The Columbia Gorge...Exploring My Backyard

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Mad Kaw Disease, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. Mad Kaw Disease

    Mad Kaw Disease Dual Sport Diseased

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    534
    Location:
    Vancouver (NOT BC), Washington (NOT DC)
    So after a trip to <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:State><st1:place>Montana</st1:place></st1:State> and shagging chase vehicle for the big desert adventure I find myself faced with a three day weekend with no plans whatever.
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    I&#8217;m loving my new KTM so much that when the statement for the first payment arrived this week I already had 5200 miles on it and the rear tire is 90% cooked. So I feel I should do the responsible thing and wear the last 10% off so I can replace the rear in good conscience.
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    The weather was really iffy for Labor Day, so I plotted and plotted in MapSource all kinds of routes around the wind and rain. But there were too many decisions and finally I just decided I would just throw the routes out in the deleted file bin and wing it for the weekend.
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    I did decide on a couple simple things;
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    One: I would run with the wind until I had to turn back into it.
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    Two: Each day I had to go somewhere I&#8217;d never been even if it was just a new Podunk town.
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    Item one required that I was head east and that meant up the Columbia River Gorge but I had spent so much time in the Gorge that item two was going to be a bit tricky.
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    Saturday Morning and into the Gorge on Hwy 14 out of <st1:City><st1:place>Vancouver</st1:place></st1:City>.

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    First major stop, Bonneville Dam which was still spilling water at Labor Day. Either it was some kind of &#8220;save the salmon&#8221; court order or we had really had a wet year.

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    Followed by Bridge of the Gods, all standard stuff except in the spirit of rule two I did stop and read the information sign about the bridge and walk around looking for a good vantage point for a pic. This was the best I could do from the <st1:State><st1:place>Washington</st1:place></st1:State> side.

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    A quick buzz by <st1:place><st1:placeName>Drano</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType>Lake</st1:placeType></st1:place> which was thick with salmon fishermen as the fall run of Chinook was underway.

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    The wind was really picking up and even riding with it was getting pretty bumpy as the gusts tossed me around. Here&#8217;s what the <st1:place>Columbia River</st1:place> looks like with 30 mph sustained winds and gusts to 50 mph. Note the tiny windsurfer in the middle of those big waves&#8230;that&#8217;s a ten or better foot mast on his board.

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    After a few stops to watch windsurfers and kite-boarders playing I finally see the second Gorge bridge between Bingen and <st1:place><st1:placeName>Hood</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType>River</st1:placeType></st1:place>, which is shadowed by <st1:place>Mount Hood</st1:place>.

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    Tired of the wind, I stop at the mouth of the White Salmon river to take in all the activity as well as make the turn up Alternate 141 out of the Gorge and up along the White Salmon to BZ Corner for gas and <st1:place><st1:placeName>Trout</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType>Lake</st1:placeType></st1:place> for lunch.

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    Talk about shoulder to shoulder fishing.

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    Finally volcano number two for the trip, <st1:place>Mount Adams</st1:place> comes into view just outside <st1:place><st1:placeName>Trout</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType>Lake</st1:placeType></st1:place>.

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    A quick but very good lunch in the heart of huckleberry everything land, <st1:place><st1:placeName>Trout</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType>Lake</st1:placeType></st1:place>. It is prime berry picking season so the woods are full up here despite the unseasonable weather.

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    After lunch I was feeling a little guilty about ignoring rule two so far and had some decisions to make. Mostly, where to next?

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    One last look back at the valley containing <st1:place><st1:placeName>Trout</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType>Lake..</st1:placeType></st1:place>.


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    I am very familiar with the area between <st1:place><st1:placeName>Trout</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType>Lake</st1:placeType></st1:place> and Glenwood. Not only do we like to ride the trails up around <st1:place><st1:placeName>King</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType>Mountain</st1:placeType></st1:place>, but I hunt in this area as well.
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    Anyway, I rode through Glenwood and finally entered unknown territory. I decided to take a short jaunt off pavement to see how the KTM felt in the deep dust. After buzzing around a bit I reminded myself I was riding alone and might want to skip the dirt play lest I have to test picking the loaded KTM up on my own.

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    Back on pavement, I knew generally where I was headed but finally had no clue where I actually was at the moment. I refused to zoom in on the GPS and just enjoyed some really nice twisties that took me down into a deep canyon.

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    And as I was to discover down to the &#8220;Wild and <st1:place><st1:placeName>Scenic</st1:placeName> <st1:placeName>Klickitat</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType>River</st1:placeType></st1:place>&#8221;&#8230;rule number two accomplished for today. What a great ride and incredible scenery.

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    Across the valley floor and I started climbing back out on more fun switchbacks and twisties distracted on by the views. The adage that the front wheel follows the eyes was driven home a couple times when I almost drove off into space enjoying a view.

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    Back up on the high bench land I head for the town of <st1:City><st1:place>Klickitat</st1:place></st1:City> and back towards the Columbia Gorge praying the wind had eased.

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    Proof once again that geology is always in motion!

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    Despite the cloudy water from the weather, fly fishermen are working the river hard.

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    At last into Klickitat for a short break and a cold drink.

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    A short dash down the road and back out into the Gorge at Lyle, the wind is still unrelenting.

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    Soon the city of <st1:City><st1:place>The Dalles</st1:place></st1:City> comes into view and I decide to cross over to the <st1:State><st1:place>Oregon</st1:place></st1:State> side and see if a fishing guide I know in Rufus is back in for the day.

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    Up till now I have been running with a strong tailwind which causes some buffeting as it swirls, but crossing the bridge I was hit with a 40 to 50 side wind all the way. This caused a 4.8 butt pucker on a scale of 1 to 5.

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    The green was gone for sure now, this is definitely the &#8220;brown end&#8221; of the Gorge but it has it&#8217;s moments too.

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    I stopped in Rufus and Touche&#8217; Clark&#8217;s &#8220;Fly By Nite Guide Service&#8221; shop was closed up tight and it seemed that the walleye fishermen had pretty much been driven out of the area by the wind and the accompanying windsurfers and high flying kite boarders. The waves here were also huge and breaking like a Hawaiian beach.

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    Finally I hit I-84 passed the John Day Dam and headed for TriCities to share a pizza with my brother and hang out for the evening. I had at least accomplished my goal and had some great road riding to boot.

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    Next up day two and some serious new territory for me.

    #1
  2. Chickenstrip

    Chickenstrip Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    567
    Location:
    NYC
    Nice ride, great shots.:clap I rode up the Columbia Gorge a few years ago and was blown away by it, literally and figuratively. I wanna go back!
    #2
  3. M700

    M700 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    427
    Location:
    Washington State, the dry side
    Outstanding photos of a very interesting chunk of terrain! I mostly ride farther up along the Columbia, from Vantage to Canada. Good roads and trails abound! Looking forward to more of your report - and I can't think of a better way to use up that tire!!!
    #3
  4. gazoo

    gazoo Wandering

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    388
    Location:
    Des Moines, IA
    Looks like a fun ride. Excellent pictures! An area that I hope to get to on a bike soon, and your pics just make me want to go more.

    Looking forward to the rest of the trip.

    Thanks for sharing!
    #4
  5. Adventure Kitty

    Adventure Kitty Tuna Gatita Blanca

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,274
    Location:
    A bolcano near you
    Trout Lake, Salmon River and bolcanoes? I would give this ride report a perfect 10 but I must deduct for not having pictures of tuna sammiches. 9.9! [​IMG]

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    #5
  6. New Trick

    New Trick A guy that likes to ride

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    The Hood
    Hey MKD, I'm enjoying the report, Keep it coming. At the risk of being an ass, I just offer one correction; the mountain behind Trout Lake is Mt. Adams, not Mt. Baker. I know that's what you meant to say. I'm enjoying your trip, I live in the area, and love to ride those roads.

    Attached Files:

    #6
  7. Belgian Waffles

    Belgian Waffles Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    875
    Location:
    Green. Wet. Oregon.
    Wonderful ride so far. I absolutely love riding out there. I live outside of PDX on the south side and went through there on the KLR a few weeks ago. Love the area near Mt Adams, especially since I climbed it twice :evil (Unfortunately not with a bike... :lol3) Love the Dalles area as well. I rode I84 all the way out to La Grande on that trip...Tedious but beautiful...Makes me think I should make a report of it...Hmm.

    Enjoy the riding!! Ill be in the Gorge tomorrow, dreaming of what Id do if I were on my bike...

    Ride safe,
    Belgian Waffles
    #7
  8. DSRTXJ

    DSRTXJ n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1
    Amazing pictures and great ride!!

    I grew up in Hood River till I was 23 and seeing those pictures made me want to go back sooo bad!
    #8
  9. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    61,697
    You've got a beautiful backyard to explore! thanks for the report and pics :thumb
    #9
  10. Mad Kaw Disease

    Mad Kaw Disease Dual Sport Diseased

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    534
    Location:
    Vancouver (NOT BC), Washington (NOT DC)
    You're right, I must have been drinking that night. Have no clue how I came up with Baker.

    Actually it was a test to see who was paying attention....that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    Your pic looks like it was taken from the top of King Mountain.
    #10
  11. dagwood

    dagwood Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2003
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    Location:
    Vancouver, Not! BC...
    love it. have to hook up and ride up there together someday.:thumb
    #11
  12. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,536
    Location:
    Jennings, Louisiana
    WOW! Is all I can say about that area. Thanks for refreshing my memories from my '04 trip following the Lewis / Clark trail from Missoula to the Pacific. What beautiful country. Then went up to Cascades Park to top it off. What a ride. Just wish we could move Louisiana a bit closer to the Left Coast. Sigh.

    Again, thanks for taking the time to share.
    #12
  13. gunnr

    gunnr optimsm

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    291
    Location:
    Camas, not Washougal
    Great stuff, keep it coming:thumb
    #13
  14. New Trick

    New Trick A guy that likes to ride

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    The Hood
    Well, I hope you were drinking that night! I know I was.

    That picture was captured just off a Forest Service road North of Eckhart Point. A great place to camp when one has just a few hours to get out of town.

    The arrow in this photograph, points approximately to the spot, as viewed from near the summit of Sleeping Beauty. I'm enjoying your report, keep it coming.

    Attached Files:

    #14
  15. RSL

    RSL Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,361
    Regarding wind along the Columbia, at this time of year is is west to east, or what?
    #15
  16. 1 Bored Clerk

    1 Bored Clerk Mama, I'm goin fast!

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    58
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Prevailing wind in the Gorge is West to east but every now and again we get a few days of easterly wind.

    MKD, I live in The Dalles, OR and have been all over this area. I know the roads and sights you've shown quite well. The road from Glenwood down the Klickitat is great. Did you pass another 990 on your way from HWY 14 to The Dalles? If so, that was me! If not, then it was a weird coincidence that I passed another 990 that day. :D Anyway...the wind was about the worst I've ever ridden in...welcome to the Gorge.
    #16
  17. deerchser

    deerchser Bowhunting on a bike

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    146
    Location:
    Arlington, WA
    I was just down in Trout Lake elk hunting a couple weeks ago. It is a very pretty area. NIce pics.
    #17
  18. Mad Kaw Disease

    Mad Kaw Disease Dual Sport Diseased

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    534
    Location:
    Vancouver (NOT BC), Washington (NOT DC)
    Sorry Adventure Kitty, I can tune a guitar but I can't tuna fish. :lol3
    #18
  19. Mad Kaw Disease

    Mad Kaw Disease Dual Sport Diseased

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    534
    Location:
    Vancouver (NOT BC), Washington (NOT DC)
    Sounds like a plan to me......
    #19
  20. dagwood

    dagwood Banned

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    Location:
    Vancouver, Not! BC...
    :thumb
    #20