Columbia River Gorge

 Posted by at 3:08 am  Nick's Blog
Jul 132013

Once again we were up at 7 a.m. When will this madness stop? I’m telling you, I need an intervention!

After checking e-mail and visiting with Julie and Doug Livingston for a few minutes when they came over to tell us goodbye, we left Pioneer RV Park in Hermiston about 10 a.m. and headed west on Interstate 84 for our 185 mile trip to Vancouver, Washington. The route parallels the Columbia River and I was looking forward to the trip through the beautiful Columbia River Gorge.

Columbia River Gorge 2

It’s a wonderfully scenic landscape of steep rocky hillsides and the deep blue Columbia River that offers breathtaking vistas everywhere you look.

I84 westbound

Columbia River Gorge

Rock formation

There were quite a few short but steep downhill grades that made me appreciate the exhaust brake on our Winnebago.

Steep downhill I84 2

Steep downhill I84

But I didn’t appreciate this curvy bridge at all!

Curvy bridge

I also did not appreciate the strong wind, which beat us up the entire trip. Some of the gusts made keeping the motorhome in its lane a real chore and I had to slow way down. The Safe-T-Plus steering control I had installed last year, which is supposed to help us when driving in the wind, when big eighteen wheelers go flying past, and anytime we need to keep the motorhome pointed the right way down the highway has been a real disappointment. I am not at all impressed with it. It hasn’t seemed to have made a bit of difference. I still find myself fighting the steering wheel a lot of the time. I bet the wind farms that sit atop the hills around there really get a workout!

Several Hydroelectric dams have been built across the Columbia River to generate electrical power.


The river is a major transportation route and boats pushing barges like this are a common sight.

Riverboat 2

The Columbia is also popular with fishermen, campers, boaters and windsurfers. In several places we saw RVs parked along the shore, and Terry spotted these folks on their paddleboards.

Class C on river

RVs on Columbia


There were also several bridges along our route and I was glad I didn’t have to drive across them.

Bridge over Columbia

As beautiful as the Gorge is, nothing can compare with the sight of 11,000 foot high Mount Hood towering over the surrounding landscape. Mount Hood is considered the Oregon volcano most likely to erupt like her sister Mount St. Helens did back in 1980.

Mount Hood

Eventually we made our way to Portland and then crossed the Columbia on Interstate 205. The bridge is five or six lanes wide and I stayed in the middle and didn’t snivel once, because I couldn’t see the water down below or tell I wasn’t on terra firma all the way across.

We pulled into the Vancouver Elks lodge, which has fourteen back in RV sites with power and water, and paid for four nights at $15/night. We want to do some sightseeing locally and we are having our mail sent to us, care of the lodge.

The interstate is within spitting distance, and some people who have stayed here have complained about the traffic noise, but I have plans to sleep in tomorrow even if they are landing passenger jets and B-52 bombers out there!

Thought For The Day – Some people see more on a walk on the beach than others see on a trip around the world.

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  7 Responses to “Columbia River Gorge”

  1. We were at the top of Multnomah Fall on the Columbia River and got this cold chill and said Nick must be in town.

  2. Hey Nick,
    great pictures. We drove 90 from Missoula to castle rock wa (we’re 50 miles up 5 from you) and missed the river this time but now we have it back. We highly recommend that you contact saftplus with your concerns. We had an obnoxious squeak that our mechanic traced to our saftplus and I emailed the company and the gentleman in customer servicewent above and beyond because to quote him “we can’t sleep at night if you’re not safe out there”. So they decided it had leaked fluids over time and needed replacing and they shipped a new one free . We have an fl60 freight liner MDT and the new bar made a world of difference. did I mention that we had it installed in 2002? The company is in Georgia and the process took a couple of weeks what with shipping but these guys belong on your good guy list. mary

  3. You’re in our old stomping grounds. We lived over 30 years in Portland suburbs. Please don’t miss the Columbia Gorge Historic Highway which will take you past many waterfalls. You can take short hikes or long hikes to different falls, all are lovely or spectacular. The historic highway is best driven in your toad as the road is very narrow in parts.

    Stop in the old town of Troutdale. It’s very cute.

    Downtown Portland is also a fun place to explore on foot or by MAX light rail. Saturday Market is a favorite craft and food stall shopping experience. Many people buy unique birthday and Christmas gifts there.

    This is the time of year to look for fresh blueberries, and peaches should be ripening up shortly.

    If you like gardens, check out the Rose Garden and Japanese Garden in Portland, as well as the Chinese Garden. In Silverton is The Oregon Garden. If you’re near Silverton, drive out to Silver Falls State Park where you can see 11 waterfalls by doing numerous short hikes, or one long hike.

    Enjoy your time in the Northwest!

  4. We had our Safety-Plus installed on the MH when it was brandnew in 2002 at Henderson Lineup in Grants Pass, OR. We stop in and have it checked every time we are in the area. We have had no problems with it at all. BUT once in a while I have to remind Larry to quit “fighting the wheel” and let the Safety-Plus do its job.
    By the way, we decided to head west so we will be in your vicinity for the summer.

  5. We were right behind you on your trip yesterday. We left Pendleton about 10 headed to the Thousand Trails park at Seaside. The wind really blew our Dutch Star motorhome all over the place. It made for some serious white knuckle driving. The wind wasn’t a problem once we hit Portland but then the traffic was bad. By the time we got out to Seaside I was whipped. My shoulders and arms ached and I felt brain dead. I also have the SafeTPlus and usually our MH handles the wind well, but not this trip. Tell Terry thanks for the pictures because I wasn’t able to see much and drive too.

  6. Beautiful photo’s Terry.. We have both driven that route and and back in 95 pre -MH we took the train, the conductor gave the history of the area. Have you thought of putting sway bars on the rig. We had them put on the first time we went to GNR. They do help with wind and semi, we very seldom have trouble with either. Nothing is 100% once in a blue moon we will get a heavy gusts that we rock with it. Travel Safe

  7. We have a Safe-T-Plus. We love it. ESPECIALLY when we blew a right front tire on our diesel pusher. I was driving. No pull, no problems. I accelerated a little, kept her steady and finally ended up in the run off lane. Had some friends without a Safe-T-Plus or equivalent. He ended up out in the woods. A tree went through where the wife would have been sitting except she was in the back on her computer. It totaled their coach. Make sure all is adjusted correctly. But if you blow a front tire, you will be SO GLAD you have the Safe-Plus.

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