Saturday, August 13, 2011

Day 12 - Cascade Locks to Portland

The last day starts out rough and gets worse as we take a Google suggested back road in an attempt to avoid the busy and narrow Historic Columbia River Highway. It is gnarly and straight up so we can ride for a 100 yards then push the bikes up 100 yards.
The road unceremoniously ends after about 2 miles at a cell phone tower. So it is back down, which also requires some walking due the extreme grade. So now we are back to square one after an hour. We borrow the Best Western computer to find a better route to Portland. We find a very nice bike path that, unfortunately, includes a very challenging walk up some stairs with a bike through obviously not designed for fully loaded touring bikes.
As the trail abruptly ends, we have only two options: the Columbia River Hwy or I-84. We opt for I-84 which at least has very wide shoulder and rumble strips (except for some very scary bridge crossings where the shoulder disappears). We ride about 20 miles on I-84 uneventfully and exit at Troutdale for a quick lunch and then some well marked bike paths for the last 20 into Portland (a very bike-friendly city as was Seattle and Bellingham). After several map checks and asking locals, we find the hotel and check in completely spent at the end of the boys' excellent adventure. We make a celebratory trek (almost a pilgrimage for Johnny) to the nearby Rogue Public House and Brewery. Tomorrow will be spent getting bikes packed up and shipped by a local bike store. None of us care how soon they make it home!

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