PNW riding destination: McMinnville

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PNW Riding Destination

McMinnville

Our parent company produces two online magazines, Sound RIDER! and Seattle DINING!. My partner in crime, Connie, does a wonderful job of sharing lots of information about dining in and around Seattle. We often take culinary trips just to seek out eateries. My passion for riding means I'm also looking for some of the best roads in the area.

Since 2009 we've produced The Road Trip tours which provide riders with a 5-day itinerary somewhere in the Pacific Northwest utilizing secondary and tertiary roads to move riders from one place to the next each day.

Soon we'll begin producing a series of culinary tours for the dining crowd and incorporate the same kind of sight-seeing fun we've done for riders the last 12 years.

In putting together a hit list of locations, it occurred to me one such destination is McMinnville, Oregon. Not just for food enthusiasts, but for motorcyclists as well.

The location is a great hub for making day trips from, meaning you can leave and return to the same accommodations each day, rather than having to pack up daily and move from town to town. And in terms of accommodations, McMinnville has multiple options ranging from low to mid-priced motels, nice hotels and plenty of bed and breakfasts in the area. A favorite of mine is to stay right in downtown at the Hotel Oregon (shown above). The location is walking distance to a number of good restaurants, the price is right, and the parking is free.

As I mentioned, there are a number of destination locations just a loop ride away. You could head north and enjoy a day around Forest Grove, you could go northwest and visit Tillamook, you could do a loop ride out to the coast and back, or you could explore the fine roads along the Kings Highway and the Applegate trail. If you wanted a day off the bike, you could tour McMinnville itself.

Of all the base hubs in Oregon, McMinnville by far has the best choice of eateries. There's Nick's Italian café if you want to do something romantic. La Rambla Spanish Mediterranean restaurant will tantalize your taste buds, and the Crescent Café makes for a nice way to start your day. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Further out we enjoy the Blue Heron in Tillamook, Syun Izakaya Japanese Restaurant in nearby Hillsboro, and Mo's on the water in Lincoln City.

And while the food offerings at the Hotel Oregon are nothing to write home about, a nightcap outside on the rooftop patio in the summer months is a welcome treat after a day of touring.

There are endless twisties and some of the roads to enjoy off the beaten path include Highway 22 up to Hebo, The Silitz River Road, The Kings Valley Highway and what I call the Roller Coaster made up of County Roads 7 and 407 between Beaver and Willamina.

If you're an aviation nut, you've come to the right place. There's a dynamite air museum right in McMinnville as well as one a day loop away in Tillamook.

We've got several tour books featuring the area available in our online store and we look forward to putting together the culinary road trip tour book later this year.

TM/July 21


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