Touring the Willamette valley wine region by bike — A Mcmenamins bike tour.
Phil received a gift card for Mcmenamins from his sweet parents, and we promptly planned a long-weekend bike tour around a couple of its funky hotels for Memorial Day weekend. Hotel Oregon, in Mcminville, and the Grand Lodge in Forest Grove. Routing right from our front door, we explored quiet, hilly, and gravel-laden roads around the Willamette wine region, right in Portland’s backyard.
A bucket list ride since the small farmhouse brewery opened its doors a couple years back was to ride out to Wolves & People in Newburg. It was probably 90 degrees, and we had just climbed the longest, steepest climb of the whole weekend. AKA we were tired, hot, grumpy, and ready for a refreshing beer! Only about halfway through the day’s miles, we opted for splitting a low-alcohol beer. Wolves & People is located on a hazelnut farm, and all of its beers feature unique, local ingredients. Every beer is small batch and far from ordinary.
Toasted from the hot sun, we arrived in Mcmenville around 4pm. My stomach was eating itself, and my patience was limited to a very short cold shower before we were in search of Mexican food.
Large plates of veggie burrito with beans and rice were demolished and washed down with a giant Pacifico. No feeling like feeling replenished. We walked around town with ice cream cones before winding up at the rooftop bar of Hotel Oregon. At six stories high, it was easily the highest point until the rolling hills. Sunset margaritas were the perfect way to ring in the evening.
Day two- Mcminville to Forest Grove, with a Hagg Lake pit-stop.
It appeared that a quaint bakery in the town over was close enough to the hotel to hold out on breakfast for. My great short cut idea was a long gravel road though, mostly deeper gravel than my stomach had the patience for. Hunger has a way of taking over any and all pleasantness I contain :)
We rode through farm land, passing winery signs, until we came up on scenes very familiar to me. Time for a Hagg lake pit-stop, a loop so well known to me and brand new for Phil. Swimming in the lake early morning followed by riding those hills consumed Saturday after Saturday for my mom and I. It was unbelievably easy to feel her presence there, as memories came flooding back. Like walking into a dream. It felt meaningful to show Phil the long hill I referenced in my words at her service. A special place indeed, albeit extremely crowded on a hot weekend day. No wonder we always started our workouts early.
You BET we went swimming! The water was perfectly chilled. That feeling of cold water surrounded by thick green evergreens somehow brings more warmth than the coziest of blankets.
After a short dip, we were refreshed and just a short ride from our second night’s destination: the Mcmenamins Grand Lodge in Forest Grove. It was sweltering by the time we arrived in Forest Grove. We were bummed to find that Waltz Brewing was closed, and headed straight to Grand Lodge.
The Grand Lodge is a huge property, surrounded by gardens and hidden terraces. There are many funky bars and even a movie theater in the lodge itself, but it was too nice outside to hide indoors. We had plenty of beers on the patios, laying in the grass and found board games.
Headed home! We were far from upset about the overcast skies on our final morning. After a long winter, a couple days of full sun were plenty.
After crossing a bridge over 26, We were riding back home through pleasantly familiar territory. The roads between North Plains and Skyline are far from foreign to me.