Carmela and I planned a single day to stay in Portland after her conference was over, not knowing what we would actually do - we would just figure it out while we were here. I looked at lists of gardens and tours, and for a little while intended to spend the day at the zoo, but then luckily stumbled upon the perfect solution. We booked a tour with Pedal Bike Tours and headed out of the city.
While they also offer several interesting tours in the city (Portland is one of only 3 "Platinum" biking cities in the U.S.), we opted for the Columbia Gorge Tour. We drove 45 minutes out into the Gorge, making a couple of beautiful vista stops, and then biked a 9 mile stretch of the Historic Columbia Highway. I have only been on a bike a couple of times (with students) in the last 20 years, and Carmela hasn't been on one at all since she got her driver's license. The old saying proved to be true, though - you really don't forget.
Our guide, Scott, didn't actually ride with us - he drove the van from stop to stop, ahead of us, so that we always knew where to pull off and had fresh supplies if needed. Once we were on the bikes, each stop ranged from 1 to 3 miles apart - very quick. It certainly wasn't all flat, but at each stop we were rewarded with a new (and incredibly different) waterfall. The entire trip was absolutely fantastic - I will have to put together a proper slideshow of the waterfalls and views, but I wanted to get this post up while the excitement and memory was still fresh. In the meantime, you can see more about our route by going to http://www.byways.org/explore/byways/2141/itinerary/53147 - this is a suggested itinerary for driving the scenic byway, and we drove to stops 3, 4 and 5, then biked to each of the others through 9. This picture was taken in front of Horsetail Falls.