Following our visit to Crater Lake National Park, Peter and I drove over the river and through the woods (Willamette National Forest is beautiful!) to Oregon’s most popular city, Portland.
The weather was fantastic and there was a craft beer festival was going on so we joined in on the festivities.
I have struggled to find a craft beer that I enjoy and I had all but given up hope until I started shadowing my friend Katie’s beer selections when I was in Minnesota in June. Whatever she ordered, I ordered. Whatever she liked, I liked. When she went to pee, I went to pee. I was Katie’s protégé and I was soaking it all in like a sponge.
I learned through Katie’s taste buds that I like sour beers so that is where my beer tasting began, in the Fruit/Sour section. The three-page menu was huge!
After a few hours at the beer festival, we boarded a BrewBarge and pedaled a converted pontoon boat on the Willamette River whilst drinking more beer.
There were eight other people on the barge with us along with two crew members. The group of eight were celebrating a birthday. The birthday girl was a nurse who was feeling old at the ripe age of 23. She stated that she had to work later that night so she could only drink two 24 ounce beers. Wow.
Of the 10 pedalers, only four of us actually pedaled. The two oldest people on the boat by more than a decade, Peter and I, and two people with consciences from the birthday group were the only four pedaling. The others either pretended to pedal or literally kicked their feet up and enjoyed the ride. Some even got off their seats and stood and watched the four of us pedal! Have you any idea how difficult it is to power a paddle to move a pontoon boat loaded with a dozen people with only four people providing the power?
Our legs were jelly within the first 20 minutes and we had been traveling downstream. I was unsure if we were going to make it back to the dock.
Protip: There is no way to relieve your bladder whilst on the BrewBarge, so be mindful of how much beer you consume because once you take off from the dock, you’ve got about 1.5 hours before you’ll have the opportunity to wee.
As a child, I grew up on the sandbars of the Missouri River and I feel at home on boats and on rivers. The view of Portland was super!
Soon enough our pedal tour was over and we were back on land. The BrewBarge was a unique experience but I felt was overpriced at $40/person (drinks and snacks were not included in the price).
The following day we went on a combo hiking/cycling tour along the Columbia River Highway. We’d seen the Portland Women’s Forum Viewpoint and Vista House last year when we visited Portland so those two stops were reruns for us, however, I am still impressed by the width of the Gorge.Cycling along the Columbia River Highway is mildly dangerous. It is a narrow highway with no shoulder and a lot of traffic. We (Peter and I) weaved in and out of cars stuck in a traffic jam more than once. It was like biking in London traffic at times. The rest of our group sat in the traffic jam as though they were driving cars.
The hikes were short out-and-back hikes to six different waterfalls. Six waterfalls in a span of 10 miles is too many. I did not take photos of all falls because I got bored. Also once you see Iguazu Falls, nothing else really compares.
Bridal Veil Falls
The falls are all kind of starting to look the same at this point, eh?
When standing on the bridge you can take cheeky perspective photos.
Shortly after Multnomah Falls, we cycled through an old tunnel and then hopped back in the van bound for Portland.
In conclusion, our second trip to Portland and the Columbia River Gorge was a much better experience than our first trip a year ago. Excellent weather always helps.