I assembled a photo slideshow of photos I took while on my road trip in the Pacific Northwest in May and June of this year. The video is about 5 minutes long and the musical soundtrack is the Cat Stevens song, “On the Road to Find Out.”
For the best enjoyment, click on the “Watch on YouTube” link below and choose to watch it in full frame mode.
Sunday (June 20): Happy Father’s Day! This was a rare time that I wasn’t available to see my sons on Father’s Day. We had good phone chats instead.
I did manage to wake up with the alarm and hit the road early to visit Multnomah Falls. It’s about a 45 minute drive and I remembered seeing a sign on the highway about the parking lot exits being closed after 9:00 AM on the weekends. I arrived at the parking lot just before 8:00, so I made good time. Other people were milling about, but it wasn’t crowded.
Multnomah Falls are located very close to the highway. The parking lot is opposite the railroad tracks and an under-the-tracks tunnel connects to the waterfall area. The lower viewing platform gives a stunning view of the long ribbon of water as it falls more than 500 feet, and continues another 60+ feet to a collection pool at the bottom. It is pretty dramatic and the photos do not do it justice.
It was fun to people-watch on the lower platform. Lots of selfie sticks (and selfie arms). I would frequently offer to take photos of a couple or a family so they could all be in the picture together.
The hike up to the observation bridge, known as Benson Bridge, is a short climb with a few switchbacks. This location offers a great view of the landing area of the upper falls. I was enamored with the soft spray of falling water juxtaposed with the large moss-covered boulders and rock walls.
A trail continues up to the top of the upper falls, but I chose to spend my time near the landing areas. I took 252 photos of the falls. Many of them were multiple clicks of the same image, with the randomness of the falling water patterns making the difference.
By about 10:00 AM I was ready to leave. The crowds had arrived and the sunlight was beginning to infiltrate the softly lit area of the falls.
I’m very happy I made the drive to visit Multnomah Falls. This is a location I’ve been wanting to see for many years.
Tomorrow is a travel day as I move south into Central Oregon. I’ll be staying at Prineville, Oregon which is in the Redmond and Bend area.
Saturday (June 19): I trekked out late yesterday evening and walked along The Hood River as it flows alongside this campground. I waited until dusk for better light for photos. The mosquitos were abundant, but they were not interested in my blood. I’m lucky like that. Maybe I should sell my blood as a mosquito repellent.
The river runs strong here and it has a powerful sound. I spent a little more than an hour trailblazing my way along the shoreline. I found a few sideline areas that probably have river flow when the water level is higher. All of these photos were taken within the boundaries of the campground.
Today I ventured back down to Hood River. I ran a couple of errands and drove randomly in the upper hills of the city trying to find a good vantage point to get photos of the Columbia River Gorge area.
I drove down to the waterfront and directly parked in a free 3-hour parking space. Lucky again! A short walk brought me to the shoreline of the Columbia River. I was not alone. This area is a high adventure spot. The consistent strong winds and large water area combine for a great kiteboarding and windsurfing destination. And it was busy.
I would estimate the wind was blowing a steady 40 mph with gusts up to 50. Apparently, this is ideal weather for this sport, as the river area was a visual cacophony of movements of people, zig zagging across the water. There must be an etiquette to maneuvering in this crowd because there were no collisions and I never saw anyone’s kite ropes get tangled with another’s.
On a few occasions, a surfer would become separated from their board. Another surfer would skim along, grab the vacant board, make a quick turn and drop it off with its owner. It was fun to watch (and photograph) all the action. After a while I was able to predict when a surfer would be preparing to execute an airborne maneuver or make a sharp turn.
All of this energy and chaos made me hungry. I drove back into town and got on the waiting list at the Full Sail Brewpub. After a 45-minute wait, I was seated at a window overlooking the Gorge. The amber ale was fresh and the burger was tasty.
Tomorrow I plan to explore some of the outlying areas, including taking my chances at visiting Multnomah Falls. I will need to get up early in order to do that. Wish me luck.
Thursday (June 17): My road trip leaves the coast and turns inland. My next camping destination is the area around Hood River; I decided to break up the four-hour drive into two days. Since I didn’t have reservations for a camping location near Hood River, I figured it would be wise to arrive earlier in the day and improve my chances of getting a “first-come, first-served” space. It turned out to be a good strategy.
My overnight stop was at LL Stub Stewart SP, about 30 miles west of Portland. I could tell I had moved inland, the temperatures were significantly warmer. Stub Stewart SP is a wooded area; the campground is pretty modern. About half of the spaces were occupied. The full-service campsites are spacious and spread out, each of the two loops has active camp hosts and the larger state park sports an abundance of hiking, biking and equestrian trails.
Friday (June 18): I woke up early and efficiently packed up to leave. My desired arrival time at Hood River was 11:00 AM and I had some errands to take care of along the way. In Beaverton, I got groceries, gassed up the car and stopped at an Amazon hub (thank you, Whole Foods) to pick up an item I had ordered a few days earlier. (Note to self: Amazon hubs are great for road trips)
My timing worked out well, I reached the city of Hood River a little before 11:00 and turned south to scour a couple of county campgrounds in the area. My first choice was Toll Bridge Park, about 16 miles south. Just to confuse things, the park is situated along The Hood River.
(“Hood River” = the city; “The Hood River” = the river, got it?)
I toured the prime camping loop and noticed a number of other vehicles doing the same thing. I spotted a nice campsite with partial shade, water and electric hookup, and occupied it. By noon, I was camping – Jackpot!
After changing into inland-warm-weather clothes, I drove back to Hood River to check out the town. Traffic was snarly, the parking was scarce and lots of people were enjoying the warm Friday afternoon. This is definitely a prime destination for outdoorsy activities. For the record, most indoor businesses are still insisting on mask-wearing, even if vaccinated.
On the highway back to the campground, I noticed a sign pointing to “Panorama Point” and figured that had to be something good. I took the turn-off and drove a few miles uphill to be treated to a wonderful view of Mt. Hood (the mountain). I figured if I can’t be at the coast, I might as well enjoy the other beauties of this state. I also caught a glimpse of Mt. Adams to the north.
I’ll have two days here to take it all in. And I just realized those two days are Saturday and Sunday. I guess I won’t be alone!
Thursday (June 17): My visit to this Washington peninsula would offer only two full days to explore the area. I knew the time would go quickly so I wanted to prioritize my choices. In addition to checking out this area, I also wanted to go back to Cannon Beach and spend a couple of hours there.
My visit to Cannon Beach was timed perfectly for the weather. After a rainy morning on Tuesday, the weather cleared by mid-day. Cannon Beach is a popular destination, with a vibrant downtown corridor and adjoining beach. Haystack Rock stands prominently as the centerpiece of the long flat beach. Parking in the area is competitive; I was fortunate to grab a roadside space near an entrance to the beach.
On the way back from Cannon Beach, I turned off to visit Fort Stevens State Park on the Oregon side of the Columbia River. Many of the river viewpoints were closed due to jetty construction. I was able to check out the shipwreck on the beach.
With the beautiful blue sky, I stopped in Astoria to get some new photos of the Astoria bridge. I returned to the same vantage point I took photos from the previous day. It’s a narrow residential street in the hills above the river with an excellent view of the entire bridge. I had to squeeze my car into a small turnoff space and walk a few blocks back to the best shooting spot. I was careful to not disrupt the homeowners on this street, I’m sure they see plenty of tourists checking out the view. I also drove down to the waterfront and walked along the area on either side of the bridge.
On my last afternoon, I went to the Astoria Brewing Company located on the waterfront overlooking the river. Naturally I ordered fish and chips and a cup of chowder. The chowder was excellent but I’m not considering it as a candidate for my “best chowder” search. They add bacon to their chowder, which tastes great, but I call that cheating. I enjoyed eating the chowder, even though I had disqualified it. The halibut fish and chips were very good and I paired it with a very smooth blonde ale. I left the restaurant very satisfied with my last supper of the area.
Cape Disappointment State Park includes more than the campground. This area reflects the history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition; the expedition reached the Pacific Ocean here at the mouth of the Columbia River. The park includes a Lewis and Clark interpretive center, two lighthouses and several historical remnants from the Pacific coast defense during World War II.
One of the lighthouses overlooks the beach next to my campsite; it is called the North Head Lighthouse. The park offers easy access to this lighthouse; a good sized parking lot and paved trail makes for an easy visit. This spot also has a trail to another viewpoint (called Bells Lookout) which gives hikers a chance to visit an old WWII bunker.
The other lighthouse is called Cape Disappointment Lighthouse and can be viewed from the Lewis and Clark interpretive center. This interpretive center is also home to the rugged structures of Fort Canby. While at the center I noticed a jetty that looked like it would have a great view of the lighthouse at water level. I consulted a map to see if I might be able to reach this spot and learned it is located in my campground. Very convenient and an excellent viewpoint of the lighthouse!
On the second evening of taking sunset photos of the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, it drizzled for a few minutes. About 15 minutes later, a beautiful rainbow arced across the sky, directly over the lighthouse point. I was gifted with about 10 minutes of viewing (and photographing) this spontaneous gift.
Before settling down for the last night, I visited the campground beach for one last walk. The wind was blowing fiercely but the walk in the water’s edge was pleasant and bittersweet.
My time spent on the beaches over the last three weeks has been very rewarding. I’ve felt a special sense of peace while walking in the water, outrunning the seagulls in search of intact sand dollars, inspecting the little shells in the sand and watching the rhythmic rolling of the waves. This experience has been cleansing, calming and rejuvenating. I will miss the beaches I’ve visited.
This is a turning point of my road trip. My next two travel days will take me inland toward Hood River on the Columbia River Gorge. In a way, I’ll have two trips: the coastline tour and the central Oregon route. As I say “Good Bye” to the ocean, I look forward to the new adventures that await me.