Columbia Gorge, Hood River, Mt. Hood

Tuesday–Wednesday, April 24–25, 2012
Leader: Barbara Beard

Twenty Obsidians and one bus driver left Shopko parking lot at 8:00 AM, April 24, for two days of exploring in the NW Cascades. The weather cooperated most of the time when we wanted to stop and walk or see the sights a little closer. We were only rained on once, walking from the Visitor Center to the powerhouse at Bonneville to view the water turbines and operations inside the dam. Very good tour guide and interesting visit.

Our first day of travel took us on I-5 to the Canby exit, here we stopped for a coffee break and then turned east to travel back roads to Mt. Hood for lunch. Many had not traveled some of these out-of-the-way roads. Many thought we might be lost roaming the foothills of the Cascades, but we ended up at Sandy just five minutes later than the leaders had anticipated. At a great bakery we loaded up on goodies for later. The beautiful Christmas tree farms atop the rolling hills, some so large you could not see the end of the plantings, seemed to stretch for miles. Many of the back roads were unknown to most of the riders, and some wondered whether leaders or the bus driver had seen some of the roads, either. Guess we will never know, but the weather was great, with great views, great Oregon countryside, great sightseeing.

Our lunch and afternoon were spent at Timberline. We dined in the Mountain View room with linens and the works. Then we split into two groups: one rode the snow cat, the other toured the Lodge, including a video on building the Lodge. What a project! It was included in President Roosevelt’s New Deal plan to get Americans back to work after the Depression. Oregonians can really be proud of this beautiful lodge. The wood timbers and furnishings tell it all – all Oregon-made products. President Roosevelt visited the Lodge upon its completion. We ended our day touring through the apple orchards, almost in full bloom, to the Panoramic View at Hood River. A spectacular place for picture taking of Mt. Hood and the apple orchards below. Then on to our destination for a wonderful dinner and stay at the Hood River Inn.

The next day found us visiting the W.A.A.A.M. Museum. (Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum). This is a one-of-a-kind museum. The vehicles all fly, drive or can be pedaled. The displays are owned by individuals, not the museum. The owner may want to drive in a parade or fly in an air show someplace, or the roadster may have just been taken out for a leisurely spin. The displays are always changing. After our tour of W.A.A.A.M. we stopped by the Historic Columbia Gorge Hotel for a short tour and a walk around the gardens, over the creek, and to view the waterfall (206 ft.) to the east of the Hotel. On to Cascade Locks and the Bridge of the Gods for lunch, dining again on the Columbia River with a beautiful view of the bridge. Quite a history in the area from Lewis and Clark to the present, and the controversy about building a casino.

After a five-mile jaunt on I-85 we were back to old highways and backroads, continuing west at the Ainsworth exit for a spectacular drive on Highway 30 to view waterfalls: Multnomah, Horsetail, Bridal View and several more were just outside the bus window as we slowed to see each one in its magnificent splendor. Arriving at the Vista House overlook we were not disappointed, the weather cooperated again and we were able to see for miles and miles and miles. Our last great waterfall, the Willamette Falls at Oregon City, was spectacular this time of year. We continued on backroads through Damascus and south to I-5 just below Woodburn—homeward bound.

Members: Barbara Beard, Paul Beard, Thomas Adamcyk, Ethel Allen, Bill Arthur, Ron Bauer, Paula Beard, Sharon Cutsforth, Pat Dark, Rose Mary Etter, Barbara Flanders, Dennis Flanders, Janet Jacobsen, Marjorie Jackson, Barbara Payne, Don Payne, Virginia Prouty, Cristy White. Nonmembers: Judy Adamcyk, Judy Phelps.

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