Hood River , Oregon

It was a rainy drive to Hood River but that didn’t put a damper on the scenery. Sometimes the rain makes everything more dramatic with the stormy clouds and grey textures added to the vast landscapes we are driving through.

We arrived sometime after 9 in the evening and we were ready for some dinner. It’s been hit or miss with the restaurants that we pick even with the help of Yelp or TripAdvisor. We still haven’t figured out the magic formula to identifying a decent restaurant. Sometimes the highly rated restaurants are good and sometimes they’re not, sometimes the “fancy” looking restaurants are good and sometimes they’re not, sometimes the pricey restaurants are good and, well, you get the picture. This night we picked a good one! We’re always excited to find great food at a reasonable cost that’s prepared well and is scrumdilliicious. Solstice Wood Fire Pizza did not disappoint. For the record, this had high yelp reviews, a comfortable atmosphere and great views on the water and and we didn’t break the bank to pay the bill.

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Grilled shrimp on a bed of tabouli and sashimi grade tuna with tzatziki sauce

The rained continued through most of our time in Hood River so we splurged for a hotel rather than sleeping in a tent every night. We didn’t want the ordeal of folding up a wet tent every morning and then set it up in the rain at night. It was really nice to sleep in a real bed and have a bathroom nearby. This camping really makes you appreciate the little comforts of home!

The weather mostly cleared up during the day making for a pleasant afternoon taking in the sights and people watching along the Columbia River. We spent a bit of time watching the wind surfers along the river. Every day that we were here the area was packed with wind surfers of all ages and abilities.

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They start them young here!

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We dropped by the Hood River museum to learn about the history of the area. They had some exhibits about the logging industry which has been their primary industry for years. I always find it interesting to learn about the local characters that make a mark on a town. These are the ones whose names I see on the map next to streets, mountains, lakes, rivers and other such landmarks named after them. Darryl recognized the name of the local entrepreneur, Lurh Jensen, from his fishing days as a youth. He fished with lures manufactured by this company out of Hood River. The museum had another exhibit telling of a darker past of bigotry against their fellow Japanese neighbors during the war years which was also rampant across the nation at that time. All of their exhibits were informative set against a backdrop of individual stories of the local townspeople of the time.

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After spending so much time in the more arid parts of the country, Hood River was a welcome change. Everywhere we look it’s green and it even “smells” green! There were storm clouds always on the horizon and a slight chill in the air. We hiked out to Tamanawas Falls in the Mount Hood National Forest. The trail passes through a beautiful forest alongside a stream fed by the falls. I was reminded how out of shape I have gotten as this group of teens went running past me along the trail. Once we have access to showers on a regular basis we’ll get back into running. For now, I’ll just have to enjoy taking in my surroundings at a more leisurely pace.

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