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Friday, April 13, 2012

An Assortment of Notes: Weather, Other Bike Tourists, Other More Famous Bike Bloggers, AND Camping This Weekend!

So how 'bout that weather, folks! We're on a "classic" spring weather cycle: three to four days of good weather followed by three to four days of not-so-good-weather, repeat. This week is a good example: We had an awesome weekend (see my previous report) with a really good Monday and a decent Tuesday morning. Then the rain returned. And classic spring rain: pour, then calm, then pour, etc. It's culminated into Thursday's "interesting" weather. While it's been mostly pleasant here in Portland, the coast has been stormy. And at Tillamook (home to the cheese factory) the rarest of weather occurrences (for the Northwest, at least) happened: a funnel cloud was spotted. Thankfully, that was all. But we've heard reports that the westside suburbs got some intense rain/hail/snow (snow?) action.

Poor Boats! From the 10 January 2008 Vancouver, WA tornado.

Now Portland is far from Tornado Central. I believe we're like 2nd Place for "State Least Likely to See a Tornado." But I do remember on one occasion back in the heady days of 2008 we did have a bonafide tornado in the area. (If you consider Vancouver, Washington the area.) And because Portland doesn't normally have tornadoes we had to get all contrary and have it in January. Fancy that. Don't worry, no one got hurt but it ripped the roof off of a building and scattered boats belonging to a boat club.

Scary stuff kids!

Getting back to Tuesday, the craptacular weather happened right at the time one particular famous bike blogger was "leading" a bike ride. Of course he wasn't truly leading it, and I gave him crap about it. (Because what else are you going to do when you encounter Wildcat Rock Machine?) The ride ended up at Powell's for a thoroughly enjoyable book-related-event.

I'm not as worried about Eben Weiss getting a little wet on a ride during his promotional junket, I'm more concerned about bike tourists. I did run into one from Vancouver, BC on Tuesday.* He was going to ride out to the coast on Wednesday and do some touring around the northern coast. I hope he didn't get poured on (though I'm pretty sure he did.) We talked a little about the conditions out there, as the wind is predominantly from the north in summer and south in winter. Being April this means it could be either depending on weather. It's a crapshoot this time of year. But it's supposed to start drying up Friday and be nice this weekend, so at least he'll have some good weather.

Moulton Falls, near Sunset Falls Campground.

Speaking about nice weekend weather, I've decided to do another camping trip this weekend! This time is into uncharted territory: Sunset Falls Campground in Clark County, Washington. This campground is on the edge of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. While I've ridden close to this campground (on my Mount St. Helens mini-tour back in 2010), I've never gone to it. Are you in Portland and interested in coming along? Well then, check out the info below!


I’m going to be “leading” a trip this weekend (Sat 14/Sun 15) to Sunset Falls campground in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. (Clark County, Washington.) This is “unexplored” territory as we’ve never been there before, but are interested in checking it out. So this is an exploratory mission.

We’ll meet at the PARKROSE TRANSIT CENTER Saturday April 14th at 10am. (We’ll probably hang around until at least 10:20). For those of you who want some diner-style breakfast beforehand, meet at the CAMEO CAFE near the corner of NE 82 and Sandy (8111 NE Sandy Blvd), about 1/2 mile from the MAX), at 8:30am.  (Note: They actually have tofu on the menu! Vegans rejoice!)

The ride itself is approximately 40 miles. The first four miles is all I-205 Bike Path, the next ten suburban roads, either busier roads with bike lanes or low traffic neighborhood streets. The rest will be low traffic rural roads with no special bike provisions (other than a couple mile bike path between Lucia and Moulton Falls.) Moderately hilly, highest elevation 1000 feet. I can’t exactly tell you what the ride is like the whole way, though.

Click here for the route.

As for services, we’ll be passing by a Safeway at approximately milepost 12. This will be “the” grocery stop of the trip. There are a few smaller convenience/country stores as well. The last one we’ll pass is the Heisson store near milepost 24.

After Heisson we’ll be cruising up the Lewis River valley, which is pretty! We’ll stop at Lucia Falls and Moulton Falls to check them out. There is also an old historic farm with interpretive center near milepost 27, we may check it out if it’s open/there’s interest/time allows.

For the campground itself, the sites are $12 a night. We’ll probably pay less per person as we can fit more than one person in a site. There is potable water and pit toilets. Like pretty much any National Forest Service campground I’ve been into, there is NO SHOWER there. But if you really feel like it, you can jump into the river! Oh yeah, there is a waterfall there. For more info, click here.

*Yes, he did have a MEC bag.

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