LA to Seattle via Mt St Helens

Discussion in 'Pacific Northwet - Where it's green. And wet.' started by real gone, Jun 20, 2005.

  1. real gone

    real gone Been here awhile

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    I'm taking a trip in mid July from Los Angeles to visit my sister in Seattle. I thought I would take a side trip to Mt. St Helens on the way. I was wondering what the best way to go through Oregon would be. I would like the most scenic/twisty/less traveled route possible. I'll be riding a 12GS. Any info would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks
    Scott in So Cal
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  2. markjenn

    markjenn Long timer

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    Seems like there are two questions here: Oregon and St. Helens.

    I could send pages describing great routes N-S through Oregon, but assuming you don't want to wind around too much, there are basically four options: 101 on the coast, I-5 corridor, US-97, and US-395. The coastal route is scenic and cool, but pretty slow with generally heavy traffic and limited twisties. I-5 just sucks as all interstates do. US-97 has some nice spots, but it tends to be awfully straight for the most part.

    I'd vote for 395, but you're going to have to trend some distance E which will add some miles. If I were making this trip, I'd probably work the coastal range stuff coming out of LA, then do 25 up to the Bay Area, freeway around the Bay Area, then work the great stuff in N. Calif up to Redding or so. Then cut across the Sierras to N. Nevada and link up to 395. When you hit I-84 near the OR-WA border, do the Columbia River Gorge for while (14 is a little more fun on the N. side but slower than I-84) until near Carson. Then do the forest service roads on the E side of St. Helens, including coming into the crater from the E on Windy Ridge/99. Once you get far enough N, this will dump you out at Hwy 12 in Randle and there is a nice little back route to get to Enumclaw, then take the obvious route to Renton and into Seattle.

    If this appeals to you and you want more detail, let me know.

    - Mark
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  3. janders

    janders Been here awhile

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    Check out Hwy 1 just north of San Francisco up to where it meets Hwy 101. Sick crazy ass turns on that road and great scenery. I just ran from SF to Seattle following the coast last week. It was a great ride and beautiful but Hwy 1 was probably the best section.
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  4. skippy

    skippy Adventurer

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    I just did this drive to Mt. St. Helens and back.

    I think you should look at reserving a Yurt at the State parks on the OR coast. They are great values for travelling, $27/day.

    The 1 north of SF is plenty twisty all the way to where it merges w/ the 101.

    The area east of Bend is also nice. I think there's a route on the US20 that circumnavigates the Three Sisters and has nice views and waterfalls.

    The trout fishing looks real good in there too.

    We drove Highway 503 out to Mt. St Helens. It was overcast so we only saw the lower half but that was still very scenic. I hear the lava tubes on the way are a good stop too. I think they're called the Ape Caves or something like that.

    cheers.
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  5. real gone

    real gone Been here awhile

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    Great Info. Guys. One question though; what the hell is a Yurt? I do like the idea of heading east a bit and doing 395. I'll have 8 days for my journey to & fro so adding a few miles won't hurt. I'll also have my camping gear so if anyone can suggest good camping along the way I would be thankful.


    Scott
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  6. modrover

    modrover BOOMSHANKA!

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    Yes, do the 395. I just got back from doing 1000+ miles in under 24 hours going from Newport Beach, CA to Washougal, WA. I did the I5 route as I had to beat the clock, but I soooooo wanted to do that 395 way. I mean, you'll be close to Death Valley, Mt.Whitney, and Lake Tahoe! DO IT! :1drink
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  7. real gone

    real gone Been here awhile

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    OK, I just googled Yurt. I thought these things were only found in the highlands of Tibet. I think I'll try to find one of these on the way back. I'll do 101 up to hwy 36 and take that east to I5 and figure out a way to get to 395.
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  8. skippy

    skippy Adventurer

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    I'd advise reservations for the Yurts. These were in high demand when I went through on Memorial Day.

    You can reserve them here:
    http://www.reserveamerica.com/

    cheers
    #8
  9. pnwroamer

    pnwroamer Adventurer

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    O.K.... here goes! (did this in my Subaru two yrs ago and have to redo it on two wheels)

    Get to Crater Lk. then overnight just a bit north of there at Diamond Lk. (hwy. 138)

    Now procede n. to F.S 60 which becomes gravel and in several miles crosses Windigo Pass. There is an incredible sense of "high forested" remoteness through here!!! You will end up at Hwy 58.

    Go west to the small town of Oakridge or Westfir and head north on lightly travelled and remote FS 19 through Box Canyon and S fork Mackenzie R. passing Cougar Res. and ending at hwy 126. Beautiful, twisty, remote, woodsy untrafficed route. (somre great camping spots along River here).

    Head East on 126 a ways to Jct. and go east (right) on 242 over the incredible road laid right on top of lava field.(Mackenzie Pass- do Google on history of this road, what an engineering feat!!!) Sensationally twisty, marvelously scenic!!!

    At Sisters, head back N-Westerly on Hwy 126/20 to Santiam Jct. and head north up Hwy 22 to Detroit Lk. At this jct.,head east on FS46. Again, all good road (paved). A ways up, after heading north, look for FS 42 (Oregon Skyline Rd. on right, heading n.e. ) At one point you'll crest the Cascades and hav a magnificient and unique view of Mt. Hood!!!!

    Continue to hwy 26 and head north towards Barlow Pass. If one has a real sense of adventure, you can ride parts of the original Oregon Trail around here but time may be a factor. (I've dual sported a lot thru here)

    Follow Hwy 35 n.e. around east flank of Mt. Hood . (a side excursion to Timberline Lodge (heading west a bit) goes up a great twisty scenic road to lower slopes of Mt. Hood)..., well worth the added jaunt!!!
    Back on 35 e., You'll end up in Hood River and a good place to call it the end of the day!!!

    Next morn., cross the Columbia R., head west to Carson., head north up to Mt. St. Helens and "adventure time" all over again!!!!


    You said you wanted "scenic, twisty, less travelled route". I seriously doubt this can be topped coming up through the Cascades and avoiding ALL major interstates the entire lgth. of the state.

    Your bike will have no difficulty negotiating these roads.... enjoy!!!
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  10. real gone

    real gone Been here awhile

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    pnwroamer,

    This is great. It's exactly what I was looking for. I'll break out the map this weekend and start planning. Do you think this route can be done in two days or less?

    Scott in So Cal
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  11. dagwood

    dagwood Banned

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    :lol3
    no.
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  12. pnwroamer

    pnwroamer Adventurer

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    ...from L.A.???

    Get to Diamond Lk. http://www.diamondlake.net/ (however long that will take you)
    and pre-arrange overnighting (campground, cabins, etc) Be sure to do loop ride around Crater Lk..



    It will take you a day to get up to Columbia R. (Hood Riv.) from Diamond Lk. if you follow the route I suggested and allow for numerous photo stops (well worth it!!!)

    It's a good day fr. there (Columbia Riv.) thru St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, and on up to Seattle.

    on the section just n. of Diamond Lk. (FS 60) it is long, straight gravel for several miles and eventually becomes good/packed dirt road, winding through forest over Windigo Pass. Again I assurre that it's good road (or was then!)
    I didn't think to mention that above. All other roads are paved although I recall the "Skyline Drive" being a paved over logging road... sometimes narrow and not the smoothest underlayment)

    The only thing I could perceive altering this would be major forest fires which, in the past few yrs., have closed some of these roads temporarily.

    On a weekday, you may find that you have most of these roads virtually all to yourself!!!! Go for it!!!!

    (so as not to clutter up this msg. board, if you want more detail, I would be happy to e.mail links/ what-nots)
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  13. dagwood

    dagwood Banned

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    Good info pnwroamer, don't worry about the clutter. thats what the board is for. :deal give it all you've got. :lol3 Pictures too just post em man.
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  14. vtwin

    vtwin Air cooled runnin' mon

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    Try Pashnit.com for the CA part abd try this for WA/Ore http://www.motorcycleroads.us/or.html good luck and have a safe ride. BTW 395 is great, done it in a cage though. Drop in to Nicely's at 120/395 for dinner, good home cooking and maybe Bodie for a little ghost bustin'
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  15. real gone

    real gone Been here awhile

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    ok...I should have been more specific. I was asking if I could cross Oregon in two days following the route pnwroamer suggested. I have a total of 9 days for this trip. My style of touring is kinda just wingin it as I go along. I won't have a lot of preplanned destinations.

    PS. I rode to Crater lake last September and spent two days exploring. Quite awesome. So I probably will bypass doing a loop this trip.
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  16. pnwroamer

    pnwroamer Adventurer

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    so you got some extra time??? you could always throw this in:

    http://www.mthoodterritory.com/byway.htm

    There's parts of the Barlow Road you can actually ride on, south/east of Barlow Pass near Mt. Hood. Somewhere I have an old route chart from a Suzuki Natl. Dual Sport Ride we did, covering several miles of it as well as circumnavigating Mt. Hood in a smaller loop than shown on link's map. (suitable for GS's).

    so..., a day from Diamond Lk. to Mt Hood.
    a day 'round the Mt. Hood Scenic Byway/ Barlow Road, ending up at Columbia Riv.
    a day through mt. St. Helens/ Mt. Rainier, on up to Seattle.

    two days, three days, want more????

    hmmmmm...., think I'm gonna plan out a multi day trip along the Wa./ Or. Cascade Crest. (the only quandry is which bike to do it on????????)

    Here are the other scenic Byways mentioned in above posts:
    http://www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail.asp?trailid=XFA102-007
    and this one, as well:
    http://www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail.asp?trailid=XFA123-027


    really folks...., I don't want to clutter the msg. board up! Enough?

    p.s. you may want to get a few of these:
    http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/feedemo/nfdp.shtml
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  17. real gone

    real gone Been here awhile

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    Maybe I can help. So what are your choices?
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  18. pnwroamer

    pnwroamer Adventurer

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    ...had to ask, didn't you!?

    Here they are, not necessarily in order of preferance: modded V-Strom, BMW-GS, 650 Dakar, Aprillia Capo, Ktoom 950, KLR-650, Duc. Multi-Strada.

    Still riding FJR1300 but desire to slow down and take in the scenery at something less than a blur..., and venture down the "paths less ridden".
    (gave up on hauling the old DRZ Suz. all over the PNW to ride in some of these areas....) Want a bike that'll get me there, then go beyond....

    Hoping to do a month early next summer to Ak. so I have time to ponder the scenario and see what (if anything) of interest comes out in the fall.

    But......., this is not an answer to your question really, because it would evoke barrage of "the bike you really want/ need is...." No need to go there in this thread!!!!!!! That would be an unnecessary digression of topic at hand.:wink: Please folks, leave this one alone......:D

    respectfully, Roamer
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  19. real gone

    real gone Been here awhile

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    :deal
    Abslolutely....I would hate to muddy things up at this point. You've given me some great info. I'll be riding my red 2005 R1200GS up mountain passes, through water crossings, along interstates, and over dirt roads on this upcoming trip. My choice is made.:D
    #19
  20. scorpion

    scorpion Two arm bandit

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    What are your dates?
    I'm doing roughly the same trip leaving El Lay wednesday night 13 july.
    Blazing to Vancouver to arrive on Saturday night 16 July.
    #20