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Four volcanoes in one day

The goal was to enjoy a guy’s weekend at a vacation home in Long Beach, Washington. Going from A to B in a straight line is not my style, so I chose a scenic, albeit circuitous route to get there. I decided I would travel around four area volcanoes in a single day.

Departure from my home in Sandy was at 8:30 AM, as usual. My ride up and around Mt. Hood was pleasant, with blue skies and calm wind. By the time I reached Hood River my bike’s fuel light was flashing. I had 215 miles on that tank and it only took 4.5 gallons to fill it up. It has a 5.8 gallon total capacity, so the flashing wasn’t needed. I took a break in Starbucks with a mocha and slice of lemon pound cake. Paying my $.50 toll, I crossed the bridge to Washington and headed west on SR14 to Carson.

In Carson I headed north on Wind River Road. My destination was Randle, Washington, on highway 12. My route would take me in between Mt. St. Helens to the west and Mt. Adams to the east. The road was in rough shape and I had to really stay on the ball to avoid hitting some nasty potholes and dips. I came to a junction with Trout Lake going to the right and Randle to the left. I turned left, only to discover the road was closed. There were no signs warning me of this. Frustrated, I took a break and consulted my map for options.

The road I was on was so small it wasn’t even on my map. I didn’t have a GPS on my bike, either, so there was no other option but to backtrack. I eventually made it back to a junction to Cougar, Washington. Cougar was west of my location and I knew I could get to I-5 and continue my journey, so I took that junction. Just a few miles farther was the correct turn off to Randle. I became very frustrated with the terrible maps and lack of valuable information on the road signs and vowed to get a GPS for my bike. I turned north to Randle.

Once at Randle I turned left and headed westbound on highway 12. By this time it was mid-afternoon and I was hungry. I also needed fuel. I gassed up at a Chevron near I-5, then got on the freeway. Just a few miles later I took the first exit to Chehalis and stopped at a Subway for a club sandwich and a bottle of water. By this time it was 3:00 PM and I needed to make some time.

At the next exit I took state highway 6 westward toward the coast. This section of highway was cluttered with very slow drivers but I had ample opportunities to pass. By the time I hit the junction with coastal highway 101 the sky was clouded over but the pavement remained dry.

I pulled into the vacation house a little after 5:00 PM, with my buddy Mike standing in the driveway talking to his wife on his cell phone.

Unfortunately, none of the other guys showed up so it was just Mike and I. We had dinner and drinks and laughed a lot, watching movies as well. Something I ate didn’t agree with me, however, and the resultant food poisoning really took a lot out of me.

It misted overnight so our bikes were wet by morning, but the air was warm and the pavement was already drying. I spent most of the morning drinking a lot of water and just laying low. We watched several episodes of “Long Way Round” with Ewan Magregor and Charley Boorman and had a light breakfast.

By 1:00 PM I had decided to make my way home, taking a more direct route instead of the scenic route I had originally intended. I crossed back over the Columbia River into Astoria where I stopped for a quick lunch and fuel-up. The traffic was thick as I made my way back home on highway 30, to cross back over to Longview, Washington where I caught I-5 southbound. The high speed limit from Longview to Oregon allowed me to make good time. I eventually got home at 4:50 PM. I spent the rest of the evening relaxing and regaining my strength.

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