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Sep 24th 2017, 07:43 PM   #1
 WarpShatner7's Avatar
  Jan 2016

  R1200ST, CB350
Notes on a Portland - Cathlamet loop this Friday.

First of all, Hump's in Clatskanie closed a month ago, dammit. Despite how goofy it looked outside, inside it was the coolest midcentury style diner in the state. You could shoot an Elvis movie in there. So does anyone know of a really good place to grab lunch in the Clatskanie / Westport / Cathlamet area? In the end I waited until I looped around to St Helens and had a burger and fries at the inimitable Dari Delish. If you haven't done the same you are not yet fully alive.

Anyway, by "Portland - Cathlamet loop" I basically mean this or some variant thereof. Anything that gets you on the low fast curves along the North side of the Columbia is always good, especially as we're running out of warm bright sunny days.

Some people might prefer to go by way of 26 and 47 to Vernonia for one or both legs but it has a lot more traffic than the Scappoose-Pittsburgh route: you find yourself lurking behind a utility truck -- or worse, a landscaping trailer -- a lot, waiting for a chance that doesn't come very often.

There's a lot of nice new pavement on the the latter stretch but I'm taking it slow in the hairpins watching for leaves and stray gravel -- there is some in the curves throughout the Columbia County leg of this ride, so watch it. I'm being so cautious that I suddenly see in my rearview that a red sportsbike ridden by a guy in a gloss tan leather jacket has caught up to me. I'm not pushing hard today so I move aside on a dashed-line stretch to encourage him to pass, which he does. He stays in view until eventually taking off at the fork to Apiary and Rainier while I bear left to Mist and Clatskanie.

On the new amazingly improved roads I hit OR-30 at six minutes past the hour.... I've been planning to hook right and look for food in Clatskanie and get the ferry in an hour but I realize now that it's a clear 10 mile stretch with lots of passing opportunities and if I twist the grip here and there I can easily make it in the necessary 8 or so minutes. I get there on the dot -- per my slightly fast dash clock -- and there are no vehicles waiting. I don't have time to wonder if I've missed it because there it is coming around the point in the middle distance.

On the ferry I help out a couple who arrived in the only other vehicle, moments after me... they're trying to take a joint selfie on the boat so I take a picture for them. She's a talker and we spend so much time yapping that I forget to enjoy the nicest 12 minute river cruise anywhere...

About ten minutes into the ride back on the WA side red sportbike guy reappears, waving at me coming the other way. He apparently took the Longview bridge from Rainier. If he's planning on taking the ferry back he'll have a half hour wait.

WA-4 is a blast, empty of cops and almost so of other cars, the river sparkles. I don't spare the throttle. For once I don't take the truck route around Longview but go through town snaking my way to the bridge through what turn out to be some really nice neighborhoods.

I skip my backup plan which was to stop at a decent basic pizza buffet place whose name I don't recall trackside in Rainier, and press on to St Helens and the aforementioned burger joint. I could go by way of Apiary and Deer Island but I have start making better time to be back for a 4:00 teleconference so it's boring old OR-30 for me. At Dari Delight, another customer tells me that if you ask they'll overcook the fries a little, he prefers them crisper. The ones I have are very hot and fresh and just fine as they come.

Uneventful after that except of course that arriving in Portland after 3:00pm on a weekday is already a terrible idea. The line for the St John's bridge is already a joke so I carry on and manage to snake in via the Fremont Bridge to Weidler eastbound by being a little aggressive.

Anyway, to cut a long description of a short ride short, good lunch place recommendations are always welcome.
bcj likes this.
Sep 24th 2017, 08:18 PM   #2
 Greg's Avatar
  Apr 2016

  L3 GSX-R750, Versys LT
Planning to hit that ferry before we run out of nicer weather!
Sep 25th 2017, 10:06 AM   #3
 FeralRdr's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  The Rider's Seat

OldManRiver and I met up early Friday morning in Mist, and did part of the same route you did.

After meeting up, we decided to head for B-Fast/Lunch in Clatskanie and give Colvin's Pub & Grill a try. We made it in time for Breakfast, and though I can't comment on their lunch menu, I can tell you that they do serve a good breakfast at a fair price (IMO).

I can also confirm that there is now fresh asphalt on HWY 47 all the way between Clatskanie and Mist (that whole section of road was redone)

Unfortunately, that now seams to be the main route for logging trucks to take down to HWY 30 (and back) rather than Apiary Rd. As a result, there is now a lot of gravel showing up in many of the tighter corners. It wasn't that bad on Friday, but when I rode that section of 47 a few weeks ago, there was hardly any gravel on it then. I can only imagine that over time, it will only get worse. Still, it is nice that they finally did a major resurfacing of that road.
Greg likes this.
Sep 25th 2017, 01:32 PM   #4
 WarpShatner7's Avatar
  Jan 2016

  R1200ST, CB350
Hm, I never thought of Old Pacific Hwy / Meeker Dr as an alternative to the slab coming down I-5. How is that in terms of driveways, traffic and other impediments? Avoiding the freeway is nice as far that goes, but unless you're in cruiser mode it's not much of an improvement if you can't open it up.
Sep 26th 2017, 09:46 AM   #5
 FeralRdr's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  The Rider's Seat

It certainly isn't a high speed alternative to the Freeway, but if your looking for a potentially more relaxed and funner route, then it can be a viable option.

Traffic is definitely hit or miss. During the rush hours, you more than likely will encounter slower traffic. Combined with the fact that there are long stretches with no safe passing opportunities, it can become an onerous "putt down the road" (typically through the funner sections). With that being said, there are also times when the traffic is not an issue at all, and you can ride at your preferred pace.

In regards to some of the other issues you mentioned; there are places along that route where houses do come up to the road, there are school zones, and there are towns/communities where the speed limit drops dramatically. However, there are still plenty of nice sections that you can move at speed.

  PNW Moto > Oregon > Portland

cathlamet, friday, loop, notes, portland

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