Tour without a goal – 22 July 2014


A long hard journey,
rain beating down the clover
like a wanderer’s feet

riding the PCT to OR
It began to sprinkle as I retired to my tent last night and by morning was a full on downpour. Listening to the tapping of rain on the tent as I lie enveloped in warmth is always a pleasure. Less so is packing up and heading out in the rain. I was riding on hwy 14 right in the Columbia River gorge and within a few miles on this well trafficked twisty road the rain stopped. A few more miles on and I was at Stevenson where I gratefully had my morning coffee. I was looking haggard enough after days in the mountains and riding in the rain that the proprietress of the coffee shop asked if I’d been hiking The Trail. Not quite.

damp and bedraggled from the rain
– daisies line my path

A few miles down the road I turn east a ride over the Bridge of the Gods, a striking steel girder bridge over the Columbia, and I’m in Oregon. This is also the only stretch of the Sierra Cascade route that actually overlaps with the Pacific Crest Trail so I have now ridden on the PCT.


I left the route at this point and rode the Historic Columbia River Highway into Portland. I was meeting Shawn of Urban Adventure League fame on this road and would stay with him for a couple of days in Portland. The HCRH begins with an isolated car free section that winds through woods and over stone bridges and with scenic overlooks onto the Columbia River. After a few miles it merges with route 30 and passes three major waterfalls, hiking trails, scenic viewpoints and campgrounds. It began to pour as I rode through this section especially during a series of switchbacks up to Crown Point where I was meeting Shawn at Vista House.


Vista House was well named and while it was cloudy and raining when I arrived after spending some time there drying off it began to clear up. Spectacular views down the Columbia River Valley and of the patchwork green hills across the river. Of course on the descent the rain returned harder than ever and it was back on with the rain gear. We decided a break was in order and pulled off at the McMinimins in Troutdale which was well received all around. By the time we left it had stopped raining and the sky was this rich scattered foam with daubs of blue sky showing through all backlit and glowing in the dwindling sunlight. Shawn took us on the scenic route along the Columbia River before we navigated back roads to his house in Portland. Happy to be here as I need a bit of downtime and much thanks to Shawn (and his roommate) for the hospitality. Also check out Shawn’s photos from his end of the trip over on Flickr.

shaving my head at a roadside stop
you have to wonder what passers by think –
a vagrant trying to get by; perhaps dangerous
no, just a pilgrim to America’s holy sites

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