The drive down the Columbia River Gorge was just beautiful for us. Growing up in Portland and later living in the Tri-Cities I had many opportunities to enjoy the historical sites and towns along the Gorge. If you have never driven this area, I would highly recommend putting it on your “to do” list. To really see everything I would recommend at least 2-3 days, there are so many great stops along this route on Hwy. 395. I took all of these pictures from the van as we were driving West on 395, if Frank would have stopped for every picture I wanted to take we never would have made it to Long Beach, plus, Trader Joe’s was calling in Portland!
Wind Mills, ACK, they have invaded everywhere we have been traveling. I know it’s a great source of “clean” energy, but they sure are UGLY!!!! They have disturbed our views of the countryside from Montana, the Tri-Cities, and now they are invading the Columbia River Gorge. I was so disappointed to see them along the bluffs on both sides of the Columbia river just out of Boardman, Oregon all the way to John Day Dam. I’m sure everyone was thinking the same thing when the dams were being built too.
More were still being built along the tops of the hills near John Day on the Washington side. Parts were passing us on semi trucks as we headed west. A propeller is huge when being transported on the extended semi’s bed.
This is near John Day, you can't really see them is this picture, but on the top of the hill is where they are putting in more windmills.
The view of Mt. Hood heading west. This day was so clear we could see Mt. Hood from just past Arlington.
Mary Hill Museum has been a part of my whole life, the Gorge would seem so empty without it. You can’t go to Mary Hill without stopping at the replica of Stonehenge too. Mary Hill was built by Sam Hill for his wife before the new “highway” was built all through the Gorge, I believe she never lived there, I don’t think she liked the isolation of the area. I should stop again and read all the details since I can’t remember all of them. But it’s a huge place, and I know I would live there! This stop would take a day to enjoy all of the sites here, there is a new winery or 2 now, and of course Peach Beach which is down below the museum. Peach Beach is a wonderful park, with RV and tent camping, there is also a day area with a swimming area for the kids, we’ve stopped here many times when traveling with the kids to break up the long drive to Portland. There is also a small and old town just down from the park. I have a friend who’s mom actually grew up there. She said when she was a girl this was a trading stop for Indians that were traveling by boat along the river. She has many great stories.
The Vista House is probably my favorite stop on this route. It has been restored and you can go through the whole building with displays of pictures from when they built this highway. The Highway itself is a historical site with the block cement style guard rails. As a teen, a friend and I would by pass the guard rails and work our way out on the big cliff you see below the Vista House. I always thought I wanted my ashes thrown from here. (but since I don’t want to be cremated this could pose a problem!) To access the old highway to get here you must enter at Rowena when heading West or either at Troutdale or Corbat When heading East.
Mt. Hood face East, taken from the bridge crossing over from Portland to Vancouver.
The traffic in Portland is a lot more then our rush minute and second traffic in Juneau and Hoonah. This is on the Freeway heading over to Vancouver.