Saturday, May 11, 2013

Columbia River Gorge, Friday, May 10, 2013

Yesterday when Tom checked into Sandy Riverfront RV Resort he was told about a nice drive through the Columbia River Gorge and then completing a circle by traveling around the area of Mt. Hood and it would take about 4 hours.  Well, this morning we were going to do this route.  Starting out along Historic US30 we were in the area of the most waterfalls in the country.  Because of US30 being closed for a segment we were unable to get to the first 3 falls but we did see the following 3- Wahkeena, Multnomah and Horsetail.  Two other falls had longer walks than we cared to do to get to them.  That meant that we stopped to take pictures and 2 had walks up to a higher viewing area that we did.  Being early spring the falls are especially pretty with a heavy water flow and new green foliage on the trees and plants.

Continuing on we came to the Bonneville Dam.  We had to drive through a gate that had a guard but after that we were free to walk about the property.  The dam is a Army Corps of Engineer project.  Water was gushing through the dam as all the gates were open.  The Cascade Locks a little further up the river have been replaced with new locks at the Bonneville Dam.  Since fish need to swim upstream in order to spawn, a fish ladder is also at this facility.  There is a viewing area in which we could see the fish swimming up the ladder.  A theater shows a series of movies and after watching a rather lengthy movie about the Lewis and Clark Expedition we decide that our time was getting away and we needed to move on.

It was also past lunchtime and we were hungry.  Several miles further we came to the Cascade Locks and there was a cafe along the river there.  So we ordered lunch and ate outside on a patio.  The route along the Gorge is about 70 miles and at this time we had only covered about 27 miles and the second segment of our trip around the Mt. Hood area was probably more than 70 miles.  While eating we discussed this situation and came to the conclusion that we were not going to get through this "4 hour trip" today and we would just add another day to our stay and do the second segment tomorrow.

After lunch we crossed the Columbia River on the Bridge of the Gods and were then in Washington.  We traveled along the Columbia River to the east on the Washington side (north).  We did stop at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center and spent time going through this center.  We then continued on to Dallesport, Washington where we crossed over the bridge to The Dalles, Oregon. The gorge - the area that the Columbia River cuts through the Cascade Mountains- ends here.  After the river crossing we were back in Oregon and we then traveled west back to Troutdale.  The views along this gorge are beautiful.  We drove on  US30 when possible but often segments ran concurrently with I-84.  The segments where US30 is separate from the interstate is through towns and occasionally to a vista as Rowena Crest. 

What was to be a "4 hour drive" ended up being a 9 hour drive and only completing a portion of the drive.  But we are not dissappointed or annoyed by this as we had a very enjoyable day.  Tomorrow is another day and our plans are not in concrete.