Paradise/Mossyrock

Trip Date: June 27, 2006

Features:

  • Alder Lake
  • Alder Dam
  • MT Rainier
  • Mossyrock Dam
  • Nisqually & Cowlitz River Crossings

 

Road-Quest.com WA motorcycle rides roads destinations ride video MT Rainier Park Washington

 Trip Details:

Friday June 23, 2006 the local weather reports a persistent high pressure that will remain in place and provide for increasing temperatures into the low 90ís through Tuesday.  Enough said. Road trip! Saturday I sat in front of my PC and fired up Garmin Map Source and began plotting a ride. I was thinking Mountains on a hot day and started looking at Mt. Rainier. This made me think of pie! Yes, Pie! The Copper Creek Inn just 2.8 miles west of the Park entrance is well known for excellent home made Blackberry Pie. The pie alone is worth the trip. That said I had a primary destination. Since the trip would be fairly short I looked at additional options to get in more riding. Then it dawned on me that an old buddy of mine lived in Mossyrock. We actually grew up together and after high school he was hired as an electrician on the Mossyrock Dam. This soon led to him buying some land and building a house, moving away and starting a family out in the country (far out in the country). Distance severely limited visits over the years. I thought what a perfect opportunity to stop in. After an email exchange I had the green light to arrive around 4 PM for dinner.

 Sunday evening I give the VTX a bath and do a once over the mechanics. After giving it a clean bill of health I retired for the evening, logged into work and sent a notice that I would be taking a day of vacation.

 Monday morning I woke to temperatures in the mid 70ís. Indication that today would bring abnormally hot temperatures for this time of year. I gathered my gear and camera equipment and packed my saddle bags for the days ride. After saying good byeís to the kids, and checking my tire pressures, I fired up my bike and headed to the local Shell station. The ride started down 30th and along Schuster parkway paralleling commencement bay. The cool air and smell of the salt air was very refreshing. I5 South bound was uneventful and boring as usual. I took 512 E. and jump off at Steele Street. Steel Street is a good choice if you want to get out to Highway 7 but want to avoid the traffic and lights. Once again, not a highlight of the ride. Once I got on East bound 7, the surrounding began to change from city to country. Within no time at all I was rounding the curve into La Grande just west of Alder. The temperature is climbing and the town of Alder meant a ride parallel to Alder lake with a great view of Alder Dam. All the way, enjoying the straits and sweeping curves with small areas of tighter twisties. The road is pretty much like this the whole way up. I pass through Elbe and take note of the old train box cars that have been converted into a series of eateries. They have always been there as far as I can remember but add a nice touch to the little town.  From this point I head left (East) on 706. Soon after, I arrived in Ashford where I stopped for fuel and an ice cold bottle of water. Shortly after which, I pass the Copper Creek Inn. The Inn is a small rustic place that has been around as far back as I can remember. 2.8 miles later, I stop at the park entrance, pay the $5 entry fee and start the ride up to Paradise.  I usually make several stops on the way up to take pictures and enjoy the views. First stop was at the campground near the park entrance. This stop provides for good pictures of the river and a chance to sit in the shade and just watch the river roll through.

My second stop was about half way up where there is a roaring water fall that descends rock cliffs on the left side of the road. The water runs under the road and comes out on the right side and heads west through a wooded area. This is a great opportunity to take some pictures and enjoy a cool shaded area. Third and fourth stops are random stops to take pictures of road side streams and water falls that run down the side of rock walls and under the road. The roads are a bit more twisty, snaking through the tall forest providing allot of shade with plenty of short sunny stretches. As I arrive at Paradise Iím very disappointed. The entire parking lot, with the exception of the perimeter, is surrounded buy a six foot fence and work crews are operating heavy equipment breaking up concrete and digging a whole. This may go on all summer. I snapped a few pictures and decided the heavy equipment ruined the once peaceful surroundings and headed back down the mountain. At this point I had only one thing in mind. Pie!

Once I arrived at the Copper Creek Inn, I was ready for something to eat and some rest. It was hot inside and out. There was a slight cool breeze blowing through a window so I took a table nearby the window. As always, the Blackberry pie was exceptional. I finished off the pie, a tall glass of ice water, left a tip and headed down the road to Elbe. I took highway 7 east bound from Elbe heading toward Morton. Itís nearing 3 PM and itís really getting hot.

The road between Elbe and Mossyrock is a great high speed road with long sweeping turns. In Morton, I took highway 12 West bound. Between Morton and Mossyrock near the dam I noticed it was really getting hot. It almost felt as if I was riding into a giant hair dryer. I was riding into the sun (3:50 PM) with rock walls (no vegetation on them) to my right. The rock walls had been heated all afternoon by the sun and were really radiating heat as was the road. A few miles of this and I was really feeling drained. I betting the temp on that stretch of road was slightly over 100. Soon I approached the right turn on to 122. Within 5 minutes I was pulling up the gravel driveway to my buddyís house. It was great to see him. He had built the house himself and had done an exceptional job. We talked about old and current times while grilling some burgers for dinner. That burger sure was good after all the riding. After a few hours of great conversation it was nearing 8:30 PM and I was ready to start the return trip.

The return trip was back the way I came. The same route, but  a new ride in itself. Since it was approaching dusk, the mountain was lit up with a warm amber glow from the sun. By the time I was riding along Alder Lake the sun was a glowing pink that lightly reflected off the water. Tree stumps scattered throughout the lake cast their dark silhouettes making for a very nice scenic ride. From this point on it grew dark and the ride was nothing but cool breeze and allot of bugs. Once I arrived back home I couldnít help but notice the quantity of deceased bugs that covered my windshield. Better the windshield then the rider!

 

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