Wednesday, September 12, 2012

DAY 22- Portland to Timberline Lodge

I got up early and figured I better get in a bit of cycling to work off that wonderful dessert I had the night before.  I put on my bike gear, grabbed my bike, and I was off to the bike path.  There seemed to be more commuter traffic at this time of the day.  It was chilly and there were a lot of them with bright yellow rain jackets zipped up.  I did pass a young girl that was wearing just a sweatshirt and a pair of what looked like short running shorts while commuting on her bike.  Brrr-rr-rrr!  I was barely keeping my teeth from chattering and was glad I wore my capris and my arm warmers.  I ended up just going in to Portland to a main bridge area and then I turned around.  It gave me about 13 miles but I tried to do it at a brisk pace; so I figured I might have started to burn off that amazing dessert I had last night.

I shower, changed, packed up, checked my email, and then I was off on the road.  It was about 11am.  Next I needed to fill up the gas in the car.  It’s against the law for you to fuel up your own car in the city limits of Portland; one of several strange laws that I learned on the Free Walking tour yesterday.  The first gas station that I went to wouldn’t take credit cards; debit cards only I was told in barely understandable English.  I will warn you that most of the northwest has been hit hard by the economy and as such a great deal the businesses out of necessity have gone to a cash only basis. 

So off I went to another station where they would take a credit card.  I told the guy to top it off after I asked about credit cards.  He told me that he couldn’t do that because it was a crime in Oregon and a $10,000 fine too.  He said he didn’t know how it was in Utah but they didn’t do stuff like THAT here in Oregon.  Okay, I said let me use another phrase… Filler up please!  Okay, little lady I can do that!  He then was also very helpful about giving me directions to get on the 205 freeway too.  I will say that in general I found Portlander’s very friendly and helpful if I was lost.

Photo- One of the first falls I came to along the Historic Hwy 30.
Next I was heading east along Columbia River to the gorge area.  Once in the Gorge area which was labeled with a sign on the side of the road; I took a turn off onto the Historic 30 Scenic highway.  The first section that I came upon of the Historic 30 was closed so I kept on the interstate 84 until the second section.  Off of this scenic by way there are several waterfalls that you can see.  Two of them are just off the side of the road and can easily be viewed then there are 3 others where a little hiking in is entailed.  I managed to see three of them along this section.
Photo- Bonneville Dam in background with a fish spill way in the foreground.

Then there was the Bonneville Lock and Dam that came up next.  I took the turn off and headed toward the visitor’s center.  Just before getting to the visitor’s center there’s a security check point.  The guard asked me if I had any guns and then asked to search my vehicle.  Meanwhile in my head, I’m thinking search my vehicle?  THAT could take hours dude!  I opened the back of my station wagon and went on to explain that I was sightseeing the entire country and had a lot of clothes, camping gear, and my bicycle with me.  He looked at me quizzically and then said,” Okay you can proceed ahead, ma’am. No backpacks or large purses in the visitor’s center.”  Off I went at the 15 mph speed limit driving right next to the Lock part on a narrow road with railroad tracks right down the center. 

The visitor’s center is between the lock and the dam.  I went in to the center expecting armed guards or something after the security guard at the booth but it looked like a crew of retired citizens were manning the center.  The building is labeled Army Corp of Engineers.  I watched a 5 min. video about how boats used the lock and looked around at diagrams of how the dam proceeded from a WPA program in the 1930’s to a more recent addition in 1993 because the need for more power was needed.  It was also interesting on how they designed the dam so that the salmon and other fish could still swim up the river and spawn.  I then walked around and looked at parts of the dam near the visitor’s center.  There were quite a few areas where it was authorized personnel only.
Photo- Even the Bridge of the Gods had a bit of construction.
Makes you wonder what the God's have been up to....hmmm

Next I crossed into Washington State over the Bridge of the Gods.  It only cost me a $1.  Toll bridges seem to be common in between the state of Oregon and Washington.  I drove along the two lane highway 14 and went through the town of Stevenson.  Yes, Ron I drove through your hometown.  I continued on the wonderfully scenic route until I got to the toll bridge that went across to Hood River; which is another toll bridge.  I got out two dollars and told the gal at the booth that the additional dollar was for the vehicle behind me.  I went rather slowly across the bridge; it felt strange driving my car on the metal grated surface of the bridge.  I figured it was a way to thank the car behind me for putting up with my slow driving.

Then, I did a typical Utah U-turn as I accidently drove past the turn off to the town of Hood River.  I proceed to have an Oregon driver that made me feel right at home by flipping me off and honking; almost felt like I was back driving in SLC.  I drove around for a bit in Hood River and looked over the river area hoping to see someone wind sailing but I’m guessing that they were all home having dinner as it was shortly after 5pm.  I pushed on for the Timberline Lodge where I would be spending the next two nights.

There was a bit of construction on the drive to Timberline Lodge but overall it wasn’t too bad and it was a very scenic climbing drive.  There were fruit orchards, farms, and vineyards along the way before you reach the Mt Hood National Forest.  It was a paradise in green.  Then, you are driving through evergreen forest.  I took the turn off for Timberline Lodge where it’s a 6 mile road where in winds and turns as it climbs up to the 6000 ft. where the lodge sits.  The lodge is right at the tree line area of Mt Hood.  Mt Hood is situated in Timberline Lodge’s back yard.

The building of the Lodge is just amazing!  It was built as part of a WPA program in 1936 and 1937; all using construction supplies from the local area.  It’s just mind boggling that it was built with such craftsmanship before so much of the tools were readily available. 

I quickly got checked into my bunkhouse like room and went to find a place to eat.  I was hungry!  I ended up having dinner on the upper floor area of the Timberline Lodge’s Octagon mezzanine area where I ended up being joined by a Canadian woman named Mavis for dinner.  She saw that I was sitting alone and I was at a table with a view.  She asked if she could join and I said sure.
Photo- Mavis my fun dinner companion at Timberline Lodge.

 We chatted along as we ate and I learned that she was a tiller for a boat team of an event that took place in Portland.  Her team had taken the gold medal for the category that they were in and she had decided to do a bit of sightseeing while she was in the area.  She was staying in Portland and it’s a short drive from there.  I told her about me taking the longer way along the Columbia River and sightseeing.  After dinner, we did a bit of sightseeing together in and around the lodge.  We exchanged email addresses and I gave her the link to my blog.  It was fun and she was fun to hang out with. Thanks Mavis!
Photo- The back of the Timberline Lodge as the sun is starting to set.
A very peaceful place I sat for just a bit.

Next, I went and did a bit more exploring around the Lodge and later on ended up in the bar area of the Mezzanine.  I enjoyed a hot buttered rum as I chatted with a couple that was visiting from New York.  After they left, I met some more New Yorkers (Was it New Yorker’s week and I didn’t get the memo?) and ended up talking about music.  When asked about what song I remember being a moment I told them it was Comfortable Numb by Pink Floyd and I was watching the Wall at a theater in which we were inhaling some good stuff.  Later, I discovered that they worked for a pharmaceutical company and I think that they were all on a retreat.  They were a bit off-ish after that.  Go figure!


  1. I'm really enjoying following your adventures. I spent time cycling in Oregon last summer, mostly in the Willamette Valley and the Columbia River Gorge. Did get to Timberline Lodge, too. What a great historic building. Keep blogging and meeting great people.

    1. Shelly-
      It's a wonderful area to visit. I will try to continue blogging as I go along.
      Thanks for your comment.