Our sixth state on this journey so far happens to be Oregon. We crossed over from Washington over the Columbia River into Astoria, headed to Portland for a few days, worked our way up river to the town of Hood River, then down and around Mt. Hood and through Silver Falls on our way to Redmond for an Xscapers Convergence. Little known fact: Several crucial scenes in Point Break were filmed in Oregon.
The first place we ended up staying in the Big O was Portland, which is not too far from the border of Washington or the coast. Following our regular big city routine, we dropped the bus off at an airport lot and used some credit card points to stay a couple of nights in a hotel in the heart of the city. This time we tried a brand of hotel that caters explicitly to dog owners, and it was fantastic. The Kimpton Hotel Monaco in downtown Portland came with a whole slew of perks, human and doggy, making an excellent base of operations for our time in the city of the weird.
While in Portland we mostly used our feet to explore several of the more central neighborhoods. We enjoyed Portland, which lives up to its unofficial motto, “Keep It Weird,” but definitely weren’t blown away. We tried the food trucks, of which there are hundreds, but only three or four different types it seemed. It’s like they everybody in town got together and said, “Hey, lets set up a bunch of food trucks!” And then everybody was like “YES!” And then one guy quickly said, “And we’ll all pick from one of four types of food,” while everyone was still on the middle of saying yes to the first part, and because Portland is so damn weird, since they were still all saying yes when this jerk added the last statement, it was legally binding. I’m pretty sure that’s what happened.
The only other thing I remember was visiting the world’s largest bookstore. It was pretty neat and gave us a chance to buy some more books to go on the shelf of books we won’t read.
Also, we apparently didn’t take any pictures in Portland. You can follow this Google link if you want to see what it looks like.
Hood River is actually the name of a town and a river, which confused me a bit at first. From Portland, we made our way down the Columbia River Gorge to the town. It’s a gorgeous drive along the gorge, and we spent a night in the excellent Viento State Park along the way.
Columbia River at Viento State Park
Wherein Portland left us a bit underwhelmed; Hood River stood out as one unexpectedly fantastic place. It’s a great outdoorsy town with a very welcoming feel. It’s actually known for its wind sports on the river and its many breweries. We spent a couple of days in the area before marching further south towards Mt. Hood, which is not a river or a town.
Before heading south, though, I couldn’t resist crossing back over the river to Underwood, Washington, being that Underwood is my last name and all.
Parked next to the Columbia River in Underwood, Washington – starting to get smoky.
Kind of like Mt. Ranier, Mt. Adams and other volcanic mountains in this region of the country, Mt. Hood juts out of the relatively level ground and shoots straight up into the sky, providing an unmistakable and unavoidable landmark for anyone in the vicinity. We love these mountains which just seem to loom over you like a magical fantasy land, giving a different quality and character than the giant ranges we are used to from traveling through the Rockies.
We spent one night north of the mountain at Montavon’s Berries, another Harvest Hosts spot, where I gorged on blueberries and the few raspberries I could find. We also caught a bit of the annual Persiod Meteor shower on the roof while there.
Berry picking with a view
The next night we learned all about these things called Sno Parks. They are large lots with various dispersed camping features geared towards wintertime activities like snowmobiling, skiing, and sledding. They also happen to make great free parking spots in the summer. (Winter camping requires a permit.) We checked out a few of these on the east side of Mt. Hood before landing at the White River West Sno Park. This place had a perfect view of the mountain – or would have if we hadn’t finally found our way into the wildfire smoke – and sat on the edge of a seasonal river coming down from the melting glaciers.
Our spot at the White River West Sno Park
We spent the next two nights at Camp Creek Campground.
Our spot at Camp Creek
While in the area we hiked up to Ramona Falls and on the way back stopped at a nice and very old restaurant where the waitress was kind enough to let us eat inside with Miles so that we didn’t have to sit out in the smoke.
After leaving the Mt. Hood area, we headed south to Silver Falls State Park but first stopped in the town of Boring, Oregon, to see if we could find a sign that mentioned the sister city of Dull, Scotland that we visited the year before.
We found the sign! And, also learned that there is a now a third city in the alliance, Bland, Australia.
The Boring, Oregon Sign
Silver Falls State Park was vast and spectacular just like the rest of Oregon’s State Parks. So far Oregon takes the cake for their parks. We did some biking around and did an eight-mile hike that included ten waterfalls.
Our last stop before we made it to Redmond for the convergence was Fisherman’s Bend. We were only scheduled for one night here but scooped up a cancelation for the next night so we could spend a little more time chilling out and playing in the river.
For more photos from this area, check out the gallery!
As always, here are the latest stats as of 8/31/18