Portland Trip: Day 5 – Maupin to Shelton

August 27, 2014

Had lunch at the café with Mark before I hit the road.

Going north from Maupin on US 197, Mt. Hood dominates the view at first. Then the Oregon high desert transitions to straw colored rolling hills. Before long I reach the Dalles and the Columbia River.

I fuel up here. It’s still Oregon, so still full service. I get the atlas out and ask the attendant about the route I want to take. “Yes, that road is open. Very scenic. But it’s dirt, at least it was last week when I was on it.” So, to Plan B: through the Pinchot forest and the east side of Mt. St. Helens. I cross the river and head west on WA 14 – the Lewis and Clark Highway.

On the river I managed to fill up the SLR’s memory card. Completely full, can’t take another picture. I find a rest stop with the idea of firing up the laptop and transferring all the photos to my external hard drive. However, technology is my enemy today. Microsoft has all of a sudden decided my copy of Windows 7 is not authentic and won’t let me boot up. No photos for the rest of the day, and I’m left considering where to buy additional cards for both cameras.

My atlas shows the town of Carson at the junction where I want to turn. I note while writing this that Carson isn’t significant enough to merit appearing on Google maps. I head north here on a road with no identifying route number.

It’s an interesting route. Deep in dense forest, at times it’s like a tunnel – the branches arch over the road. It also smells quite like a lumber yard. I’ve been in many forests before, but never with such a powerful pine smell. The road twists and turns as it climbs, so it’s quite fun. After a while, though, there is a significant amount of road damage. In places, half or two thirds of the road has subsided six or eight inches for twenty or thirty yards. Nasty bumps in a low-slung car.

Being that the road is so poorly marked, I make an occasional navigational error but I’m never side tracked for long. After a while, I finally get to a gap in this dense forest and have momentary glimpses of Mt. St. Helens. The sun is starting to get lower in the late afternoon sky, making lighting conditions difficult – dark shade broken by bright sunlight right in my face. The road turns north again, toward Randall, and the difficult conditions are done. The last twenty or so miles to Randall the road is in rough shape again, so caution is warranted.

2014-08-27 17.28.42s

My only photo of Mt St Helens – taken with the phone

Arriving in Randall at dinner time, I hit the Mt. Adams Café. There I chat with the proprietor. He’s a muscle car guy and very interested in the car. While I’m showing him the car, somebody pulls up at the stop sign.

“Is it fast?”

“No,” I answer sarcastically.

“Like a Honda Accord?”

“More like a Toyota.”

After this interlude, I’m headed west on US 12, again with the low sun in my face. About fifty miles later I’m on I-5 headed north to a junction with US 101 and the final few miles to Shelton. I arrive at the motel parking lot a few minutes after sunset. This motel is only a few miles from the track, so I’m not surprised to see three Porsches there as well.

I manage to get the laptop booted up in safe mode. I didn’t think I’d be able to connect any devices in safe mode, but it lets me copy all the photos and videos onto the external hard drive.