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Taking the long way home

Riding a motorcycle from A to B in a straight line is an oxymoron, a contradiction, an abomination. The whole point is to ride, not reach your destination in the shortest time possible. You don’t hork down Kobe beef or Beluga caviar, nor do you bypass delicious twisties and scenic routes in favor of the homogenized super slab.

Sometimes you don’t have a choice, but when on two wheels you always pick the route only Rube Goldberg could truly appreciate.

My favorite route home from work takes a circuitous tour of the rough and rural Sandy River watershed, passing through outpost communities of Aims and Bull Run, only to arrive in my home town of Sandy through the back door, so to speak. I leave Gresham via Halsey Street passing in front of McMenamins Edgefield and head east through Troutdale, crossing the Sandy River at Troutdale Park. The Old Columbia River Highway takes me past Dabney Park and into Springdale where I veer right onto Hurlbert Road (alternatively spelled on other signs as Hurlburt). At a four-way intersection I turn right and onto Gordon Creek Road.

I descend the river canyon wall opposite Oxbow Park, cross Gordon Creek, then switch back up to a small plateau that takes me over Trout Creek and onto a long straight stretch, horses running and passing slow locals. The road takes me under high-power transmission lines at the highest elevation of the route, approximately 1,200 feet above sea level. The boundary from Multnomah into Clackamas County is crossed and the road quality noticeably deteriorates. A few tight turns brings me up and into the community of Aims, marked by a small, old white church and a hand-painted sign to slow down.

The road briefly takes me back west into the setting sun before turning south into a winding descent to the Bull Run River and the narrow metal bridge that crosses it. I see the old Bull Run Power Station, decomissioned by the local power utility a few years earlier, on my right and the rugged wild Bull Run River running downstream toward me from my left. Another hairpin climb brings me up to the now empty Roslyn Lake above the river canyon walls.

I can go right and descend back down to Dodge Park or left to other riding opportunities. I turn left. Passing a pioneer cemetery I cautiously descend a narrow stretch of road to a tight right-hand hairpin turn at the junction with Marmot Road. If I take Marmot to the left I have another 30 minutes of wild yet technical riding but that takes me east, farther from home. I follow the hairpin to the right and wait at a construction zone; Revenue Bridge taking me back to the south side of the Sandy River is being rebuilt and I only have to wait two minutes before getting the go-ahead. Climbing back uphill once again I pass by a bucolic farm to my right, the pasture green and flat. One final climb up Ten Eyke Road brings me abruptly back into civilization marked by a stop light and a 7-11. A slow cruise through the small town of Sandy brings me back to my home, happy.

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