Sunday, February 04, 2007

2/3/2007 -- Chehalem Mountains, 95 miles

I was thinking about some of the roads that I like to ride in the country around Portland last week when the inspiration for this ride struck me. The thought that I had was, these are a bunch of roads that I enjoy riding seperately, but I had never considered associating them with each other in the same ride. But something in my head clicked, and I realized that if I hooked them all up, I'd have a pretty nice route.

So I went out and pedaled it on Saturday, and it was fantastic. The route covers a huge amount of ground around Portland, but manages to stay on bike-friendly roads the entire way. The only exceptions are a mile on 99E north of Canby, and a stretch on 219 south of Newberg which crosses the Willamette River. As I rode it on Saturday, I came into town on Highway 30, which isn't so good for riding, but which I chose because it's flat and I was pressed for time. Ordinarily, I would have stayed on Skyline all the way to Cornell (much nicer). I would also amend the route south of Forest Grove, turning onto Geiger and then Lafollett to get to 10th in Cornelius. Having made those changes, though, all the roads on this ride get a solid 3 stars or better. Plus, services are available at regular intervals.

The general idea is to head south through Oregon City to Canby. You can take any route you like; I mentioned some options in my post about my Salem trip. From Canby, take Knight's Bridge and Arndt west to Butteville and Champoeg. Then keep going west to 219, and cross into Newberg. Wind through Newberg to 240, but then get on the Old Yamhill Road, and turn north on Tangen Road. This leads to North Valley Road, Spring Hill Road, and Fern Hill Road, and the next thing you know, you're in Forest Grove (or Cornelius). Your options from that point are open; you can call it a good ride, and hop a MAX in Hillsboro back into town, or you can make a beeline for the north edge of the Hillsboro Airport, and then Helvetia and go up Cornelius Pass (as I did), or you can add challenge and distance by taking the less direct route through North Plains, and maybe up Logie Trail to Skyline. Once you're on top of Skyline, it's a pleasant pedal on its rolling hills back into town, where you get one last screaming descent before you finish up.

Highlights of my specific route included the Butteville-Champoeg bike path, Champoeg Park, North Valley Road, Spring Hill Road, the Rock Creek Tavern, Old Cornelius Pass Road, and Skyline Boulevard. The Rock Creek Tavern is especially nice -- it's a McMenamins, yes, but it's an awesome McMenamins, and it's there just before you start your last big push up the West Hills.


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