8/5/2006 -- Detroit Lake, 200 miles
Late last summer, I finally got a chance to ride on Highway 224, up the Clackamas River. I fell in love with the area for biking, and since then I've daydreamed about doing a ride to explore the entire length of that highway. On Saturday, I got up early and set out on my custom Bacchetta Aero to do just that.
There's nothing easier than getting to Estacada from central Portland; simply follow the Springwater Corridor to its terminus in Boring, follow Richey and Amisigger down the hill, and get on the generously-shouldered 224 to Estacada. And then, just past town, divert onto Faraday Road (the old Highway 224) for 5 miles of car-free bliss, right above the river. Rejoin 224, and past Promontory Park traffic on the highway diminishes into nigh non-existence.
For the next 70 miles, pedal through beautiful forests, above roaring rapids, and below basalt cliffs. Except for a snack stand at Ripplebrook, there are no services in this stretch, so pack a lunch. The trees for the last 15 miles or so before the pass above the Breitenbush River are rather generic second growth stock, but upon plummetting down the other side, the forest regains a lush, older growth character.
Detroit has plenty of options for refueling, and represents something of a high point, elevation-wise, in the ride. The next 30 miles consist of gradually descending rollers, and feature a fairly heavy accompaniment of traffic. To it's credit, the road here also has a pretty good shoulder. I had a nasty headwind for this stretch, which was somewhat demoralizing, given the traffic, and given how much effort I had already expended on the day. Plenty of services in this stretch.
When I got to Stayton, I turned north on the Cascade Highway, west of Silver Falls Park. This road is straight, but crosses a number of drainages of the foothills of the Cascades. So it's pretty hilly. Once I got to Silverton, I proceeded north over the pancake-esque Elliott Prairie on Meridian Road, which took me to within spitting distance of Canby, and from there I took my pick of several options to get me back within Portland proper.
Here's the route in gmaps: