Chanticleer Point - Vuelta a Iberia - CycleBlaze

August 31, 2019

Chanticleer Point

Rachael and I are both feeling frisky this morning and decide to end out August with one of the longest rides we take from home: the round trip out to Chanticleer Point, the first of the great viewpoints on the Columbia River Historic Highway.  There are shorter and more efficient routes, but the one we like best is this one, that follows the Columbia River east to Troutdale, instead of cutting more directly through East Portland to shave off a few miles.  East of Troutdale, we follow the historic highway (Highway 30) most of the way, but take a few detours onto quieter, more scenic side roads.

Round trip, it’s 63 miles with about 1,800’ elevation gain.  A decent challenge, and a good test of our condition to see if we’re on track for Spain.

Heart 0 Comment 0

A warm day is on tap, so we plan an early start.  I’m out the door first and settled in at Lovejoy Bakery not long after they open at 6.  Rachael eats and caffeinates herself at home and then peers in the window at Lovejoy just after 8.

Break time is over, let’s head out.
Heart 3 Comment 0

I’m normally a bit loath to get such an early start, but always wonder why once we’re underway.  It’s a great time to start out this morning - the air feels fresh and coolish, even though it’s already over 60F.  The streets are virtually empty (it’s Saturday morning), and biking north toward the river on 33rd we even see a family of deer dip their toes into the street before thinking better of it and melting back into the trees.  We’ve never seen deer along this stretch, I suppose because it’s too busy to tempt them later in the day.

Not much of a shot, but just a reminder that we saw them. Two adults and a small fawn.
Heart 2 Comment 0

It’s a cloudless day, but far from clear.  There’s a large white plume rising high above the river, back toward Vancouver - a fire of some sort.  The sky is brownish and hazy, and has that greasy unhealthy feeling that fires bring.  It’s still a pleasant ride along the river though, biking into a slight east wind that makes the air feel fresher than it is.  We make good time, and twenty miles into the ride we reach the turnoff to Troutdale and leave the Columbia River.

We’re biking straight at Mount Hood here, but you can’t see even the nearest of the foothills because of the haze.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Nearing Chinook Landing, we’re just getting enough visibility so that the outline of Larch Mountain finally breaks through.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Troutdale sits on the Sandy River, just south of its delta where it empties into the Columbia.  The bridge here crossing the Sandy marks the beginning of the Columbia River Historic Highway, the old road that runs east up the Columbia Gorge for 75 miles to The Dalles.   Built between 1913 and 1922, this famous road was the first planned scenic highway in the United States, modeled after some of the great scenic roads in Europe.  It was eventually superseded by I-84, the interstate highway, and sections of it were lost over the decades.  Gradually though it has been restored, with some sections now existing only as bike and pedestrian paths.

We’ll only be seeing the first ten miles of it today, but it just keeps getting better the further east you go.  In my book, it offers one of the best riding experiences in the northwest.  The first five miles skirt the edge of the meandering Sandy River.  A pleasant ride, often in the shade, but with an inconsistent shoulder.  It’s nice doing the ride early in the day when there’s little traffic to keep an ear cocked for.

Crossing the Sandy River Bridge, just east of Troutdale. Rachael makes it look easy this morning, but it’s a pretty tight squeeze. Normally we just ride on the roadbed, but I lured her onto the sideway this morning so I could take her photo on it.
Heart 5 Comment 0
We’re on the L&C Trail again! I don’t think I’ve ever stopped to read this before, so I’m interested to see that the Sandy was once known as the Quicksand River. For some reason I like it all the better for that.
Heart 0 Comment 0
You should come here. Scenic doesn’t begin to do it justice.
Heart 1 Comment 0
The early miles on the highway are nowhere near as dramatic as what lies ahead, but they have their highlights. I especially like the cliff lined miles along the Quicksand, between the Troutdale and Stark Street Bridges.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Amazing how long and dense these hanging tendrils are. That’s a lot of weight pulling on the roots above.
Heart 4 Comment 1
Bruce LellmanThis looks more like a tropical place than Oregon is. Unchecked, this ivy will go crazy strangling the life out of trees. It's non-native and invasive but pretty cool looking in your photo.
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
I keep forgetting the composition of these cliffs, but I think they’re sedimentary. Conglomerates and mudstone perhaps.
Heart 0 Comment 0
This though looks like a layer of petrified sand dunes.
Heart 1 Comment 0

After breaking away from the river, the highway begins a lazy climb up to the top of a plateau, passing through the small communities of Springdale and Corbett.  Gaining eight hundred feet in about five miles, it’s not much of a challenge.  It’s beautiful country to bike through, passing beside small farms and wood lots with Larch mountain rising on the right and the gorge to the north.  As great as the highway is though, the best riding is on the small, empty roads that parallel it.  Today, the big highlight is a small pig farm, with one huge hog penned right beside the road and two sows in the distance, each with a half dozen or more tiny piglets running after them.

Once on top, it’s a short flat ride to Chanticleer Point.  We pull off, enjoy our views, enjoy the crowds a bit less, but definitely enjoy sitting in the shade eating lunch.  Peanut butter and a view - what could be better?

What? No apple?
Heart 2 Comment 2
Jen GrumbyWhat a face!
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyI know. It makes you want to lean over and rub noses.
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
I must have taken thirty photos of this crowd. I wasn’t really happy with any of them, but this will give you the idea. It’s not so easy trying to get a clear shot when there’s so much in the way and everyone is in random motion.
Heart 1 Comment 1
Ron SuchanekI've ridden by that guy before!
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
Brassica fields, forever. Sounds like a pop song.
Heart 4 Comment 0
Chanticleer Point (it’s official name is Portland Women’s Forum State Scenic Viewpoint) is the first big viewpoint in the gorge. Looking ahead, we see Vista House just a mile to the east; and across the river rises Beacon Rock. It’s a very popular viewpoint, and you can count on seeing a mixed crowd of bicyclists, motorcycles, and other tourists from around the country and around the world.
Heart 4 Comment 2
Bruce LellmanAcross the river rises Beacon Rock, I know you mean. Rooster Rock is on the Oregon side and is just that, a steep rising rock. Beacon Rock provides a great little (steep) hike up switchback stairs and little bridges over switchback stairs. It's a wonder the trail was ever built and I imagine it took many years to complete. Beacon Rock is a great landmark as is Vista House.
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanOh, right. Of course.
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
Today our enjoyment is enhanced by the whir of a drone, in service shooting selfies. I’m tempted to walk up and point out that it spoils the atmosphere a bit, but don’t want to be a buzzkill.
Heart 1 Comment 0

The ride back is as much fun as the one out.  Better, really - the five mile coast back down to the Sandy River is a pure delight.  After that, it’s a steady ride home retracing our route out.  By the time we’re home again I’m starting to feel the ride, it’s starting to get uncomfortably warm and we’re ready to be off the bikes and cooling off around the AC.  Still though, we did well.  We’ll be ready when Spain rolls around on the calendar.

Looking back east from Marine Drive, at now visible Mount Hood. Not much snow left up there.
Heart 2 Comment 0
This has nothing to do with today’s narrative, or even with today. It’s just a shot I took yesterday in the neighborhood that I liked.
Heart 4 Comment 1
Jen GrumbyI recommend using this station to compose your 'Brassica Fields Forever' song.

Sounds like it could be a hit!

People will wonder why they ever thought that John Lennon guy was so cool.
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
Rate this entry's writing Heart 5
Comment on this entry Comment 0