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The Greater ‘Couve Area – 40 Miles

It’s widely known that Vancouver, BC was colonized by hippies during the Vietnam war, eager to escape the oppressive stranglehold of “the man”. It’s less known that Vancouver, Washington was similarly colonized, but by stuffy bankers and corporate middle managers eager to escape the oh…progressive lifestyle of Portland. They knew that the only way to be “free” of the tyranny of art and coffee shops and bookstores and restaurants was to load up their convertible wood-paneled PT Cruisers and build a new community 10 minutes North. Buffered by car traffic and protected by an army of consumers at Fort Jantzen Beach, they settled into their own utopia. Four cars in every four car garage, and a Fuddruckers on every street corner. They wore pleated khakis and high-waisted mom jeans, and never again had to wonder if faded T-shirts were ironic or not. Because Vancouverites believe in the importance of clothing being earnest. They picked up golf. They built strip malls and mega churches. They stopped having recreational sex, and instead boned procreationally . You know, for the Lord.

“My god,” they thought. “This is fucking beautiful.”

You know what? It’s not. I know, because I just rode my bike around there yesterday and it was bullshit. In fact, the best thing I can say about it is that it was like riding in Beaverton. That was the best thing.

Sure, there are a couple of nice spots. But none of them are within a 400 kiloton blast radius of a place called Hearthwood. I know this. Because I looked it up with a tool called Ground Zero.


What I’m trying to say here is that Vancouver is just as uncool as you think it is. You might be fooled by the downtown area. They have some amazing, untapped second hand stores and the best Dairy Queen I’ve ever been to. But once you leave the synthetic charm of the downtown area, you’ll be lost in maze of strip malls and home construction projects that would make Robert Moses weep. If you’re looking for a Michaels craft store, Vancouver is the place to be. Those places are like Starbucks out here. And if you have a hot date, and your hot date really wants some jalepeno poppers from TGI Fridays even though it’s only Tuesday, well Vancouver has got you covered there, too.

But if you want to go on a super fun bike ride through rural countryside with no traffic, smooth roads, and beautiful scenery, no. This is not right for you. Yes, I saw a couple of cool things. There was a car dealership that had a giant paper mache tyranasaurus rex out front. And I saw some goats. And a bunch of abandoned, half finished McMansions. And a ton a late 80′s model Camaros.

papermakerAnd I learned the Camas High School is home to the “Papermakers” and their mascot appears to be a rabid, furry industrial paper making machine. GO PAPERMAKERS!

But it was mostly awful. Miles and miles of chipseal roads, lined with giant cloned homes, each with a trampoline and ATV in front. If you want to ride out there, here’s the map.

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