I am really glad that the wind was at my back today. The Columbia River Gorge Scenic Highway invariably ends up at a gorgeous viewpoint; one such spot today was the breezy 800′ bluff called Rowena Crest. If you lost your hat up here, you’d find it in Idaho. The geologists say that when the huge glacial lakes that covered much of Idaho and Montana let loose and came roaring down the Gorge that the top of Rowena Crest was under 200′ of water! This swept away the dirt and left the volcanic basalt cliffs exposed. Here is the view of the road winding down the east side of the butte;


Route 30 east of Portland is a wonderful cycling route loaded with history. The old route comes in three varieties; 1) a beautiful shared road signed for cycling 2) a restored road closed to vehicles and 3) obliterated by dynamite and replaced with a modern interstate highway. Once again, I would use all three variations.

The closed section just east of Hood River was probably the nicest bike path I have ever been on. I saw numerous cyclists on the wide, smooth surface. The Mosier tunnel had been restored too (it was back-filled in 1954 after they improved a road elsewhere). The beginning of the path was lined with wild flowers.


Dropping down into Mosier put me back onto a section that I shared with cars, but they were few and far between. The environment was changing rapidly. I was told that from Multnomah Falls to Hood River, the average annual rainfall decreases by one inch for each mile travelled. (I was told this in a bar and beers were involved.)

Passing through the town called The Dalles, I was once again back on the Interstate 84 for 10 miles. It’s not as bad as it sounds, the shoulder is wide and clean (mostly), the wind was at my back, and I actually liked it when the big rig trucks went by because they would provide an extra breeze! With every mile I travelled I could tell I was no longer in the moist Pacific Northwest. Just a couple of miles west from my destination of Biggs, I crossed the Deschutes River which is the official boundary of the Scenic Gorge area.


Biggs is literally just a truck stop. They have been lining up for fuel since I arrived. There is a director in the truck staging area that is orchestrating the ballet of long haulers as they jockey for the pumps and a parking spot.

Mike K. Asked me if I had seen a western meadowlark yet (see lower center of photo)