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Sunday July 3- Columbia River Gorge, Bonneville Lock & Dam, Cascade Locks, Bridge of the Gods, Hood River, The Dalles

 We woke up to  a cloudy day with temps in the 60’s. We were late getting out the door this morning at 10:30, and went to Safeway for gas, Lowes for some items, and Albertson’s for salsa. We drove east on I-84, which runs along the Columbia River Gorge. Looking across the gorge at Washington State.

Our first stop was at Bonneville Dam.

This was our view from the picnic table where we ate our picnic lunch!

Bonneville Lock and Dam Project is located 145 river miles from the mouth of the Columbia River and about 40 miles east of Portland. The first powerhouse, spillway and original navigation lock were completed in 1938 to improve navigation on the Columbia River and provide hydropower to the area.  A second powerhouse was completed in 1981, and a larger navigation lock in 1993.  A Public Works Administration project of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, portions of Bonneville Lock and Dam Project were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987. Entrance was free, after being stopped at the entrance by a Corp. of Engineers armed guard, who checked us out. She let us through, as obviously we do not look like terrorists!

Once inside the visitor center, you can take a tour of the power plant (which we did not do), look at the exhibits ( which we also skipped), and look at the fish in the fish ladders. We took the elevator down to the bottom floor to look at the fish. We were able to see these fish passing through the ladders. Below, these were eels attached to the window. 

They count each fish and compare the numbers to previous years. We took the elevator up to the top floor, and were able to look down on the ladder; we were able to see these sturgeon in the ladder.

Our next stop, traveling east, was at Cascade Locks. Cascade Locks once the site of a boom town called Whiskey Flats,  now has a population of 1100. Once the Bonneville Dam was in place, the water backing up behind the dam, about 2 miles downstream, caused the water to cover the rapids. The locks were no longer needed.

Bob was amazed at how many fish this guy above was hauling in!

The Bridge of the Gods was completed in 1926 it is the third oldest bridge on the Columbia River. It is built in the exact location where a land bridge once stood as told in a Native American legend. The current bridge is a toll bridge, going over to Washington State.

The mural is depicting the original bridge, as described by the Indians.

There were a lot of fisherman, and they were catching a lot of fish. When we went to look at the Bridge of the Gods, there was a small “fish market” with vendors selling fresh fish. We did not buy any, but a vendor was selling Mosier cherries, fo $3 per lb. So we bought 2 lbs.

We continued east to the town of Hood River. The town was bigger then the previous towns. We drove through town, which was a cute little place. Then we drove down to the Columbia River Sail Park, where there was Windsurfing/Sail boarding going on.

They were even teaching these sports. It looked like fun if you don’t mind wearing a wet suit to keep warm and have no fear of falling into this very rough water!

The farther east that we drove, the sunnier it became, with temps surging into the high 70’s. East of Hood River, we found another Historic Rt. 30 loop. This one was only 9 miles. We turned off the interstate to take the back road. We drove through the small town of Mosier, where the cherries come from; we drove through cherry orchards, which was interesting. The landscape changed from evergreens to high prairie, with no evergreens and lot of open space. The road twisted and turned. Finally, we reach the Rowena Crest, which was a viewpoint of the gorge.

The pictures do not do the area justice. We were standing above the road that we were going to travel. Bob’s comment was “can you imagine driving this in a Model-T?” The road continued to wind, now we were going downhill, and the winds picked up.

We returned to I-84 and drove to our designated turn around in “The Dalles”. We stopped for ice cream at “Big Jim’s”. They only had Umpqua Ice Cream, and we have decided that we don’t think it is as good as Tillamook ice cream . We each had a small chocolate soft serve cone, which was not all that great; we wished that we had gone to DQ. We drove through the city center,  and saw these gals riding their horses through town!

We also looked at some of  the murals which depict the history of the area.

and the small town. We stopped at Staples for some ink cartridges. We will be leaving Oregon on Tuesday, and leaving behind the sales tax free state. It took us almost 1.5 hours to return to the motor home, where we grilled chicken and sat out behind the motor home, enjoying the wonderful weather!

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