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Old 09-04-2008, 09:04 PM   #1
Mad Kaw Disease OP
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Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Vancouver (NOT BC), Washington (NOT DC)
Oddometer: 534
The Columbia Gorge...Exploring My Backyard

So after a trip to Montana and shagging chase vehicle for the big desert adventure I find myself faced with a three day weekend with no plans whatever.

I’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.

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.

I did decide on a couple simple things;

One: I would run with the wind until I had to turn back into it.

Two: Each day I had to go somewhere I’d never been even if it was just a new Podunk town.

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.

Saturday Morning and into the Gorge on Hwy 14 out of Vancouver.



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



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 Washington side.



A quick buzz by Drano Lake which was thick with salmon fishermen as the fall run of Chinook was underway.



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



After a few stops to watch windsurfers and kite-boarders playing I finally see the second Gorge bridge between Bingen and Hood River, which is shadowed by Mount Hood.





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 Trout Lake for lunch.



Talk about shoulder to shoulder fishing.





Finally volcano number two for the trip, Mount Adams comes into view just outside Trout Lake.



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





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



One last look back at the valley containing Trout Lake...





I am very familiar with the area between Trout Lake and Glenwood. Not only do we like to ride the trails up around King Mountain, but I hunt in this area as well.

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.



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.



And as I was to discover down to the “Wild and Scenic Klickitat River”…rule number two accomplished for today. What a great ride and incredible scenery.







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.









Back up on the high bench land I head for the town of Klickitat and back towards the Columbia Gorge praying the wind had eased.





Proof once again that geology is always in motion!




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



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



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



Soon the city of The Dalles comes into view and I decide to cross over to the Oregon side and see if a fishing guide I know in Rufus is back in for the day.



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.


The green was gone for sure now, this is definitely the “brown end” of the Gorge but it has it’s moments too.






I stopped in Rufus and Touche’ Clark’s “Fly By Nite Guide Service” 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.







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.



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

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Mad Kaw Disease screwed with this post 09-29-2008 at 05:08 AM
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Old 09-04-2008, 09:11 PM   #2
Chickenstrip
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Nice ride, great shots. I rode up the Columbia Gorge a few years ago and was blown away by it, literally and figuratively. I wanna go back!
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Old 09-04-2008, 09:14 PM   #3
M700
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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!!!
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Old 09-04-2008, 09:20 PM   #4
gazoo
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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!
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Old 09-28-2008, 12:59 PM   #5
Adventure Kitty
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Location: A bolcano near you
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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!

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Old 09-28-2008, 09:12 PM   #6
New Trick
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The Columbia Gorge...Exploring My Backyard

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.
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Old 09-28-2008, 10:03 PM   #7
Belgian Waffles
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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 (Unfortunately not with a bike... ) 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
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Old 09-29-2008, 05:11 AM   #8
Mad Kaw Disease OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by New Trick
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.
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.
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Old 09-29-2008, 05:15 PM   #9
Mad Kaw Disease OP
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Location: Vancouver (NOT BC), Washington (NOT DC)
Oddometer: 534
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adventure Kitty
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!
Sorry Adventure Kitty, I can tune a guitar but I can't tuna fish.
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