5. Spring road trip….April/May/June.2019 

Day 19 5.10
Up with the sun, I completed the drive into Hood River on the Mt. Hood Scenic byway.  Wowwhat a beautiful place.  The roadside is filled with fruit trees & the hills are lined with vineyards. It’s so lush & green with a big snowy mountain hovering above it all. This place is an adventurists dream…so much snow on Mt. Hood in the winter; clear fast rivers for water sports, a wind that blows over the Gorge perfect for kite & wind surfing; so many breath taking waterfalls, & good beer.   I popped into Starbucks for coffee, bought ice & gas next door ready to start my day.  

I wanted to begin at the falls along the Gorgeknowing tomorrow-Saturday- would make it super crazy I wanted to pack in all I could today.  I ate breakfast in the car (the overnight steel cut oat thing is working well) & waited for the information place to open catching up with Dannys mom (she had a brief time at the lake, but now is back at our place).  There was a huge fire here in 2017 that burned thousands of acres.  This place is steep & damp, rainforest like, which is why they have amazing waterfalls.  So, the erosion from the fire is incredible.  The VC had a big board with all the closed trailsabout 2/3 of them were fenced off.  Danny & I had done a lot of these hikes when we were here bout 13 years ago.  But, the one hike definitely on my list was Angels Rest & it was open.  Its not long2.5 miles up, but UP it is with over 1,500 feet elevation gain.  You climb up to knob that overlooks the Columbia River Gorgeit was a great hike & Im super glad it was open.

You can definitely see the burned area…so sad, but you can also green on the forest floor regenerating itself…pretty cool.


DSC09883.jpgIMG 0820.jpg

The view from the top was wonderful!!!

I checked out some waterfalls along the scenic highway.

IMG 0804.jpg

Then I drove to the Vista House…great views of the river from there too.  I grabbed some lunch from the back of my car & some ice cold water…it was time for my weekly cocktail hour (my second one in a row sans a cocktail) with Jill.  She was in her travel trailer, having just gotten it back from servicing & getting ready to pack it up for her own adventure.  She leaves Monday morning & I’m super excited for her!  We visited for about an hour, then I toured the Vista house & took in the views.

It was time to visit Full Sail Brewery in downtown Hood River.  When Danny & I were here all those years ago, we had such a great experience there, & I was excited to see what changes had happened.  Not much in the tap house, but the brewery, which now distributes in Kansas, is HUGE!  I sat at the bar, had a wonderful bartender, a yummy barrel aged stout & their most popular item, a gouda covered burger.  The three women bartenders gave me hiking advice, shopping advice & more beer advice.  It was a nice way spend the late afternoon.  

IMG 0842.jpg

IMG 0844.jpg

My next stop was just outside of town at Solera Brewery.  It was hopping on this Friday evening.  I had a small pour of their seasonal IPA, which was good, but the view from the outdoor space was great!

IMG 0850.jpg

I drove about 25 miles back up the scenic highway & found a different Sno Park to camp in overnight.  It was time to catch up on the website.  I was going great sitting with my hatch up, enjoying the last rays of sun, but once it went down, the temps dropped & I closed up Camper, turned on my twinkly lights & kept working.  All was going well, until I accidentally deleted two pages & a whole  bunch of photos from the site…Yikes!  I was so pissed at myself.  So, I started again, but by about 11pm, my camper was a mess with cords, sim cards & my brain was fried.  I was ready for my nightly psychedelic dream pill & will finish updating the website in the morning.

Day 20 5.11
I didnt want to get up this morning!  Just wanted to be lazy.  I didnt have service where I was camping & Dannys pretty used to having me contact him by 8am his time & it was already 6:30 my time.  So, I rolled out the back door & into the front & drove to Starbucks in Hood River.  Ifinishing up the site this morning, then going to get fresh clothes out, clean up & then head out for a hike this morning.  

Ive changed clothes like a hundred times (sort of an exaggeration) in the past few days, going from cold evenings, mornings & nights to super warm days.  But, in actuality, I’ve just gone from the same warm outfit to the cool one, over & over & over for days.  I normally have a method for marking worn clothes…I turn them inside out when I pack them away.  But, these past days, I just throw one outfit off & put on the other…not bothering to pack them away knowing I’ll be switching back in them in a matter of hours. But, it’s time to throw these in the dirty clothes bag & go for new.

Two of the bartenders yesterday at Full Sail, suggested I try their favorite hike..the Tom McCall wildflower hike which was 4.5 miles & 1,000’ climb.  The day was beautiful & the crowd was big at the trailhead.  This is the beginning of the trail & it eventually climbs up to that knob.

IMG 0860.jpg

You can see the trail in more detail on this photo…near the bare space on the right top.

IMG 0858.jpg

It was a wonderful hike!  Challenging, but filled with flowers & big views of the Columbia Gorge, Mt. Hood & Mt. Adams.

IMG 0875.jpg

IMG 0881.jpg

IMG 0866.jpg

After the hike, I headed to the Gorge White House….a winery & cider place set on a working fruit & flower farm.  It was such a wonderful place to spend a couple of hours.  They have their own food truck & I had a super yummy pear & goat cheese bacon quesadilla.  I also drank the cider..cherry, lemon/pear & honey/lavender.  They were all good!  The place was full of people, but not over crowded, I sat at a picnic table & looked out into the field yet to bloom with flowers.

IMG 0895.jpg

IMG 0897.jpg

I drove to Hood River’s downtown & checked out a couple of small shops.  Knowing I wouldn’t be back this way, I went over the river to the Washington side to see what it was like & hopefully find camping.  I’d read there was camping near the road & saw a few RV’s as I went by.  I’d also read about some forest camping, but when I made it up the long, steep backcountry road, I didn’t have good vibes about the place, so I headed back to the river.  I’d scoped out a possible camping spot along the way, so I drove back to it.  It was fairly close to the road, so I’d hear traffic noise, but it was also backed by a little lake.  So, I backed my car in ready for the night…but I’d just gotten out of my car & a train thundered around the corner, right on the other side of the road making me jump & super surprised!  Then I just busted out laughing!  This wasn’t going to work tonight, but it cracked me up that I never noticed the train tracks.  I waited to see how far apart the trains were coming, & when the crazy loud noise came again in about 10 minutes, I started the car & drove west.  

I’d read about Bridges of the Gods many times because I’ve read so many books about the Pacific Crest Trail.  Cascade Locks is the only town the trail actually goes right through & when you cross the bridge, you’ve completed Oregon & are in your last state of Washington…if you’re a northbound hiker.  So, that’s the famous bridge I took back to the Oregon side.

IMG 0899.jpg

IMG 0901.jpg

I ended up in a paid National Forest campground called Eagle Creek…a really nice quiet primitive campground just south of Cascade Locks.

Day 21 5.12
Today was Mothers Day & I always miss my kids if Im not with them & always, always, miss my Mom.  Danny was spending the day with Phyllis, his Mom & taking her out to dinner & Im sure that made her day.  I made coffee & took my time getting out of camp; I always enjoy when I have a picnic table!

IMG 0909.jpg

I was originally going to skip Portland, but decided I would have an urban day of hiking & visit some places I’d never been to before in that quirky town.  I made the short & easy drive from the Gorge into Portland & was super lucky to find parking in one of the many lots in Washington Park.  There’s so much to do here & it was packed with families celebrating Mother’s Day.  There’s a zoo, a kids science museum, a Japanese garden & a botanical garden & tons of trails & picnic spots.  I hiked up to the Botanical Gardens & started there.  The Hoyt Gardens are free & have 12 miles of trails adjoining the park.  I grabbed a map & started to walk.  The weather was again just perfect!

I first walked to where the Redwoods were.  I love these trees!  But I have to admit to thinking this ‘grove’ was pretty small…they’d built a wooden deck around one of the trees….not sure that I like that idea very much…how’s it supposed to grow any more?  Luke & Pete live among the Redwood trees…tons of them & they are huge, very old & breathtaking.  I hated to make comparisons, but that’s what my mind was doing.  

So, I moved on. A volunteer had told me to be sure to check out the Monkey Puzzle Tree & it was really cool looking!

IMG 0922.jpg

Here’s more detail of the branches...

IMG 0924.jpg

And even more detail of the ‘leaves’….

I also walked to a section that was all magnolia trees…lovely blooms!

IMG 0933.jpgIMG 0935.jpg

Mostly, I just enjoyed walking around & around & around!

I’d read that Great Nations brewery has more stouts than any of the gazillion other breweries in Portland, so that’s where I went first & tried a flight of them.

IMG 0936.jpg

I didn’t really love any of them, but the artwork painted on the walls of the brewery was pretty fun!

IMG 0939.jpg

Then I drove to one of the neighborhoods in Portland…think it was called Eastside to check out a couple of breweries, eat some food & visit two shops.  I found a place to park & decided I’d walk the rest of the afternoon, rather than move my car.  I went to Broadside Brewery super hungry by this time.  My diet on this trip has really been bad.yummy but bad.  Ive eaten out almost everyday & have had an extreme quantity of burgers & fries.  Theyve all been good burgersbut my trying to eat more out of my food box is failing.  But, I was rationalizing todays fried chicken because it was Mothers Day.  But, when I got to the brewery, they told me their website was wrong & they had a different menu.  This is a big pet peeve of minerestaurants should keep their website up to date.  But, I had a taster of one of their beers & decided to start walking the 15 blocks back to my car.  On the way, I visited with Pete, which was nice.  Luke & Sara had both called earlier in the day, so that was as great as my Mothers Day would getI love to talk to them!

IMG 0941.jpgIMG 0942.jpg

I passed a Thai restaurant in an old house on the way back through a few blocks filled with places to eat & tons of people.  This place had people in it, but didn’t look too crowded & had a nice outdoor patio.  So, that’s what I had for my Mother’s Day dinner & it was great & I took home leftovers!

IMG 0944.jpgIMG 0946.jpg

I ended up ‘camping’ in a rest area for the night.  I’d walked about 7 miles today & was tired, so I just wanted a place to sleep.

Day 22 5.13
Today Im headed to Silver Falls State Park taking the Silver Falls tour route to get there.  The State Park I had researched & been told by Pete what a cool place it was, but the scenic route was all by accident.  And it was beautiful!!!  I drove by lush green farmssome were Christmas tree farms with the tiny little celebration trees growing in perfect rows.  It was super hilly surrounded by gentle green mountains & fields of flowerswowreally, really pretty!

(ignore how blurry the photo below isI didnt quite get the car stopped before shooting it)

IMG 0966.jpg

IMG 0971.jpg

IMG 0975.jpg

I was glad I was going to the park today & not yesterday.  They were having a 20th celebration of the park & it was Mothers DayI bet it was super packed.  But, this morning, there were only a few other cars in the lot.  I paid my $5, grabbed my pack & took off on the Trail of Ten Falls.  Its a 9 mile loop with 10 waterfalls & it was one of the best hikes Ive ever done in a State Park!

IMG 0981.jpg

You could walk behind 3 or 4 of the waterfalls.

IMG 0984.jpg

IMG 0991.jpg

IMG 1001.jpg

Behind another one...

IMG 0997.jpg

IMG 1026.jpg

IMG 1028.jpg

IMG 1034.jpg

IMG 1012.jpg

IMG 1016.jpg

IMG 1020.jpg

IMG 1009.jpg

This was one cool hike!

I’ve never been to Salem before, so I drove to the Visitors Center before they closed.  It’s near the Willamette Valley…the largest county of wine producers in the state with 80 of them here.  I do like wine, but I’m too tight for wineries over priced food & drink.  But, I felt like if I didn’t try one, it would be a little like going to Napa & not trying any wine.  They mostly all close at 5 on Mondays, but one was open till 6 it happened to be the one the VC person said had the best views.  It’s called the Willamette Valley Winery…very original.  It was a beautiful property though!  The only choice you got when doing a tasting was the not so cheap one or the way more expensive one.  I really don’t like tastings like this…every once in awhile I’ll go to a brewery that has the same dictator-type no-choice choice.  I like to choose what I’m sampling…not have it picked out for me.  But, I chose the cheap one, & found myself drinking a couple of whites & a rose…not what I like, but the two reds were good. I had only eaten a little out of the car before my 9 mile hike & while I didn’t want to pay their prices, I really didn’t want to go anywhere else to find food later tonight.  So, I ordered up some food & finished my tasting out on their lovely deck overlooking the vineyard (I really wanted a whole glass of wine, but I had to ‘stop the bleeding’…note to self:  don’t do this again!)

IMG 1041.jpgIMG 1043.jpg

I had looked up a liquor store while I was finishing at the winery & drove there once I was done.  I got a really friendly sales guy, who sold me two bottles of local wine…both different but I wanted to take one to share with Pete & Leia & one to send with them this weekend.  I also found one of my top 5 barrel aged stouts they were selling…guess the bleeding just went critical!

I found another rest area along the 5 to spend the night at, tucked in, called Danny & went to sleep.  

And then it started to rain.

Day 23 5.14
Eugene OR was another new place to visit.  A college town, I’ve heard it compared to Lawrence.  It was still raining, the temperature is dropping & the morning was not going too well.Heres the text I sent to Jill the next:

Still raining.  1. Went to a place to buy a great cream puff I’d read about & coffee... drove there... don’t serve cream puffs anymore but sell marginal cups of coffee & almond croissants 🙄 2.  Went to a local pool to buy a shower & even though the website said they were open, they weren’t 🤪 3.  Called the next community pool across town that said they were open but when I called they said you can only buy a shower between 1130-1 otherwise I could buy a day pass but I would also have to swim or sit in the hot tub 🤔4. Decided to come to a laundromat, but since I still had clothes on I wanted to wash.. which is why I was originally going to do laundry after I showered & they have NO bathroom, I stripped down in my car & am wearing my sleeping shorts & only my puffy jacket 😆5.  Lost my sleeping pants somewhere... needed to wash those badly but have gone thru everything looking for them.  Why do I think I’m organized?  I’m sure I’ll find them after I’ve done the laundry 😠. Oh well... life on the road 😜

Ok…so nothing really bad happened…just annoying stuff.  I went to Oakshire Brewing & there was a lot to taste there.

IMG 1053.jpgIMG 1054.jpg

The bartender was so nice.  I tried the peanut butter stout (usually not a fan) but this one was made with caramel milk chocolate & tons of peanuts…good.  I also tried the Ill Tempered Gnome which was their Rye beer aged in Whiskey barrels.  I popped across the street to REI & bought a couple of containers of fuel then went to find the 5th Street Market.  It had several cute little shops I went in & out of then went to Northwest Burgers for my meal of the day. (While I’m not getting tired of eating burgers & fries, it does seem like I’m posting a huge quantity of burger-photos!)

IMG 1058.jpgIMG 1059.jpg

It was still raining…a lot & very chilly.

I decided to go on a self guided covered bridge tour in Cottage Grove…a town not too far from Eugene.  It was a pretty drive & the rain would let up once in awhile allowing me to pop in & out of the car to take photos.

IMG 1063.jpg

I liked taking photos of the inside too.

IMG 1192.jpg

IMG 1095.jpg

IMG 1084.jpg

IMG 1089.jpg

IMG 1076.jpg

I was going to be meeting Pete & Leia tomorrow night & had bought all the ingredients to make Jalapeño Cucumber Lemonade, but I hadn’t put it together yet.  So, I told myself as I was driving around all afternoon, that the next time the rain quit, I’d pullover & make the drink.  When I was at the last bridge, it stopped & I hurriedly chopped & mixed.  While I was there, two guys came walking up from the river to the only other vehicle in the lot.  They were really friendly & told me they’d been panning for gold & even showed me what they had.  It was interesting & evidently this area has gold mine history.  I wished them luck as they took off to pan in a different section of the river.

I had been slowly heading south, continuing my crazy loops in Oregon, but on my way back into California…just barely.  The rest areas along I-5 were nice & they gave you an 8 hour window to ‘rest’.  Tonights rest stop, though was down right pretty.  The hills surrounded the lot, super big & clean restrooms & a huge covered picnic area (which is good because it’s still raining on & off!)  So, I was happy to stay here tonight.

IMG 1106.jpg

IMG 1108.jpg

I propped open my hatch & got my chair out (you know, the fold up leg-less camp chairs?) that I set on the end of my bed & call this the “lounge’.  It’s where I sit & rock & read when I don’t want to sit out in the rain.  I tried to cook two different dinners…both ended up in the trash…super yucky.  I cleaned up the pan & decided I wasn’t going for a third fail & just ate a few nuts & some dried fruit.  I noticed a cute little Tab Trailer pull into the lot.  It was bright red, the smaller version of Jill’s pulled by a great big matching red truck.  Out of it climbed two women, laughing.  

When the rain stopped, one of the them walked near & I asked her about her trailer.  Her name is Linda & she’s from the Las Vegas area.  It was really nice chatting with her.  After her & her friend Bobbi took a long walk around the rest area, Linda stopped by & invited me over for dinner & wine.  I passed on the dinner but grabbed my wine glass.  We all sat in her cute little trailer that she bought last year & talked travel all evening long.  Bobbi lives in Washington & Linda had just picked her up & they were on an adventure.  The time flew by & it was really great to get to know them.

home   1   2  3  4  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13

 vikhill@gmail.com                                                                                                                                                    © Vicki Hill 2022