Situated at the confluence of the Hood and Columbia Rivers in the heart of the gorge sits the only city in Oregon where the consumption of alcohol on sidewalks and in parks is totally unrestricted. What used to be a trading post is now a thriving riverbank city of breweries, wineries, art galleries, and local crafts stores. Before we called it a day, we strolled in and out of stores on the seven-block stretch of historic buildings on Oak Street. Just out of town are thriving fruit orchards connected by a meandering road affectionately referred to as The Fruit Loop. Thirty miles south is the perpetually snowcapped Mount Hood. In fact as soon as I pulled back the curtains this morning I could see it in all its glory off in the distance.
Our main event for the day was a visit to the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum (WAAAM). With more than a little reluctance, we decided to at least poke our heads in before we dismissed it completely. We ended up walking the entire 3.5 acres of well designed indoor displays. The big deal with this private-collection-turned-nonprofit museum is that all 350 of its collectables have been refurbished and are still driven or flown today including the oldest flying Boeing in the world. There was also a car show on the large front lawn where private owners shared their priced possessions. Walter was in his glory as the previous owner of a refurbished 1952 Ford truck. In the distance supervising all this was majestic Mount Adams shown to its best advantage in the bright sun.
I had the best nap this afternoon. As decoys, I brought a bottle of water, book, and sun hat to the upper deck. I set them aside and then laid down on one of the couches in the shade of a canopy. A soft breeze and the warm afternoon temperatures did their magic so well that I slept through the first half of the lecture on the Oregon Trail.
Speaking of soft breezes, if your preference is something more in line with WIND and you love river sports, then Hood River might be your cup of tea because it is the perfect place to windsurf. In fact it’s the windsurfing capital of the world! From our balcony we could see at least 60 daredevils (known as boardheads) enjoying themselves.
During dinner we continued east and almost immediately noticed the change in the landscape: shorter trees, fewer trees, more brown, and it was easier to see the train that parallels the river. No doubt the temperatures will reflect these changes in the coming days.
… In Case You Were Wondering …
Mount Adams has not had a major eruption in 1,400 years.
Hood River County leads the world in Anjou pear production.
The Oregon Trail is considered responsible for one of the greatest migrations in history
not caused by war. It is credited with the settlement of the Pacific Northwest
which helped determine that Washington and Oregon would not belong to Great Britain.