Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Dinner Cruise on the Columbia

Although I love traveling to offbeat places, far off the tourist track, there are times when those kitschy attractions are worth every penny.  Such is the case with the paddle wheeler dinner cruise on the Columbia River.

My travel buddy and I waited until after Labor Day, when the crowds are gone and the sun sets before 8 pm before booking this cruise.  And boy, did we get it right!  Last Friday evening, we boarded the Columbia Gorge and spent the next two hours in a state of pure bliss.  That golden hour began not long after we were served.  We paid extra for a window view and I highly recommend it.  We had views of the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge while dining.
The timing was so perfect.  After dinner, everyone headed up to the top deck.  The captain had made a U-turn and was heading toward the Bonneville Dam.  We floated under the Bridge of the Gods, listening to his interesting stories about the history and folklore of the region.  He talked about the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the hard times the early pioneers had when settling here in the early 1800's.

But it was the sun's glow on the rocks and the colorful reflections in the water that made my heart sing.  Even my travel buddy who isn't prone to hyperbole like yours truly, kissed me on the cheek and said, "I'm feeling the magic.  You did good."
The area between Cascade Locks and Bonneville Dam is one of the most picturesque parts of the Columbia River Gorge.  As we neared the dam, the setting sun cast a crimson red on the entire river.
Reluctantly, the captain once again made a U-turn to head back toward Cascade Locks.  I tried my hardest to freeze time.

There's something about gently cruising down a river that is so magical.  It's life in the slow lane.  It's living inside a landscape painting.  It's a heightened appreciation of my ticking heart.

My travel buddy was right:  Damn, I did good!

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