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Oregon Columbia River Gorge to Rt. 12 into Montana?


Doug_Baliko

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Doug_Baliko

A few of us are planning a trip from Dallas to Yosemite, up the Oregon coast to the Portland area, then east along the Columbia River. From there we want to head to Rt. 12 (Lolo Pass)into Montana. I assume that we want to stay on the north side of the river? What's the best way to get to 12? Good scenery and good roads.... Suggestions appreciated. Thanks.

 

Doug

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Going west to east, I would actually use the Historical Columbia River Byway. That way you can take in the Crown Point Highway and stop at Vista House:

 

Gorge_CrownPoint1.jpg

 

and Multnomah Falls. From Cascade Locks you could cross the Bridge of the Gods if you wanted to look back at the Gorge and Mount Hood. If continuing on the north side of the Gorge run up the Klickitat Canyon on WA 142.

 

If staying on the south side you can include Rowena Crest after Hood River:

 

RowenaCrestSwitchbacks.jpg

 

 

Cross back over the Columbia at Marysville/Biggs and now stay south (Wasco, Condon, Heppner, Ukiah, Conley, Wallowa, Enterprise/Joseph). Next go north to Asotin and you get to include the Rattlesnake Grade:

 

Rattlesnake1_sm.jpg

 

But that's just me :)

 

Mike Cassidy

 

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Doug_Baliko
The above is all good stuff. The question is, how long do you want to take from Portland to Lolo?

 

We haven't completed the routing yet, but I would assume that somewhere south of Portland to Lolo would be two days. We usually do 300-400 miles a day in scenic areas.

 

Doug

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szurszewski

You'll have to be a bit picky-choosy then. There are really pretty roads in WA and in Oregon, but it would be a long two days to see both sides of the gorge. It's about 550 miles from Portland to Lolo by the most direct/quickest (mostly interstate but not entirely) route.

 

It would be easy to spend two days doing good roads just on the Oregon side (a lot of them are listed above), and you could do the same on the WA side - especially if you included the Mt. St. Helens area - maybe a trip up to Windy Ridge, or similar. What kind of stuff do you want to see? Central Oregon is spectacular when you get over to John Day and the Blue Mountains, but it can be quite hot in the summer, which I find very draining so I don't do as many miles....

 

 

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Doug_Baliko

I don't think that we'll have enough time to do both sides of the river in great depth. We want to see as much as we can, and ride the best roads with the time allowed. We only have 11 days coming from and returning to Dallas.

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Dennis Andress
I don't think that we'll have enough time to do both sides of the river in great depth. We want to see as much as we can, and ride the best roads with the time allowed. We only have 11 days coming from and returning to Dallas.

 

The difference between shipping a bike and riding it across the whole country is about $100..

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szurszewski
I don't think that we'll have enough time to do both sides of the river in great depth. We want to see as much as we can, and ride the best roads with the time allowed. We only have 11 days coming from and returning to Dallas.

 

Then, having lived and ridden both sides of the gorge, I'd stick to the Oregon side and hit points mentioned by Mike above. Could be made into two full days. If you start early, and not too far south from Portland, and do a lot of riding and not much stopping, Enterprise could make a nice stop for the night.

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Doug_Baliko
I don't think that we'll have enough time to do both sides of the river in great depth. We want to see as much as we can, and ride the best roads with the time allowed. We only have 11 days coming from and returning to Dallas.

 

The difference between shipping a bike and riding it across the whole country is about $100..

 

Thanks. I'll remember that when I buy my first Harley. :Cool:

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Doug_Baliko
I don't think that we'll have enough time to do both sides of the river in great depth. We want to see as much as we can, and ride the best roads with the time allowed. We only have 11 days coming from and returning to Dallas.

 

Then, having lived and ridden both sides of the gorge, I'd stick to the Oregon side and hit points mentioned by Mike above. Could be made into two full days. If you start early, and not too far south from Portland, and do a lot of riding and not much stopping, Enterprise could make a nice stop for the night.

 

Thanks. I'll work on our routes and see what we can fit in.

 

Doug

 

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Doug:

 

If coming from Lincoln City to the South Portland area I highly recommend at least an hour or two at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville. Your ONLY chance to see Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose. If going all the way up the coast to Astoria there are other suggestions, not the least of which is the Columbia River Maritime Museum.

 

Although the Columbia Gorge Historical Highway is very slow I think everyone should do it once. At least stop at Crown Point/Vista House, they have great displays about the history of the road. Once you get to Biggs, a lot of the route from there can be done well over the speed limit. Just watch for loose gravel in the inside of the tighter corners (horse trailers and such kicking up gravel from the shoulders). Enterprise has more places to stay than Joseph, but Joseph has more things to see & do (Wallowa Lake & Valley Bronze Gallery & Foundry).

 

For a treat stop for a burger or ice cream at Boggan's Oasis at the bridge crossing the Grande Ronde River at the bottom of the Rattlesnake Grade. For how hyped the Rattlesnake Grade is, I find the section of WA129 from the Grande Ronde River crossing to Asotin requires more skill and concentration.

 

Final fair warning - stick to within 5mph of the speed limit (50 mph) on US 12 from Orofino to the Montana border. The local police make a living from motorcyclists on that section of road. The interpretive center at Lolo Pass has great displays about the Lewis & Clark Expedition.

 

Final-final fair warning. Don't travel after dark - too many blind corners are in water drainage and wildlife abounds.

 

Mike Cassidy

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Get yourself an official Oregon map (any visitor's center) and follow the roads that will take you through the following towns in this order:

 

Portland

Government Camp

Wamic

Tygh Valley

Maupen

Bakeoven

Shaniko (stop for an ice cream cone)

Antelope

Fossil

Condon

Heppner

Ukia

LaGrande

Minam

Enterprise

Lewiston

 

I'd spend the night in LaGrande or preferably Enterprise if you can make it. If you follow this route you will hit a number of my all-time favorite stretches of road.

 

If you NEED to see the Gorge then head to The Dalles and take 197 to Tygh Valley then follow the route from there. Believe me, you'll like these roads.

 

 

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szurszewski
If you go thru La Grand, OR, eat at Mamacitas. They know the meaning of "fresh".

 

Heard that from several folks - we were in la grande a few times last year trying to buy a business there. We ate at mamacitas one day and it was really, well, not so great. We did have really good sushi in town one night, and the ice cream/burger place there has some great homemade flavors.

 

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Definitely hit the historic highway and Crown Point,Multnomah Falls on the Oregon side,if you have the time cross to WA and avoid the interstate.

 

If you want to stay in Enterprise,make sure you have reservations.I had a long evening continuing on one year,as there were no rooms at Enterprise and finally found one of the last at LaGrande.

 

JR356

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Go a little further than Enterprise and spend the night at Wallowa Lake. Great alpine environment in eastern Oregon. Great digs at Wallowa Lake Lodge and good restaurant.

Secure parking for motorcycles.

 

MB>

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Doug_Baliko

Thanks to everyone for chiming in. There are lots of great suggestions here. Our trip is going to be during Labor Day week.

 

Doug

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Lots of great riding in the neighborhood from Portland to the Lolo Pass on either side of the Columbia. Might be cool to do the Washington side as far as White Salmon/Hood River (WA-14), then switch to the Oregon side (I-84)to Pendleton. Then you have lots of choices.

 

One is to head up to Walla Walla (the place so nice they named it twice.....and a good stopover spot if its that time of the day, then hop on US 12 to Lolo Pass. This one comes recommended by Lewis and Clark.

 

Another possibility is to get to the west side of the Lolo Pass via Hells Canyon. Hells Canyon route is definitely the wilder of the two ways to get to Lolo from the west. You could either go via Walla Walla, Clarkston, Asotin and Enterprise, or Weston, Elgin and Enterprise. Road in the National Forest down to the bottom of Hells Canyon has some 20 plus miles of patches where there is hard packed gravel as of last summer (doubt if that has changed), but most of it is paved. Hells Canyon is in quite a hole!

 

No bad choices really.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Doug_Baliko

I need a little more help with roads around Portland. We'll be coming up 101 from Northern California. What's the best route to cut over to the Portland area from 101. Just looking at a map it looks like 18 north of Lincoln City connecting into 99W might be a good route? And where is a good place to spend the night before we head over to the Columbia River?

 

Doug

 

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szurszewski

Are you trying to get in to Portland, or are you trying to avoid it? About any of the roads through the coast range are good. The closer you get to Portland, the more traffic they will have (6 and 26 for instance merge in Hillsboro and become one of our freeways through the city).

 

I like 18 or 20 in from the coast. If you're up for a little bit of packed gravel/dirt, my favorite is to take the Nestucca River road which joins 101 at the Shell station in Beaver, and will take you to 99W in Carlton. (It's called other things at both ends - I believe it's Blaine Rd or something like that at 101 - but it's the only road by the only Shell station in Beaver :) ).

 

Also, I actually really like 34, but that will cut off some more of the coast as it starts a little more south.

 

Obviously it's cheaper to stay outside the city than downtown - let me know what you are looking for and I'll have some suggestions for you!

josh

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AnotherLee

Doug wrote:

Just looking at a map it looks like 18 north of Lincoln City connecting into 99W might be a good route?

Yes, good route.

Passes within a block of BMW Tigard just before crossing I-5. BMW dealership

Also near there: Buster's Barbecue mmmmm, good!

 

And where is a good place to spend the night before we head over to the Columbia River?

You might want to go on thru Portland if it's late in the day to avoid morning traffic when you start out the next day. Convenient might be Holiday Inn Express behind the TA truckstop off exit 17 from I-84. Holiday Inn Express, Troutdale, OR

 

Hope this helps!

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Doug:

 

In spite of my previous recommendation for the Evergreen Air Museum, by cutting east at Lincoln City on 18/99W you will be missing the Tillamook area (cheese factory & ice cream), Cannon Beach (with haystacks), Ecola State Park and Cape Meares. Maybe by Lincoln City you will have had enough of the Oregon Coast and the slow traffic and (at least through the towns) frequent stop-and-go. But seeing the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse from Ecola State Park is pretty impressive. And you could head east then on US 26.

 

Tillamook_rock_lighthouse.jpg

 

We usually stay in Tualatin or Tigard. But there is lots of choice just east of the Portland International Airport with the added convenience of lots of choices of fuel. That also gets you through Portland traffic for an early start the next day.

 

Mike Cassidy

 

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Doug_Baliko
Get yourself an official Oregon map (any visitor's center) and follow the roads that will take you through the following towns in this order:

 

Portland

Government Camp

Wamic

Tygh Valley

Maupen

Bakeoven

Shaniko (stop for an ice cream cone)

Antelope

Fossil

Condon

Heppner

Ukia

LaGrande

Minam

Enterprise

Lewiston

 

I'd spend the night in LaGrande or preferably Enterprise if you can make it. If you follow this route you will hit a number of my all-time favorite stretches of road.

 

If you NEED to see the Gorge then head to The Dalles and take 197 to Tygh Valley then follow the route from there. Believe me, you'll like these roads.

 

 

Thanks Bob. I have a couple of questions regarding your route. At Heppner, On my map I see an unnamed road that is marked scenic that is probably part of your route. Is it Willow Creek Road feeding into Western Rt. Road that brings me to Ukiah?

 

And out of Maupin on the way to Shankiko, is it Bake Oven Road that I'm looking for, or do I head south on 197 to 97?

 

Thanks,

Doug

 

 

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The Willow Creek Road becomes Forest Service Road 53 and yes, that's the one you want. Out of Maupin you could head South on 197 but Bakeoven is a nice shortcut through some interesting and remote country.

 

When you get to Fossil you do have a choice to either go through Condon or head South to Spray and then hit Kimberly, Long Creek and then 395 to Ukiah. Probably a little longer but not by much and more tight twisty's.

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Doug_Baliko

Thanks again for the help. We have our route for this trip pretty well set at this point. We will be overnighting in Arcata, Ca on September 6th, up the coast to Portland the 7th, across to Enterprise the 8th, and up to Lewiston and across 12, then south on 93 to Salmon, ID the 9th.

 

Doug

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Have heard more than one person mention Wallowa Lake Resort(not lodge)it is 11 miles outside Enterprise.

It has 4 1/2 star rating on Trip advisor.

 

Eagle View Motel in Enterprise has good ratings.

 

Don't forget Terminal Gravity Brewery in Enterprise.

 

http://terminalgravitybrewing.com/

 

Why Salmon?,I spent many good summers there at my Grandparents.

Have not been there since early 70's.it was a pretty small place then,likely has grown a lot.

Maybe I'll swing thru there on my way back from the MOA Rally in Billings,MT.

Doubt I'll be able to recognize anything.

 

JR356

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Doug_Baliko

Thank you. I also found the Eagles View Inn online so I guess there are some choices for such a small town.

 

Doug

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I've stayed at the Ponderosa Motel a couple of times. Motorcycle friendly and easy walking distance to the brew pub. It's right in town.

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Doug:

 

I've stayed at the Eagle's View and it is a pretty good walk down the hill into town to eat. I say that because I take every chance I can when I get to the end of the day to walk. I have also stayed in a yurt at Wallowa State Park and that was really nice (they're heated). A local group from ADVrider has hosted events at the Mountain View Motel and RV Park (closer to Joseph) and been very happy with how they were treated. But (as of 2 years ago) there isn't anyplace close to the Mountain View to eat. So you would have to ride for supper or stop in Enterprise before going to the Mountain View.

 

BTW, that's a pretty ambitious day from Arcata to Portland. But the traffic is down a bit in September, so if you get an early start you should be OK. You may stop for so many pictures in the first couple of hours that you find yourself way behind schedule.

 

If you can last the 280 miles from Arcata to Yachats, may I suggest the Luna Sea Fish House. The fish is fresh and very reasonable priced for Pacific halibut & ling cod. Mostly batter/deep fried but they usually have a non-deep-fried special or two.

 

Mike Cassidy

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szurszewski
Doug:

 

 

BTW, that's a pretty ambitious day from Arcata to Portland. But the traffic is down a bit in September, so if you get an early start you should be OK. You may stop for so many pictures in the first couple of hours that you find yourself way behind schedule.

Mike Cassidy

 

 

+1 on this; that was my first thought when I saw your itinerary above, but figured I'd keep my mouth shut as I've no idea of your riding habits. I would do it, though I'd be tired at the end of the day. My wife would not choose to do it, and would be miserable at the end of the day if "talked" into it. Others though would do it happily with no trouble - I imagine you can figure it out.

 

Doug:

If you can last the 280 miles from Arcata to Yachats, may I suggest the Luna Sea Fish House. The fish is fresh and very reasonable priced for Pacific halibut & ling cod. Mostly batter/deep fried but they usually have a non-deep-fried special or two.

 

Mike Cassidy

 

+100 This is one of my favorite places to eat on the coast. They have their own boat and most of what you eat is stuff they caught, or so they say. I REALLY like ling cod, and that's what I usually get if I can get it fresh (even if cost is not consideration, I'll usually choose it over halibut unless I know it's a really choice halibut). We stayed in Yachats earlier this year for a few days and I would have eaten here every day if it had been up to me. Their menu is pretty simple - several seafood options AND any of them can be served several ways (deep fried, pan fried, baked/broiled, as a salad, etc.), so you're definitely not limited to deep fried.

 

Oh - they have burgers too, but I've no idea why anyone would get one there ;)

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Doug_Baliko

It's only 425 miles! With stops and some picture taking about a 10 hour day. We'll be on the road early and be done by dinner time. It's actually one of our shorter days. When you live so far away you have to squeeze a trip like this into 10 or 11 days.

 

 

Doug

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szurszewski

Again, I'm not saying you can't/shouldn't do it - I'm sure you can, but isn't that Labor Day? Here that means a lot of folks will be taking their last summer trip to the coast, and I think you will be lucky to average 40mph rolling - which is to say, I think you're very likely to have 10 riding hours, plus stops.

 

Weather is very likely to be great that time of year. :)

 

Did you pick a spot to stay in Portland?

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Have heard more than one person mention Wallowa Lake Resort(not lodge)it is 11 miles outside Enterprise.

It has 4 1/2 star rating on Trip advisor.

 

Don't forget Terminal Gravity Brewery in Enterprise.

 

http://terminalgravitybrewing.com/

 

JR356

 

 

It's Wallowa Lake Lodge... I know, I stayed there. Also have a T Shirt that says it!

www.wallowalakelodge.com

 

+1 on Term gravity brewing.

 

MB>

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Doug_Baliko
Did you pick a spot to stay in Portland?

 

Yes and no. We're actually staying in Washington just on the other side of the river. I figured since we're starting out the next day on 14 on the north side of the river it made the most sense.

 

Doug

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szurszewski
Did you pick a spot to stay in Portland?

 

Yes and no. We're actually staying in Washington just on the other side of the river. I figured since we're starting out the next day on 14 on the north side of the river it made the most sense.

 

Doug

 

Yes - I think that's a good logistical choice. Better/more dinner options on this side, but I'm sure there must be something nice in Vacouver. Probably :)

 

(We Portlanders are a bit snobby when it comes to the 'couve...)

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Fortunately it's not that far from Portland. Where do you suggest that we eat?

 

Doug

 

I used to live around that way so I'll throw out my recommendations: http://bagdadmovies.com/326-greater-trumps-home

 

Or any of the McMenamins pubs. I really like their Hammerhead Red ale.

 

If you're craving a decent steak, you can try The Ringside - http://www.ringsidesteakhouse.com/

 

However, since you're from Texas it might be hard to impress you with non-Texas steak. :S

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szurszewski
Fortunately it's not that far from Portland. Where do you suggest that we eat?

 

Doug

 

Oh man - so many choices. If i had to make a recommendation of just one place based on knowing nothing about you, the rest of your group, or any of your tastes, I'd send you to Bete-Lukas but damned if they aren't open on Mondays.

 

Ringside as mentioned above is supposed to be a good steak house if that's your sort of thing - it's not really my thing though and I've never been there (but I do have a business dinner scheduled for there this Friday).

 

If you wanted a great steak but in a more Portland style restaurant, I'd go to Laurelhurst Market .

 

If you wanted the Portland restaurant experience with more choices that Laurelhurst, one of the early leaders in what has become our current food scene is Noble Rot , which has great food AND great views of the city of you can get one of the patio tables (it's on the east side of the river, which was the industrial part of town but is now the hip part of town, so you look west over the city center with the sun setting behind the west hills in the backgoround).

 

Of course what most tourists are looking for lately is food carts - we have a ton, and they are good for groups as each person can pick their own thing. There are so many pods now (groups of carts - which aren't really carts or trucks but mostly trailers) you almost need a guide (and of course there are several) but if you're into that let me know and I can help you find a set that has some great stuff.

 

A good example of more recent Portland style is the Bollywood Theater which is part sort of Indian street food - made by a bunch of white hipsters - and part, gee - I don't know - Portland? There are two of these - the Alberta location would be closer to your lodging, but I strongly recommend the Division location, which is newer and has a really great outside Patio on a very hip Portland street.

 

A bit fancy but good is Lincoln and maybe as good but not so fancy is Tasty n Sons in the same neighborhood.

 

And if you want really great NW small plates / tapas, Toro Bravo is the place.

 

Oh - I live on the east side (where all the best places to eat are!) but if you want something downtown and don't want Ringside, Clyde Common is where I'd send you. Good food - mostly small plates - a few things that are oddly priced (my wife is a vegetarian, and this place doesn't have many veg options...she once had an $8 "salad" that was literally six leaves of the same type of lettuce and a vinigrette - she did say the lettuce was good) BUT they have some great things and FABULOUS house-made ginger beer! (non alcoholic)

 

If you have any specific desires in your group, let me know - I love to talk about food. And, um, I don't want to knock McMenimans, I will say, to me, their strong point is their locations (theaters, hotels, a great music venue/hotel/winery, etc) and not so much their food or their beers. I assumed you'd be riding home after dinner, so I didn't really highlight any of our breweries and such, but if you are looking for Portland beer scene stuff, I have some good suggestions there too. How many of you are there? Maybe I could be a DD for you that night...

 

Oh but wait - you're going to be exhausted from your 20 hour ride that day! ;) Let me know where you're staying and I'll google up the closest McDonalds :)

 

 

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Fortunately it's not that far from Portland. Where do you suggest that we eat?

 

Doug

 

Oh man - so many choices. If i had to make a recommendation of just one place based on knowing nothing about you, the rest of your group, or any of your tastes, I'd send you to Bete-Lukas but damned if they aren't open on Mondays.

 

Ringside as mentioned above is supposed to be a good steak house if that's your sort of thing - it's not really my thing though and I've never been there (but I do have a business dinner scheduled for there this Friday).

 

If you wanted a great steak but in a more Portland style restaurant, I'd go to Laurelhurst Market .

 

If you wanted the Portland restaurant experience with more choices that Laurelhurst, one of the early leaders in what has become our current food scene is Noble Rot , which has great food AND great views of the city of you can get one of the patio tables (it's on the east side of the river, which was the industrial part of town but is now the hip part of town, so you look west over the city center with the sun setting behind the west hills in the backgoround).

 

Of course what most tourists are looking for lately is food carts - we have a ton, and they are good for groups as each person can pick their own thing. There are so many pods now (groups of carts - which aren't really carts or trucks but mostly trailers) you almost need a guide (and of course there are several) but if you're into that let me know and I can help you find a set that has some great stuff.

 

A good example of more recent Portland style is the Bollywood Theater which is part sort of Indian street food - made by a bunch of white hipsters - and part, gee - I don't know - Portland? There are two of these - the Alberta location would be closer to your lodging, but I strongly recommend the Division location, which is newer and has a really great outside Patio on a very hip Portland street.

 

A bit fancy but good is Lincoln and maybe as good but not so fancy is Tasty n Sons in the same neighborhood.

 

And if you want really great NW small plates / tapas, Toro Bravo is the place.

 

Oh - I live on the east side (where all the best places to eat are!) but if you want something downtown and don't want Ringside, Clyde Common is where I'd send you. Good food - mostly small plates - a few things that are oddly priced (my wife is a vegetarian, and this place doesn't have many veg options...she once had an $8 "salad" that was literally six leaves of the same type of lettuce and a vinigrette - she did say the lettuce was good) BUT they have some great things and FABULOUS house-made ginger beer! (non alcoholic)

 

If you have any specific desires in your group, let me know - I love to talk about food. And, um, I don't want to knock McMenimans, I will say, to me, their strong point is their locations (theaters, hotels, a great music venue/hotel/winery, etc) and not so much their food or their beers. I assumed you'd be riding home after dinner, so I didn't really highlight any of our breweries and such, but if you are looking for Portland beer scene stuff, I have some good suggestions there too. How many of you are there? Maybe I could be a DD for you that night...

 

Oh but wait - you're going to be exhausted from your 20 hour ride that day! ;) Let me know where you're staying and I'll google up the closest McDonalds :)

 

 

Hey, I am in on this trip, what's this about 20 hour days! I doubt that any of us will blow away if we miss a meal. :grin:

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  • 1 month later...

Just ten days until we leave for our trip. The routes are finished and the bikes are ready. Just the bike packing left to do. We'll be stopping in Gallup, NM on the 3rd, Barstow, Ca on the 4th, Bridgeport, CA on the 5th, after stopping at Yosemite, Arcata, CA on the 6th, Vancouver, WA on the 7th, Enterprise, OR on the 8th, Salmon, ID on the 9th, Montpelier, ID on the 10th, Moab, UT on the 11th, Las Vegas, NM on the 12th, home on the 13th.

 

Doug

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Well, that was an embarrassing typo, wasn't it?

 

Sorry Doug, didn't notice in time to edit it.

 

:dopeslap:

 

Mike Cassidy

 

 

I've been called worse. :rofl:

 

Doug

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