Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Columbia River Gorge, Mt. Hood, Astoria
The Hyatt provides a good hot breakfast, with bacon, egg,
and cheese biscuits and more, but, man, the coffee is strong! I
guess that's how they do it around here. It's mostly cloudy today
and about 70 degrees.
The plan for the day is to drive a clockwise loop along the
Historic Columbia River Scenic Byway (Highway 30) and Mt. Hood
Scenic Byway, stopping frequently at the scenic waypoints, and then
spend the night somewhere between Portland and the coast,
depending on how far we get. We'll travel through the Gorge on
the south side (Oregon side) of the river.
We left the hotel about
9:30 and headed east on I-84 toward Troutdale, a cute little town
in its own right and the beginning of Historic Highway 30. At the Portland Women's Forum State Scenic Overlook at
Chaticleer Point (that's a mouthful), we got our first look at the
Columbia River Gorge. Lovely! Then we drove just a short
distance to the Vista
House at Crown Point, built as a memorial to the Oregon
pioneers and offering more great views.
Columbia River Gorge
Vista House at Crown Point
After the Vista House, the road drops down closer to river level,
and you pass a series of waterfalls. We stopped and admired the
tall and wispy Latourell Falls; the beautiful Bridal Veil Falls, where we took a short, enjoyable hike;
Wahkeena Falls, visible from the highway;
the extra-tall and very crowded Multnomah Falls, 542 feet, the most crowded of the very few
crowded places of our trip; and the pretty Horsetail Falls.
Bridal Veil Falls
Next we stopped at Bonneville Lock and Dam and took a short tour. It
was very TVA-esque and reminded us of home. We've seen locks. We've
seen dams. But what we hadn't seen before was a fish ladder. Now,
that was interesting. I'd never been able to picture before how a
fish can swim up a ladder. It's got to be pretty tiring. The best part is the fish viewing room,
where there are windows below water level allowing you to watch the
salmon making their way upstream. There were tons of them!
Fish ladder at Bonneville Dam
Salmon swimming up the ladder
After Bonneville, we continued to Hood River, Oregon, recharged
ourselves at Taco Bell, and then stopped by the Hood River Event
Site to watch the sailboarders and kite boarders. With the
high-velocity winds whipping through the Gorge at up to 70
miles per hour, Hood River is known as the Windsurfing Capital of
Enjoying the wind at Hood River
At Hood River we turned south on the Mt. Hood Scenic Byway.
Unfortunately, the clouds had been increasing all day, and the peak
of the mighty mountain was obscured. We drove on up to Timberline
Lodge, a hotel built in the 1930s as a WPA project and
that had its exterior featured as a stand-in for the Overlook Hotel in the 1980 movie “The Shining.”
It's a cool building, but what in the hell was the government doing
building a ski lodge???
Here's Johnny! Timberline Lodge at Mt. Hood
Mt. Hood concealed by clouds
I'd planned on taking a hike from Timberline, but since the weather
was poor, we decided to head on west, giving us more time on the
coast tomorrow. We considered staying in Oregon City, but after
seeing their ad alongside the road, we decided to pass, and
actually made it all the way to Astoria, the
northernmost town on the Oregon coast, by nightfall. Our route took us into
Washington for about an hour on the way to Astoria, as the GPS said
that was the fastest way.
Sister city to Dull, Scotland
About 8:15 we checked into the Motel 6 Astoria, formerly known as
the Dunes Motel. It's a pretty old motel, but there was a
king-sized bed and free WiFi, along with an indoor pool and
We at dinner at El Tapatio Restaurant, about a block and a half from the
motel. It had mixed reviews on Yelp, but our meals were great!
Carne asada for me and tacos and enchiladas for Tom. The salsa was
Sign our guestbook