Today is going to be a busy day. On the agenda is Mt St Helen, then off to Fort Vancouver for a stamp, grab some BBQ joints and try to have a meal there, then ride the Historic Columbia River Highway then we have to head back to Portland for the night. Our original plans was to stay in Hood River, OR, but even as I planned this trip I thought it might be a problem getting a room on a Friday night. I was right, so we got a really nice room at the Mariott Courtyard for a great price.
Mt St Helen can be seen from 2 primary roads. On the east side one can take NF 25, which was in our original plans yesterday, but I decided based on the twisty nature it looked like in MapSource and it was going to be at the end of the day, I opted for the easier route. Stay the night in Kelso and head up RT 504, also known as the Spirit Lake Memorial Highway.
The ride up to Helen is a great ride in its own rite and well worth it. Before you get into the more remote section the state has a visitor center which costs $5 per person. I will say they had an excellent movie here, but it would not be tragic to skip this place and just visit the Johnston Observatory VC .
A foggy start
The burn off
Getting close (sorta)
More sweepers, oh a view of Helen
The VC. There are 2 really great videos here which are well worth the time to see.
Mt St Helens. Look around the area and you will notice that there is just a beginning of signs of life, 31 years later. There was this guy Harry Truman that refused to leave his lodge. It was his life and he decided to stay. There are many stories of people and the eruption. One notable was a couple that was camping when the eruption took place. They were caught up in the flooding and were being carried down the mountain. The guys leg was broken when caught between 2 logs, however he was able to leap from one to another trying to pull his wife out of the water. He lost her three times, but on the third attempt he grabbed her hair, then her wrist (which was broken) and pulled her onto the log, which they actually able to ride out to safety. I just can't imagine being there.
Some plant life, very colorful
Headed back to Vancouver/Portland area, grabbed some water on the way, Salmon Creek
Quick visit to Fort Vancouver for a grab and run stamp. We did watch the video, which was not really up to snuff for the NPS. Fort Vancouver was the first settlement by the British, primary for the Hudson Bay Co.
MeAsWe was not feeling great and suggested we have a bit to eat to see if that was what the blahs were from. So we stopped at this place for Smoke Chasing 2011.
I had the smoked brisket and MeAsWe had some kind of sausage sandwich, both were great and would recommend a meal here. I don't understand why BBQ joints are expensive, but they are.
The joint has a nice collection of these guys
It's around 4pm and I give MeAsWe a choice, we can head for the barn now and have a long day tomorrow or we could do another 80 miles and get in later. MeAsWe opted for doing the extra miles today. What a trooper. So we hit the highway and got off to ride this road.
MeAsWe took some great shots along the road
There are quite a few places to stop for just the scenery. The Columbia River and Vista House at Crown Point Park from afar.
The Vista House up close and personal
The Multnomah Falls. We did get some other shots of falls, but this is the most spectacular.
Couple more miles east, cross the Bridge of the Gods and head back to Vancouver/Portland on WA14. This is a great ride as well, but the sun was brutal in places. So glad I had an HJC helmet with the visor in it. Worked like a charm.
The Bridge. Really bright out!!!
The Dam. Was kinda of disappointing, but it was late in the day and we are thinking a cold beer at the bar at this point.
Arrived at the Mariott Courtyard, booked via Priceline at a really great price. I may have spoiled MeAsWe with the nice accommodations this trip compared to where we usually stay. The beers were great.