Riding into Oregon from northern California is simply a matter of staying on Highway 101. A small sign on the side of the road says, Welcome to Oregon — blink and you’d miss it.
I decided to forgo the coast: The onshore breeze was blowing extremely hard and I was getting pushed from one side of the lane to the other with each gust.
I managed to ride up to Florence before I decided to turn inland and head for Crater Lake. I backtracked from Florence to Reedsport, then took Highway 38/138 to Roseburg. From there I took a wonderful road through idyllic countryside, past ranches and old wooden barns and alongside the Umpqua River as it twisted and turned on its journey to the Pacific.
Crater Lake is a caldera lake. Many years ago, the volcano Mount Mazama collapsed, leaving a large hole in the ground. Over the years rain and snowmelt filled the hole, forming a lake.
At its deepest spot the depth is over 1,900 feet. It looked to be a mile across in either direction. In May the mountains that line the lake are snow covered which strikes a perfect balance against the deep blue water. Actually, it almost looked too perfect, as though it were really a movie set.
I eventually made my way past Mount Hood. Even though the volcano is dormant, its presence is hard to ignore. It’s a huge cone with snow-laden sides. I was actually shaking as I rode in its shadow. Not sure why it unnerved me, but it did.
I continued on to Hood River on the Columbia River Gorge. It’s a great town on a great river. I spent the night camping in Viento State Park, which is situated between a cliff, the interstate a train track and the Columbia River. Never in my live have I heard so much noise all at once. The interstate buzzes all night; the trucks shake the ground as they rumble past; there’s a railway crossing close by so the trains blow their horns as they pass. One night was all I could stand.
The next day I took a side trip to see Mount St. Helens; an active volcano in the state of WashingtonWhat’s left of Mount St Helens is massive and also alarming.
A enormous amount of rock debris blew off when the volcano last erupted The crater left after the explosion is over 1.5 kilometers wide. After the eruption, there was concern that the area would never recover. However, the trees have reappeared, replacing the thousands lost. Animals have returned and the valley is on the rebound.
• Metro columnist Michael Jackson has embarked on the trip of a lifetime. He has headed out for a two-month solo motorcycle trip across the U.S. and Canada — but to make things even more interesting, he plans to have something of a mobile office, managing his small business, a printing company, remotely while he’s on the road. But will Michael really be able to put work aside at those times when he’s trying to enjoy his trip??Will his bike break down, wreaking havoc on his itinerary and budget? And will he go stir crazy travelling by himself for six weeks? Follow his adventures every Wednesday in Metro to find out.
– Michael Jackson is on a two-month motorcycle trip around North America. Track his progress at www.adventuremotorcycleroutes.ca.