What better entre into, and send off from, Portland than the Columbia Gorge.
The Gorge stretches for over 80 miles (I-84 parallels it), and transitions from temperate rainforest to dry grasslands. The Columbia River cuts a passageway through the Cascades between the Deschutes River and the Sandy River, also defining the state lines of Oregon and Washington.
Because atmospheric pressure differentials create a wind-tunnel effect and 35 mph winds, the Gorge is a popular wind surfing and kite surfing area. Biscuit and I stopped at Hood River on our way to Missoula, Montana today, and several surfers were on the river.
Hood River is a mini Portland… eclectic, svelte, a stylish river town with a voice of its own. Where Portland boasts (and, rightfully so), Hood River whispers.
Big Sky starts in SE Washington. Enormous, gently rolling swathes of farmland that touch puffy cumulus clouds on the horizon. We followed the southern leg of the Coeur d’Alene tributary from the breathtaking C d’A lake. Grazing the Glacier National Park wilderness in MT, I couldn’t help but wonder what it must have been like to first explore this unforgiving region. Just magnificent.
Missoula will be a blip on the Mini Cooper’s radar. We’re off to Glendive in eastern MT.