August 11, 2012

The Great American Road Trip - Exploring Hood River

Continued from Driving to Hood River, Oregon.

I stepped out of our motel in Hood River, which was settled cozily between Interstate 84 and the Columbia River Gorge. If you have never been to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, I highly recommend it. There are mossy forests, stunning scenic views of the gorge, waterfalls, and some amazing hiking. So anyway, I stepped out of the motel room to take Poppy for a jog. The sun was warming up and there was a cool breeze. Wow, it was really breezy. Actually, I think it is downright windy. But I have heard the kitesurfing is the king of sports here, so I guess its to be expected.
The Columbia River Gorge, view from near our motel.

After the jog, Paul and I head downtown to the Dog River Cafe where I heard they served Stumptown Coffee, another recommendation of mine, if you find yourself in the greater Portland area.
Dog River Cafe
The highlights of our morning include: watching the windsurfers at the waterfront park and trying to get Poppy to fetch a stick in the river, hiking six blocks of stairs built into the hillsides above downtown in the residential neighborhoods, eating bland and overly-stuffed-with-lettuce tacos downtown, ordering freshly made juice from the Juice Brothers cart while talking to a local about Hood River as well as the guy Matt, the juice guy, and watching Tibetan monks create a sand mandala at the library.


View of Downtown with the Columbia River in the distance.

The Waterfront Park

Another View of Downtown and the neighborhoods above.
A view of Downtown as we climb the hill above town.
Matt, the Juice Guy, from Juice Brothers.
Tibetan Monks

After all that excitement, we decide to drive around the surrounding rural area. The Hood River Valley is rolling green with orchards and vineyards. The back roads are winding, hilly and fun to drive. After meandering to the end of the paved road near the top of a mountain, we made our way along the fruit loop and wine loop and stop at Apple Valley Country Store along the Hood River where I sample and purchase some Huckleberry and Marionberry jam.
Hood River Valley with a faint view of Mount Hood.

Poppy, enjoying the countryside from the car window.

A fun, hilly country road.

The Hood River Valley

A view of Mount Adams in Washington.
Another hilly road in the rural Hood River Valley.
After a Paul and Poppy nap back at the motel, Paul and I head out for an early dinner. We go to the Trillium Cafe, which I hear is a low-key sort of local place with simple food. We order beer and food and a large, bald, middle aged man sits down next to me. We start to talk to him and learn he is from Sacramento and is in Hood River for a month to learn to teach yoga. Interesting. He continues to talk and I politely listen until I start to overhear the women in her early thirties sitting next to Paul telling him about having all kinds of exciting sexual encounters with multiple men at the Cannes Film Festival in France this past spring. Okay, what the hell is going on? Meet Vita.
Vita is from Vancouver, Washington. She mentored a group of film students at the Cannes Film Festival and decided to take advantage of every single opportunity that came her way in Cannes. It sounded like an adventure in celebrities, exquisite and lavish parties, lots and lots of booze, debauchery, and basically having sex or at least making out with many, many people. She continued to tell us the sad tales of her broken heart love stories, which included a poet from Milwaukee who had enough of her three dogs. She lamented about the only available bachelors in the small town where she is living with her parents are the 18-year old high school quarterback and the mid-fifties former child molester. Hence, she is Hood River.
In the midst of these thrilling tales, we meet Matt, the juice guy, again and he joins our conversation, reiterating that Hood River is a really cool place. Then comes in Chris, who says he is from Seattle but also owns a condo in Huntington Beach, is a chiropractor, has a better voice than Layne Staley, plays in a band (who he probably thinks is better than Alice in Chains) is recently divorced and is hanging out in Hood River with some friends. Naturally, Vita and Chris end up hooking up outside, where I will save you the description of what I saw when we stopped to say goodbye. I did manage to talk to both bartenders, both from Portland, who both said that Hood River is really the greatest place on earth. Well, we'll see.

No comments:

Post a Comment