Our last stop in the Oregon area was Portland and the Columbia River Gorge, although our campground was located by Stevenson, Washington, on the other side of the river. As we drove inland towards Portland we came to a detour. Turns out the direct road was closed and the police were diverting everyone. So we had to take the long way around.
But, since Portland was on our way, we had planned a couple of errands on our way there. One was a stop at Camping World. We had an unfortunate incident at our last campsite – one night someone stole our barbecue and our one-gallon propane tank – just like that. We were both pretty furious about it, and it was the first time anyone ever lifted something from our site – after a year and ten months of fulltiming. Ugh!
Even with the detour we still had time to stop at Camping World and buy a replacement barbecue and propane tank, as well as some water filters. We also stopped at the Blue Beacon to have Island Girl washed. Not bad.
Our first day we took a driving tour of the area, including the Fruit Loop, a loop drive that goes through “approximately 35 miles of orchards, forests, farmlands and friendly communities” on both sides of the Columbia River. What a great idea to create and “event” that connects these places for visitors.
Mount Hood is the backdrop for the whole area, the highest point in Oregon, 11,240 feet high. Stunning! And, on the Washington side, opposite Mount Hood stands Mount Adams, 12,281 feet high. These are the “Twin Peaks”.
While on the Fruit Loop, we stopped at several picturesque farms and bought cherries, jellies, cookies, fruit-fed pork (it was yummy!), and apple cider. I wasn’t really a cherry fan before but I love those Rainier cherries!
We also visited an Alpaca farm and a beautiful lavender farm. I can never resist lavender, so I bought a couple of products there also. This was a beautiful day and we enjoyed the drive and all the stops very much.
Next we drove to Lost Lake for a hike around the lake. There is supposed to be a beautiful reflection of Mount Hood on the lake. But, alas, as we made our way there it got cloudier and cloudier, and the mountain disappeared. It was still a lovely hike. And Angel hiked four miles!
We recently became members of RVillage, a social network for RVers. Hans and Lisa, fulltimers who write the blog, Metamorphosis Road, found us through the website and contacted us about getting together.
They picked out a brewery in White Salmon, the town their campground was located in. So that evening, we met them at the brewery. They had a table on the deck with a great view of Mount Hood. Yes! Oh, and I had another beer flight.
And, as is always the case with other fulltimers, we had lots to talk about. And we discovered that we both started fulltiming not only the same year, nor the same month, but on the same DAY. What are the chances of that?
We had a great time and hope to meet them down the road.
The next day, we checked out the Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood. It’s a National Historic Landmark Hotel and lovely old timey ski lodge.
We were a bit surprised to see that the area was open with a ton of skiers around. Apparently ski teams train here in the summer. When Hector asked a staff member “when do you close the ski area” – the answer was September. And when he asked “when do you reopen” – the answer was September. They close for two weeks! Too funny.
Next we visited Tim and Becky, two folks that we met at Mission Bay RV Campground in San Diego last winter, and who invited us to visit them while in the area. We drove out to their lovely home in Sandy, Oregon for lunch and spent part of the afternoon there. It was another beautiful day. Another couple we hope to see down the road.
We’d not seen Dan and Kay for many years and it was just wonderful to see them once again.
The weather, which had been a mix of clear and cloudy, became pretty cloudy and rainy, especially our last couple of days in the area. And Hector had a very sore shoulder, so we decided to spend some time resting in the coach. It was also calm, so we missed seeing a windsurfing event at the famous Hood River. Bummer.
But our last day we drove over to see a couple of the famous waterfalls on the Oregon side of the river, part of Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area. Some of these are just by the side of the road, including the two that we visited.
Then we stopped at Multnomah Falls, the tallest in North America after Yosemite Falls. They are actually two waterfalls, a total of 620-feet tall. We hiked as far as the iconic bridge, which crosses the falls above the lower cascade.
The Columbia Gorge is beautiful and definitely worthy of a longer visit, but our times with new friends and old friends made this visit extra special.