Saturday, September 5, 2015

2015-25 Vancouver Washington to Columbia River Gorge Oregon

Columbia River Gorge

Vancouver Washington
Columbia River Gorge Oregon

Campground:  Big Fir Camping and Rv Park.  Passport Rate:  $17.  Full hookups 50amp.  Lots of large Douglas Fir trees.  Very shady and quiet.
Viento St Pk

Campground:  Viento State Park.  $22 Elect (30amp) and Water.  One of many state parks along the Columbia River.  Between the highway and railroad (noise).  Heavily wooded, paved road and pads.

Distance Traveled 120 miles

John and Elaine

I enjoyed a couple more days with friends Christine and Tom before heading south and a short visit with Elaine and John, two more camper friends from my winter stays at Desert Trails in Tucson AZ.  Elaine volunteers at the George C Marshall officers house on Fort Vancouver.  I was of course able to get a tour of the house with Elaine as the tour guide.  Learning not only about the famous General and Chief of Staff during WWII but for his developing and implementing the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe and Japan after the war.  A man who believed in rebuilding the countries and peoples including that of the former enemies.  The former Army base, Fort Vancouver and Pearson Air base has a storied history going as far back as the to the days when the Hudson Bay Company first set up business trading and selling furs and items to the Native Indians in the area.  There was even a time when a Russian was the first to fly over the North Pole and ended up landing at Fort Vancouver.

touring the George C Marshall house

and the fort, recreated

Inside the Marshall house

Distance Traveled:  65 miles


It was time to make some serious decisions as to where I would spend the upcoming Labor Day weekend.  Time was running short and I was running out of campgrounds that had space.  The Oregon coast was definitely out of the running, so I started searching places inland and along the Columbia River Gorge.  All of the Oregon State parks have recently transferred to an online reservation system and I was running out of luck trying to find a spot that wasn’t already reserved.  Fortunately, I left a message at Viento State Park and the ranger actually called me later that evening and said she could get me a campsite that she holds back for campers like me.   I.E.  someone with no reservation.  It sure is nice to come across such a good caring person willing to help a camper out.  I’m sure she was working way past her daily work schedule.

Note to self:  Unless you plan on making reservations way in advance, Oregon State parks are no longer easy to get into.  But a call to each state park directly may get you a campsite if they hold any outside of the reservation system.  It all depends on each state parks policy.

the Multnomah Falls NP Lodge

On my drive from Vancouver Washington and along the Columbia River Gorge, I decided to try and stop at Multnomah Falls.  The famous double falls with a beautiful bridge half way up the falls.  The parking area is between the highway 84 east and west bound lanes and is often very congested.  I was passing through the area early and was able to find ample parking for the truck and camper.  A walk under the highway and to the falls and the scenery opens up to the awesome waterfalls.  Always an inspiring view.  A tip for travelers, plan on having breakfast or lunch in the National Park Lodge at the base of the falls.  The food is exceptional as well as the coffee.  If your lucky the atrium room will be open for dining.  What a treat.  A great waterfalls and breakfast all at the same location.

 Multnomah Falls

half way up is a wonderful walking bridge

trees near the falls are covered in moss from all the spray

the Upper falls dramatic splash into a pool

the main viewing area, often filled with tourists

Computer Issues:  Do you have a computer needing to be upgraded to Windows 10?  I have two.  The older one had no problems loading the new Window 10.  The brand new Dell tablet/computer stalled out.  I’ve found a local computer expert who is going to completely reload my computer with the new Windows 10.

The new Windows 10 is a great combination of the older windows format that is so familiar with the addition of the new windows tiles that one can use without them getting in the way.  The added benefit of it now being much easier to add “apps” to a regular computer.

Job completed by Holly Cate Consulting, Hood River Or.  Computer services, training, and software updates.  Great job Holly.  Cost $80.00

Hood River, lots of local upscale shops

I’m close to Hood River, a town along the Columbia River Gorge.  It’s a nice community with lots of shops in the downtown area, but also with parking meters on every block throughout the city.  Many accept credit cards.  Not a fan of parking meters but at least I don’t have to carry a ton of change just to stay downtown for a couple of hours.  The town has lots of local upscale shops including a Goodwill “Boutique” store.  Never saw one of those.  It had the best of the best of clothes and knick knacks and prices to match.

a popular sport along the Columbia River

Hint to travelers:  There are not a lot of pull-outs to get that perfect photo shot, so if you see a scenic stop along the way, take it.  Often stopping at the small towns along the way will also help and if you are not towing the camper.  Take the old historic route 30 for a better chance at seeing the many waterfalls in the area.  Stopping at the many state parks along the way is another option, but a day pass fee is required.  For the hikers, a number of old sections of hwy 30 have been reopened for biking and hiking only, some going through the old tunnels carved into the mountains for the first vehicle traffic in the area.

One of the campsites at Viento St Pk

trains run continuously on both sides of the river

Local art in Hood River

The gorge, a winery and a train

My adventure for the area included a ride on a real Sternwheeler from Cascade Locks.  The boats only source of propulsion is the big wheel in the back of the boat.  I took the two hour tour which goes east along the Columbia River for one hour, then heads west for another hour.  There were no stunning views besides the heavily tree lined gorge itself.  This area, along the Columbia River is sparsely populated.  It’s a pleasant ride heading with the breeze and a bit blustery as we head back against the wind.  Much like the Train ride out of Hood River, both are less than super wow moments, though pleasant rides.  My impression, yours may differ.

a true Stern Wheeler

the Columbia River Gorge

scenes along the gorge

Native Indian net fishing stands

hwy 86 on the edge of the Columbia River

a barge coming out of the locks

The Columbia River Gorge

barges tie up to these during crowded periods along the river

Bridge of the Gods

Native Indian fishing dock

News Note:  Folks in Oregon are tired of Californians coming here and buying up houses and property.  You see, they don’t like the fact that a Californian can sell there home for lots of money, then move to places like Portland and get a lot more house for a lot less money.  To the point they are putting logos on the real-estate signs stating “NO Calif.”  

A few more days and I’ll be heading south into a region of Oregon that I’ve not been to before.  Till then, I’ll continue to enjoy dramatic scenery here along the Columbia River Gorge.

more photos on PICASA

1 comment:

walterterry said...

Thanks for a great tour - your pictures are AAA.