I pulled into the remains of the Detroit town square and felt a shiver. Onlookers were taking pics with their painful expressions. We all mourned, clicked and walked the ashes. These were maybe the single most emotionally impactful images I’ve ever taken. Back on my bike I continued up this highway of doom... absorbing all things incinerated. Trees were left at their trunks, charred through the bark and lining the hills like massive tombstones in an endless graveyard. Concrete impressions with remnants of an appliance splayed out in open ground signifying another total loss. This fire was perhaps only 3 weeks old. Only seasonal rainfall impeded it’s path. I was never more desperate to escape Mordor. The oncoming Willamette Valley is renown for it’s many classic and restored covered bridges. Tragically some of these will succumb to this fire. It was difficult to witness such personal loss and imagined heartache. But I do not overlook the strength and resilience of the human spirit. Making my way west beyond the burn I leave the highway and head north along a beautiful landscape of rolling hills draped with colorful greenery. This is incredibly lush and fertile countryside. What seed wouldn’t flourish here as some consider this the flower capital of the Americas. ( Oregon Trail Interpretive Center with the facade of a Calistoga wagon.) I pass signs trumpeting Silverton, Mulino and Mollala as I ribbon ride my way to the famed ending of many weary travelers... Oregon City and the end of the Oregon Trail. My niece, her husband and their awesome young children live in this beautiful town along the Willamette Falls just 35 miles southeast of Portland. My sis, other niece and brother live in the metro area. So plenty of hugs and celebration ahead. Yippee! I’ll try to stick to landscape and bike pics so as not to bore the contingent... but if I slip in a few cuties please forgive me. ( Clackamas River park and launch.) On my stay I ride out to the eastern end of the Willamette Valley. Accompanied by my niece we travel along incredibly lush green winding roads that follow the creeks... and overlook the Matterhorn-esque glacial peak Mt. Hood. My niece is a real trooper and great friend. Another day lures me and family to Silver Falls, a world class destination of waterfalls... which some you can walk behind. The lodge at Silver Falls is another class Roosevelt commissioned building. This niece and her family are also wonderful. (My awesome niece at Silver Falls.) They sported me a private guest quarters I reluctantly gave back. Hahaha! (Sorry, couldn’t resist... love my niece’s family.) An unCovid related health issue sent my brother to the hospital with sis that couldn’t be easily remedied. And thought best they quarantine afterwards to be safe. So I decided to head out after the week to visit other family living in Eastern Washington. I’d never ridden a motorcycle up the Columbia Gorge before and this should be epic. So let’s roll.