Monday, June 8, 2009


Hey, it’s my weekend!  Monday and Tuesday are our days off, while the Visitor Center is closed.  I was up early, had breakfast, let Luna play outside until she was ready for her first nap of the day, and was out the door around 9 am, with a tour of the eastern end of the Gorge in mind. 

Mt Hood from Panorama Point First, though, I headed to Panorama Point, a county park about 5 miles south of here.  I had been there a couple days ago while exploring our nearby sights, and wanted to get back in the morning on a sunny day to try to capture remarkable Mt. Hood.  When you drive up, out of the Gorge, Mt. Hood is a looming presence that can take your breath away when you come around a curve or over a rise – take a look.

Odel and I are stationed at the west end of the Mosier Twin Tunnels trail, which is closed to vehicular traffic.  On the other side of the tunnels, the old Columbia River Highway travels another 20 miles between the tiny town of Mosier (population 640) and the large town of The Dalles.  A map I wanted to pick up for the Visitor Center was available in The Dalles, so that stretch of the old road was my route today.

Curves in the old Highway at Rowena Crest I had a perfect day for sightseeing.  I stopped at Rowena Crest, one of the high points on the road, and took a photo of the graceful curves climbing up the steep hill.  This road was built to accommodate Model T’s – meaning no grades greater than 5%, and no curves with less than a 100 foot radius.   You can see the beautiful engineering well at the Rowena Crest.

I stopped along the way to The Dalles at every point of interest, including all the turnouts and overlooks and the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center.  I walked through a few streets of The Dalles and picked up my maps at the Chamber of Commerce, then hopped on I-84, the “new” road and visited two state parks on my way back to Hood River. 

Then it was home for lunch and a pretty thorough cleanup, while Luna had quality time outdoors.  The afternoon was a combination of errands (library and post office) and more sightseeing, strolling the streets of Hood River, a great little town.  I finally headed home about 6 pm, feeling much better equipped to talk with our visitors about what lies to the east of Hood River along the old highway. 

We live in a gated community - of ONE! This picture shows the one little fly (tiny, tiny –just a gnat, really) in the frosting on our cake: the locked gate that has to be negotiated each time we leave or return.  It stretches right across the old highway, at the point that it becomes the bike trail, and is locked with a heavy chain and huge padlock, rather time consuming to come and go. I took this picture looking west, as if I was heading to town – but I continued to drive east, right up the trail (flashers on, 5 mph). 

I had planned to drive through the orchards, vineyards, and lavender farms up towards Mt. Hood tomorrow, but got so much mail that needs to be dealt with that I might not make it… but the mail can probably wait one more day.  :)


  1. Reading your comments about the Rowena Crest road reminded me of the tales Bampy would tell me about coming West in their old Model T's and A's. The cars were gravity fed and some of the grades were so steep they had to go up backwards! 'Course this was Bampy and he might have been pulling my leg, but it makes sense with the 5% grade limit on this road!

  2. Mount Hood looks gorgeous!!! I am looking forward to photos of orchards, vineyards, and lavendar farms too.

  3. Wow! What a tough job you have!