Author Topic: Crossing the Columbia River  (Read 510 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline dancingcyclist

Crossing the Columbia River
« on: January 26, 2017, 06:03:47 pm »
Planning a trip border/border down the PCH for 2018, I see the ACA map crosses the river at Cathlamet/Westport. My plan was to follow Hwy 101 out of Port Townsend which also bypasses the Hood Cannel Bridge and cross the Columbia using the bridge that drops into Astoria. I drove over that bridge many years ago (the 80's) and know its long, steep and high. I don't know what kind of traffic I might find. Has anybody got some input on this? Would it be better/safer to follow the ACA route south out of Elma? I was thinking I could save some miles plus follow the coast line more. The one down side I have is that I'm not a real good climber and I'm already looking at lowering my bike gears.

Thanks


Offline adventurepdx

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 385
  • Riding bikes in and around Portland, Oregon
Re: Crossing the Columbia River
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2017, 08:10:01 pm »
I've crossed the Columbia River via the Astoria-Megler (US 101) Bridge several times. Yeah, it's long (4 miles!) and it's high at the south end, and the shoulder is less than 3 feet wide. But I never had any issues, and would do it again, so long as there's not a fierce crosswind. Traffic tends to be moderate.

There is the option of a bus that crosses the bridge four times a day weekdays, and has a bike rack. I've used it a couple times:
http://pacifictransit.org/routes/rt24.html

You can go inland and use the Westport ferry (the ACA routing). The ferry is definitely cool, the last one operating on the lower Columbia. And there is camping in Skamokawa. http://vista-park.org/ However, this adds about 80 miles to the trip, another day or so. And it's not like US 30 from Westport to Astoria is really any better than 101 trafficwise.

And if you are going that way, Cape Disappointment is a great campground and beach with a hiker/biker site.

Hope this helps!

Offline dancingcyclist

Re: Crossing the Columbia River
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2017, 08:57:37 pm »
Thanks adventurepdx, that's the kind of info I'm looking for. Didn't know there was a shoulder. Do you by chance know if the should is cleaned much or does the wind do that? I figured the wind could be a problem, do you know the better times of year for less winds? Right now I'm thinking May or June.

Thanks again

Offline adventurepdx

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 385
  • Riding bikes in and around Portland, Oregon
Re: Crossing the Columbia River
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2017, 09:07:46 pm »
Thanks adventurepdx, that's the kind of info I'm looking for. Didn't know there was a shoulder. Do you by chance know if the should is cleaned much or does the wind do that? I figured the wind could be a problem, do you know the better times of year for less winds? Right now I'm thinking May or June.

The shoulder seemed OK when I rode it, but it's been a few years. I'd give a call to the local bike shop (Bikes and Beyond, if I'm correct) before you go. They should hopefully be able to give you a better status report.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Crossing the Columbia River
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2017, 11:32:28 am »
I rode it at twilight on 6/21/05 in the rain.  It did not seem to bad to me. I recall an adequate shoulder.  Better than you'll have on parts of HWY 1 in CA.  It's the only time I've ever seen a roadkill starfish. 
May the wind be at your back!

Offline Itinerant Harper

Re: Crossing the Columbia River
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2017, 11:39:49 am »
I've crossed the Astoria Bridge twice, most recently the summer of 2016. The first time was in a windstorm and that wasn't fun at all. But last summer it was fine.  The shoulder had a lot of debris in it - logging trucks use this bridge - and more than one dead seagull.  I'd ride the bridge again as well, but if it is really windy consider the bus option.