Day 5: August 6, 2008
Keeping the Show On the Road
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The scenery around the Best Western (an excellent motel) in Cascade Locks: mountains, trains, and the Columbia River. The motel is known to have a good view of the Bridge of the Gods so I figure one of these must be it.

I had originally thought in terms of an 8:00 start on a drive (a re-drive, as it turns out) to match up with an 11::00 lunch date. But I found out yesterday that the Vista House, which is very close to the western end, opens at 9:00. So I still went with the eightish start but tackled Multnomah Falls, one stop I knew would take some time, first. In fact, I did it from the west bound exit of I-84 which requires getting to the inn and falls via a pedestrian underpass. At a bit after 8:00 AM, the falls weren't at all crowded although half of the world's population (including me) thinks of this falls and the Vista House when the name Columbia River Highway is heard.

I continued west on the expressway and picked up the Historic Columbia River Highway near last night's dinner spot and found this Spitfire parked out front. The neat car in front of a cool restaurant theme will return before the day is out.

This, of course, is Vista House and it was a bit more crowded than Multnomah Falls. Two bus loads of tourists were unloading as I arrived and there were quite a few other singles, couples, and families. I have a short story about the couple on the motorcycle. I took the picture of them leaving from the parking lot overlook and I thought it was pretty cool. Much later, I pulled into the parking lot at Wehkeena Falls while on the phone working out timing with Dave, the fellow I was meeting for lunch. I had stopped at Wehkeena last evening and had not planned on stopping today. The stop was to keep from losing the connection (that had already happened once) and to avoid driving and talking (I was hands-free but...). The couple with the bike & trailer were stopped at the end of the lot so, after the phone conversation, I walked down to say hi. I showed them the picture of their Vista House departure and asked if they'd like me to email them a copy. As he wrote out an address, we talked of where they had been which was just about the entire Pacific Coast. They were now working their way home to - ta da - Canton, Ohio. OK, so Canton and Cincinnati aren't exactly touching (they're about two hundred miles apart) but Ohio is Ohio. It is indeed a small world.

I pulled over just past Shepards Dell to photograph the bridge and the curve beyond and only then noticed the steps leading downward. I had probably read of them somewhere but they were not in my mental Rolodex so came as a surprise and bonus.

I did hesitate a moment at the "2/3 Mile Round Trip" posted for Bridal Veil Falls but caught myself before brushing it off. Today I could do that - albeit none too quickly - but maybe not the next time and it's far from certain that they'll be a next time. Gorgeous! That second picture is from the falls and shows the trail descending to the bridge. That's just about the only downhill portion of the return trip. Of course, that fact is registering quite clearly as you head steadily downhill on the way to the falls. The third picture shows one of the switchbacks from the comfort of a much appreciated bench.

Dave Paul (a.k.a. Keep the Show on the Road) and I worked hard to synchronize our 11:00 arrival at Big Horse Brew Pub only to discover they open at 11:30. No problem there. Two old roadies meeting for the first time can make a half-hour disappear like free beer. Besides picking a great meeting spot and picking up the tab (Big thanks for both!), Dave also gave me an Oregon road map. I'm good - unless something's changed since 1932. Dave's collection of maps has helped me find some goodies in the past. Get a glimpse at Historical Road Maps.

We headed first to a drivable bit of the old road that I didn't even know existed and a non-drivable section that I did. The first photo is of the non-drivable section which is now a paved walking & biking trail that includes the resurrected Mosier Twin Tunnels. The third picture, taken from the expressway, is of the windows in those tunnels. In between is a shot of the Hood River Toll Bridge.

Photos of both big attractions in the town of Mosier. Dave had told me about the garage. He had heard the place called a "Porsche Museum" but figured there must be more to it. There were always a few Porsches there but the only things being sold were ice cream and souvenirs. Today we learned that the business model is a little better than it first appears and that Route 30 Classics & Roadside Refreshments doesn't just display classic Porsches. It sells them.

Things got a bit strange on the way to Rowena Point. I think we may have seen the scurrying critters before we spotted the stop sign. The critters were two raccoons who seemed to alternate between chasing and being chased by a couple of guys hanging around the SUV. Only after we stopped did we notice the Darth Vader-mobile off to the left. Our query was answered with something about "Porsche" (the camera car is a Porsche Cayenne) and "commercial" and we were waved on. We were not at the planned (by Dave) stop long before the black SUV and its very polite driver came by. Staying off of the road ("They're using both lanes.") was all he asked and it wasn't long before the Darth Vader-mobile came by chasing a motorcycle. Clues, possibly intentionally misleading, indicated a Honda but I certainly don't know. The last two pictures show what we actually stopped to photograph.

At Rowena Point, I got a shot of a loop, a shot of the railroad tracks, and a shot of Dave getting a shot of the loop. Dave returned the "favor" in stereo and that same link shows (I think) what Dave was photographing while I was photographing Dave. The last picture is of Rowena Point looking back after we left.

Dave and I did some exploring outside The Dalles then returned to Hood River on the expressway. Dave headed home and I headed toward Mount Hood. The first picture shows my first view of the mountain at the edge of Hood River when it is a little over twenty miles away. The second is from near the half way point on OR-35 and the third is from US-26 on the mountain's south side at a distance of roughly six miles. The last is in the parking lot of Timberline Lodge with the peak just three miles away.

There had been a few drops of rain in the early afternoon but things had been improving since then and skies were quite blue when I reached the lodge where my good fortune moved up yet another level. The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance takes place in just over a week on August 19. One of the events leading up to that is the Pebble Beach Motoring Classic whose thirty hand picked participants had reached Timberline Lodge just a little before I did. How's this for neat cars in front of a cool restaurant?

I snooped around much of the 1937 lodge which still contains many of the original carvings, furniture, and other items. The place was booked solid when I tried reserving a room a couple of weeks ago and I see why. It wasn't easy but I eventually tore myself away from the lodge, the mountain, and the Bentleys.

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