Day 16 ~ Portland, OR > Ainsworth State Park, OR (Historic Columbia River Highway)

Garmin Data can be found here.  (Map, distance, graphs…)

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After a good sleep in a bed again, we were on the road early.  I didn’t know how far we would get today, but the helpful staff at the hostel said that we should aim for Ainsworth State Park.  I thought the distance was shy of what we wanted to get behind us at the end of the day, but he just nodded and smiled knowingly.  Getting out of Portland to Troutdale (which is basically the outskirts of the city) was kind of boring urban sprawl.  It was distance we had to cover before getting on the start of the Historic Columbia River Highway.  Nobody could confuse Portland as a beautiful city, but that changed once we got to Troutdale.

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We stopped in Troutdale for a snack and got information about the rest of today’s ride ahead of us.  We had a steady climb ahead of us for about 10 kms before reaching the first lookout.  After we grunted up that hill in the blazing hot sun, it would mostly be downhill for the rest of the day.  We stopped that the Women’s Forum Viewpoint and had our pictures taken before starting the downhill section of today’s ride.

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The rest of the day we would be stopping along the road at different lookouts and waterfalls before making it to Ainsworth State Park.  This is a really beautiful part of the country and the old historic Columbia River Highway takes in all the viewpoints that you miss on the I-84 that skirts the Columbia River below.  The road was in excellent condition and had fresh pavement making it a cyclist’s dream.  It was narrow and windy, so that meant we could keep up with traffic and nobody was behind us.  It was by far the most scenic day of the trip so far and both Tai and I really enjoyed the afternoon.

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Next we stopped at the Vista House Lookout and had a peak about before pushing off and heading down to Bridal Vail and Multnomah Falls.  Yes, these were breathtaking views of nature at some of its finest.  Another nice thing about this highway (other than it being all downhill) was that it was shaded for the most part on this very hot day.  At one of the waterfalls that we stopped at we met 4 cyclists that had been riding across the country and were heading to finish up in Portland.  They were impressed with Tai’s riding and were blown away when he started playing mandolin.  Tai had impressed/surprised/shocked quite a few people on this trip so far so we had a little talk about that after they left.  To us it just felt natural and no big deal riding everyday with loaded touring bikes, but a lot of people thought otherwise.  Tai was a magnet for people and I heard more than a few times that I was “raising him right”.  In all truth, it really isn’t that big of a deal to ride this route we have chosen, but it does happen at a much slower pace than in a car.  Tai and I have been able to spend a lot of time together on this trip and I must say that he is a pretty cool kid.  We felt that it came down to luck and opportunity, and this being important to us, we made it happen.  The world is such a fast place now, and it feels good to slow down and simplify.  All the things you need are on your bike and things like food, drink, lodging and riding become central to everything else.  With that said, I’m convinced that a lot more people (including kids) could easily do this (with some training), but it comes down to personal priorities and what you want out of life.

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Multnomah Falls was probably the highlight for me today.  It could easily be the backdrop for Rivendell from Lord of the Rings.  Beautiful waterfall with a bridge before it.  With that said, there were a lot of people this on this mid week afternoon.  It was late in the afternoon when we got there and the sun had that magical quality to it.  It was also near the end of the day and we didn’t have that much further to go to Ainsworth State Park, where we would camp for the evening.  At one of the waterfalls Tai decided he wanted to go swimming, so he did.

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Multnomah Falls ~ Historic Columbia River Highway

When we got to Ainsworth State Park and set up our tent in the hiker/biker area, it felt good to have a fairly short day (distance wise).  I was thinking that we would make it across the Columbia and be in Washington State, but I am glad that we took the time today to explore all the Historic Columbia River Highway had to offer.  It was built about a hundred years ago for the 1st cars that started appearing on the roads way back when.  We would sleep below the stars this evening and tomorrow morning we would hopefully be crossing the Columbia River and back into Washington State.  I’ll stop writing here and let the pictures do the talking…

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Swimming time!

Tai

On the last day of the festival the sound system crashed.  We had to wait 30-40 minutes, but I get to play hacky sack with some people.  It was sooper fun!!!  We went to Portland and cruised around on our bikes.  I got a free hat at River City Bicycles.  I got a map case for my handlebar bag.  We slept in a bed for the first time in 13 days!.  We did not have to pay for the showers at the hostel.  It was amazing.  Cool place and we got to meet some amazing travellers.  We slept in bunk beds and one guy snored LOUD!!!

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This entry was posted in 2013 Summer Bike Tour, 4 Legs and ! Mandolin, Bicycle Touring. Bookmark the permalink.

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