Our next stop heading south was Wilsonville, Oregon, the halfway point between Portland and Salem. Steve was due for his quarterly doctor visit in Tucson, AZ and months ago he had chosen Portland as his getaway airport. It was an uneventful rainy day while he was away, but a very happy day upon his return when he told me his oncologist won’t need to see him again for a whole year! 🙂 Continue reading
Like the emigrants before us, we continued our northward trajectory and crossed into eastern Oregon. We wanted to stay at Baker, close to the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, but due to a rally event all campgrounds were fully booked. That seems to be happening more and more often these days…
So instead, Betsy hauled us up onto Flagstaff Hill, where the center itself was located with lots of parking. Continue reading
From Idaho we crossed into the far northeast corner of Oregon, with our sights set on the towns of Wallowa County – Joseph, Enterprise, Lostine, and Wallowa. When making our reservations in January we wanted to stay in the small town of Joseph, about which we’d heard great things. But apparently, a lot of other folks had heard great things before we had, so with everything booked up there we ended up at Wallowa River RV Park in the little town of Wallowa. Continue reading
Rain continued to accompany us on our travel days as we headed down to Grants Pass, Oregon. Continue reading
Besides the previously-reported interior modifications, we had done to our coach at Dave and LJ’s Interior Design, some other mundane mechanical issues needed to be addressed as well. Southern Oregon seems to be a mecca for quality RV maintenance and repair shops, perhaps because it’s an area where several RV manufacturers reside. We took a tour of the Marathon Coach factory in Eugene, which is where “high-end” coaches are built at $1,000,000+ per unit. But some other manufacturers either used to or continue to build coaches here. The result is that there are several shops around with highly-qualified mechanics to perform engine, chassis and coach repairs. Continue reading
Traveling through and around the Gorge is easy, and to really experience the Gorge is to drive from east to west or vice versa depending on where you originate from. It should also be driven following State Route 14 on the Washington side and the busier highway 84 on the Oregon side, or much will be missed. The breathtaking beauty of the Gorge and surrounding areas are full of remarkable views depending on your direction, time of day and weather. State Route 14 (a.k.a Lewis and Clark highway ) and I-84 are both scenic highways, and driving them completes the Gorge Loop and one must stop along the way to take in the various sights and towns.
We arrived at the Gorge from the east, Washington side on State Route 14, and what we saw from there were sweeping views of the Gorge, gigantic rock formations, quaint towns, vineyards and Mt Hood.
The Historical Columbia River Highway (Oregon) is another option to travel back in time circa 1913, a winding road amidst lush green trees and stonework construction. On the east end we took the 9 mile scenic route paralleling I-84, climbing to the Rowena Plateau and stopping at the Rowena Crest Overlook which is the eastern companion to the Crown Point Overlook on the west. The dramatic views of the Rowena Loops and the dry eastern landscape are not to be missed.
On the west end of the Historical Columbia River Highway, our drive took us to the many beautiful cascading waterfalls and lush greenery that we described in part 1 of this post. We began the drive at Chanticleer Point which has astounding views of the river and the Gorge that can be seen from the tops of cliffs.
Continuing down the Byway, we arrived at the Vista House at Crown Point, one of the most photographed sites along the Historic Columbia River Highway. In 1913 Samuel Lancaster, the highway’s chief engineer, believed that this outcropping of land located atop a 733-foot sheer cliff overlooking the Columbia River was one of the most spectacular vistas in the world. We agreed. It was a view to behold.
On another day we drove the Mt Hood Scenic Byway (approx. 145 miles) and the entire trip is picturesque with Mt Hood as the focal point. At 11,245 feet, Mt. Hood is the highest point in Oregon, the fourth highest peak in the Cascade Range and one of the state’s most recognizable landmarks. Starting from the west we came into the timberline and this byway lead us through classic Oregon scenery. At the end of this drive we made several stops in the Hood River Fruit Loop, a scenic driving route that takes you around to several local farms where you can pay a small amount for U-pick fruits and other goodies.
We took a quick detour from SR 14 (WA) and drove up Old Highway 8 where we enjoyed more outstanding views of the Gorge and some good wines at the local wineries. Oh yeah, we bought a few bottles too!
We were advised that this area is beset by mountain fires this time of the year.
So have we covered and seen everything? Despite a week stay here, there are still nooks and crannies in the gorgeous Gorge to be explored.
Steve is smiling for he can now check one off from his bucket list, the Columbia River Gorge. The Columbia River Gorge is an impressive river canyon carved by the Columbia river as it flows into the Pacific Ocean. It stretches over 80 miles and is shared by the states of Washington and Oregon. Mt Adams to the north and Mt Hood to the south flank the gorge and the mighty Columbia River runs through its middle. The bridges that connects the states are: The Dalles to the east, the Hood River in the middle and the Bridge of the Gods to the west. The Gorge is recognized as a destination for exploring the natural beauty and cultural richness of the Pacific Northwest. Geologists must love this place with all its cliffs, rock formations and rugged terrain. Continue reading
We arrived in Astoria in the afternoon bringing sunshine with us. On the Oregon Coast at this time of the year, a sunshine day is a blissful occurrence. After setting up we explored Astoria which is also known as “Little San Francisco,” and coming from “The City” myself this town is indeed little. No visit to the Oregon north coast is complete without a stop at the Astoria Column. It stands 125 feet tall and took us 164 winding steps to the top and the view is “wow”. It was cold and windy when we got there so we only stayed at the top for a few minutes to enjoy the panoramic view of the Columbia river, the Pacific Ocean, city of Astoria and the mountain ranges of Oregon and Washington. Also, the Astoria -Megler bridge that connects Astoria to Washington state is clearly visible. Continue reading