railroad, so train whistles interrupt your sleep the whole night; and it's kinda 'working class', so a series of diesel engines fire up from about 5:30 a.m. onwards. Choose the Best Western or the Evergreen Inn across the road, or pick a different destination.
Friday's ride featured both Mount Rainier and Mt St Helens.
It was overcast and threatening to drizzle when we left Munroe, but unexpectedly and remarkably, it cleared as we rode south on 410 and gained altitude, and the circuit thru Mt Rainier was under bluebird skies, with superb views and very light traffic.
FSR 25 south of Randle WA remains pretty bumpy, despite assurances that improvements have taken place in the past year. You still need to ride your pegs, not your bum, and to do your best to choose lines which avoid the worst of the pavement sags. I hit bumps hard quite a few times, and put the front suspension right to the stop once. Not the place to be dozing along...
The side trip to Windy Ridge is superb, as always. The numerous road-bed slumps in the upper half have been 'patched', by being rebuilt back up to grade, but the surface of those sections has been left as gravel, so some short 'avoidance' sections are encountered on the return trip back east.
South of Northwoods, on the Meadow Creek Rd, there is an absolutely fabulous 5 mile section of unrelenting curves on perfect pavement, between the Oldman Pass sno-park and Paradise Creek campground.
It's always a pleasure to ride WA 14 ( the Lewis and Clark highway) thru the Columbia gorge, despite wind, traffic, and heat.
Weirdly, nearly all the restaurants in Hood River were closed, at 5 p.m. on a Friday. Eventually, we ate at the Big Horse Brew Pub, perched high on the hill overlooking downtown. My meal was excellent; I can't speak for Stuart.
Everyone gathered at The Dalles Inn, right downtown - recommended - and much of the evening was spent hanging out by the pool, downing beverages, and chatting away. Good times...
A road; a rider; Rainier. ( Yes, we did stop to take in the view! )
IMG_2126 by Don Serl, on Flickr
Rainier descent, near Longmire
IMG_2146 by Don Serl, on Flickr
The Windy Ridge road
IMG_2153Cjpg by Don Serl, on Flickr
The Windy Ridge road. Mt Adams in the distance.
IMG_2158C by Don Serl, on Flickr