Columbia River Gorge

Search the alphabet travelogs

Working my way through the alphabet, one country at a time

Columbia River Gorge

One of my favorite drives is returning from Idaho to Olympia, Washington, where I’m living. About 160 miles into Oregon there’s a scenic viewpoint that offers a commanding view of the drop into Pendleton–a 6% grade! The descent from the Blue Mountains on Emigrant Hill contains switchbacks that are the tightest allowed on the interstate system.

On the other side of Pendleton, I-84 meets the Columbia River, the largest river in the Pacific Northwest, forming the border between Washington and Oregon. As the river swells between rocky formations high above the shores I get an idea of the formidable forces that carved this riverbed.  When the Columbia River empties into the Pacific Ocean it forms the worst wave conditions on the planet!  This is why explorers tried in vain to find the entrance to the river, and finally concluded it was a myth.

As I drive closer to Portland, the desolate desertscape is replaced with quintessential autumn colors, and thick verdant moss covers the trees. This is my favorite part! The Historic Columbia River Scenic Byway offers several detours that are well worth your time. The ten mile loop that includes Multnomah Falls is charming, and offers a short hike and lunch at the lodge.  It’s a perfect rest stop.

Rhonda Sarantis

Rhonda Sarantis

"She's crazy and loud but she loves you!" That's what they tell my infant granddaughter to prepare her for my visit, so I thought it would be a great way to prepare you. And while I may not always be crazy or loud, one thing is always true: I LOVE people. That's at the heart of my passion for travel. I love getting to know people from different cultures who speak different languages, eat different food, have different ideas and opinions. I'm endlessly curious and make a point of reading about the countries I visit. Instead of saying "that's not how WE do it," I enjoy identifying strengths in diverse cultures, and learning about their way of life. I LOVE road trips! I have great memories of monthlong vacations growing up. Dad always had a van--before they were popular--and invited anybody who wanted to join us. My road trips within the United States will be featured in "The Lower Case Travelogs." Be sure to buckle your seat belt. I execute illegal u-turns if a bakery or estate sale is spotted!

Comments are closed here.