We left Tumwater looking for a new (to us) route to Bend, Oregon but we didn’t intend to do the distance in one day. We hoped to see some "real" mountains but the day started off with classic western Washington gray hiding Mt. Rainer. There wasn’t a reasonably direct way that was going to avoid freeway traffic so we bit the bullet and got it done as the first thing on the agenda.
We’d toyed with taking Highway 12 east to Randle and then south on FR25 but we got mixed messages about the road. The Gifford Pinchot National Forest map showed it as unpaved and some write-ups talked about chuckholes and single lane road so we chickened out. Instead we took Highway 530 up the Lewis River drainage from Woodland.
The route did NOT disappoint! The vast majority of the road was in good condition with lots of curves as it climbed into the foothills south of Mt. Saint Helens and crossed from the Lewis River drainage to the Wind River drainage.
Along the way was a beautiful, large, deserted viewpoint with a clear view of the south side of Mt. Saint Helens. From this point we could just see the top of Mt. Adams but it wasn't worth a picture.
The road down the Wind River drainage was nearly deserted until we got to Carson, just north of State Highway 14. Even the antique store looked antique - and deserted.
We followed Highway 14 up the north shore of the Columbia River, watching the sail boards and kite surfers playing on the wind waves in the river.
The Hood River bridge across the Columbia was advertised as narrow and with a toll. It was, and it did have a toll - cost us a whopping $1.50 to cross with our three axles. Mt. Hood stood out, showing us our chosen route south.
The climb out of Hood River took us through beautiful fruit orchards and vineyards. I'd just commented that it was too bad we never got a good view of Mt. Adams
when I looked in the mirror. Looks like people going north on the Mt. Hood Oregon Scenic Byway (State Route 35) get a windshield full of Mt. Adams.
All in all, it was a beautiful drive on what turned out to be a beautiful, clear day. Fair warning - the route has LOTS of curves both horizontally and vertically!
Home for the night was the Frog Lake NFS Campground SE of Mt. Hood. Nothing special but located in the right place.