Published: September 9th 2011September 7th 2011
Entrance to the Colombia Gorge
This is looking east from a viewpoint on the scenic highway. It would be a great training ride on the bike!
The forecast for Walla Walla on Tuesday was 99 deg-F. The good news was that it didn’t peak until mid-afternoon. We found another local eatery for breakfast that was great (Clarett’s). It was full of characters and the stories we could overhear would have made a good essay. Most people here seem pretty comfortable in their skin. Normally we end up talking to locals who have been living in Walla Walla for a long time and know about the area. Mind you, we tend to talk to older folk so maybe that awareness of the place shouldn’t be a surprise. Les and I felt quite at home in this city.
The first part of the day was on straight, smooth freeways through dry farmland. It was all incredibly boring. However, once we reached The City of the Dalles on the Columbia River, the beauty of the Columbia Gorge appeared. We left the main freeway when we could and drove the old highway 30. This road winds its way along the side of the gorge and often climbs up to the the top of the south side cliffs for great views. The highway was originally built as a scenic drive, so it
I'm not sure how many millions of photos have been taken of this scene, but here is my contribution. It really is a neat place.
is slow going. It would be a lot of fun on a motorcycle.
We did the necessary stop at the classic waterfalls along the south side of the gorge. The main ones are the Horsetail Falls, and the Multnomah Falls, but there are more.
We hit the last of the Portland rush hour and in it proceeded to lose our way. Believe it or not, we arrived in Portland without a detailed map of the city. We figure that this was a consequence of several things including age, not taking road trips to new places for many years, and, probably most of all, the fact that we did all our planning using the computer using Google maps. Of course, we could have printed out some of the maps, but we didn’t. In the ‘old days’ we would have gone into the AMA, picked up every possible map we could think of and plotted our course.
Once we knew we were definitely not going the right way, we pulled out of the freeway and stopped to get our bearings. Believe it or not, the computer came to our rescue. The curbside that we pulled up to had about three open WiFi
Les and Jack at the falls
The last time we came down the Columbia River Valley we weren't so relaxed. I had just lost my wallet (actually hadn't, but thought I had) and we were doing a dash for home as we had hardly any money and only a gas credit card.
connections close by. We connected up to the network, located where we were and plotted our way to the motel. As it turned out, we weren’t too far away. Now, if we are really smart we will visit the AAA offices before leaving Portland and do that map thing.
During the day I was reminiscing about the last times I was through the gorge. One was the last trip I took with my parents to California in about 1958. We used to go south through Las Vagas and back up the west coast. Dad used to dread coming into Portland, because we always ended up lost, on the wrong side of the river. That went on every time, including the last trip we did together. The other trip was the last time that Les and I came this way at Easter in 1972 on the fateful journey that we now call ‘The Wallet Trip’. That is a story for another time, but I will say that it was one of those disaster trips from start to finish and felt like we were being controlled by some unknown force to turn around and get home. Who knows.
There are more photos below