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The Columbia River Gorge!

Day 23: 12/13/2021

It's Monday, a start to a new week and the start of our descent south! We've come to the decision to head straight towards Bend, Oregon. We initially wanted to get to the Pacific Coast where we could travel down highway 101. However, the Cascade Mountains and Pacific Coast was expected to get hit by large winter storms. After going through the forecasted weather and realizing that we would have to traverse a few difficult mountain passes, we elected to take a much easier route. Unfortunately, this led to bypassing Canon Beach, OR and Newport, OR, a couple stops we had hoped to see.

But we found a suitable replacement! Our new course of travel took us through the Columbia River Gorge, which carves from Portland and passes the Mt. Hood area. The Columbia Gorge is the largest national scenic area as it spans wide between the states of Washington and Oregon. The area is home to many waterfalls that rush down the slopes of Mt. Hood. We sought out the widely recognized Multnomah Falls, but were disappointed when we arrived and found out that there was no space to pull off with our longer rig. We only caught a quick glance as we rolled by. Thankfully, we managed to pull off at Horsetail Falls. As we continued through the Gorge, we decided to visit the Bonneville Locks and Dam. This was sort of an intimidating stop as we were searched for firearms and then drove over a long grated drive along the towering dam. The rainy, gloomy day somehow made us feel even smaller next to this dam.

The Bonneville Dam was our last site before we drove a couple hours into the night up into the High Desert where we encountered some slick driving while reaching the coldest temperatures of our trip. This trip into the night kept us a little on edge. We drove through the quaint, little town of Maupin, OR and then had to climb steep, narrow switch-backs up and out of the town. This led us to our final stop of the night at Cow Canyon Rest Area, where we spent the night between two semis.

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