Sunday, July 30, 2017


The drive on I-84 is one of our favorites. Moving east the Columbia River was on the left side of the road and we could see Washington on the other side of the river. There are many dams and locks along the river that provide a lot of hydro-electric power for nearby communities and the state of Oregon. This is an interesting area. There are divided highways on both sides of the river and train tracks on each side of the river. Throw in the boats on the river and that adds up to a lot of vehicular traffic.

Between Portland and Hood River (the town) there were evergreen trees on both sides of the highway. Occasionally, we could see the Columbia River through the trees on the left. Straight ahead we could see Mount Hood. It is a pointy mountain and is the highest peak visible in that area. Much snow still covered the mountain and it was like a beacon drawing us in that direction.

Through the windshield picture of Mount Hood, moving east on I0-84
 The town of Hood River is named after the Hood River that flows into the Columbia at that location. They have a port on the Columbia River and a small marina with berths for about twenty boats. The Columbia is about ¼ mile wide at this point and near that width for about 50 miles.

We drove through Hood River and were both getting hungry, so I planned to stop in Rufus and park near the John Day Dam, where we have boondocked many nights at the Corps of Engineers Park. Just east of The Dalles, I saw a sign that said, “REST AREA 2 MILES.” That sounded like a better deal. We could stop along the highway and not get off asphalt paved areas. We both preferred that option over Rufus where we would be parked off the highway and in rocky terrain.

View of the Columbia River from a rest stop east of The Dalles
Kathi made us sandwiches for lunch and I took a few pictures, until a big truck pulled in next to us blocking our view of the river. There were forty of fifty people in the rest area and about fifteen cars and vans, ten big rigs, a few motorhomes and a few trailers. We had a fun peaceful lunch, watched other rest area guests and walked around the motorhome to keep our blood flowing after sitting for several hours and knowing we still had several hours to drive.

Another Columbia River View
 The huge evergreen trees we had alongside the road earlier were replaced with mountains and cliffs that were solid rock in some areas and straw colored dead grasses in other areas. There were some smaller trees, but not many tall spruce or pine trees.

Truck on the right is next to us at the rest stop. Divided highway traffic closer to the river.
We drove through The Dalles, then through Rufus with one spectacular view after another. Somewhere around Boardman the river turned to the north and the highway drifted to the south, making the river further north of the highway and ahead we saw mountains with a spray of windmills.

We began seeing irrigated fields with grass and some crops alongside the highway. We saw orchards of walnuts and hazel nuts and vineyards that started on level ground and continued up the hillsides. There were a lot of corn fields and the density of the stalks indicated the corn was for cattle feed and not human consumption. The greenery was great and always a sight we appreciate. 


  1. That part of the country is beautiful.

  2. The Columbia River is special and provides some great sightseeing.