Great American Road Trip Day 1 – Columbia River Gorge and Pendleton

Columbia River Gorge

Day One of our road trip was a nice Oregon spring day, meaning that it was dry though overcast.  We headed out a little late, just after 10am, Eastward on I-84 through the Columbia River Gorge.

The Gorge is one of the most beautiful spots on earth, and it’s no wonder it has been designated a National Scenic Area.  It seems the Gorge always shows up in car advertisements, showing the vehicle perched majestically above a huge river flowing far below.

This Sunday the Gorge was utterly calm, which is really rare.  Even the numerous wind turbines were completely still.  This phenomenon allowed wisps of low-lying clouds to cling to the valleys lining the gorge, which was a unexpected treat to see.

Cowboys at the Pendleton Round-up

We wanted to cross the country as quickly as reasonably possible, so there was no time for side trips.  We had lunch in Pendleton, Oregon at Dickey’s Barbecue.  This is a Texas-based chain of stores, and as much as I try to steer clear of chains, I’ve got to say Dickey’s is pretty darn good.  When you’re hungry for ‘cue, it’s a solid alternative for a grab-and-go meal.

Pendleton is a real Western cowboy kind of town, and home to the Pendleton Round-up, one of the top rodeo events in the world.  There’s plenty of Western wear, boot stores, even a bootmaker and a saddle shop on the main street.

It’s a fine little town with plenty of character, and some handsome older homes which can be a rarity here in the West.  If you’re in Oregon in mid-September, make a point to visit Pendleton during the Round-up.

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