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Tank Full Of Gas Chapter 13: The Gorge, Stonehenge, Hood River, Mt Hood

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Last weekend was the warmest, sunniest couple days so far in Portland. I had grand designs to be really productive and do some art stuff and some business stuff and some web stuff. I had a long list of things I wanted to get done. But the sky! It was so shiny and warm! It was forecast to be in the 80s!

Sunday morning was like the opening scene from Ferris Bueller where he throws open his blinds and says, “How could I possibly be expected to handle school on a day like this?”

I hadn’t yet driven further east in The Gorge than Hood River. I was interested in driving far enough east to see the terrain change from mountains and forest to plains and high desert. Dave hadn’t been to Maryhill or Stonehenge since he was a child, where he had caught the biggest fish of his young life in the Columbia River.

Sunday morning, we ate sugary cereal, coffeed up, gassed up the car and hit the road.


It started out looking like the Pacific Northwest.


But as we kept driving, the terrain changed.


The trees thinned out, and the hills became barren. The soil eroded away, exposing the black volcanic layers underneath.


Can you spot what might be wrong in this above photo? From this vantage, we are driving west, instead of east. We wanted to check out Memaloose campground on the riverside. The only way to get there is to backtrack a little on 84 west. It gave us an opportunity to see cliffs from a different angle.


We drove past Hood River and The Dalles (The “Dolls”? The “Dahlls”? The “Dallez”? What?) went to Washington’s Stonehenge. Or in this case, Concretehenge.


It’s full size, built as an intact Stonehenge, as a memorial to WWI soldiers. Built by Samual Hill. As in “Where in Sam Hill?” He was a real guy. He built a lot of roads. And he named Maryhill after his wife, who moved from Minnesota, and promptly moved back after six months.

A long way off, we could see Mt. Hood in the distance.


Mt Hood was our constant landmark on this trip. I had never seen the mountain from the northeast side.


This also is the Pacific Northwest. I’m fond of photographs with roads in them. Roads go places.


Next stop was Maryhill Museum. We didn’t go inside, but we strolled the sculpture garden.


As we circled the sculptures, peacocks would let out eerie, wailing screams and other would join in chorus. It was surreal. We were walking around on a bright, sunny day. But I thought of how different it would be, on a cloudy day. These brightly colored, sometimes unfathomable sculptures, shrouded in fog with the peacocks letting out distant screams.


More photos of the sculpture garden over here, including a taco bell. A bell. With a taco on it. It’s Art.


From there, we drove to Hood River to get some lunch. And we were starving. And it was really a truly awful lunch. But we were starving and it was food. I won’t even mention where it was, but avoid the “British style” pub in Hood River. Unless you are really, really hungry.

From Hood River, we headed south on Route 35. We could have blasted home on the interstate, but why? When there are mountain roads to drive on instead?


What a monster. We drove all the way around. There was still significant snow in the mountain passes.

It’s been a long time since my car got so much bug splat in a day. 265 miles. Awesome.

Chapter Twelve: The Oregon Coast
Chapter Eleven: Oregon Wine Country (hic)
Chapter Ten: Astoria, Oregon
Chapter Nine: Panther Creek Campground, WA
Chapter Eight, Green Canyon Campground, Mt Hood, Oregon
Chapter Seven, Spruce Run Campground, Coast Range, Oregon
Chapter Six, Bend, Oregon
Chapter Five, Seattle, Washington
Chapter Four, Mt Saint Helens, Washington
Chapter Three, The Gorge and Hood River, Oregon
Chapter Two, The North Coast and Astoria, Oregon
Chapter One, Waipi’o Valley, Big Island, Hawaii


  1. Meredith says

    Great pictures! Mt. Hood likes like it’s in another state from afar. And for the art, it’s supposed to be weird, you’re supposed to look at it and try to figure it out. All of it together is a composition of… well, weirdness, mission accomplished by the artist.

  2. Is Sam Hill Stonehenge aligned so that, on the vernal equinox, you can see the eye of Sauron looming behind Mount Hood?

  3. “Mount Fricken Hood,” oh, that made me laugh.

    I have not been that far east. Haven’t been close to Mt Hood either. Those pics are awe. some. Pacific Northwest, really?

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