9.6.13

West Coast Brewery and Bike Tour - Seattle to Portland


Coasting: A Dubious Bike Ride from Washington to California Kindle Edition


This is a play-by-play account of my brewery and bike tour through Washington, Oregon and California along the West Coast of the USA.

Part 1: Seattle to Portland using STP Route (July 2012) 
I left Gig Harbor, took a ferry from Bremmerton to Seattle and began drinking very strong coffee. Soon, I found myself at the wonderful Elysian Brewery. I drank something called Bikini Kill and talked with a dude who told me that the coast of Washington sucks.

 I took his advice and decided to tackle central Washington. That night, I rode the Seattle to Portland Bike Bicycle Classic Route and slept  in a park in Yelm, WA.


The next day I rode to Napavine, WA with an extended pit stop in Centralia. Not only did I find decent Mexican food in Centralia, I found McMenamin's Olympic Club Brewery. The people were welcoming but the weather was not. I arrived in Napavine at around midnight with thunder and lightning blasting overhead.

After the beautiful rolling hills and off-and-on thundershowers of southern WA, I crossed the Lewis and Clark Bridge into Oregon. Here the trip took a dramatic turn East. Five O'clock traffic whizzed by my left ear. The bike lane was full of broken tail lights and other debris.


I arrived in Portland and my lady-friend arrived a day later from San Diego.We had both converged on the PDX during the same weekend as the  Portland International Beer Festival .  A highlight for me were the peach and cherry lambics brewed with local fruit. I tend to enjoy the typical West Coast IPA,  golden lagers, and PNW Porters. The festival featured too many big, cloyingly-sweet Belgian brews for my west coast palate, but the beers were fantastic overall.

 We decided to take a mini bike tour along the Columbia River Historic Highway. After fixing up an 80's Huffy and buying a crepe from a food truck, we left via dad's mini-van.  Within an hour, our eyes were saturated with  green leaves and soggy wilderness. Waterfalls framed the highway.

A few detours and pirate songs later, we pedaled across the Bridge of the Gods with its see through metal-grate floor. I can hardly describe the excitement of pedaling a bike 140 feet above a flowing river and being able to look down and see it all. We arrived at our planned destination, Walking Man Brewing, in Stevenson, WA. It was closed due to it being a Monday or something. We ended up eating at Big River Grill and enjoying the local beverages on tap.  That night we slept between a picnic table and the train tracks along the slow rolling Columbia River.

The next day we rode less than 40 miles back to Portland. We crossed Bridge of the Gods again, ate cherries from a roadside stand and bought blueberries from a private residence on a grassy hill. We stopped at Shirley's Tippy Canoe in Troutdale where we drank a brown ale and picked blackberries along the river.

The trip changed dramatically after Portland. I took a train to Astoria where I stepped into a movie set from Goonies. The beer at Fort George Brewery was the best so far (Elysian is a close second at this point). I enjoyed the variety of IPA's and the 1811 Lager.

READ MORE:  For Part 2 of the West Coast Brewery and Bike Tour click here ----> Oregon Coast Bike Route