Columbia Gorge Exploratory

I got out today to check on and photograph some more place for my Columbia Gorge Driving Tour. This time out I had better weather and being a weekday less crowds. I start at Multnomah Falls, the most visited tourist attraction in Oregon. Last time out I could not find a parking spot so I had to pass it by. This time being a weekday and using the Freeway exit parking it was not a problem. Since the fire the parking by lodge has been cut in half so those spots are very limited. I got into the visitor center and did the route most tourist will do the viewing area and up to the bridge. The gorge fire swept through part of this area but it is greening up again. I then drove up to the next freeway exit and began heading back on the old highway.

I stopped in at Wahkeena Falls to photograph view platform area. When we do our hike out of here we just blow right past this area. I have photograph of the upper bridge and falls but I needed photos of this lower part. Then it was on to Vista House. Last time I was out it was so foggy I could barely see the build let alone the view. This time weather was better but still not the best lighting. I knew the build would be closed as it is only open on the weekend in the winter so I will have to come back another time to photograph it. I did a short drive over to Portland Women’s Forum Viewpoint and got some photograph from there.

Last stop was a new place for me. I stopped in Troutdale at the museum exhibit they have on the Columbia River Highway. They did a reasonably good job on it and it should make for good introduction to the historic highway for a new visitor to the area. I has good information about about the historic high and would improve ones appreciation for the road they are about to travel.

Columbia Gorge Exploring

I got out Sunday for a drive up the Gorge to work my self guided tour of the Gorge. I had mixed result on the trip with fogged out at a couple places and crowed out at a couple of more. But I did have some good visits to a couple of waterfalls and at the Bonneville Dam area. It will take a couple of more trips to get it all worked out.

All of these places I have been to many times but I needed to refresh my memory and see what has change. My big take away from the run was that there is a lot to see and I may have to break this into several tours with different themes.

Mt. Hood Tour

I went out with some friends and did one variation of my Mt. Hood tour. The weather forecast was for some and some snow. So that was a good reason for not going on a long hike and being wet all day. This tour allows for seeing some great places, in the fall, with wet weather and not get soaked and have fun. Our route was to see Little ZigZag Falls, then drive up into the snow to Timberline Lodge, see Little Crater Lake and finish at the historic Clackamas Ranger Station. So a couple of short walks to see a couple of the best nature spots around Hood, get a little history in and some good drinks and food at Timberline Lodge.

Long Day, Few Rewards

Today I set out to visit several places for my “we were already here” tour. I had high hopes but the reality we not up to expectation. My first stop was the Washington County Museum. They boast of having information on original native tribes. The problem was the museum is located on the campus of one of our community colleges and there was no parking to be found. So visiting on week days is out. They are open on Saturday so I may give them a try then. But this means visitor to Portland would only have that day to visit this place and that is not so good.

My next stops would involve revisiting the Grand Ronde Reservation area. It was not bad driving out there on my first visit with all of the other stops that we made but this time it was a long drive to get out there. That a minus for the area. I also found there was not much to see and little information. Fort Yamhill has just a few sign to read and the open fields would take a lot of imagination to see a fort here. The Museum for the Grand Ronde Federated Tribes was also very lacking. I have never been to a museum that had so little signage to tell you what things were and why they matter. The building was a great space and the staff was supper friendly and helpful but unless you had a guided tour the displays told you almost nothing. Both of these places had great potential just were not there yet. I can not add either of these place to my tour. Very disappointing day.

Exploratory Trip to Fort Yamhill

This Sunday proved to be a very wet day as forecast. With no need to re-test our gortex Lori and I went for an exploratory road trip. This route took us out on Hwy 99 from Portland. Our final destination was Fort Yamhill State Park but we had many places to check out on route. Our first stop that also ended up being our last stop was Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. I thought this place would be closed with the government shut down but we found it open. However it was pouring down buckets of rain so we would pass on it for now and see if the weather was better on the way back. The next stop was old downtown Sherwood. I had pass through here on the way back from visiting Magness Tree farm a while back and found the old town very spruced up. So we did a little drive around the few blocks that make up the downtown and enjoy how it had been revitalized.

From here we head to Newberg and did a little side trip up to The Allison Inn & Spa. Lori has been here before and it is a luxury place to stay in Wine Country. Back to Newberg and drive by Herbert Hoover’s boy hood home. Then it was down through Dundee and all of it’s wine tasting Rooms to Dayton. Just outside of Dayton is another interest place to stay at a Vintage Trailer Park. They have taken a sizable number of classic vintage travel trailers, premoed them out and now rent them out for overnight accommodations. Finally in Dayton we see the first structure that was part of old Fort Yamhill, the Blockhouse. It was moved in 1911 to a park in the center of town and is there today. This blockhouse once was the center piece at Fort Yamhill from 1856 to 1861. So we proceed on our way to reach Fort Yamhill.

On our way we did a quick stop to check out Evergreen Air and Space Museum to see if the Spruce Goose was still there and it was. Then to McMinvelle for a drive around Linfield College so Lori could see her old alma mater. Then to Fort Yamhill. We met the interpreter ranger for Fort Yamhill State Heritage Area as we drove in and he recommended that on this wet of day we might want to just check out the last existing building from the fort and an info area. With it still pouring down bucket we thought that was a good plan. We were running a head of schedule so we drove down a little further to double check that Grand Ronde tribal museum, Chackalu Museum, was closed and it was. So now we were in need of a rest stop.

We stopped in at Spirit Mountain Casino to use that restrooms and take a look around. This took us from a search of the historic contact between white man and native to the current contact between the tribe and white man. After marveling at the new interaction where white man (and women) gives money back to the tribes bet at time we thought we might help by stopping in for their massive Sunday Brunch. It was massive and also very good. We did find several spots in the Casino where there was information about tribe and it’s history. So from here it was time to return to Portland but on the way back with the rain turning to a light drizzle we stop in once again at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. We were able to visit the information center and walk the winter trail to several view point. It was a good exploratory trip. Several of these places will work in with the Theme Tours I am developing but more exploring needs to be done.