Portland to Spokane

Posted on May 31, 2009 by Holly Hayes
Part of: Old West Road Trip

Day 1
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Portland, OR - Spokane, WA
358 miles (6.5 hours)

Route Map: Day 1

The first day of our road trip involved a lot of driving but it was really enjoyable, with lovely weather, light traffic, and several interesting things to see.

Since we left fairly late in the morning, the first item of business after an hour or so of driving was lunch. Happily, Charburger was conveniently located along the way. I love this place - good hot food served cafeteria style in a western-themed interior, with beautiful river views.

healthy lunch
My Hawaiian burger (above) was delicious. David had a patty melt, which was very nice too. Check out the size of that maple bar! I would like to state for the record that between the two of us we ate less than half - but we had to try it. And actually it was quite good, although very chewy.

bridge of the gods
After lunch we took a short stroll down to the Bridge of the Gods and the Columbia River.

Not long after lunch, we stopped at a place I'd been wanting to visit for some time. Like Charburger, it was right on the way: the Temani Pesh-Wa Trail in Columbia Hills State Park. It's located near the Dalles Dam on the Washington side of the Gorge, about an hour and a half east of Portland.

Columbia Gorge Petroglyphs
The Temani Pesh-Wa Trail, with petroglyphs displayed on left.

The trail was set up in 2004 to display a few dozen ancient petroglyphs saved from the rising waters of the dam over 50 years ago. They sat in a storage shed under bird droppings until their recent restoration and display. The trail was sponsored in part by local native tribes, who now conduct religious rituals here. The dates of the carvings are unknown; the only estimate I could find anywhere was 1000-1500 AD.

Columbia Gorge Petroglyphs
Elk or similar

Columbia Gorge Petroglyphs
River spirit

Columbia Gorge Petroglyphs Columbia Gorge Petroglyphs Columbia Gorge Petroglyphs
Maybe a bug; an owl; various animals to have for dinner

Columbia Gorge Petroglyphs

Columbia Gorge Petroglyphs
Maybe a shaman

Other assorted snapshots from the rest of the journey:

A colorful train near the petroglyphs

colorful hills
Rolling hills along Highway 14 in Washington, near the Columbia River

Stonehenge Memorial
Detail of the "Stonehenge Memorial," a lame replica of the real thing but a creative idea with a good purpose: it commemorates local soldiers who died in World War I. It was built in 1918 and is said to be the nation's first memorial of that war.

Stonehenge Memorial
The sponsor of the monument was Sam Hill, a Quaker pacifist and wealthy entrepreneur. He believed the original Stonehenge to be a place of sacrifice, and therefore built this replica as a reminder that "humanity is still being sacrificed to the god of war."

Peacocks in the parking lot of Maryhill Museum, Washington

Kennewick Church
Some unusual church architecture in Kennewick (one of the Tri-Cities), Washington. I liked the Tri-Cities - looks like a pleasant place to live.

It was after 8pm when we finally arrived in Spokane. I had a particular hotel in mind, but to our surprise it was booked up. In fact, the nice parking attendant there told us, most hotel rooms in the city were booked up because it was graduation day and prom night! Oh dear. But he thought the DoubleTree had some rooms and showed us how to get there on a map. Thankfully, there were some rooms free and we really liked the hotel. Upon check-in we were given two warm chocolate chip cookies each! That seems like a genius idea for keeping customers happy.

DoubleTree Hotel
The DoubleTree in Spokane. Our room was on the 14th floor.

Spokane at Dusk
Lovely view of the city from our window

Spokane at Dusk
The modern convention center, which is attached to the hotel

After settling in, we took a walk along the river with our tripod and had a good time trying to photograph Spokane Falls in the dark. We saw kids in formalwear everywhere!

Spokane Falls by Night Spokane Falls by Night Spokane Falls by Night Spokane Falls by Night

Wish you could hear the sound of the rushing falls?? You can! Just press the play button:

The footage isn't thrilling, I realize, but it was a good way to get to know the video function on my new camera.

Another video taken higher up the river.

By the time we got around to dinner, it was well after 10pm. We didn't find anything on the way back to the hotel, rejected both hotel restaurants on the grounds of being a little too fancy and time-consuming, and ended up ordering a club sandwich from room service. It was delicious and just perfect for a light late dinner.

Spokane room service