Monday, June 16, 2014

Mt. Hood to Columbia River Gorge to Long Beach, WA

I drove out to Timberline Lodge on the foothills of Mt. Hood yesterday, in hopes of having a more up-close and personal experience seeing the mountain.  Not so much.  While the weather was pretty clear in Portland, Mt. Hood was a bit shy and did not want to show itself.  :(  I did see plenty of rain, snow, and clouds while I was there.

Minus the clouds, it should live right there in the center of this photo.

But the low-lying farms and orchards were kind of pretty.

With Mt. Hood being a bust, I decided that a cruise through the Columbia River Gorge would be a suitable remedy.

Umm... whoa.

By the time I reached the waterfall portion of the Gorge, night was drawing near.  I did get some pretty cool waterfall shots on the camera before it got too dark, but the cell camera couldn't handle it - so I'll post some of the actual shots once I get them processed.

I camped out near the Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks.

I camped out and got to it again early the next morning.  The weather wasn't as nice as the forecast had been predicting... but it was run-of-the-mill Pacific Northwest rain... and that was okay.  I got more photos of more waterfalls, but really enjoyed the scenic US Highway 30 route almost as much.  I've never seen anywhere quite so green before - it was gorgeous!

Multnomah Falls

Section of the drive...

I finished up in the Gorge, and decided it was worth one last trip to Voodoo Donuts before I left the Portland area.  This will serve as breakfast for the next few mornings.

I drove SR 26 back out to Cannon Beach - where I originally came in from - to continue my trip up US 101 where I had left off.  There was a ton of beautiful shoreline, and I discovered a handful of beaches where it was legal to drive.  I drove the beach (instead of the road) between Seaside and Warrenton - approximately 8 miles.

I reached the end of the line in Oregon - Astoria - famous for the movie The Goonies.  :)  I hung around the water for awhile, getting photos and taking a break from driving.  Then it was time to cross over into Washington on the Astoria-Megler Bridge - an impressive span!

I meandered north on the Washington coast - enjoying the beach driving wherever it was available.   I ended up stopping early for the day in Long Beach, WA.

I was on the beach waiting for the sunset colors when I noticed a lot of people around a mini-van towards the beach access entry.  Upon further investigation, the van contained a bunch of teenagers, their mom and grandmother (or so it appeared).  The van was stuck in the soft sand - the driver either "missed" the hard-pack sand runway, or just thought she could make it.  A couple of other people stopped to try and help them by attempting to dig out the wheels.  But once she started to drive again, she would only bury the vehicle further.  I offered to help them and strap them out.  After realizing she was making no progress doing it the way the other folks suggested, she was willing to let me try.  I pulled my recovery strap from the Jeep, and we threaded it through the passenger side control arm on the van.  After a couple of gentle tugs, she regained forward momentum and was on the hard-packed sand again.  They thanked me a million times over, and helped me put the strap away.

The only evidence was the aftermath...

And I was still able to get some last minute sunset photos.  :)
Not a bad day!