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Wine Tasting by Bicycle August 31, 2010

Posted by stacyb17 in Excursions.
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Elk Cove

Elk Cove Vineyard

It was supposed to be just another ride around Hagg Lake from the Grand Lodge on Sunday. But we were all tired and not really feeling it so my friend Mandy suggested we hit a couple of wineries and take it easy. Sounded like a great idea! Except the taking it easy part didn’t exactly work out.

We started 4 miles into the ride at Montinore Winery. They charge $5 for 5 tastes which is pretty standard in the Willamette Valley. At Montinore, however, you get to choose your wines from a list of 10 or so. Their Pinots are decent and their Pinot Noir chocolate sauce is to die for! You can ask for a sample. The staff are super friendly and very knowledgeable (I learned a lot about the difference between Hungarian and French oak).

From Montinore we decided to head up to Elk Cove or Kramer. What we did not realize was that once you leave Hwy 47, the three miles to Elk Cove is one giant, unrelenting hill. I was beat by the time we got there! The winery staff seemed impressed with us for making the climb. We paid our $5 and tasted their wines. They have very nice pinot noirs. The vineyard has amazing views of the vines and the surrounding hills. I tend to take out of town guests here.

The ride down the hill took no time at all. I maxed out at about 31 mph which is about as fast as I am comfortable with especially on winding roads. We then headed back toward Forest Grove through Gaston (which is actually a cute little town and may be worth a visit in the future) and stopped at Patton Valley Vineyard. Getting to Patton Valley was a challenge because from Old 47 the road is about a 3/4 mile climb on gravel and we all had road bikes. We walked and rode at intervals and there seemed to be a lot of muttering and cursing, but we made it.

We were greeted by two adorable black dogs and the owner of the vineyard. My friend Gretchen was pouring the wine. I had never been to Patton Valley before but I will be going there again. The second Pinot Noir they poured is one of my new favorites. Like most pinots, the $35 price tag is more than I will pay on a regular basis, but I will certainly keep it in mind for special occasions. Yum!

After bumping down the hill back to Old 47, we rode another eight miles back to the Grand Lodge to reward ourselves with happy hour food and a beer before heading back to Portland. I think I want to try biking and wine tasting in other areas as well. McMinnville maybe? Or Dundee? Any suggestions?

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Bike ride around Hagg Lake/Run in Forest Park April 11, 2010

Posted by stacyb17 in Excursions.
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Since the weather was so lovely this weekend, I spent a lot of time outside. Yesterday some friends and I took our bikes out to Forest Grove to ride around Hagg Lake. I had heard a lot about Hagg Lake, but had yet to go myself. I know there are some popular events held there like a trail run and triathlon. Yesterday was the perfect day to check it out.

We met at the McMenamin’s Grand Lodge and started the ride from there. We took back roads instead of riding on scary Highway 47 and went by Montinore Winery. Then we took Old Highway 47 past Plum Hill (good route for wine tasting, but we didn’t this weekend because everywhere was crowded due to the Willamette Valley Wine Trail) and down to Hagg Lake. The ride was pretty hilly throughout but the biggest, most evil hill on the ride was just past the entrance gates to Hagg Lake (bikes do not have to pay- FYI). It was about a half mile steady climb. I am so glad we decided to hit that at the beginning of the loop instead of at the end. None of the other hills compared.

Hagg Lake is lovely. You don’t get to see much of it for the first 4 miles or so of the loop, but the second half gives constant views. There was some traffic on the road, but it wasn’t too bad. The end of the lake loop takes you over the dam which is flat and wide open to take in the lake as you ride. I am totally going to go back and do the ride again.

The route we took put us at almost exactly 30 miles. Ending at the Grand Lodge was a great excuse to partake in happy hour food and beer (3 PM-6 PM, even on the weekend) after we finished. What a great Portland area day!

Today I decided to keep up my active weekend motif and went for a run in Forest Park. There is a free running group that meets every Sunday at the park entrance at the end of Thurman Street at 11 AM. It is a very relaxed group and everyone runs at whatever pace is comfortable and for as long as they want. I like the trail because all of the uphill is taken care of first and then you can coast downhill on the way back. This week I did 6 miles. I’ll be adding to that soon as I am planning to run the Helvetia Half Marathon in June.

Time to get back out and enjoy the rest of the weekend. Tonight plan is Alameda Brewhouse. Coming up this week is a skeeball tournament at East Burn and an MS fundraiser at Fire on the Mountain. Good times in PDX!