Island to Inland PCS Road Trip | Day 2 | July 26, 2020 | Driving from the Columbia River Gorge to Deschutes National Forest
We woke up on our second day of vacation at our campsite in Mt. Hood National Forest. It was chilly, but not cold by any means. We discussed with Grant what we wanted to do today. They needed to be back in town that evening so we decided that we would drive back going around the East side of Mt. Hood North to the Columbia and then West into Portland.
After eating breakfast, we packed up the tent and then drove back down the forest roads to the highway and started following OR-35 North to the town of Hood River. We had great views of Mt. Hood in the rear-view mirrors and Mt. Adams straight ahead of us. Someday we hope to learn the skills necessary to climb these incredible peaks.
In Hood River, we stopped at a McDonalds to borrow WiFi and look for hikes along the Columbia River. Charlotte was clearly still warn out from our long hike the day before, and we just couldn’t find anything that wouldn’t be too strenuous, but we knew the easier waterfall hikes would be crawling with people. Instead, we decided to drive through the gorge on the Washington side for the sake of another state and new counties, so we crossed the Columbia at Hood River, turning West on WA-14.
As we drove into the Columbia Gorge, we quickly lost site of Mt. Adams, but had a few great views of Mount Hood on the other side of the river before those too were blocked by the walls and hills of the gorge. We noted how much water there was with both the river to the South and the lakes North of us, which I guess sounds funny when you consider that we’re coming from Hawaii which is surrounded by water. I think we just weren’t used to seeing so much water inland, away from the ocean.
We stopped briefly a couple times to look at Beacon Rock State Park and Cascade Locks, but didn’t end up doing anything. The cool temperatures from yesterday were long gone — the highs were now in the 90’s and it was predicted to be 100 for the next couple days. Instead, we drove into Vancouver and then went South on 205 into Oregon, having successfully snagged 3 new Washington counties.
We drove to Mt. Tabor Park in Portland to go for a short walk and enjoy views of downtown Portland from a distance. We brought plenty of water for Charlotte, but even our 1.5 mile walk in the shade was too much for her. After plenty of breaks, we finally made it back to the car. We drove Grant back home and said our goodbyes. Maybe someday we’ll get to join them in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, but for now we’ll continue to envy all the beauty surrounding his city!
We drove South on Interstate 5 through Portland and down to Salem. I had noted while scoping out our favorite mainland chain restaurants that In-N-Out had made it up as far North as Salem. We were hoping that by arriving mid-afternoon that we’d avoid the busy lunch hour, but we were terribly mistaken. It seems all of Northern Oregon was in the drive through line, so we had to give up on that dream for this vacation. We continued driving South to Eugene, exited on OR-126 and headed East into Williamette National Forest, then took OR-242 for a scenic drive up the cascades.
The best part of this drive was once we came above the tree line and started getting views of the Sisters. There were several places we could’ve stopped, but it was after 5 at this point and it was time to find a campsite. We found one at Cold Spring Campground, just a few miles West of Sisters, OR. There were quite a few RVs at this site, but everyone was spread out and it was quiet and peaceful here. The weather was perfect for camping, and Charlotte had room to roam around before bed.