Needing to put aside our at-home commitments and celebrate summer we jumped into Thistle and took off for Oregon. Our Destination was the 22.7 mile Banks to Vernonia State Trail, west of Portland, but east of the coastal mountains. A trail-of-note designed for horses, walkers, joggers and bikers, and while we were there, roller derby folks too. Passing through forests, over bridges and trestles, and through farm lands the trail pleases all tastes. Forests provide a cool bowered jungle-like pleasure. Farms and fields enchant with their open vistas sporting horse-grazing, hog-raising and free-ranging chicken.
And look what came with the trail…
We camped at Stubs Stewart State Park one night; moved to the mountains and camped at Gales Creek a couple of nights, commuting to the trail, and then spent four nights at Anderson Park, a city campground in Vernonia.
Stubs Stewart was very near the trail, at about the midway point, and also boasted a large network of mountain bike, equestrian and hiking trails. Anderson Park is located at the Veronia trail head. It also provided the additional benefit of easy walking to restaurants, coffee shops and the grocery.
Oregon is delightfully bike friendly…
One great restaurant in Vernonia, the Blue House Cafe (excellent food), even provided bicycle parking inside…
Leaving Oregon and the Banks to Vernonia State Trail, we head north to a network of trails in Thurston County, Washington. These three connected trails provide off-the-road links between Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater, Yelm, Rainier and Tenino. We found ourselves being a bit envious just imagining how wonderful Whidbey Island would be if we had off-the-road bike trails connecting our communities.
We spent one night in the City of Tenino campground, but then, being back in Washington and too close to home, we once again turned into homing pigeons and headed for Whidbey Island. The riding was great, but unfortunately not great enough to overcome our homeward bound instincts.
"(A Bicycle is) an unparalleled merger of a toy, a utilitarian vehicle, and sporting equipment. The bicycle can be used in so many ways, and approaches perfection in each use. For instance, the bicycle is the most efficient machine ever created: Converting calories into gas, a bicycle gets the equivalent of three thousand miles per gallon. A person pedaling a bike uses energy more efficiently than a gazelle or an eagle. And a triangle-framed bicycle can easily carry ten times its own weight -- a capacity no automobile, airplane or bridge can match."
~ Bill Strickland