Help planning ride Portland Oregon to British Columbia
We are beginning to plan a ride this summer from Portland, Oregon to British Columbia. Our group of 10 riders has decided that our ride this summer should be to Canada. None of us have ridden there in the past so we are looking for suggestions on routes and must-see sights in BC. Here are some of the things we would like our ride to include.
1. We will have one week of riding beginning approximately July 22nd. Our group usually rides 300-400 miles each day.
2. We enjoy riding scenic less-traveled roads.
3. We like to stay in historic and scenic towns with character.
I would appreciate any suggestions any of you might have for our ride. Thanks in advance for your help.
Make a route to Port Townsend
Seattle is great if you don't mind traffic and interstates. There are great things to see, but it's better to catch a ferry, see the sights, get back to the peninsula. I'm spoiled here on Bainbridge Is. The Olympic is spotted with great old logging towns like Forks (yes the vampire town). The Native American Reservations like La Push offer amazing ocean views. There's a great cabin based campground there at First Beach. Rialto Beach has a view of the Pacific that's unmatched.
Port Townsend downtown is lined with Victorian architecture and has some great places to eat. On the road to Port T. don't pass the aviation museum at the Jefferson Co. Airport on Rt. 19. they have a program that teaches teens how to repair and maintain vintage airplanes AND fly them.
Just some food for thought, let me know if I can help.
If you make it to this side of the area, some neat stuff to see. There's the Undersea Warfare Museum in Keyport, WA. All submarine history and it's FREE! Keyport is the north Pacific base for the boomers (shhh, don't tell anybody). Here on Bainbridge is the Japanese Exclusion Memorial. This was the FIRST location where US Japanese citizens were sent away to internment camps. The community put together a moving tribute. We have a local distillery, brewery, and quite a few wineries if that's on your radar.
Hood Canal and beyond
Ride up Hood Canal to Pt Townsend, ferry to Whidbey Island, north across Deception Pass Bridge, turn left at Pass Lake to Anacortes, take ferry through San Juan Islands to Vancouver Island (Victoria), tour Vancouver Island, then ferry to Vancouver, BC. Great roads, great scenery, great restaurants, quaint towns.
The back way
From Portland go east into the Columbia River Gorge on the Oregon side on the Columbia River Historic Highway. Cross the river at Cascade Locks into Stevenson (last fuel for a while) Go north into Carson and continue on the Wind River Hwy. About 2 miles after the road straightens out on the top of the plateau go left at Curly Creek road (stop at the overlook) and continue to NF90 (left) for north and on across the Lewis River at NF25. NF25 (National Forest 25) is a very twisty and rough paved road that courses the forest on the next ridge east of Mt. St. Helens. Views are spectacular, but this is no place for sight seeing if you carry any pace at all. A side trip to Windy Ridge takes you so close to the volcano's lava dome you could smell the sulphur if the air was still (unlikely). Back to NF25 to Randal on WA Hwy 12. From there you would be remiss to not loop around Mt. Rainer. Hwy 410 is nice, but Stevens Canyon Rd is spectacular. Then you roll into the Tacoma/Seattle metropolis and onward.
Very good suggestions all (especially the bit about passports). That back road around St. Helens is spectacular country, and not to be missed. BUT, make sure you check the day of your ride that the roads back there are actually open. Last couple of years they've had some unexpected closures, even in the middle of summer. You could get back in there quite a ways and then have to backtrack. (been there, done that...in July) The Gifford-Pinchot National Forest has a convenient website with *usually* up to date info on road status.
If you'd like to avoid the superslab through Seattle-Tacoma I might recommend starting in Astoria, up the coast to Hoquiam-Aberdeen area, then up the west side of the Hood Canal to Port Townsend. Ferry over to Whidbey as suggested above, San Juan Ferry to Victoria, BC. Riding around Vancouver Island is pretty nice, but the roads can be a bit slow with traffic.
Southbound? Perhaps take the Black Ball Ferry from downtown Victoria to Port Angeles, then south along the Washington Coast line on the west side of the Oly peninsula.... Back at the Astoria bridge, perhaps stay on the north side of the Columbia and proceed onward to that *great* west coast superslab known as I-5 to gain access to the fair state of Oregon.