Everything is set for the Sping 2018 PNW Oppo Cruise. The cruise starts at 11:00 on 05/19 at the Silver Lake Visitor Center just outside Castle Rock, WA. The start time is intended to allow Opponauts in the PNW the option of doing the entire trip in a single day. Looking forward to seeing all of you there!

Depending on the weather, we may see views like this along the route.

Getting There

If you take I-5 all the way (the main route in), you will be taking Exit 49, which is clearly marked with a large brown sign along I-5 that tells you to take the next exit for the Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument. At the end of the exit (regardless of the direction you’re coming from) there will be another brown sign telling you which way to turn. If you will not be able to do more than 100 miles on what remains in your tank, I recommend filling up at one of these three stations. After turning, you will drive roughly 5 miles up this road, where you’ll see a small generic brown sign for a “Visitor Center” and a right hand turn lane. Follow this and immediately turn left for the parking lot (there are signs indicating camper parking and just parking). There is parking closer to the visitor center, but it’s limited and we’re more likely to find contiguous parking slightly further away.

Exit, turn, and the parking spaces I hope we’ll find open.

Finding Us

Look for my car, a white Focus ST. It will be backed in somewhere in this lot, hopefully in the areas I have marked above.

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This is my car, in case it isn’t obvious among all the white, rental-spec, hatchback Ford Focuses that might be parked there.

You can also look for other highly Oppo/Jalop cars that will be joining us, most of which you have probably read about here on Oppo.

The Silver Lake Visitor Center

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I plan to be at the visitor center by around 09:30-10:00 to wander around the boardwalk/stretch, so if you’re there early you probably won’t find me at my car. It’s still up in the air whether or not I’ll be staying somewhere down there prior to the cruise.

Once we’re together, I’m going to verify with everyone that they have enough gas to do roughly 100 miles. There’s only one more opportunity to buy gas on the way.

The Route

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The road itself is not exceptionally technical, though it has some fun curvy sections near the top. Most of the run should be pretty tame with great views and the usual remote PNW highway driving experience. I’m hoping for very light traffic due to how early in the season this run will be (the observatory doesn’t open until 05/16).

Stops

  • Fire Mountain Grill @ 19 Mile House for Lunch. This is about 20 minutes from the Visitor Center along the highway and the last place I’m aware of that serves food on the way up. If you have a better suggestion, please let me know.

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View of the restaurant from the highway
  • (Optional) Elk Rock Viewpoint, if there is traffic and we need to allow it to clear, we can stop here for a while.
  • (Optional) Castle Lake Viewpoint. Same deal as Elk Rock.
  • Loowit Viewpoint, where the speed limit on the road drops considerably and pedestrians start becoming a potential problem, we’ll pull off to take in the view just below the observatory.

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The viewpoint, just below the observatory
  • Johnston Ridge Observatory, the end of the highway. This is a large visitor center that requires an entry fee or national parks/federal lands pass to enter. We’ll spend a while here at the end of the drive.

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Return

We can split up for the return or everyone is welcome to join me heading down.

Let me know if there’s anything you think should be changed.

Also, if you’re coming, please let us know and tell us what car you’ll be driving so we can more easily find each-other.