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Pacific Northwest Excursion - Day Three

Day One - Tacoma
Day Two - Hood River
Day Three - Hood River
Day Four - Depoe Bay
Day Five - Depoe Bay
Day Six - Cannon Beach
Day Seven - Port Angeles
Day Eight - Friday Harbor
Day Nine - Orcas Island
Day Ten - Seattle

Friday, July 13, 2001

We were up by 7 a.m. (to us, it was late morning on East Coast time), and went downstairs to Pasquale's to get breakfast. A continental breakfast was included in our room rate. When we had checked in, the desk clerk had given us vouchers for our breakfast and told us if we preferred a full breakfast, the vouchers were good for $3 off. We opted for a full breakfast. Keith had waffles and bacon and Lori had a cheddar omelette. We also ordered iced tea, which was mango.

We planned to take a boat ride on the Columbia Sternwheeler, a riverboat that ran along the Columbia River on a 2-hour tour during the day. We drove 20 minutes east on Route 84 to Cascade Locks, where we bought our tickets for the boat. Although it was summer, sunny, and warm on the land, we were glad we had taken along sweatshirts for the boat ride. We wanted to sit on the top deck outside, but we soon realized it was too windy and opted for chairs along the outside deck one level down that was more protected.
The captain spoke over the intercom during the trip, and was interesting and informative, including a few tacky jokes. Refreshments (soft drinks as well as beer) and food (such as hot dogs) was available inside. Although the captain claimed we were "shooting rapids" as we headed east towards the Bridge of the Gods, it was a fairly calm ride. The boat was clean and had modern facilities. The captain explained that the many homemade docks we saw along the river were made by Native Americans who were exercising their rights under a treaty to fish from their own docks for salmon. As we turned to head back, two people held up their catch along the shore to show us - some very large salmon. Our trip ended at noon and we sought somewhere to eat in town.

There isn't a lot in the way of restaurants in Cascade Locks. We stopped for lunch at the Salmon River Pub, which was located on the main road through town. We got long rolls with pizza sauce and cheese, and some more of those fantastic home-made chips that seemed to be popular in the region.

After lunch, Keith spotted a small store and thought we could get a disposable cooler there (we had been looking for one for the past day). He found a styrofoam cooler for $5 and purchased a bag of ice for $1. We put a bottle of champagne in the cooler to chill. That cooler served us well out there, and we highly recommend it, even to keep water cool while in the car. We headed back towards Hood River on Route 84. Just as we took our exit for town, we decided to visit Mt. Hood Winery, 4693 Westwood Drive, Hood River, OR 97031 (541) 386-3772. The tasting is free and you can pretty much taste whatever you like. We purchased a red wine.

From there we drove towards Mount Hood. It had been suggested that we visit Timberline Lodge way up high near Mount Hood, but after consulting the map, it looked like it was a 2-hour drive in each direction, so we simply took off south on Highway 35, thinking we would go towards Mt. Hood for a ways to get a good picture of it. We ended up driving 25 miles, took a few pictures, then turned around. We stopped at a country store and picked up some bottled water. We were used to the humid summers of the mid-Atlantic region, and being in the drier Pacific Northwest, we found ourselves frequently getting thirsty.

When we got back to town, we stopped at the Columbia Gorge Hotel. The hotel is supposedly the most luxurious in town and is historic, located on the eastern edge of town and overlooking a waterfall and the gorge. We had considered staying there, but ruled it out because we thought it looked a bit formal. It was pretty, and we paused to look out over the great view of the gorge. Lori put a quarter in the magnifier and Keith snapped a tacky tourist picture of her focusing on the gorge. We walked around the grounds a little and although it was nice, we were glad we had chosen accommodations in the heart of town where we could walk to things.

We went back to our room and refreshed and relaxed for a bit, then took off in search of dinner. We had picked up a Hood River County dining guide at our hotel, which was very helpful. It contained the address, phone number, and a paragraph on various restaurants which made it easy for us to narrow down our choices. We decided on the Crazy Pepper Cantina & Mexican Restaurant, 113 Third St., Hood River, 541-387-2454. We walked several blocks uphill in the blazing sun to get there, and were soothed by the frosty air conditioning when we entered the restaurant. There were dark ceilings accented by bright colors, and the bar did have a colorful roof that looked very cantina-like. There was a separate drink menu and we were thrilled to see nearly 30 different tequilas on the menu - a rarity. We ordered a pitcher of margaritas made with Cabo Wabo tequila. Keith had the chicken chimichanga and Lori had shrimp tacos. The Crazy Pepper served very good, very fresh guacamole. Keith - usually not a guacamole fan - helped himself to some. Instead of dessert, we opted for a snifter each of fine sipping tequila: Lapis for Keith and Del Dueno for Lori.

After dinner, we decided to walk it off, and went another couple blocks to Full Sail Tasting Room & Pub. This is a nice brew pub, with a great view of the Gorge. The brewery is employee-owned and it was evident in the smiling service. There is a limited menu with things like nachos and sausage. An outdoor deck is available, which is where we sat where we had a beer. Lori tried the Sunspot, which was a full-flavored ale, nice and hoppy, the way Lori likes it. Keith had an Amber, cask-conditioned, which he liked. Full Sail has a great logo of a yellow sail with the river and Mt. Hood in the background. It was so appealing that we bought Keith a logo hat to add to his collection. Next we headed a few blocks uphill, back to Horsefeathers to see who was the night's entertainment. It turned out to be a band from Cannon Beach, Oregon, called Los Comatosos, which consisted of a string bass, guitar, and mandolin. The band was very "tight," and two sang. There was a lot of instrumental music. Bill, the string bass player, came over and spoke to us for a little while, thanked us for coming out and staying and listening, and we ended up buying one of their CDs. We stayed nearly until closing and walked back to Hood River Hotel to turn in for the night.

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