Touring with Bromptons, Portland to McMinneville

This trip to Oregon, we planned to experiment with multi-model travel. With Brompton folding bikes it’s easier to bring your bikes with you on buses and trains. Portland has great public transportation, see maps, schedules and a trip planner at We planned a three part trip, the first phase to the Willamette Valley, home of Oregon’s Pinot Noir, farms and orchards.

The Bromptons on the TrimMet light rail.

The next day early in the am, we boarded the TriMet train from Pioneer Square to Hillsboro. Temperatures were predicted to continue to be very hot, in the 100s, and we wanted to get an early start. We were in Hillsboro and on the route around 8:20. It was still a bit chilly, but warm and lovely as we began the ride south to McMinneville. Still, before long it began to heat up. Clearly there has been very little rain this summer. We passed orchards and farms, rolling hills, with hay bales piled high and wide as box cars. It was close to 100 by 1pm as we stopped in Carlton for lunch.


An early haying season this summer.

We hoped that it would cool off as the day wore on, so we enjoyed a long lunch at Horseradish. Unfortunately, it was even hotter when we started up again.

The Willamette valley can be hilly!

The temperature change from Boston to Oregon was extreme, and our bodies hadn’t acclimated to it yet. We drank lots of water, and took breaks, but the heat was really getting to me. We were off the main roads, on gravel, hawks floating overhead on the thermals. As we got back onto the pavement the reflected heat was intense. I felt like I was being chased from shady spot to shady spot by the white hot breath of a dragon.

It was all I could do to catch my breath, remind myself to go slow and drink lots of water. Gerry had a box of Glee gum, which helped keep our mouths from drying out completely. Still, by the time we made it into McMinneville, I was barely hanging on. Gerry seemed to hold up much better under the heat.

McMinneville is a great little town, and the Hotel Oregon is owned and run by McMenimans, a company that that’s renovated and reopened many historic properties. The walls are decorated with drawings and frescos by local artists, and are full of photos and notes about the history of the hotel and area.

After a shower we revived enough to check out the roof top bar, but it was still 101 degrees up there so. We made a fast retreat. Turns out it had been close to 106 that afternoon. No wonder it was such a struggle!! Up the street we came across some musicians performing in a square and the Oak Square bar that opened out to the music. A perfect place to unwind with a beer and pizza.

The Hotel Oregon

Usually a great spot to hang out, it was just TOO HOT at the roof top bar.

The second day we took a 45 mile ride around the surrounding towns Dayton, and Amity. In Dayton, Ft Yamil sits on the green. An original blockhouse style fort, it was a military outpost in the 1860s.
Later in the day a swim in the Yamil river helped to cool the blood!

Fort Yamil (The Block house) in Dayton, OR

A great breakfast in the Blockhouse Cafe.

Swimming in the Yamil River.

Time for a sketch at the river with notes for later.

The following day we took 2 buses and TriMet light rail back to Portland. Alex met us at the TriMet stop and we rode the rest of the way back to his home in South East. A very successful first trip!

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