Our 2014 Unplugged Tour – March 2014

by Roger Sanders
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. And, it was a Tale of Two Cities! Sorry Charles Dickens. The weather during this year’s tour to Hood River and The Dalles was spectacular. We had the best of times as tourists of their museums, wineries, pubs and scenic roads during our weekend adventure. If you were a wind surfer it was a disaster and the worst of times… no wind, none! The lack of wind must have broken records in Hood River.
Saturday morning early, our mixture of 4 Porsches, 4 SUVs and one lonely Rabbit left Bend and with one rest stop, got to the Full Sail Brewery and Pub for lunch and some international award winning ales. After a relaxing meal we left for our first Museum, The Western Antique Aeroplane And Automobile Museum, (WAAAM) near the Hood River Airport.
 
 WAAAM is one of those museums where you say “This is incredible, how come I didn’t know about it?” It you are an airplane nut or car nut, you can spend days there. The museum houses an incredible collection of early American aircraft and cars. You have to visit the museum to appreciate their quantity and quality of aircraft and cars. And they all fly or drive, so the entire museum has a slight odor of stale gas. In the summer on the second Saturday of each month, many of the museum vehicles are flown or driven.
 
After the WAAAM museum, we broke up and went to one or two of the local wineries. The Frickeys, certified for having gotten naked with the Naked Winery staff in Bend, are rumored to have not even gone to the WAAAM museum. Apparently, they spent the entire afternoon in a back room of the Naked Winery in downtown Hood River, doing something. The Naked Winery tasting room, as you might guess is an upscale, loud, Millennials wine bar. However, don’t sell its wine short.  It has an absolutely amazing $40 Cabernet. The other end of the wine tasting environment is Marchesi Winery and tasting rooms, out in the fruit growing area of Hood River. It’s a relaxing, boutique Italian winery where you can taste some great wines to the background sounds of Opera music.
We then met up at CEBU lounge at our hotel, the Hood River Inn, to talk about the tour, Porsches and relax with a cocktail. We ate dinner at the Hood River Inn’s restaurant, overlooking the Columbia River.
Sunday morning we left Hood River. After a short I84 freeway drive we exited at Mosier and drove to The Dalles on historic Route 30. This section of Route 30 is very scenic as it winds through fruit orchards and up the cliffs of the Columbia gorge. It was originally built for Model Ts in the early 1900s. Parts of it that you still drive on were literally chiseled out of the cliffs by hand.
Our next stop was the Rowena Crest overlook. With no wind and sunny skies, this overlook was at its best, providing incredible, panoramic views of the Columbia River and its cliffs. We then continued east on historic Route 30 to The Dalles and their Discovery Center and Museum.
 
Max Clawson had made arrangements for us to meet The Dalles Mayor. The Mayor is a relative of Max and provided us with a lot of interesting information about The Dalles and its history. Their Google data farm will soon undergo a huge expansion and is a part of the economic revival that’s beginning to happen there. The one surprising thing about The Dalles is that, while they have Pubs, they don’t yet have a brewery. 15,000 people and lots of tourists without a brewery is certainly an opportunity for one of Bend’s many breweries to take advantage of.
The Discovery Center and Museum in The Dalles is a partnership of state, county, city and local contributors. It provides visitors an in depth view of the many changes that have occurred in the area from the time before Lewis and Clark to recent events. This museum is an easy place to stop and visit on a drive from Bend to Portland and will add a lot to your understanding of Oregon history.

After the Discovery museum, our tour group separated, stopped for lunch in The Dalles and headed back to Bend. This year’s Unplugged Hood River and The Dalles tour was a great opportunity to spend a night away from home and enjoy a very interesting part of nearby Oregon.