Day seven had us back on the motorcycles for a mix of riding that ranged from urban streets to mountain roads. For openers, we rode into Portland proper to check out a unique coffee bar and motorcycle shop called See See Motor Coffee Co. This is a unique place and a must-see for any motorcycle enthusiast who finds him/herself in Portland.
Bikers of all denominations come here to drink coffee, eat breakfast or a light lunch, buy cycle parts or novelties, and perhaps most of all, talk about motorcycles. We stopped in for breakfast when coffee bar was open, but the shop was not, so we ate, drank, and planned to return and buy some See See merchandise.
By the time we left, the number of bikes parked outside had multiplied, as had the number of people hanging out, both inside and out. As I approached my own ride, a gentleman in a cowboy hat walked up and began asking me about Miss Scarlett, my ’12 Victory Vision Tour. He also shared stories of the bikes he has owned and/or built over the years. As we talked, I tried to figure out the gentleman’s accent, which seemed at once western and eastern. Turns out he was originally from the Bronx, but had not lived there for many years. I enjoyed talking to that guy. Even though we had never met before, we were not total strangers. That is, we knew something about each other by virtue of where we had found ourselves hanging out that morning. It’s a biker thing.
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From there we headed out of the city on US 26, toward the mountain we couldn’t even see as we rode past it last Thursday in the pouring rain. Today we saw Mt. Hood in all its glory. Had a great time riding toward it and around it via Highways 26 and 35. We also enjoyed the roads and scenery afforded us in the Mt. Hood National Forest. But the high point occurred when John led us off the road and down to this paved (not a given around here) scenic pull-off.
Besides being able to see the top of this majestic snow-capped mountain, we also happened upon a mountain stream that was tracing the path of a massive avalanche that had occurred here in 2006. That turned into a thing in itself, but we had to be cautious getting to and from the rushing stream, as most of the rocks were quite loose, having only been placed there about ten years ago by said avalanche, which had been set off by a storm called the Pineapple Express.
Then there were the few other people, some with dogs, who stopped while we were there. John and Eddie spent some time talking to a man who had been in these parts back when Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980, and watched it happen—from a great distance, of course.
What was intended to be just a quick stop turned into quite a visit, but nobody seemed to mind. Me, I was happy as a clam (assuming clams are very happy), because to me, things like this feel exactly like a vacation should. I love it!
Next stop, lunch. My son John has developed this uncanny ability to pick great places at which to eat, and this was no exception. We were running along on 35 when John suddenly slowed up, signaled right, and pulled off toward what looked like a small logging operation of some sort. But before we entered their unsaved lot, he veered left and led us into a small, paved lot for the Saw Tooth Roadhouse.
How did he even see this place?! Tucked away in the middle of nowhere, this place serves up some awesome food. We all ate our fill, talking with the owner from time to time—a great guy, by all indications. Had John been there before? Nope. He pulled off on a whim. We were amazed.
The next leg of our day trip was pretty amazing, too. We rode up to a visitor information center on the banks of the Hood River. Just across the river lay the state of Washington. One of the staff members suggested that we could cross the river via the toll bridge, just beyond where we were standing, then ride west for about 20 miles on the Washington side, before crossing back into Oregon on the Bridge of the Gods. We thought that sounded like a cool idea, so we did exactly that.
While running west on the Washington side, I noticed a freight train motoring east between us and the river. As the engine passed John’s position and approached mine, I raised my right arm in the direction of the locomotive in a friendly waving gesture. The engineer responded with a single blast of the train’s mighty horns. I found out later that the horn blast had started my son almost to the point of jumping off his motorcycle. I found that rather amusing. John, not so much.
We returned to Portland and stopped at See See Motor Coffee Co. about a half hour before closing, to check out the shop and buy our souvenirs. The atmosphere was still the same—people outside, people inside, all talking bikes in some way, shape or form. On my way in, two tattooed guys sipping iced drinks at a picnic table outside struck up a conversation with me, first about me and my bike, then about the differences between Chicago and Portland (one of them had just been to Chicago). We were strangers, but not. It’s a biker thing.
On my way out, I noticed my son John talking to one of the two guys with whom I had chatted on my way in. I went to the street to get a closer look at a custom (pictured above) that had caught my eye on the way in. Within moments my son calls me over. Turns out the guy he’d been talking to had built the bike. I asked him a few questions, which he gladly answered.
From there we ran back to the hotel in Lake Oswego, freshened up, hopped in the van and went back into Portland for supper. I couldn’t help but notice Mt. Hood in the distance as we drove over one of Portland’s many bridges.
On this day, supper was not just a lucky pick. The My Thai Bistro is a favorite restaurant of John’s, and we soon found out why. The food was excellent, and so were the staff, who seemed to know John on sight. Karen snapped a photo of John with the owner.
This had been an awesome day.