The colder and crappier the weather gets the more the darkness seems to set in too. So here's another Quick Trip suggestion for people in Portland who only want to get out for a day. This one also happens to be dirt free so you don't have to take the dualsport out to enjoy it.
I did this ride as a meandering loop just to kill some time. I headed south into McMinnville so I could catch the southern bit of Highway 47. Ultimately I wanted to do a hot lap around Hagg Lake.
Why someone hasn't set up a time trial race around the lake is beyond me. Just look at a detail of the layout, it looks like a track out of a video game.
I'm not saying you *should* go fast around the lake. In fact there's a bit of fisherman traffic around the lake and a couple of frost heaves on the back side that would fold up your front wheel real quick if you weren't paying attention. But those curves are sweet, and for the most part the asphalt is super smooth so it makes for some fun riding.
After Hagg Lake I kept going North into Vernonia to get a bit more of those enjoyable roads on the fringe of the Cascades. It also looked like me and every other biker stopped for lunch at the Blue House Cafe in Vernonia. Good Mediteranian food and tasty espresso.
From Vernonia it's pretty easy to find any number of ways back into Portland. It's also not too hard to link up with Germantown and Skyline Roads for a full day of twisties (or just a few hours depending on how fast you want to burn through a gas tank). Happy Riding.