Kent and Carol - Mobile travel blog

Fish Ladder foreground, Spillway in background

Barge and Tugboat heading into lock - Bridge upper left

Power Generation Building

Bonnevile Dam (L to R) Generator 1, Spillway, Visitor Center,Generator 2, Locks

Horsetail Falls

Multnomah Falls

Wahkeena Falls

Latourell Falls

Looking East from Woman's Forum - Vista House on right

Looking East from Vista House - I-84 below

Mount Hood RR Train as seen from caboose Cupola

Mount Hood

Engine connecting freight loads to train

Wednesday, May 23, 2007, we drove north on I-5 to Portland, Oregon then east on I-84 to Cascade Locks, Oregon. The city of Cascade Locks is the location of the KOA RV Park. KOA's are nice RV Parks, usually a little more expensive than other places, but this one has one big drawback. It is very close to a railroad track. This is a Union Pacific track that has lots of traffic and our parking spot is about 50 feet from the track. There is also a nearby railroad crossing, so the train needs to blow its horn right by the RV Park. This goes on day and night. I like trains but this is a little too close and personal for sleeping.

Thursday morning we took the Jeep and explored the Scenic Columbia River Gorge Highway. Our first stop was the Bonneville Dam, which was built as a WPA project. We looked around the Visitor Center, watched the videos, watched the fish climb the fish ladder and watched the fish counter girl count fish in the ladder. The fish ladder allows the fish to swim around the dam and then the two ship locks allow boats to navigate around the dam. As we were driving out of the parking area, we had to stop and wait as they swung the road bridge out of the way, for the tug that was pushing a barge into the locks. I have seen bridges rise up to clear for boat traffic but this one pivoted out of the way. It was an interesting visit. They have a tour of the power generator building but that was at 3:00pm and we had lots of places to see yet today. We drove further west on the Scenic Highway. There are six waterfalls along this road. Four of the six are close enough that they can be seen from the road. The other two take some short hikes, so we visited the four close to the road. They were the Horsetail Falls, Multnomah Falls, Wahkeena Falls and the Latourell Falls. The pictures are included in the photo gallery. At the largest falls, Multnomah Falls, they have a gift shop and restaurant. We had a nice lunch there while viewing the falls out of the windows and door to the outside eating area. After lunch I climbed up the trail to the bridge that crosses in front of the falls. After the four falls, we visited the two overlook areas, the Vista House Overlook and the Women's Forum Overlook. From these overlooks, you are looking east and you can see most of Columbia River Gorge. Also just for orientation, but not in the photos, Mount St. Helens in Washington would be on your left and Mount Hood in Oregon would be on your right.

Friday, we drove about 15 miles east of the RV Park to the little town of Hood River to ride the Mount Hood Railroad. It was only an eight-mile train ride because a November 2006 flood destroyed some of the track. They are in the process of repairing the track and will also add a steam engine in July. Along side the first section of the ride there was a nice creek and then there was a switchback section to climb in altitude. From there you could begin to see Mount Hood. The most unique item about this train ride was they were pulling a caboose and they allowed you to ride in the cupola of the caboose. I rode up there most of the trip. When we got to the small town of Odell, the turn around spot, they picked up two freight cars loaded with lumber. They were to be delivered to Hood River, where we boarded the train. So, besides being a tourist train they were delivering freight and this was a first in all the trains we have ridden. After the train ride, we drove back to Bonneville Dam so that I could take the 3:00pm tour of the power generating -building.

Saturday, we are heading to Mount St. Helens area in Washington.

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